Thursday, July 02, 2015

Mendacious Ship

I don't know what you do when someone's phone goes off, normally I ignore it, if it goes on for an extended period I make some comment, I tend to scowl if it happens during an exquisite piece of music that others have spent a great deal of time preparing, it is just contemptuous. I have been to the opera where this has happened and the conductor has stopped the orchestra and demanded the owner leave. I am told that at the theatre, it is not unusual for the action to stop until the phone is turned off to the glares of the cast.

Here recently after 30 seconds of ringing, I finally had to turn round and ask for a phone to be turned off, and I suggest they drowned the instrument. Its owner, a sweet lady, thought it was someone else's. That morning we had reviewer from some on-line site in the congregation who obviously hated our style of worship, who mendaciously, presumably for the sake of making copy, said he/she had heard me saying sotto voce, 'and drown yourself too', out Master of Ceremonies drew my attention to the on-line piece, he was standing next to me and heard no such thing, he was shocked by the untruth, in fact he pointed out I was smiling at the time. It is sad that people who obviously 'have issues' tell lies that are placed in a public forum. The lady went into the porch and turned her phone off then came back in, and apologised on her way out at the end of Mass, she did not as the reviewer says 'leave the Church never to return', that again is mendacious, perhaps the editor might like to explain?

I find something cheap about reviewing worship, as some consumer product, as one might review a restaurant or a vacuum cleaner, that is not what we are about. There is obviously some agenda behind the 'review' and it is obviously not a very Catholic one.

There is assumption that Mass or any other service begins not with prayer, spiritual preparation and recollection but chatter. We used to have people handing out newsletters and Mass sheets but people complained, as they seemed to disturb people preparing for Mass, and seemed the main source of pre-Mass chatter, we decided to discontinue the practice, leaving the necessary bits of paper for people to collect at the back of the church for people to help themselves, much as they do at most Catholic church's, for example St Peter's in Rome. I might be biased but like most men I don't want to be engaged in conservation when I enter a Church, in a shop I stop browsing and  leave when someone asks, 'Can I help you?'

It is more than indicative in the review that Mass, or I as I would prefer it 'the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass', is referred to simply as 'mass', and although the author is obviously familiar with the vesting prayers, (which would suggest either a former priest or a High Anglican). He/she is disturbed by the presence of a maniple, which perhaps is an indicator of a certain age. I tend to wear what my sacristan lays out, and most young people simply don't know the names of most bits of liturgical haberdashery.

He/she obviously didn't like my sermon, it was about prayer and its effects, especially taking fear away, it was loosely based on Cassian, the Gospel was Jesus asleep in the ship, and yes I did encourage people to take part in 40 Hours, but only as a minor part of what I was saying. I am not sure I 'scold and frighten' anyone but obviously that is what the reviewer felt, perhaps they should listen to Pope Francis' sermons from Sta Marta. I was pleased that although the he/she obviously hated what I said, a handful of people were quite complimentary, one visitor was even kind enough to say she thought it was best sermon on prayer she had ever heard. It was 'dogmatic' but the Catholic faith is dogmatic, 'fluffy' can be got elsewhere.

I suspect the reviewer had an aversion to prayer, I am not sure they actually did stay to the very end of Mass, as they claim. It is my custom I stay at the back of the church to say good-bye, there is only one door, and the mystery visitor, let us not call them a worshipper because the plainly weren't here to do what everyone else is here to do, did not see me when they left and were unable to see the very clear signs identifying our 'Parish Centre' where coffee was served.


From where or what denomination does the term 'pew letter' come from, it is not a term I have ever heard before, certainly not a Catholic term in this part of the world. Anyhow, I am glad he/she enjoyed the music and our lighting fittings, and I am glad we 'scored', according to our MC, the same score as most Catholic churches he and I would choose to attend if I wasn't here.

Perhaps the Ship of Fools might review their reviewers, I don't object to people who disagree with me, or even people who hate everything I stand for but I despise lying, and I am not a great fan of anonymous criticism on the internet, I always put my name to things I write, it is the Christian way. Perhaps too they might review the questions they ask, I would be more concerned that a celebration of the Mass moved me to fall in wonder and worship before the Triune God and whether it caused me to pray for myself and the intercede for the world.

