An Update on my Raising a Stink in the Catholic Church

That’s right, people.  I’m sending respectful, but angry, emails to the Catholic Church.  My last convoluted post roughly entitled “Every Knee Should Bend” lays out the story quite nicely, but I wanted to post the emails I’ve received and such since.

Here is my original email:

Dear Very Rev. C. Michael Padazinski,   

I grew up in the St. Nicholas Parish of the Diocese of San Jose, and then moved to Oregon for University in the fall of 2004.  I noticed upon my leave that our congregation had slowly stopped kneeling at the Consecration of the Host.  When I would come back home from school for Christmas and Easter, we were told at St. William’s Church that they did not kneel during the mass at all, and kneeling was strongly discouraged.  I know, as permitted by GIRM 43, that no longer kneeling after the Agnus Dei or while others are receiving Communion is fine, but I thought, under Canon Law, a congregation must kneel at the Consecration.

I didn’t know whom else to email, and it’s bothered me every time I come home.  I feel as though the ‘unity’ of our diocese is taking away the mystery and prayer of the Mass.  The Most Reverend McGrath wrote a statement to the diocese on January 12th, 2004 outlining his expectations for the ‘unity’ of each parish at mass.  The link is: 

Thank you for your help.
Kristin Dexter
Los Altos, CA

And, the response at 10:30am the next morning:
Dear Kristin,  

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding kneeling at the consecration during the Holy Mass in the Diocese of San Jose.  May I suggest that you contact the Judicial Vicar of your home diocese, San Jose, with your question.  He would be better able to address your specific concern.  The Judicial Vicar’s name is Reverend Andres Ligot and his e-mail address is noted above.  I have copied Father with your message.

Many thanks for your sensitive and respectful question.

Wishing you all the best, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Very Reverend C. Michael Padazinski, J.C.D.
Chancellor & Vicar Judicial
Archdiocese of San Francisco

How nice 🙂  So, I wrote to Rev. Andres Ligot like the Very Rev. Padazinski said I should:
Dear Rev. Andres Ligot,  

I emailed the Very Rev. C. Michael Padazinski in San Francisco regarding kneeling during the Consecration of the Host in your diocese, and he advised me to email you.  I know you most likely have more important matters to discuss and think about, but the breaking of Canon law is very important to me, and kneeling during the Consecration is an important part of mass in the whole.  I just feel that the Very Rev. McGrath’s decision back in 2004 to cease kneeling entirely takes away from the mystery of the mass, and disrespects the Lord as He enters the Host.

Thank you so much for helping me in this matter.

Respectfully yours,
Kristin Dexter
Los Altos, CA

Yay, I’m a nice person too.  I included copies of both emails in that email so he’d have a reference in case he didn’t receive Bishop Padazinski’s email.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but if the Vatican finds out (which is what I’m hoping for), then Bishop McGrath is going to get in all sorts of trouble.  Woo trouble!  So, I’ve been a bit of a stinker for the last 24 hours.  Now I have to go to mass at 6:30 since it’s a Holy Day of Obligation.  Ok bye 🙂

7 thoughts on “An Update on my Raising a Stink in the Catholic Church

  1. Kristin, I commend you for taking action on this.

    I relocated to Gilroy, which is also in the Diocese of San Jose, in September 2006. Prior to that, I had lived in Washington State for almost all of my 62 years. I was used to the Mass postures that are prescribed in the Archdiocese of Seattle, where I was born, and the Archdiocese of Portland, when I lived in Vancouver, WA, for 29 years. When I arrived in California, it was instant Catholic culture shock. The lack of reverence at Mass was totally different from what I was used to in Seattle and Portland. Certainly, not kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer seemed to epitomize the lack of reverence. I wrote a letter to Bishop McGrath at the time expressing my concern, however because I was so new in his diocese and did not want to unfairly blame my pastor, in case it was his decisions that were operating and not the Bishop’s, I did not ask for a reply or provide him a return address.

    Since 2006, I have attended Mass at three other San Jose parishes. Two of them are following the Bishop’s wish and not kneeling. The third, the large central-city parish of Holy Family, does in fact kneel. It would be interesting to know how many other parishes, led by courageous pastors, are following the better guidance of Rome in this matter, like Holy Family, and not the sadly misguided course set by the Bishop.

