Every storm clouds has its lining of silver… this time in Tennessee

In Tennessee a baptist minister has engaged in the worst sort of anti-Catholic bigotry.

The pastor of Conner Heights Baptist Church, Jonathan Hatcher, distributed to students at Pigeon Forge High School the lowest sort of anti-Catholic pamphlets.  One such refers to the Catholic Eucharist as the "death cookie".  It is a Jack Chick publication. 

On the back of the tracts, a stamp reads "Compliments of Conner Heights Baptist Church."  The pastor has stood by the pamphlet. 

Here is a news story from WBIR of Knoxville, TN. 

What really caught my eye in the midst of this controversy was something a long-time WDTPRS reader alerted me to. 

There is a letter to the editor of the diocesan newpaper of the Diocese of Knoxville about a sermon recently delivered by Fr. Jay Flaherty of Holy Cross in Pigeon Forge, where the aforementioned high school is located.

Let’s have a look at that letter to the editor with my emphases and comments.

Father Flaherty ‘hit the nail on the head’

Father Jay Flaherty, the pastor of Holy Cross Church in Pigeon Forge, gave a heartfelt message on Jan. 2 so profound that it’s worth repeating. He said “I am no longer Father Jay, but Father Flaherty.”  [God love him!  OORAH!]

He began by explaining the Catholic Church’s rules for Mass and the Eucharist, and addressed parish volunteers. He reminded us of God’s presence in the tabernacle. There’s a family-life room for visiting, eating, and unruly kids, with Mass on TV.

He spoke of growing disrespect for the host, such as the time one was found with a cough drop stuck on it. One must fast for one hour from food, drink, or chewing gum before taking Communion, Father said. “And if I or the eucharistic ministers see any of this, that person will not receive Communion. Don’t leave early; stay until Mass ends!”

Father addressed respectful attire, especially for ushers and those on the altar: ties, long pants, dresses, and no shorts. Latecomers must wait outside until after the homily, because “I do not use notes, and I get distracted.”

He ended by saying, “If you don’t like these changes, you can go worship elsewhere. [OORAH!] You can complain to the bishop or go all the way to the pope.” As a priest, Father Flaherty is accountable for how he leads his flock to God. You could have heard a pin drop during his homily, but the congregation applauded at the end in agreement.

He had hit the nail on the head. I hope his message resounds throughout the diocese.

—Nancy Stutts Knoxville

 

WDTPRS applauds Fr. Flaherty.

UPDATE:

I picked up the phone and tried to call Fr. Flaherty today, just to leave a message of support.  They have one of these hellish phone systems in place… though I think that might be pretty useful given the controversy going on there right now! 

For your part, you might want to stop and say a pray to Father’s guardian angel and give him some extra support from afar.  Year of the Priest, and all that, right?

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55 Responses to Every storm clouds has its lining of silver… this time in Tennessee

  1. Magpie says:

    I’d love if our priests did this. I have so many things I’d like to say to my parish priest, I am not sure how to begin. Having said that, I’ve just been nominated to be on the new parish pastoral council… :-) It is meant to help identify and facilitate the needs of the people, say if they wanted, I dunno, maybe a Latin Mass? =p

  2. TNCath says:

    Ahhh, memories! Good ole Jack Chick. We used to see his propaganda a lot when I was a kid. His groupies used to hang out outside grocery stores and at various fast food restaurants and let those of us who were Catholic know that we were headed straight to hell. Once my grandmother asked them if they would be there when she got there to tell her, “I told you so!” I didn’t realize his “publications” were still around.

    As for Father Flaherty, congratulations and best wishes! I wish your ideas could somehow travel west on I-40 and across the Tennessee River to a few parishes in West Tennseee!

  3. TJerome says:

    Father Flaherty is my kind of priest. God bless him. Tom

  4. New Sister says:

    I wish he hadn’t referred to extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion as “Eucharistic ministers” – otherwise, AMEN.

  5. AJP says:

    H.P. Lovecraft fans might enjoy this parody of a Jack Chick tract

    http://foo.ca/wp/chick-tract-satire/who-will-be-eaten-first/

    warning: some foul language at link

  6. First of all, hurray for Fr. Flaherty! A man worthy of his clan’s motto, “Fortuna favet fortibus”. :)

    Second, anybody who’s interested in what the heck Jack Chick is thinking, I believe Jimmy Akin did a bio/expose of him. Seeing as you tend to run into his stuff all the time, it’s probably worth reading. (Colleges get a lot of Chick tract dumps, for example.) What the Pigeon Forge minister guy is thinking, I don’t know.

    The sad thing is that he’s apparently quite sincere and well-intentioned, and that his illustration work (and that of his employees) has a certain power to it. He’s sort of a living representation of the id of Protestant America.

