Thank you for your
feedback. Let me start by praising you for your concern about, and efforts
regarding, the matter of proper conduct & dress in church. In this very confused
age there, unfortunately, can seem to be so few who care about this terribly
important matter – sadly, this can even include priests. In fact, one of the big
problems we currently face in this matter is the lack of clear guidance /
direction / leadership from the top. The bishops & priests should be speaking
out, but this typically does not occur. In fact, some of them directly
contribute to the problems you mention. For the laity, this makes things much
Secondly, for whatever
it is worth, I would like to apologize for the way things have been handled by
the priest. That is really unfortunate. By expressing your concern to the
priest, you are doing a 'service' (so to speak) for God and for your neighbor –
and even for the priest himself. When you find that you don't get a warm
reception for your good efforts, think of Our Lord who was sinless, yet who was
crucified by His sinful creatures. And also keep in mind that "Blessed are they
that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
I would not assume
though that your efforts have been futile as sometimes things may take time to
have an effect. However, humanly speaking, there may be a limited amount that
can be done by the laity in any given parish – especially if the priest is not
cooperative as you indicated previously. Nevertheless, on the supernatural
level, much can be done with our prayers and other good works.
Rather than let your
faith be shaken by the unfortunate situation, pray hard for the priest – who
should both care & know better – and for the flock (who, sadly, may not know
better). If it be God's will, maybe you will eventually effect a positive
change. In the meantime, be secure in your knowledge that you ARE on the correct
side of things wanting proper dress and conduct in church. Scripture clearly
backs this up. For example...
"Give to the LORD
the glory due his name! Bring gifts, and enter his presence; worship the LORD in
holy attire." (1 Chron. 16:29)
who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we
should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe. For our God is a
consuming fire." (Heb. 12:28-29)
You can find more
resources concerning these matters on our site (for example, try
Also, know that you
are not alone – many of your fellow Catholics are concerned due to these issues.
Unfortunately, this is not an easy situation to resolve without clear leadership
at the top. But still there are people like you here and there trying to rectify
things, which is the bright spot in all this. You may not see the fruits of your
efforts (hopefully you will!), but I am confident they will be rewarded (if not
here, then later by God). It is a loving act that you do both for God and your
neighbor. So hang in there.
Regarding your other
comment, we would agree with you that lack of respect might seem to be a sort of
(at least indirect) denial of Transubstantiation/the Real Presence. It would
also seem to be very offensive to our Lord and a scandal to others. Faithful
Catholics certainly may find this situation to be very upsetting (it is for us
too). However, it is certainly possible both with your good efforts & good
example to effect some change in your parish. For example, in the case you
mentioned, why not ask the parish manager to include an ad in the bulletin
regarding proper behavior in church? Perhaps this instruction would be useful to
your fellow Catholics – and perhaps your parish would even allow you to write up
the material yourself (if you would like). As you mentioned, there is a moral
obligation to help each other spiritually and the fact that you recognize this
and have concern for your fellow Catholics who, as you indicated, may have some
bad habits – and may not realize the serious consequences for their behavior –
is to your credit.
As for going to
another parish, know that you are not obliged to attend or register at a
particular parish. You are free to register at another parish of your choosing.
I am actually registered in a parish outside of my territorial diocese. This is
certainly allowed. (Although perhaps a little more complicated if children in
need of sacraments are involved.) If I could make a suggestion, consider a local
parish (hopefully there is one) that lawfully celebrates the Traditional Latin
('Tridentine') Mass. Parishes that celebrate this reverent, awe-inspiring Mass
(which is VERY much different than today's common 'English Masses' – and NOT
just the language) often tend to foster better dress & behavior. Like many other
Catholics, you may find this very reverent & holy Mass (which, again, is VERY
different from today's 'English Mass' – and NOT just the language) to be a
refuge from disorder & confusion (and yes, even scandal) that you have
experienced. For a list of such parishes, try the 'Tridentine Mass Listings'
here. If you are not yet familiar with the Traditional Latin Mass, please
here. I warmly invite you to attend this exceptionally holy, reverent Mass.
If you persevere, I feel confident it will bring you an abundance of spiritual
fruit and greatly strengthen your faith.
God bless you.
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