There is a kinder review here, but then Amy came to worship.

22 comments:

Romulus said...

Over the years I have read many reviews at that site, none nearly so unbalanced and agenda-driven as this hatchet job. They have truly disgraced themselves. Cheer up, Father; there's worse to come.

viterbo said...

Oh, but Father, 'never to return' is an outright lie, but it is full of 'feeling' and 'inward charity' for the beleaguered soul who had her 'freedom' ruined by the scary priest of 'yesteryear' with his 'tight' 'dogma'. And 'go drown yourself' is a complete fib, but what a great anecdote to slander the 'manipled' 'supressor of the ministry of welcome' (where do they come up with this stuff?). And the hall, only a stone's throw away, having slipped through to an alternative reality along with yourself 6'4" cassocked self is a much better ending to the story than the fact that the reviewer couldn't be bothered 'engaging' after mass.

From the review: "Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian? Sadly no...I would have spent the time more profitably had I simply meditated in silence for the hour or so." What does it mean when a 'Catholic' requires that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be a no dogma, no adoration (otherwise known as worship), no discipline zone? The mission of the Church and her worship and teachings seem to be something superfluous to the 'ship of fools' reviewer who possibly has little idea what it means to be a Christian - not surprising in this day and age. If there was any genuine 'seeking' in the person, however, the experience won't have been a waste of time and may even have sparked a hunger. Maybe.

PS. In a shop when someone asks, 'Can I help you?' Answer, 'yes, please leave me alone.'

ORA PRO NOBIS said...

I was shocked by what I read on their review. I sent them some correct theology and basic catechesis concerning the Mass, but I suspect these 'liberals' or 'whatever they are' will not post it up.

Utter garbage!

JARay said...

It seems to me that you are doing all the right things for the right reasons Father. I sorry that I cannot just drop in some time but It's just too far to come.

Sixupman said...

I wonder what the reviewer would have made of the parish church, Clifton Diocese, circumstance dictated my attendance. Pre-Mass; the PP and two faux clergy paraded up and down the aisle chatting to all and sundry. The homilies quite often attacking the Magisterium of Mother Church. And blow me: the adjacent PP, when "supplying", was of the same mind - but he was an ex CofE clergyman. Such was my concern, as to my own angst, I discussed it with my Confessor inn another town - he said, only half-jokingly, that I should accept it as a penance.

Oakes Spalding said...

You know what? If you're hip to the agenda of the reviewer (which is pretty obvious). Then reading between the lines yields a pretty outstanding review. Simply based on that review I would assist at Mass at your church anytime. By the way, since when were pews not comfortable in "a penitential Victorian sort of way"? They're pews. :)

Genty said...

The, er, review reads strikingly similar to those which used to appear in The Times. The journalist got the boot in 2014 and has, it seems, found a home at the right place to continue the mischief. I'd have said it was really not worth bothering about had it not been for the contrived untruths, a desperate tactic to try to ignite some spark into seriously mundane copy. Pig's ear, silk purse, doesn't work
The 40 Hours Adoration was stunning. To spend time quietly, one-to-one with Our Lord was spiritually revivifying. Please, whatever pix you have, do share them on the blog - in a format that non-special people can view.

Oakes Spalding said...

Sorry to bomb in with another comment, but I just spent a few minutes on the Shop of Fools site. They say they have no "agenda", which may be true, but if so, they obviously attract reviewers who usually do have one. My church, the wonderful traditionalist St. John Cantius in Chicago, a vibrant and growing center for great music, traditional worship, family and reverence was given a 2. By contrast, the little street side first-floor room political meeting house (oh, sorry Episcopal worship space) in my neighborhood was given a 9.

B flat said...

The Ship of Fools is NOT a Christian website, in spite of its title, and being the creation of an Anglican clergyman. It revels in mischief. It is as useful a source of spiritual nourishment to Christian, as the Sunday programme on BBC4 is for religious information. Both are tainted with the poison of ill-will to Faith in Christ or His Church, and they have no respect for Truth.
Pay no attention, Father, for they are of the World which we renounced before Baptism, and to which we do not belong. The Lord pronounced a blessing upon you for when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of things falsely against you for My sake....

