Once falsely accused –

I’m home from Mass today because of knee and back pain. I had to call Fr N to let him know of my absence, and he had some shocking and very distressing news for me: one of my dear priest friends has had his priestly faculties suspended in the wake of accusations that he behaved inappropriately toward a then-minor girl, back in the early ’80s.

I’ve known Fr K for more than ten years. He heard my first Confession, and numerous subsequent ones, and he has always given me solid, sane, spiritual counsel. He’s been a good friend, and a great support during a particular difficulty he happened to walk in the door to face… and I’m having a very hard time believing this accusation.

I’ve been falsely accused. When the ex- and I separated, he told his parents (and who knows who else) that I was having an affair with one of my professors (I was in college at the time). I suppose I can see how he found it easy to foster this idea: after being treated like an idiot unworthy of simple conversation in the privacy of our own home, I was deliriously enthusiastic about being in an academic setting where brilliant people, and this professor in particular (who had a reputation for being difficult to get along with) treated me as if I were someone special, possessing brilliance, even. I thought the world of this professor who opened the world for me, and he seemed rather partial to me – within the confines of the classroom.

HOWEVER, a mutual admiration society is not adultery, and the closest we came to even a social relationship was a brief exchange we had by the milk case of the local grocery store, that July –
Laura: Hey, Dr. B – how’s summer school going?
Professor: Laura, I swear, the incoming freshmen are getting dumber every year. I can’t wait for the regular term to begin so I can be with my upperclassmen again!

I really thought adultery was supposed to have a bit more to it than that? be a bit more exciting? a bit more wicked?

But somehow quite a lot more was added to the story during the translation, it appears. And, of course, there are those foolish people who will always love a scandal more than the truth. We just have to live with that.

There are a lot of factors that motivate people to lie – on both sides of the fence, let me add. The guilty are almost always going to vehemently deny culpability, even when caught in the act (just ask anyone who’s been married to a drunk caught in any one of a thousand lies), and for some reason I simply cannot fathom, sometimes people lie about the innocent.

It’s terribly hard to be a priest these days. It’s never easy – the self-abnegation required is unimaginable for folks like me. Folks just don’t have an idea what priests go through, day to day, in solitude, often without adequate fraternal support and comaraderie. And it’s open season on Catholic priests anyway.  Hardly a week goes by that a preacher or youth minister in some Protestant group or other isn’t reported by our local news outlets to be arrested and charged with some form of abuse or misconduct, but none of those denominations, seminaries, or camps go through the scrutiny or public insults that our good Catholic priests suffer.

Pray for our priests. Pray for the accused, and the accusers. Pray for Truth and justice.

* * * *

On another, but not unrelated note:

A well-known pro-life activist reports that another well-known pro-life activist suffered a bit of public humiliation over the weekend of the National March for Life. Names don’t matter for the point I want to make.

That point is this: that we who call ourselves by the name of Christ have a greater obligation to conduct ourselves appropriately in public, not to glory or wallow in gossip, not to rejoice in a fellow Christian’s downfall.

Akin to this situation is the uproar that occurred when Pat Robertson made his perhaps-indiscreet remarks about voodoo having something to do with Haiti’s current misery in the wake of the horrible earthquakes it has suffered this past week and a half. Mr. Robertson was called a number of immature and offensive names in Facebook and around the internet media. I rebuked one young man for using an offensive word as a predicate nominative –

We have to be above such behavior, if we’re going to make a difference in the world. Okay?

Just a thought –

Non-Catholics, and especially the anti-religious secular liberals among us, think our values and ideals are ridiculous, and they ridicule us for holding them. But – when we compromise, when we blow it, when we fail to take those standards seriously, they note it, and they regard us with outright contempt for not taking our own professed religion seriously.

I was sharing this observation with Angie, and she said, “Years ago i got called out by an evangi for saying, as a supposed catholic, that i picked what i liked and left the rest…which is an AA principle –
she was 100% correct!”

