Monday, January 28, 2013

Visit to St. Joseph's Parish in Ottawa

  The second visit of our "Getting to Know Our Neighbour's Faith" small group of the Ottawa Mennonite Church was to the St. Joseph's Parish downtown.We scheduled to go to the Saturday Mass in December.
  It was a nice mass. I'm not "trained" in the sacramental liturgy, so it's interesting to note how easy it is for others to respond as if it's automatic. The friend who came with me knew a lot about liturgy, and commented how many details show how 'progressive' is the parish. I couldn't notice these subtleties. I did notice that the sermon was delivered by a lay person. And it was very good. His words spoke to me when talking about joy in the midst of troubles. I liked his literary style.
  I tried to organize some kind of conversation about the Catholic faith by emailing Fr. Boyer in advance. He replying saying he would be available after the service for conversation. We ended up not talking to him after the service, but talking mostly within our group.
  I told my friend that I get mixed messages when I enter a Catholic church. In the back of my mind there are accusations of carrying on the Inquisition and burning many at the stake, of supporting the massacre of natives in Latin America, of symbiosis with power in Europe, of its dogmatic positions, of its undemocratic hierarchy, of idolatry and indulgences, of plain and simply stealing gold from Latin America taking it to Europe, of exclusion of women and LGBTs, and of systematically undermining Liberation Theology in Latin America. On the other hand, it is a religion of Bartolomé de las Casas, Oscar Romero, Leonardo Boff and Dorothy Day. And by the way, Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day were mentioned by Father Andy Boyer during the Eucharist.
 But is the Catholic church any different from other big institutions?
  If I think of it, it's not healthy for me to be 'eaten from the inside' by caustic feelings against the Catholic Church. In one sense, I'm not directly involved with it. All I can do is wish it luck. Good luck, Catholic Church! And let many more Dorothy Day's and Oscar Romero's arise.

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