  7. jaykay says:

    Oiiiii vey… familiar terrritory :) When I was younger I spent holidays with family in Northern Ireland in what was pretty fundamentalist territory. The notorious Revd. Ian Paisley was in full flight then with his Free Presbyterian Church. I recall seeing one edition of his newspaper, if such it could be called, which had items such as the “Satanic so-called sacrifice of the Mass” (lower case of course) as well as frequent references to the Whore of Babylon, Scarlet Woman etc. etc. This was c. 1976 but was very much in the spirit of 1697. I haven’t been in that area for quite a while, but a lot of that mindset is certainly still there.

    Lovin’ that piece on Fr. Flaherty, which reminds me that I myself frequently attend Mass in casual attire that I would not wear to work. So I respect my workplace more than the presence of God, it seems. Some definite food for thought there.

  8. Fleeb says:

    Amen and a hearty huzzah for Father Flaherty!

    Catholics truly want orthodoxy back and will rise to his call.

    We continue to pray for all our priests, especially the ones who need the strength to preach the truth.

  9. wanda says:

    Father Flaherty, God bless you! I have long been tired of the things I see going on during Holy Mass. People walking in late, while the Priest is giving his homily, while the Lector is reading, etc. Don’t get me started on the noise – people being so loud in their conversations that people down the street could hear them. Ash Wednesday, always a full house because, you know, gotta ‘get’ my ashes, at the end of Mass you would have thought you were at the Super Bowl. I don’t know how anyone who wished to could stay and pray a moment after Mass or before for that matter.

    I won’t go on and on about other issues, gum-chewing, cellophane crinkling, fidgeting with whatever, cel phones ringing (despite announcement to silence them) kneelers slamming up & down…I’m exhausted…ranting winding down. Sorry.

    High-five, Fr. Flaherty!

  10. jlmorrell says:

    May God bless and protect this priest – we need thousands more with his courage. I am especially pleased to hear of the congregation’s response.

  11. Liz F says:

    I don’t support applauding in church when the Blessed Sacrament is present HOWEVER, I might have even applauded Fr. Flaherty that one time. You go, Father Flaherty!! I loved the part about going elsewhere or complaining if they want! Actually, I loved it all! It’s inspiring!

  12. Choirmaster says:

    Very nice. I like that cartoon, and I followed the link to read the whole thing. Very edifying!

    I especially like the way he reprints very large quotes from the Council of Trent. Very pleasing. And a good reminder of basic Catholic doctrine.

    But seriously, it is ironic that his scholarship was impeccable when it came to finding and reproducing relevant council documents, yet was fatally lacking when it came to Sacred Scripture! He highlights and emphasizes the word “remembrance” with absolutely no regard for the original Greek.

    And, as usual, the hilarity never grows stale when these Reverend Ministers preach the absolute authority of their “Bible” when that very book, in origin and formula, was composed, compiled, codified, and distributed under the auspices of none other than the Catholic Church.

  13. An American Mother says:

    Sheesh! Jack Chick is like a bad rash that won’t go away. Had a Bible teacher in high school (Presbyterian high school) that handed out Chick tracts. We laughed at them because they were so over the top . . . .

    Did anybody else notice how the Wicked Catholic so closely resembles the old caricatures of the Evil Jew? Sing something new, guys, this one’s getting old!

  14. pfhawkins says:

    But Father! But Father! How come you let yourself be known as Fr. Z? Should not we all call you Fr. Zuhlsdorf from this day forward? [I answer to both.]

  15. Pater OSB says:

    Fr. Flaherty helped encouraged me in my vocation – and he was a good model even then. I also remember Chick tracts … we used to find them in our grocery bags and McDonalds bags all the time. We would burn them.

  16. chris1 says:

    Boy, I’ll tell you what. I am totally not surprised at all the anti-Catholic bigotry being spewed by the East Tennesseeans in the comments on that article. Those of us from TN like to point out there’s 3 Tennessees. East, Middle, and West. Middle Tennessee is reasonably balanced…there’s a decent amount of culture, a good supply of rednecks, and generally just folks getting along. In West Tennessee, you’ve got a good supply of culture, but it is sort of ghetto. In East Tennessee, you may meet someone walking down the street who’s never seen a “dark” person, much less had a conversation with one…and who puts Catholicism right in line with Satanism.

  17. I used to attend a parish in the northern area of East Tennessee and during Mass we would often have people place these vile cartoon books on our cars and protest outside the property lines. After Pope John Paul II died there were a few church marquees that said “the pope is burning in hell” in the area. East Tennessee is VERY anti-Catholic. In the town where I live the hospital was purchased by a Catholic Hospital in Knoxville and started placing Crucifixes in areas of the hospital and the “good” Baptists were desecrating them in vile ways. I know this because I worked there at the time. Pray for the conversion of the protestants.