Yep. It’s another reason to hold firm to the Faith that was transmitted to us: the nonbelievers WANT us to prove them wrong! They WANT us to love our Faith enough to be true to it.

I’d like to buy a… Rosemary!

makethumbTwo young women, surely no more than their mid-20s, came into the shop. “We have a friend, she’s Catholic, and she’s got a birthday coming up. We’d like to get her a… ummm… a rosemary!”

And so began one of the most delightful visits with customers I’ve had in a long time. You’ve got to be touched by the discovery of two evangelical-fundamentalist Christians, weaned on anti-Catholic preaching, buying something so alien as a rosary for a friend. That’s affection, my dear readers!

We chatted for the better part of an hour. One of them told me she’d gone to a Bible college. “I was always told that Catholics look at the Pope as God,” she admitted – and I got to share with her the biblical foundations of our Tradition of Apostolic Succession, from Peter’s being given the Keys of the Kingdom (an allusion to Isaiah 22:22), then Paul’s reminders to Timothy about the authority given to him by the laying on of hands, to a small bit of basic Church history.

We talked about Mary, and I assured them that Catholics do not worship her, but honor her as the mother of her Son. I shared with them how we love her as the ultimate example of Christian discipleship; how Solomon, a typology for Christ, provided a throne to his mother and gave her full authority in his kingdom (I Kings 2:19); and how we, as “sons of adoption and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:15-17) also have Mary as our adoptive Mother, since she is the Mother of the True Son.

At one point in our conversation, they looked at each other, and both of them blurted out, simultaneously, “ooooh, I’ve got goose bumps!”

The Holy Spirit was truly moving among us in that lovely conversation.

And, by the way, they didn’t just buy a lovely “rosemary” for their Catholic friend, one of them bought one for herself, as well. I’ve invited her to come back to the store, so we can pray it together. Yes, I gave her a booklet on the rosary, but it’s easier to learn when you pray it with someone else a time or two, don’t you think?

Where were you, four years ago today –

Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing, when you saw this –

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=fox%20news%20election%20of%20benedict%20xvi&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv#

(sorry I can’t get the video to upload here – I’ll try again later) –

God bless our dear Holy Father on this anniversary of his election – and may He give us many more years of this wonderful, beloved “simple worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”

Holy Week begins –

Holy Week Marathon now in progress!  I really do love this week, my favorite of the entire year, although the schedule is grueling.

This year is a bit different, and I got thrown a new couple things, yesterday:

Today – Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Cathedral in Raleigh.
Tomorrow – extra schola rehearsal in anticipation of Good Friday liturgy in Dunn.
Tuesday – my own personal rehearsal with the Dunn music director (keep reading)
Wednesday – an evening off to gather my strength…
Thursday – to Dunn, where I’m filling in with the choir there. Their music director has had a family emergency, is going to be out of town, and his daughters are the two sopranos who read music; hence, I’m going to join them for the weekend. I’ve already booked a room at a bed and breakfast across the street from the Church, so I don’t have to drive back and forth for the
Friday – Good Friday liturgy, after which I get to go back home…
Saturday – I’m going to bypass the Vigil Mass, locally, since I don’t know anyone being received into the Church, and because
Sunday – I go back to Dunn for the EF Easter Mass.

I’ll be putting about a thousand miles on the ol’ Escort this week.

I’m also having to print out the Rossini Propers of the Mass from the internet – a beautiful series of settings, but my computer-printer relationship is shaky. I did finally get the Vidi aquam printed out before giving up; I’ll print the rest off at the store, tomorrow.

Today will be my third encounter with the EF Mass. As I read the Missal, recognize the themes and cohesiveness of the whole liturgy, I’m more and more impressed with the reverence, the beauty and the completeness of this form of the Mass. I do wish I had easier access to this Mass on a weekly basis, though, so I could learn it more perfectly, more quickly. It’s still something of a muddle to me just now –

Obviously, I am going to be meeting myself coming and going this week (still have that payroll job to keep up with, too! LOL ) so just know, now, that you friends will be in my prayers this week.