Wednesday, January 29, 2003


I think I did not express myself clearly enough, in my complaint about the particular prayer of the faithful last Sunday.

First, lest anyone think I have jumped on the “pick apart every tiny problem with the Mass and use it to demonstrate the truth of my particular bugaboo” bandwagon, I have not. There was nothing even remotely problematical from a liturgical standpoint about this prayer, so far as I know. And I invoked the name of the Lord with the rest of the congregation at its conclusion.

Second, I do not object, per se, to the government aiding the poor, weak or vulnerable. What I object to in Church is the shifting of responsibility away from the congregation to the government. It is first and foremost our responsibility as individuals, citizens, and especially Christians, to see to the needy. Whatever we cannot handle, it is not only appropriate but necessary that we ask the government to do so. But the context in which I live is that of people who look first to the government to solve problems. I have no time for Utopianism in the present world, but my state leaders dish it out constantly.

Third, as someone commented on another blog (which had linked to my post), I don’t find praying for someone else to be made to do something is an especially pious or valuable form of prayer on the whole. (I’m sure Tom will find an example I can’t argue with and put it in the comments box, however.) If we had prayed “That government leaders will not neglect the homeless and hungry in the present fiscal crisis” that would have been hunky dory. Instead, we prayed that the government fix the problem, presumably so we could all get home to Super Bowl (this being 5 o’clock Mass, and the game receiving no fewer than 3 mentions between procession and recession) without being further troubled by the unsightly huddled masses.
My parish is in fact very good about seeing to the needy, compared to some I have known. It runs a food pantry, and makes at least one Sunday a month “food pantry weekend.” I would much rather that when we pray for government assistance, we also pray that members of the parish will be as generous as possible to the food pantry.


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