  18. Girgadis says:

    I got my first taste of this sort of thing a week or so ago when you posted the video of that woman in Costa Rica nibbling on the Eucharist and then placing what remained of the Host in her boyfriend’s shirt pocket. When I Googled her name, one of the links that came up was to a very vile website which seems to exist solely to condemn Catholicism and verbally desecrate the Eucharist. What I read sent chills my up my spine, in the same way the cartoon above did. Unfortunately, I did not realize this until I clicked on the site and started reading some of the threads.

    After Stations of the Cross our pastor has us recite the Litany of Reparation to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (I may not have the exact title of the prayer correct, but I’m sure some will know what I mean) I think it’s a practice all of us should do as often as we can.

  19. doanli says:

    Tridentine Catholic, regarding those Baptist marquees, I suppose the Baptist preachers have a direct line to Hell? lol

    Those Jack Chicks just make me laugh because they’re so ignorant and paranoid.

  20. Ralph says:

    Jack Chick’s cartoon’s may look clownish and foolish to us. But MANY protestants take them quite seriously. Speaking as a convert from the Baptist faith, these pamphlits can be quite damaging. They have just enough truth in them to be believable and they play to anti-catholic bigotry.

    These cartoons can be especially dangerous to our un or under catechized youth. For example, I remember often finding Chick’s booklets in the toilet stall in men’s restrooms. In such a situation, a young person is going to be able to read the booklet before a parent is even aware the child has seen it. If they are not well schooled in the faith, this can be an opportunity for confusion.

    Rather than respond in anger or revulsion, we have to take an opportunity to educate. Be prepared to speak on the real presence. Answer accusations with facts, respond to lies with truth.

    We may have a powerful enemy, but we have recource to an even more powerul advocate!

    Viva Cristo Rey!!

  21. JonM says:

    Father Faherty puts the militant in ecclesia militans. He will be attacked and is in need of our prayers.

    Though the South is shifting as more Latinos and Yankees migrate to Dixie, there remain huge territories that are hostile to the faith. Sadly many Latinos are falling into the Protestant trap.

    Father Faherty has identified the linchpin of this: the Eucharist. No Baptist can claim the faculties to turn bread and wine into Jesus Christ. And so they come up with intensely hateful rhetoric to deflect from this obvious failure.

    Anglicans kind of sort of claim they can kind of sort of perform this miracle, enough that the traditionally minded can believe they are on par with us or the Orthodox Churches. Lutherans claim another ‘kinda sorta’ variant. Presbyterians generally don’t- and won’t exist in two generations.

    We can see that in some way the Eucharist is the key to true Christian unity.

    This was undoubtedly a stunt on the part of this Baptist assembly in order to get attention and suck in more people.

    Perhaps a certain Cardinal should consider instead of celebrating the ability of people to proclaim a gospel of Freemasonry and eternal matrimony, leading the USCCB in sponsoring events to remind us what the red lamp signifies.

  22. JonM says:

    @Chris1,
    For a moment I thought you were Hank Hill with that lead in!

    @Tridentine,
    Mary is the surest means to their conversion. She was for me.

  23. Trad Tom says:

    We should have a Father Flaherty at (nearly) every parish in the Diocese of Cleveland! When I have complained about the noise in the church (and we DO have a fine parish hall downstairs!), I have been told that it’s a “happy noise, a joyful noise that the Lord loves to hear.” And someone else trotted out the “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” quote. Please. Although cloning is, of course, a sin, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could clone Fr. Flaherty?

  24. Emilio III says:

    Personally, I don’t see why “Father Jay” should be considered less respectful than “Pope Benedict”. My first parish in the US (before Vatican II) was staffed by Father Robert and Father Frank, who had sesquipedalian French and Polish surnames.

    I was under the impression that the only ecclesiastical title that always _requires_ a surname was Cardinal. OTOH, “just call me Father Jay” sounds both offensive and patronizing.

  25. Nathan says:

    Emilio III, you do raise some interesting points. In my experience, the custom that I’ve seen as traditional in the US would be to address secular priests by surname (Father O’Shaughnessy) and religious by their Christian names (Brother George or Father Urban). I imagine that practice may differ in different countries.

    Without trying to put words into Fr. Flaherty’s mouth, I think he may have been trying to avoid the forced informality often associated with the desacralization of the priesthood in many quarters over the past thirty or so years. I am uncomfortable calling any priest or religious by a nickname, which seems to be common in some places. IMO, it is one thing to call a priest Fr. Robert because his last name is difficult to pronounce, another to cheerfuly go along with “just call me Father Skippy” or “I’m Father Ron.”

    It will be interesting to see what happens when the current crop of youngsters are of age to become priests and brothers. In that case, I’ll probably insist on “Father Drzirskowcz” to “Father Jordan.”