Thomas said...

It strikes me, Father, that the Opposition must be annoyed at your 40 hours, so they try to stir up a snide dig at you and your parish. I was once told by a holy confessor that the enemy is only ever reactive and destructive, trying to undermine Our Lord's divine initiative, so when attacked gratuitously it is a sign of graces already given.

Independent said...

"Rejoice and be exceeding glad for so persecuted they the prophets that were before ye". When I

visit my son who is a Catholic I attend his church as an act of penance., the music and the liturgy

are so dreadful. Keep up your good

work, father.

Jacobi said...

Father,

You are too sensitive. The “reviewer” had an agenda. Your Sermon seemed fine to me. In my church the sermons, until recently, (new young priest, occasionally) would offend no-one, nor would they say anything, either.

Catholics don't go to Mass, or rather shouldn't, to feel “nice and part of a group”, or to have a cheerful chat after Mass, completely ignoring the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, obstructed only by those two or three who “show-offs” who continue to pray and obstruct the aisles for the chatty lot.

If I remember, from school days RE., we go to take part in the Commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Christ on the Cross for the Redemption of Mankind in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But there, I obviously have an “agenda” you see, and no doubt will be criticised, as I recently was of breaking the 8th Commandment, for straight speaking. Nearly retaliated with the 1st, but thought better.

countyourblessings said...

The website's name is apt - "Ship of Fools" indeed. You obviously pricked his conscience and he decided to lash out. "Mystery Worshipper's" loss at a missed opportunity for greater grace. Perhaps it could also be said these days that "even the Devil can quote St Francis".

Patrick Sheridan said...

I was barred from commenting on Ship of Fools a few years back. I wonder if that still stands?

J said...

Come on Fr. Don´t waste your time with this people.

nickbris said...

That must have been the one who left the silly note in the plate. A "Humanist" nut

Pelerin said...

Returning to the Ship of Fools report on St Mary Magdalen I see that it has now been amended!

Reading some of the other reports on the site I was amused to read that one of the 'mystery worshippers' visiting a service in Westminster Cathedral also had the embarrassment of their phone going off. Not a very good spy there.

As my own phone plays Waltzing Matilda (it's a long story!) I always make sure I don't even have it on me when attending Mass !

Hoser said...

At our old church there was an announcement prior to the beginning of Mass to turn off phones or at least place them on silent. When I was Cantor I would hold up my phone and have everyone hold their phone up as well taking time to physically turn it off. Since I was on call at the hospital and carried a pager that was another annoyance that had to be addressed. After shaming the audience we rarely had issues with communication equipment during Mass. Rarely did a pager, phone go off. Another trick was to enlist the ushers to remind folks to attend their equipment while they entered church. That didn't always work since you couldn't catch everyone. I have heard there is a device that actually blocks cellphone from working in a building. The only problem with that is Doctors and Nurses who really need to be notified cannot be and will often not come to Mass.

Aitch said...

Oh dear, what an agenda driven report, fancy being distracted by the priest wearing a maniple! It's obvious from the start that the 'mystery worshiper' is determined to be unhappy. What a pity - I usually like reading this part of the Ship of Fools site and until now most of the reports have struck me as being balanced. Never mind Fr. keep on wearing the maniple.
Harry

Jadis said...

I have three of this chap's other reviews, and feel they tell us more about his own innate prejudice than they do about the churches reviewed. The choice of adjectives in his review of Downside were rather more revealing about his own predispositions than I think he intended - http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2014/2700.html

Pétrus said...

This has now been picked up by the "Eccles and Bosco" blog.

http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/the-ship-of-liars_4.html?spref=tw

John Simlett said...

I'm surprised he didn't report on the specific gravity of the holy water. It's consumerism gone mad.

Having looked at their site, I'm surprised you gave them blog space, Father.

If you'd been given a rave review by this little lot then you might well have had a problem.