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Avoid Mary DeTurris Poust’s bad advice

September 23, 2013

Time constraints prevent my giving Mary DeTurris Poust’s column “Losing my religion” (22 Sep 2013) the attention it deserves, likewise her reiteration of her position in “Words matter” ( 23 Sep 2013), so let me get right to it: Canon 1247 and the First Precept of the Church (CCC 2042) bind Catholics to participate in Mass on Sundays and holy days (irrespective of how crummy the homilies might be) and Canon 222 § 1 and the Fifth Precept of the Church (CCC 2043) bind Catholics to contribute to the materials needs of the Church (irrespective of how ‘welcome’ one feels at the parish).

Neither canon law nor catechetical precept admits of dispensation-by-blog, especially not blogs by folks who should know better than to sit down at a key board while blowing a fuse. Catholics who walk out on Mass because the homilies bore them or who withhold support for the Church because they don’t feel welcome in the parish fail in their duty to render due worship to God and in their duty to share their time and treasure with others. In short, Catholics (including those feeling every bit as frustrated as Poust feels) who follow Poust’s bad advice do so at spiritual peril to themselves.

If Poust would like to add her voice to the chorus of Catholics who have asked for better preaching, and join the throngs of faithful who would like to see the Church more vigorously engaged in the world, fine, but for her to suggest, in the meantime, that quitting Mass and/or cutting off support to the Church is the way to pursue those goals—not to mention her invoking Pope Francis as the inspiration for such a tactic!—is reckless and harmful to others.

Update: Poust ‘triple-downs’ here. She clearly knows what she is doing, so I see no point in trying to caution her away from urging Catholics to walk out on Mass and boycott the Church. I can only hope that no one else confuses the ‘sincerity’ of her views with the correctness of her views; those are very different categories.

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