    In Christ,

  26. Nathan says:

    Oh, by the way, what would be the proper form of address for “Zuhlio?”

    In Christ,

  27. MAJ Tony says:

    @Emilio Western formal convention, in most cases, expects that one refer to persons with titles (Dr., Major, Fr. etc.) by title/rank and surname. Popes have pretty well always been identified by their given names in all cases, and Bishops, Archbishops are referenced by first name in the canon, but by last in other cases. The key word is convention. While refering to a person with a difficult surname is understandable, I’ll bet 75% of the U.S. population knows how to pronounce Mike Krzyzewski (aka Coach “K” of Duke U. Hoops fame) because they’ve heard it correctly pronounced.

    BTW, nobody calls me “MAJ Tony” in my profession. If they did, some First Sergeant or Sergeant Major would be up in their…face…for being disrespectful. Disrespectful to my rank, not my person. It’s the same with priests, in some ways, but it’s not exactly the same. Priests act in persona Christi thus by their office, they are entitled to respect, even moreso than a mere commissioned officer. A priest is “a Priest forever;” I serve at the pleasure of the President (and the Governor, as a National Guardsman) and were I to commit some serious crime, would be stripped of my commission, and reduced to the ranks, sent to Leavenworth (state pen in Title 32 status) and be dishonorably discharged. A Priest is still a Priest, even after death.

    In the military service, we refer to it as “undue familiarity.” All of us know what familiarity breeds: contempt. It’s okay for an officer, in fact, laudable, if he spends time with his men, getting to know them. Likewise, with a priest. How else would an officer or a pastor be able to lead his people into battle. Soldiers, ecclesial or martial, deserve caring leadership that understands what the troops are going thru, and can stand up in front of them and be credible. However, undue familiarity, meaning being “buddy-buddy” with the people you are to lead into battle (moral or physical) tends to lead to problems, any or all of which could end up in the wounding and/or death of those entrusted to the care of the leader. Physical death is one thing, but spiritual death is obviously much worse.

    Commanders sometimes have to make tough decisions that may mean death to the men they lead. Priests are expected to say hard truths to those that they are entrusted with. When Fr. is TOO close to his flock, he is in danger of falling into the trap of human respect. It’s one of the reasons Priests are generally not assigned to their home parishes.

    Basically, by keeping things on the more formal level, we enforce good order and discipline in the ranks, by keeping a reasonable barrier in place that prevents “undue familiarity.”

  28. @JonM
    How do you shock a Baptist at Christmas time?
    Ask them if they have a statue of Mary.
    Most likely they will respond, No!
    Then remind them if they own a Nativity set they do indeed have a statue of Mary.
    Then, ask if they worship to it, and explain that neither do we.
    This blows their minds, and is a good way to start a discussion about the role the Blessed Mother plays in the Catholic Faith.
    As well as the reasons for the statues of the Saints. Drawing the connection to why we have statues of the presidents and other cultural secular “heroes” is a good way to explain our statues of the Heroes of the Christian Faith.

    “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

  29. Sorry Folks,
    I meant to say “Then, ask if they worship it” not “Then, ask if they worship to it”

    @JonM
    How do you shock a Baptist at Christmas time?
    Ask them if they have a statue of Mary.
    Most likely they will respond, No!
    Then remind them if they own a Nativity set they do indeed have a statue of Mary.
    Then, ask if they worship it, and explain that neither do we.
    This blows their minds, and is a good way to start a discussion about the role the Blessed Mother plays in the Catholic Faith.
    As well as the reasons for the statues of the Saints. Drawing the connection to why we have statues of the presidents and other cultural secular “heroes” is a good way to explain our statues of the Heroes of the Christian Faith.

    “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

  30. muckemdanno says:

    Am I mistaken, or does this Protestant minister not cotton to the ecumenism of lowest common denominator?

  31. Dr. Eric says:

    Actually I much prefer Pope Benedict to the other moniker Papa Ratzinger. In the East all of the clergy are referred to by their first name with the title: Father Deacon Daniel, Father Sid, Bishop John (these are real people that I am using as examples.)

  32. Dr. Eric says:

    Having written that. I applaud Fr. Flaherty for using the customary title+surname convention that we are supposed to use in the West.

  33. JonathanZ says:

    This story makes me proud to live in the Diocese of Knoxville with Bishop Stika as our shepherd. Prayers for Bishop Stika and Father Flaherty!

  34. ssoldie says:

    Forgot the applause, start doing the right thing, as he has said, and supporting him both spiritually and materially. I am 73 and will not call a priest by his first name.