    Thanks for providing the link to the Bishop’s Jan. 2004 statement. I had never found that information. For my part, I will continue to press in whatever way I can for more reverent liturgies in this Diocese. The faithful here are being cheated of their right to have reverent liturgies and if we have to go over the Bishop’s head to Rome to make that sad fact known, I think that’s what more of us need to do.

    Best wishes and thanks again.

  2. yeah… lurking again.

    Anyway, I can’t remember the exact quote, but paraphrased basically, a church is its people, not its buildings and customs and traditions. I know its somewhere in the new testament, but naturally can’t remember where.

    Aren’t I missing the point, but isn’t what is important about a church service that you come together and praise/appreciate/etc God, and how this is achieved is vastly irrelevant?

    That said, I’m surprised its being actively discouraged. At a guess I’d suggest the PC-Brigade have been at tradition (again) and quoting potential health risks, or discrimination for those who can’t medically kneel, and decided that they should force everyone to do it their way.

    infact… what am I talking about. Its Catholicism right, its just making sure you feel extra specially guilty 🙂

    (P.S. I’ll see you soon 🙂 )

  3. Sorry, Justin, you’re wrong 🙂 It’s okay, though. The Catholic church’s traditions and sacraments are vital to “getting into heaven”, and celebrating the Eucharist is one of those sacraments you have to do on a regular basis for it to be valid. But, it must also follow Canon Law, which the Church (leaders including the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, etc), have decreed to be true. Anything the Church says is true must be followed, including kneeling in the presence of Jesus (who is present during the Eucharist). Hope that clears things up. You’re thinking about touchy-feely Protestant churches, or about the movie Stigmata, which the Church has banned since it contains many inaccuracies.

    See you soon!

  4. I do not mean to trivialize your reverence, but while you spent your time writing “respectful but angry” emails, a lot of stuff was happening in the world that deserved your attention. As for me, a life long Catholic, whether or not Catholics kneel or stand in Church doesn’t make me angry. Here is what makes me angry.

    There are children in this country in others who are starving, abused, homeless, and dying, while young Americans are busy posting pictures of themselves and blogging on their computers. Women thinnk they are being forced to “choose” between the lives of their unborn children a life of guilt, pain, and regret because in America we do not value or care for those who are helpless and vulnerable, we turn a blind eye to them and turn instead to the talking heads on our television sets. A family loses everything in a house fire, but the news is all about Brittney Spears and Angelina Jolie and a string of sick, amoral celebrities who seem to be worshipped more regularly and with more devotion and interest than ever any god was. This country is getting its ideas on how to be a righteous people from Oprah, Jon Stewart, and Dr. Phil, with no consideration or mention of the Word of God…this doesn’t make me angry, but it does cause me deep concern. Parents leave their young children in the hands of strangers every day so that they can go to work just to make enough to maintain their homes…that makes me REALLY angry. Young men and women are returning home from service to their country with their limbs blown off, mothers are weeping at the graves of their fallen sons and daughters…that makes me angry AND sad. Young men and women are living hedonistic lives in our college dorms, and no one thinks it is a problem that they are drinking as minors, experimenting with drugs and premarital sex, spreading diseases, and ruining their young lives. That also makes me very angry.

    If you have time to write respectful, but angry, emails, may I suggest you start sending them to the people who are helping to destroy what is good in our culture, and leave the Church alone. At least the Catholic Church in San Jose and elsewhere is attempting to put Gospel values into action, to care for the poor and sick, clothe the naked, minister to the imprisoned, welcome the disenfranchised. For your information, to the hungry and homeless there is no “right” or “left” wing, no politics of political correctness. There is only the pain of hunger and the cold of the night.
    I have one last question for you. When you get to meet Jesus face to face (I guess you will choose to kneel in His presence, and I think that is admirable), and He asks you how you spent your TIME (the time that He gave you as a gift) on this earth…how will you tell Him you spent it?

  5. After some very enlightening personal correspondence with Kristin, I want to say thanks to all who read and endured my irreverent rant on anger. I was trying to make a point, may have gone a bit overboard, but…sort of sarcastic….undertone is that I think we should all choose how we spend our time very carefully. Being angry at the Church…even respectfully…I don’t know, I think it’s pointless. I am new to the blogoshpere, and I was so shocked when I pushed the button and saw my name there for all the world to see. I am laughing at myself now, foolish old woman that I am!!! Ah well.

  6. Best you should make changes to the post title An Update on my Raising a Stink in the Catholic Church The Apogee to something more catching for your webpage you make. I liked the post however.

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