As we look around the faith landscape of these USA, we see clusterings of parishes, such that the Churches of St. Christiana the Astonishing, St. Alphege the Bald, and St. Olav the Thick are all merged into one parish called something like One Faith Catholic Community. We see, on the other side of the river (Tiber? Styx?) Protestant mega-churches. On Sunday I was driving home from the early Mass at St. Mary’s (sounds kind of boring by comparison) and passed by the local mega-church of our doctrinally-challenged brethren only to see a lane backed up for half a mile with cars waiting to get into the parking lot. I guess the only solution to making ourselves popular with the world is to abandon all sense of doctrine and reason, get together a pop-combo, and go for the feel good stuff (with a little fear of the “rapture” tossed in for spice and fundraising).
At least Pope Francis might have a handle on this problem.
You might think that the following originated at Eye of the Tiber, but no. I saw this at Church Pop:
ROME, Italy — Pope Francis has changed the name of St. Peter’s Basilica to “Tiber Creek Community Church,” Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi announced this morning.
“The greatest church of Christendom, built on the holy grave of the martyr-prince of the Apostles, has been known as ‘St. Peter’s Basilica’ for 1700 years,” Fr. Lombardi explained. “It was long overdue for a rebranding.”
He continued that this was just the next step in Pope Francis’ greater program of trying to make the church more relatable to the average person.
“How many Catholics today even know who St. Peter is?” Fr. Lombardi asked reporters, eliciting murmurs of agreement. “And besides, referencing St. Peter is a dead giveaway that we’re Catholic.” Fr. Lombardi said that naming the church after it’s geographic location without any denominational identifiers was more in line with how modern people felt about religion.
Fr. Lombardi also announced that projectors and screens would be installed throughout the basilica in the coming week, that a “totally rocking” worship band was being formed, and that Pope Francis planned on making his sermons “relevant to every day life.”
“The Trinity, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, these are all interesting — to dead theologians,” Fr. Lombardi said dismissively. “But how does that apply to my everyday life? How will that help me advance in my career? That’s what Pope Francis is going to be focusing on.”
According to an anonymous source within the Vatican, when some of his advisors voiced concerns about the name change, Francis informed them that he had already purchased the new sign.
“He was really proud of the sign,” the anonymous source said. “He told us he already had some great jokes to post up there.”
We need some serious rebranding, don’t we? We have to rethink all our names and terms for things. For example, instead of Holy Sacrifice of the Mass let’s call it “liturgy”. No, wait. We already do that, don’t we. Instead of “Hell” let’s call it, say, the “Sam Hill Catholic Community”, as in, you know, “What the ‘Sam Hill’ are we doing here? It was only sacrilegious Communions!” People might be able to relate to that more.
Jokes apart. Friends…
GO TO CONFESSION.
Call it “reconciliation” if you want. I don’t care. JUST GO!
And no matter what you call your mortal sins, …. please …. go.
This last Sunday in the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass we were reminded by St. Paul:
Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what a man sows in the flesh, from the flesh also will reap corruption. But he who sows in the spirit, from the spirit will reap life everlasting.
I say to you, we may be few and we may soon be many fewer, but we are true leaven.
We may be the small and persecuted church very soon, but our persecuted minority will be creative… and patient.
But to be leaven and creative, we have to be in the state of grace.
Go to confession. Fathers, go to confession.