  35. idatom says:

    Fr. Z.;

    My wife and I went to Mass there each day while we vacationed in the Smokies last May. What’s ironic about this brouhahas, is that he bought that church building from a Protestant denomination and converted for Catholic use about sixteen years ago. For a modern church it’s not bad.

    The thing that I found most newsworthy to bring back home was Father’s idea to get children to Mass on Sunday. They bought an Access type bus to pick up children and others from the mountains and bring them to Mass each weekend. He told me they transport about thirty youngsters on average. I will email photos to you.

    I passed this bus idea to the pastors on my email list, I would love to see some of them implement it.

    Tom Lanter

  36. ssoldie says:

    I went in and found a an e-mail and sent it on to Fr. Flaherty—churchmouse4144@yahoo.com

  37. EXCHIEF says:

    The guts to do the right thing!! YES!

  38. Luke says:

    I am so very glad to see this story on your blog Father! I’ve actually been to Holy Cross while on vacation. You can tell that these people love God and love His Church. Two summers ago the alter there was already in the Benedictine arrangement. God bless them.

  39. Well, it seems wrong to bus children to Mass without their parents. OTOH, it’s startling how many people are apparently quite willing to send their kids to Protestant churches without them, either alone or accompanying only by some Protestant neighbor.

    For example, I have a friend who’s a member of a very small fundamentalist denomination. Her parents are nominally Episcopalian, but never attend church. Her relatives are Catholic or Episcopalians. But there was an old lady who lived on their street who often babysat my friend as a child. Her parents let this woman train my friend in religion and take her to her church on Sunday and have her rebaptized, all with no objections from the parents whatsoever. Personally, I can’t picture any parent allowing this without a gun being held to their head; and it’s the only way she’s not attached to them at the hip; but it really happened. It’s a lot better for her soul than nothing, but it’s still awfully weird.

    So anyway… since the majority of kids live way too far away to walk to Mass on Sunday, and since it’s hard for kids to go anywhere unsupervised in this society, and since so many Catholic parents neglect their duty to go to Mass, it would be a great mercy to give kids a ride on Sunday mornings. It’s not right to break up families; but it’s not right for parental inertia to prevent their children from receiving graces.

  40. Ed the Roman says:

    I have lived in the South for almost twenty years, and visited frequently since 1983, and the South keeps amazing me.

    I still remember the sight of two Baptist churches separated by nothing but a couple hundred yards of trees in metro Atlanta. Well separated by trees and animosity, presumably.

  41. Agapified says:

    I believe now is also a good time to pray for the conversion of Jack Chick. Imagine what it would look like for a repentant Chick to enter into full communion with the Church.

  42. Jack Chick is a bigoted, extreme paranoid, hateful Anti-Catholic, who is also a perpetual liar and even distorts many “normal protestant” doctrines to suit his warped view of what Jack Chick believes Christianity to be. He then packages his hateful version of Christianity into cartoons to pervert, and deceive; Joseph Goebbels would be proud of Jack Chick. The sad fact is that in the area I live in these little books are ubiquitous (I have quite a collection. I kept them to know what my neighbors think we believe and to be able to do damage control if asked a question). Just like the poor ignorant preacher in the video they all “think the people at Jack Chick are “schooled” in it”, and this is the major problem of Fundamental Baptists, they pick up the Bible and call themselves preachers and start preaching. Many Baptist churches do not want a preacher our pastor that has an education in religion many local churches do not have pastors that have completed High School. Lack of education is a major problem in all areas especially in East Tennessee. Remember, the people that have been educated by these books and in the churches that have them are taught that Catholics are evil and our Holy Faith in a cult, remember that. They will not listen to any reasonable defense of the Catholic Faith. You have to be creative and use only the Bible, the King James Bible to talk to these people. I have a complete KJV with Apocrypha a copy of the 1611 edition. This is a good starting point to show that there are books missing from the later editions of the KJV. It is hard to deal with these people. Pray for the conversion of all protestants.

    “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

  43. TNCath says:

    Dr. Eric: “Actually I much prefer Pope Benedict to the other moniker Papa Ratzinger. In the East all of the clergy are referred to by their first name with the title: Father Deacon Daniel, Father Sid, Bishop John (these are real people that I am using as examples.)”

    Generally speaking, diocesan priests are referred to by their last names, e.g., “Father Smith” or “Monsignor Jones.” However, religious order priests are referred to by their first names, as are religious women and religious brothers, e.g. “Father Leo,” “Sister Theresa, ” or “Brother Cletus.” I find it very annoying that the NCR is referring to Mother Mary Clare Millea as “Mother Millea.” I think they do it on purpose just to be condescending and insulting, just as they never capitalize the word “church” when referring to “the Church.”

  44. JonM says:

    @ Tridentine Catholic

    That is genius! So evident, so manifest. When you have informed Baptists that the statue of Mary is in fact, well, a statue of Mary, how do they react? I imagine either extreme anger or a speechlessness.

