Norwalk Reflector: Blame me, not an ordained minister, for church closing
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Blame me, not an ordained minister, for church closing

Bu James Blum • Feb 19, 2019 at 3:00 PM

When it comes to sensitive subject matter and communication, including this, I have been taught and remember two very important tools. One, all of us have to be humble and acknowledge we make mistakes and we have to be on an even playing level with everyone else when communicating.

I acknowledge I make, have made and will make mistakes again. Next, all of us can not force anything or any belief on anyone else. I can acknowledge what works for me. I can acknowledge what works for me is the Catholic faith. Why then blame me and not the bishop, the Pope or anyone else for the closing or tearing down of Catholic churches? I heard God’s call and didn’t answer it. As a true Catholic, not a make-believe Catholic or someone who goes through the motions, as a true Catholic, we believe in discernment and picking the proper vocation in life.

We believe in what we are doing is what God wants, not what we want. So many people fail at this. I did what I wanted instead of listening to God’s call and going into the priesthood. Why did I do this? The top reason is I couldn’t bear the thought of going to school a day longer in a classroom setting than what was required. I couldn’t bear the thought of, if this was my last day on earth, how would going to school make a difference? I wanted to continue playing sports at a competitive level but had zero desire to be in a classroom setting with college. I was eager to do something productive, earn money, fall in love, get married and raise a family.

I wanted to have a job, buy a home and be a leader, not a follower. So what is so bad about this? My choices, not mine alone, but my choices helped create a shortage of priests. My choices did not help in keeping open, but helped aid in the merging of local parishes and the tearing down of the building(s) of local Catholic churches. These parishes are where my relatives or friends of my relatives are buried at including but not limited to: Bismark; North Auburn; Reed; Republic; and St. Stephen. The decision makers merged the parish, they did not eliminate it. The decision makers tore down the building, but they did not tear down the faith. Do I think the building(s) should be torn down? For one, if I was the top decision maker, I would feel as if I committed a mortal sin if I removed the real presence, the Eucharist, from the community. If we are supposed to spread the good news, how does eliminating the good news justify what we are called to do? Put this into perspective. In 2008, Congress limited railroad workers in transportation to 276 working hours per month. Compare that with the maximum number of Masses that can be said during a weekend by an individual priest. I get it.

There is prep work, reciting homilies, prayer, reflection in properly preparing for Mass. I understand. What I don’t understand is why Canon Law can not be updated and revised immediately to keep parishes alive and open? Why? Do it today, not tomorrow, but today. So do the rules need to change? I am not going to say either way, but I do know if I was the decision maker, I would feel as if I committed a mortal sin if I had to close a parish or tear down a building.

If people are going to march in Washington or Norwalk over a subject matter, did we ever think about marching for this subject matter? It doesn’t mean if we march we lose our faith. If we march, it means the rules need to change to keep the faith alive if people like myself are not or did not answer God’s call. What is the alternative? Here is a main reason why you would tear a building down and pray that the selling of the building to a group that hates the church does not happen in our community. I have seen this with my own eyes at a Diocese to the northeast of us and it hurts. The alternative to tearing down a building is giving or selling it to the enemies of the  church that have martyred or murdered our ancestors in the faith.

For that reason and that reason alone, would be a reason to tear down the building. A martyr of the faith should never be desecrated and allowing the group that martyred defenders of the faith to practice in the building is the absolute worst thing that could happen. If that is the only choice left, tear down the building and let it burn. For the selling of the building to a group that hates the church is not doing anything to promote the faith but it is causing the faith to go in the opposite direction. That is doing the opposite of what Jesus taught the apostles by instructing them to go out and spread the good news.

At the end of the day, the building is just a building, it is not the faith. With all of the division in our country, our community and our family, more division is not the answer. Unification of our Christianity, our community and our family is the answer. What works for me is ​www.Masstimes.org​ to find a Mass if we are not home. What do I do to make up for my choice? I love my wife, my children and raise my family to the best of my ability. I try to instill in them to do what God wants, not what you want. I try to teach them about hard work, suffering, tything, battling, competing, winning and losing. I try to teach them that pain and suffering you experience daily is how you can help the poor souls if you allow it.

I try to attend daily Mass if I am able to. Believe it or not, you learn more about your faith at daily Mass because you want to go instead of going because you have to go on Sunday. (If only seven people read that last sentence, I may have made a difference in their life and the life of their family in the future). I try to receive the sacraments regularly and I try not to push anything on anyone, but, if they ask, question or ridicule my faith or beliefs, I try to be prepared at all times to not only defend my faith but to make sure the person at the end of the conversation looks me in the eye and says, “you got that right.”

Do I always succeed? No, because some people want to hind in the closet or in the woods, but if nothing else, I can sleep at night knowing that I tried. I personally know I have looked evil strait in the eye twice. Was I afraid? No. Did I think I would be afraid? Yes. Did my heart race? You better believe it did because you knew you were in for a fight. If you like to battle and compete, prepare yourself when you can look evil strait in the eye and feel good about it. It may never happen. Chances are, most people are not evil. Don’t deny the fact though if you believe in God that evil does not  exist. You must acknowledge that evil exists to acknowledge that God exists. In the Bible, it relates references to sum up the following: Faith that is not tested is not faith. Don’t give in to the enemies by encouraging more division but do the opposite, voice an opinion and unite the faith.

James Blum lives in Plymouth.

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