Jan 29, 2011

A Catholic Grandmother ops out, Part Two

Since my previous posting - about a Catholic grandmother deciding she could no longer attend formal Eucharistic celebrations in the Catholic Church - generated some comment (including private emails to myself), here is my response - also included in the comment sections of the previous post.

It's my understanding that after a 'year of silence,' which Gini spent in prayer and discernment, she then felt called in the Spirit to make the very painful decision to remove herself from the formal Eucharistic liturgies of the Church. Whether that was an absolute decision I can't say, though I've sent a message to her via her daughter and perhaps she will reply. As Father J.H. remarks, this is indeed a tragedy, when looked at up close, but in the long term, I feel such decisions are very much in tune with the authentic Catholic spirit. We are in a state of profound crisis at the moment in the Church, and the Spirit (in my opinion) seems to be performing some radical surgery, calling quite a few prophetic individuals to make this very radical and dismaying decision as a form of shock therapy for the whole Catholic body. But I liken them to the priests and Catholics imprisoned during Communist times who were deprived of the Eucharist for tens of years in a row, a profound trial of the spirit, causing much anguish (much like the absence of the Beloved during the Dark Night), yet Jesus the martyred, persecuted prophet was closer to them in their suffering and deprivation than ever before. The analogy is not perfect, of course, since we are talking about free decisions on the part of adult Catholics to willfully remove themselves from participation in the formal liturgies of the Church. Quite a different thing from being forcably incarcerated against one's will with no means of celebrating or receiving the Eucharist. But in Gini's example and countless others, this is not entirely a "free, willful decision." it is welling up from the depths of their being, and feels very much like a loving impulsion from the Spirit which they cannot deny without also denying their love for the Crucified. They are being asked to make a painful sacrifice, and willingly, through the love that had been nourished in their souls through the Eucharist itself, they freely surrender themselves to this call.

  Knowing Gini as I do, I'm certain there is no implied criticism or judgmentalism on her part towards those who feel called to remain. I should also point out that Gini is theologically a highly educated woman, a Eucharistic minister of long years standing and a practicing family therapist who is in touch with women religious all over the state of California and beyond. Her views are highly informed and it is just not plausible that she is simply being swayed by false and misleading information from an ignorant and prejudiced press. Her decision, and that of so many other conscientious Catholics, deserves respect as a strong wake up call to an institutional Church in a profound state of dysfunction at this point in history. But as Gini points out, Mother Church is much larger than the present institutional framework controlled by Rome. And through these painful exits from the common body, the Spirit is no doubt pointing the way forwards to new forms of being authentically Catholic, authentically Church, in the Spirit of the Crucified Lord, who's Heart must bleed at this moment in time at the sins of betrayal by so many (males) in positions of power.