    I think Jack Chick is the poster child as to why the First Ammendment is not perfect and should not be treated as a sacramental law. In two generations, we will be a majority and it will be our duty to modify law to conform to God’s law. Allowing horrible anti-Catholic publications is hardly in accordance with this.

  45. Ana says:

    Kudos to Fr. Flaherty for speaking out!

    Here in SC, I had an neighbor begin littering my door with the jack chick publications shortly after I converted to the Catholic Church. After prayerful considering what I should do, I gave her my copy of a Catholic question and answer book (I forget the exact title as it has been since renamed) and hand delivered it. When I gave it to her, I told her, “I was saddened that she did not understand my faith and felt the need to attack it.” Then I told her, “this is a book that answered many of my questions regarding the Catholic Church and that I believe you will find it interesting. If you have any questions regarding the Catholic Church, I will be more than happy to answer them for you. Let’s please respect each other’s belief in Christ.”

    Needless to say, I never heard from her again in such a misguided way. Occasionally, we discussed issues, but she never really asked questions regarding the Catholic Church.

  46. @ JonM,
    When reminded of the fact that those who own a Nativity Set do have a statue of Mary, some say that they will not use it again, others do get angry, many more actually then will halfheartedly fain interest in listening about the role of Mary in Catholic Doctrine. This is a good time to show the Biblical Basis of the Hail Mary prayer, it being Christmas when the Nativity set is out.
    For Example:
    Luke 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
    Luke 1:42 And she (Elizabeth) cried out with a loud voice, and said: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”. (Jesus)
    (Holy Mary Mother of God) Luke 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the “mother of my Lord” should come to me?
    (Pray for us sinners now and at our death) Col 4:3; 1 Thess 5:25 = pray for us

    “I think Jack Chick is the poster child as to why the First Amendment is not perfect and should not be treated as a sacramental law.”
    JonM, I COULD NOT DISAGREE WITH YOU MORE with all due respect. The First Amendment aside from the Second, is the most sacred of our rights granted to us not by Government, but by God. Rights never come from Government, but only from God. If you believe that rights come from Government then what the Government gives, it can take away. This is why our Founding Fathers declared that our rights and Liberties came from God (our Creator). If the Baptists had their way where I live no other viewpoint would be allowed other than theirs and in stores only the KJV Bible would be allowed and in the Government schools the Children would be indoctrinated to be Baptists (which is about right see above). We need to sometimes suffer unpopular speech to protect all of our God-given rights. Soon enough if the Liberals and Communists and Obama himself get their way all religious speech, bigoted or not, will be “modified” right out of existence. In many places the phrase “Merry Christmas” is taboo and some places illegal.

    You also said “it will be our duty to modify law to conform to God’s law.” That is a frighting phrase to me if it were that easy to change the Constitution, which by your phrase I feel that you view it as a “Living document”, that is a Progressive view. The Founding Fathers viewed it as a “static” foundation that was not to be re-interpreted with the changing times, but as a firm unchanging bed-rock. Back to the phrase, what if in three hundred years the Muslims were the majority and saw it their will and duty to modify law to conform to Allah’s law? No, this is a bad idea. I will fight and die with my last breath for Jack Chick’s right to print his heretical garbage and be proud to have done so. May God Bless America!

    Please do not think ill of me I am simply stating my disagreement with your statement and my reasons.

  47. Henry Edwards says:

    Tridentine: Re your nativity set ploy (and risking thread drift, or even new material for Jack Chick) I recalled a Protestant minister who visited a Catholic church named after Our Lady of Fatima. In its “Fatima garden” was a statue of Our Lady plus statues of Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta kneeling before her and looking reverently up at her. Upon seeing this, the minister said, “Now I know the real truth. Not only do you Catholics worship statues. … You have statues that worship other statues!”

  48. JonM says:

    @ TC – No ill thought, this is an exchange of thoughts and perspectives. Like what college is supposed to be!

    How the First Ammendment is viewed today bears little resemblence to intentions of the drafters of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Most immediately, the ‘incorporation doctrine’ has prevented states from forbidding obscenity, among other things, under the guise of ‘freedom of speech.’

    Circa 1820, this ammendment meant to prevent the federal government from establishing a state religion and arresting people for political speech or publication. Today, a state is prevented from establishing its own official religion because of the innovation of ‘incorporation.’ In fact, at the time of the American Founders, some states did have state religions, religious tests, etc.

    Now the next idea will upset some people. I happen to be a SAR too. I pretty much idolized American figures of the War for Independence and through the country’s history. I think we have to come to terms with the fact that Freemasonry played a large role in the rebellion, that liberty from ecclesial influence was popular amongst the intelligensia of the day, and that economic policies were pretty central to the colonials.

