Real Catholics: Be the Squeaky Wheel!

November 2003By Sandra Marcellina

Sandra Marcellina (a pseudonym) wrote "A Handmaiden's Tale" in our September 2001 issue.

Este artículo: en español

I was informed that in the parish hall each Sunday morning, Sister T., our "Pastoral Administrator," was spreading heresy under the cover of religious education. She had asked me several times to attend this Adult Formation. I used every excuse in the book to say no. I had no desire for a fight, and that is what there would be when Sr. T. passed on her amalgam of neo-Modernism, New Age, and universalism. She stopped asking, and I became complacent. Let someone else handle catechesis.

However, Sr. T. was becoming increasingly aggressive in her battle for the hearts and minds of the parishioners. Shortly before the beginning of the school year, I received the usual outline for Adult Formation. I almost tossed it into the round file unopened, but didn't. There was quite a surprise inside. For the Sunday after Easter, Sr. T. had invited the former priest, now the former paramour of the divorced wife of a parishioner, to be the guest formator for the whole parish. You read it correctly: This poor man left the priesthood to cohabit with the mother of two young children who sought counseling after her divorce, and he accepted an invitation to return to our parish as a guest. No more was needed to shock me out of my complacence: I was fully electrified.

I kept hoping that someone would pass a petition to change the program, or raise heck at the Parish Council meeting, or speak to Sr. T., or do something -- anything. I prayed for peace, I prayed for patience, I prayed for poor ex-Father. Occasionally, I managed to pray the Instant Gratification Prayer, the four little words that immediately obtain what we ask for: "Thy will be done." Even as I contemplated the damage that this man could do to consciences in this parish, I prayed for the restraint to stay out of the fray, as I am sharp of tongue, with combat in my blood. If I were to enter battle, there would be victory -- or death.

Then the terrible thought occurred to me: Why do you think the Lord gave you your big mouth? It was a horrifying moment, which struck me as I vacuumed the cry-room carpet. I stopped and dropped to my knees, looking to the reposed Blessed Sacrament through the plate glass window. "Lord, I accept whatever you want me to do. I accept the hell I will surely have to endure, and I accept how insensitive, intolerant, and non-inclusive I am going to appear."

I went home and wrote to the bishop, enclosing a copy of the study outline. I told no one in the parish about the letter, hoping that the bishop would be able to work this thing through quietly, with charity toward everyone concerned.

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Back to November 2003 Issue

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Way to go, Sandra! I salute you. I think, though, that outside of general lethargy, many Catholics of today unfortunately would not find anything remiss regarding Sister Snakebite's methods. If people don't perceive the errors of this type of approach and all its pomps, they surely won't make any kind of complaint. Probably they are also afraid of "rocking the boat" in their parish "community."
Posted by: tradgirl
March 27, 2009 09:25 AM EDT
God Bless this woman for her fortitude. It's too bad that the Church has come to the point that there are liberal innovator elements like Sr. T and conservative elements like Sandra. When I look at these two groups it is always the liberal innovators who want to change fundamental Church teachings.

When questioned by those who, in faithful obedience, follow Church teachings the liberals demonize them. They are labeled as orthodox Catholics or traditionalists or rad trads or conservatives who cling too rigidly to Church teachings......heads shake, fingers wag and they can manage it those that don't follow the liberal line are isolated.

I am one of those orthodox, radical traditionalist, conservative, infexible. Now I am all those things plus I'm an in-your-face faithful Catholic. It is my Church too.

Iowa Mike
Posted by: Iowa Mike
March 27, 2009 09:32 AM EDT
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