Good evening, thank you for coming. Welcome to this meeting of adults interested in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. By the end of the evening we hope you will want to attend our RCIA classes and further explore what our Church can offer you.
The Catholic Church teaches the word of God, handed down through Holy Scripture from the Apostles of Christ. Our Church was founded by Jesus when he anointed his disciple, Peter, as the first Pope in a line of papal succession which extends all the way to our present pope, Benedict ?
Certainly, we know many roads lead to heaven; we happen to believe ours is the most direct. However, we strive to live in brotherhood with all religions.
Have you visited our church? It is only a few years old, and we like the open, modern lines (and the air-conditioning!). Of course, a few changes have had to be made since it was built. The larger-than-life crucifix in the nave (where the altar used to be) was startling to some people who attended weddings in the church and were unused to seeing the suffering Christ upon the Cross. It seemed inappropriate for a joyful celebration. We now have a lovely tapestry in its place depicting the Risen Christ with arms outstretched to receive all who come to Him. The stations of the cross were likewise too graphic for most peoples’ taste. We like the stylized bas relief stations much better. We don’t use those old, closet-like confessionals any more either – people found them stifling and much prefer face-to-face confession, although hardly anyone comes to confession these days! Only a few of our very old parishioners who still cling to the notion of penance rather than joyful reconciliation.
Catholic churches used to have large statues of Our Lady and other saints, but the newer churches are doing away with them – our protestant brethren have accused us of praying to idols.
We have Masses at very convenient hours and we remind Father to keep his homilies short. He doesn’t dwell much on sin, either, it’s such a negative approach, and if he should happen to mention abortion or contraception (which only happens once or twice a year) a number of people get up and walk out! We certainly don’t want that to happen! Sin, after all, is a matter of individual conscience, and we cannot know what is in another’s heart. To condemn an act as sinful, one must know whether the person committing the act believes it is a sin.
If you decide to become a Catholic, we hope you will make every effort to attend Mass every week. If you can’t make it on Sunday, maybe you can drop in for Mass sometime on a weekday.
If you have children, we have a fine school to educate them. Yes, it is expensive, but then we don’t have the sisters any longer to staff it, and our teachers’ salaries are commensurate with the public schools. I can’t understand it! We don’t require our nuns to wear those hot, uncomfortable habits any more and they don’t even have to live in a convent – they can have apartments and are paid much more than before. We’re having the same problem with priests – we haven’t had a candidate for the priesthood from this parish for five years! We’re understaffed with only one assistant pastor, we could really use another one instead of bringing in retired priests on Sunday from the retirement home. Nowadays priests are paid pretty well, they get health insurance, a car allowance, vacations and a pension. For some strange reason, the only thriving recruitment of candidates for the priesthood or the religious is for the foreign missions! Can you imagine? To go to some poor, war-torn country to live surrounded by poverty and disease, maybe even be shot at!
Oh, I mustn’t forget to tell you about our annual parish fair – it’s a grand event with all kinds of food and games – bingo and poker for the adults, games for the kids, a beer garden and – what was that? Oh, yes, of course we have service booths. There’s our Centering Prayer group, health screening, representatives from the “Senior Socials” and the young adult group. This year we have a pro-life booth, but they have been a bit difficult to work with. They wanted to display their fetal models and some literature describing the effects of abortion. Our pastor said no to those! He recalled another such display when the mother of a child who asked questions about the fetal models became very upset. And our Fair Chairperson reminded the pro-lifer that people from all around the area would be coming, and we don’t want to offend them. Yes? What was that? Yes, our church teaches that abortion is a sin, but we can’t force our religious beliefs on others. This pro-life person also objected because our congressman has been invited to attend and say a few words. She said he calls himself a Catholic and receives communion every Sunday but he always votes pro-abortion. She called it a scandal to the church! She also had the audacity to use the phrase “living in sin” when she referred to the qualifications of our Fair Chairperson!
You have a question? What do we stand for? Why, I thought we had covered that pretty well. Yes? You thought the church was supposed to be a Beacon of Light and the Custodian of Truth? Didn’t I just say that? You’re not leaving, are you? Oh please, don’t leave! I haven’t had a chance to tell you about our Earth Day celebration and the marriage preparation class for couples with children!
Editor’s Comments: Mary is our copy editor who lives in San Diego. She couldn’t help writing this after editing all of our articles. I will leave it to the reader to compare to their own parish and determine if this is satire or not.
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