    We have to take a hard look at our country’s history. Much good, and much evil. Furthermore, we have to stop seeing the American Founders, nearly all hostile to the Faith and many hostile to any submission to any religious authority. After my conversion and during my continued drawing near to Christ, I have consistantly identified ‘idols’ (entertainment figures, personal relationships, etc.) and the devotion to the Founders, for me, qualified as one.

    They were only men who, looking to history, attempted to construct a republican-esque government. I think sometimes we treat them as demigods (artwork in Washington, DC certainly indicates this.)

    If we look past 1791, we will find that countries had state religions. Everywhere. Rarely did a country adopt a pluralistic approach (and typically did so for temporal gain, e.g. Mongolian governments.)

    It is almost a demographic certainty that Catholics will have a majority by 2050. It is our duty to convert souls and help lead them to salvation, not to defend a document written by deists, Freemasons, and loose Anglicans.

    Now, so long as the Constitution is the law, we have to work within it to the extent that it is not manifestly contrary to the faith. But once we are a majority, we must replace it. I believe that the modern era of secular governments has proven its fruits: rotten, toxic, and tragic.

    Our rights do come from God; you are completely correct about this. And no one can be compelled to be a Catholic. This is apodictic. However, lawmakers must make laws that are in accordance with God’s revealed law. This was normal up until the revolutions beginning in France. Remember, Protestant princes instituted Lutheranism as the state church in their realms.

    SSPX is to be lauded for their refusal to buckle to the improper interpretation of the document on religious freedom. No, I will absolutely not die or risk myself for a heretical publication. Many saints died to prevent such from coming into their nations.

    Church documents and Scripture are sacred. The US Constitution is just a serious of laws; perhaps good, perhaps not. But it is not sacred.

  49. Henry,
    True enough, as you comment is most certainly in part in jest, in most nativity sets the statues of the various “characters” do appear to “adore or worship” the Christ Child. “Statues worshiping a statue”. Most protestants in our area would have never heard or seen anything about of Our Lady of Fatima. As I myself have seen the statue in that garden I know that it is a possibility. When the minister said “Now I know the real truth. Not only do you Catholics worship statues. … You have statues that worship other statues!” it is possible that that comment was too in jest. Once the whole statues to honor great men and women in history is explained as we do in Washington D.C. and around the world to honor people we want to remember is explained, it opens the door a bit to explain the statues of Saints and the Nativity set. The explanation of the Saints as honorable men and women who are our ancestors in Christ in whom we wish to honor because of their example and for their great faith in Christ is explained it makes it much easier for them to understand. When one talks to fundamentalist about the Catholic Faith it has to be done “just right” in order to attempt to get past the lies that they have taught about us. I have found this to be a good way to open the door a little bit.

  50. JonM,
    It is not the publication I would die for just the right to publish it, as well as our right to publish our sacred books and for the Government not to restrict them or prevent people from reading them. It is a “slippery slope” to censor free speech and publications. Who decides? And who decides later? For good or ill our country is the greatest among nations and we will lose it if the liberals have their way. Many of my family fought and died for the freedom of Jack Chick and others to say what they wish and publish want they want I will honor their sacrifice for our freedom. Their is no other country on Earth with the freedoms we have. Sure I would love for all to be Catholic and moral and for the public exhibition of the Catholic Faith. But I want an impartal secular small federal government. With the rights of the individual states as more powerful than the federal government. I want a REAL REPUBLIC. I do believe that things need to change I want what government we had in 1792.

  51. PilarDLS says:

    Oh, I so admire this priest! I wish our priest would say this.

    I am appalled at the way people behave in church, and at the way they dress. Yes, it’s true that God loves us no matter how we are dressed, but it’s not as if people can’t put on a pair of slacks instead of showing up in shorts. And don’t even get me started on the immodest dress of some of the teens who show up in short skirts and off-the-shoulder tops *with* their parents. And I’m not an old fuddy-duddy, here; I’m under forty. (No offense intended to any genuine fuddy-duddys…)

  52. Alabama Catholic says:

    My wife and I attended this mass in question in Pigeon Forge, Tn. on January 2nd, 2010, and I have to say we came away from that Mass with a less than fuzzy feeling about what went on that night.

    First, let me begin by saying there are obviously some issues in that parish that needed addressing immediately, but we came away from that Mass disappointed in what we heard from Father Flaherty. One thing everyone needs to realize about this parish is it is located in a resort area adjacent to the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee. Pigeon Forge, along with its next door neighbor Gatlinburg are full of hotels, condos and cabins and tourists are everywhere. It stands to reason that a large number of people attending these masses are not members of this parish, but instead, like my wife and I, vacationers intending on upholding our responsibilities of attending weekly Mass, and it was obvious there were other people in the congregation that night who were visitors as well.

