Frank McMullan's blog

My post-retirement blog adventures

Fr John’s House Mass

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Fr John is a very dear friend.  He is one of the many Catholic priests who have been falsely accused of child sex abuse.  While he has been acquitted in the criminal courts, simply as there was no case to answer, the due process under canon law for his reinstatement as a practising priest is taking its time and its further toll – not least financially, as his priestly income ceased totally while his case was under investigation.  For many months now Fr John has not been at liberty to celebrate Mass in public.  He is thoroughly blessed in his being able to see this horrendous experience as being something that can help him to be a better priest.

It was a privilege recently when he celebrated Mass with us in the apartment where I am staying while in Portland.  This was one of several special spiritual experiences during my stay here.

The gospel for the day [Luke 23] was more than apt:

39 One of the criminals hanging there abused him: ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.’

40 But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did,

41 but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.’

Fr John had us reflect on a short extract adapted from Jesus’ Plan for a New World by Richard Rohr, OFM:

The opposite of faith is not intellectual doubt, because faith is not localized primarily in the mind. The opposite of faith, according to a number of Jesus’ statements is anxiety. If you are fear-based and “worried about many things,” as he says in Luke 10:41, you don’t have faith in a Biblical sense. Faith is to be able to trust that God is good, involved, and on your side. So you see why it takes some years of inner experience to have faith. It is not just that somewhat easy intellectual assent to doctrines or an agreement with a moral position. This has passed as the counterfeit of faith for far too long.

When you cannot rely upon an Infinite Source, you yourself become your primary reference point in terms of all preferences, needs, results, and controls. That would make anybody both anxious and insecure.


Written by Frank McMullan

8 December 2010 at 22:42

Posted in Church

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