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.
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?