    Though much of what was said was indeed necessary I am sure, saying it during the homily seemed out of place. Father Flaherty began his homily with the words “I’m all preached out”, and followed up telling us that one of the associate pastors for Holy Cross has been terminated and the office manager reassigned(i.e., demoted). Father Flaherty went on to talk about the issue mentioned above with the priest’s Host and his demand that ushers and Extraordinary Ministers adhere to a particular dress code. What was shocking to us was the tone in which Father Flaherty spoke to this congregation.

    Probably the most shocking thing of the entire homily was when Father Flaherty lashed out at the handicapped members of the parish. If you have never been in this church, you enter from the side, and the aisles are in the shape of a cross, so the pews are divided into four sections. The front rows of the 2nd section of pews have only walkway in front of them and are right at the entrance, so it makes sense for handicapped members to sit in these pews for Mass. There isn’t much room at the front of the church, though that is where Father Flaherty demanded they sit in the future. He said “you come to Jesus, I’m not bringing Jesus to you” in reference to where the handicapped were sitting for Communion. Again, there isn’t much room for someone to maneuver a wheelchair or walker in the front area of the church, and quite frankly, these people have likely made a great effort to even be there in many instance. It has been common practice in my home parish to have Communion brought to the people who are unable to stand in line to receive. Again, the tone of Father Flaherty when talking to the handicapped members was shocking to hear and quite upsetting. I couldn’t help but think what was going through the mind of the lady in a wheelchair sitting in that front row of the back section of pews by the entrance. I know she must have been somewhat embarrassed, and one should never have to feel embarrassed to attend Mass.

    It was unnecessary, in my opinion, to call out the ushers and Extraordinary Ministers, on their dress code during this “homily”. First of all, all the ones we saw where dressed nicely, especially for a Saturday evening Mass that tends to be more casual. This could have been handled in a private meeting before Mass or during the week, but instead what we saw was a priest who really seemed to be on a power trip that night and wasn’t concerned with any consequences. Matter of fact, in his words, all he’s concerned with is being able to retire. He didn’t care what the Bishop or Pope said because “he had a contract and there was nothing they could do to him because he has that contract.”

    Again, I want to reiterate, much of what we heard appeared to be issues that needed addressing as soon as possible, and it is my hope and prayer that these issues have already been resolved. With that said, my wife and I walked out of that church that night stunned at what we heard and in disbelief that this was the avenue Father Flaherty chose to address these issues. Though there was applause at the end, it wasn’t quite as unanimous as the letter to the editor made it sound as several people were obviously in disbelief as to what they just heard. In a parish that has so many visitors, why choose this route to address these issues? A page in the bulletin and maybe a letter from Father Flaherty mailed to the homes of the registered parishioners would have been sufficient. As a visitor, I felt as though I was intruding on a family squabble instead of attending Mass.

    Fortunately, as frequent visitors to the area, we have other options. We attended Holy Day Mass the day before at a church in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Gatlinburg and loved it. We attended Holy Cross on Saturday because Mass started 90 minutes earlier and we were wanting to get back to our condo. In the future, we’ll just wait the extra 90 minutes and attend St. Mary’s.

  53. JonM says:

    Alabama Catholic,

    I obviously can’t address specific points of Father Flaherty’s homily. However, the issue of announcing changes at this time in the Mass I will approach.

    If he put a blurb in the bulletin, there is an excellent chance that it would not have gotten the attention needed.

    Tomorrow, we will have a noted NFP priest as a guest at our parish. Last year, a couple of women stormed out during this priest’s sermon (that artificial contraceptives are very, very bad and totally unacceptable.) I’m sure some people thought that the priest was being ‘too gruff.’

    The local church is usually not a focal point for us in daily life leaving Sunday as the best time to give instruction.

  54. Alabama Catholic says:

    JonM, I agree, that’s why I said in addition to a note in the bulletin, send a letter to all the registered parishioners letting them know what they need to know, and a private meeting with the ushers, etc. to discuss their issues. It wouldn’t even be over the line for Father Flaherty to have said during his homily that a letter was sent to all parishioners and the same letter is posted in the bulletin and it is very important everyone reads this letter, and leave it at that.

    Ultimately, one really needed to be present to fully understand how everything was handled. Honestly, I can understand from the perspective of the parishioner who wrote the letter to the editor how that person was happy it was addressed at Mass. Maybe things are indeed that bad and that person was just thrilled things were finally addressed. From a visitor’s perspective, though, it wasn’t handled very well, and as I said, there are quite a few visitors to this parish, ESPECIALLY during a holiday/high traffic season for tourists.

    Hopefully things have smoothed over there and the parishioners can worship the way they should be able too, and Father Flaherty can now run his parish the way a parish should be run.