New blog

New blog

Keith writes to let us know about his new blog called “Take Your Place.” He describes it thus:

Take Your Place is a dynamic blog that aims to explore the intersection of culture and the lay apostolate to which all baptized Christians itself as a “Catholic Community.” I know, this one seems petty at first, but it tends to be true. If a parish has an objection to the word “church,” that’s a good indication that a larger problem exists. And if that parish magnifies the nonsense with a sign that says something like, “An Open, Inclusive Community of Catholic Christians Who Care and Share,” stop, turn around, run.

  • I thought the list was pretty much on target.  I am sure much could be added and just as sure some would find a few things they did not like.  One thing I would add to the list is a picture of the Pope and a request to pray for the Pontiff and the Church daily.

    I gather it was much more singular across the board several years ago but different regions have their own styles which do not compromise overall yet still allow for the personality of an area to come through.

  • 14. If yount_content>That’s a good list of the major shibboleths of heterodoxy.  But when choosing an orthodox parish, one needs to keep in mind:

    1.  No parish will be orthodox “enough”.  We’re all sinners, as Crisis well knows.  Even if a parish bears all the signs of orthodoxy, it does not mean it is orthodox enough that you can rely entirely on intraparochial resources for your faith formation.  Go on the Internet (,,,  watch EWTN, get involved with an orthodox religious order or ecclesial movement, etc.

    2.  Convenience.  How close is the parish to your home?  Catholics are required to attend Mass weekly on Sundays (or Saturday evenings), and this is not just any Mass but the gathering of the whole community together.  Thus, you really ought to be attending Sunday Mass regularly at the parish you choose.  Even if this parish has Sts. Peter and Paul themselves as pastors, it won’t matter to you if you don’t show up to hear them. 

    3.  Priest(s).  Without a holy priest, the parish will not be orthodox, period.  Catholics need to help their priests remain holy, particularly by praying for them constantly.  But a deranged shepherd will lead his sheep over a cliff.  It happens all the time.  No matter what the programming at the parish, if the priest strikes you as unorthodox, you may be in trouble there.  However, if a parish has one holy priest and one other, you may decide to stay, and simply attach yourself to the holy priest. 

    4.  Parishioners.  This is an easy one.  Go to “Fellowship” or “Refreshments” or “Coffee and Donuts” after a Sunday Mass and start up a loud conversation about birth control and abortion.  If the topic changes to “social justice” within ten seconds, you’ve got your work cut out for you.  Most likely, you’ll find some likeminded folks, and they will be able to tell you more about the state of the parish’s faith. 

  • Rodney, I’m one of those Catholics who have to drive to another parish.  It really is necessary—it’s not a matter of what I like to hear.  It does happen.

    Everything I see and hear at the new one is not sweet and lovely but it’s true, at least, and Catholic.  The music is ugly but ordinary and not overtly heretical.

    Unfortunately years ago they “remodeled” the church I now go to and by golly, the guts are sideways.  Heh.  In a misbegotten attempt to make an “arena” church and be all-way-cool-groovy, they turned the whole thing kittywumpus sideways and it looks like heck. But it’s a good parish anyway—the pastor didn’t do this to it.  It happened years ago. Now, it’s actually kind of funny.  Sort of like evidence of having suffered and lived through it. 

    Maybe someday they’ll turn it around (literally!).  Or maybe somebody will just get fed up and pay a bunch of college football players to go in there one night and PUT IT ALL BACK.  I’m just kidding.

  • RE: # 10 (Latin).  Mr. Saint-Paul has the benefit of several Latin Masses available in and around the DC area.  The closest thing most of us peasants not in DC can get is the EWTN telecast.

    # 10 introduces a problem in his list – it temporarily moves it from “signs to look for” to “ideals to be hoped for.”  There are plenty of orthodox parishes that don’t have any Latin at all.  In fact, Latin having “primacy of place” is almost universally absent in this country (singing the “Agnus Dei” during Advent and Lent doesn’t count). 

    Seamole’s # 3 (holy priests) is right-on.  It doesn’t matter if the parish has a “Catholic Community” sign out front, a ressurectifix inside, no Latin, and bad music—if the priest is good, the people will be good, and the rest of it will fall into place eventually.  Often a good priest inherits an ugly church, and he can effect change in the people quicker than he can in the architecture.

    Here’s a plug: everyone should get a copy of Fulton Sheen’s book, The Priest Is Not His Own, pronto, and then after having read it personally, give it as a gift to your parish priest (be sure to buy an extra copy for your local seminarian).  This book is amazing.

  • Is there such a parish? My parish is small and has many of the attributes, but not all. Our latest priest is a dear, nice man but I think of a liberal bent. So far, our tabernacle remains where it belongs. My daughter and her husband and 2 lil ones go to the military base chapel for Mass. They are now thinking ahead to the kids school days and are looking for a local parish . What is out there is pretty liberal – well-meaning but just not hitting the spot . (Any input from anyone in the Virginia Beach area?) I have travelled quite a bit with my husband and have seen some truly beautiful, neglected churches and some thriving modern messes, so of course the proof is not in the architecture as someone already stated, but I do think being able to find the tabernacle is essential.

  • Yes, nan.  And sometimes, due to the great confusion of our times, poor training of priests and the ubiquitous local politics, it can be very hard to figure out exactly what is going on in a parish.

    Just keep your eyes open; rely on common sense and especially prayer; and keep current—read what’s going on.  Forewarned is forearmed.

  • I would add these. 
    1.) There is an extended schedule of confessions near the end of Advent and Lent and the priests warn the people not to wait till the last minute to take care of this.
    2.) At Sunday mass you will see several large families with mom and dad both present.  You will also see many single men and teen-age boys.
    3.)  The parish makes it a priority to ensure that a Catholic education is afordable for large families.
    4.)  There has been a steady stream of vocations for many years.  The parish prays for vocations daily at mass and also in some kind of parish devotions.

  • Lots of good input – especially KellyAmerica church, or to an Anglican church that hasn’t gone off the deep end; at least those guys seem to take the gospel seriously.”

  • Organ music is not a guarantee.  I suffer through Haugen, Foley, Shutte played on an organ with a chior that has a very good, almost gregorian sounds at times…the music is packaged’s just theology behind the lyrics that makes me want to vomit.

    But guitars, drums, tamborines are a bad not waste any time there.

  • Michigancatholic
    I know that this happens-it happens here to some extent. 

    But working in parish settings for awhile I’ve learned to have patient insistance.

    For instance, when the nuns heard about where I had gone to school they were none to happy which surprised me not.  What I think surprised them was that I did not come across as they assumed I would-pushy, loud, dogmatic.

    I have learned to pick my battles carefully, and know that results often take patient endurance.  Just writing a letter from someone inthe pews does not get your very far.

    What does get you far is earning trust, slow and exasperating as it may be.  I know, I know-some things just should not happen.  But gaining the ear of the pastor or the staff or whomever you are trying to get to listen to you may take time.

    We have a great family in the parish who often writes letters to our pastor.  Unfortunately they come across as shrill and unrelenting and he has little patience for them anymore.  I believe in what they are saying, I just wish that they had been careful about their plan of action.

    What is the saying about cunning as a fox and gentle as a dove? (sorry-I probably just messed it up but you get the point)

  • Nan from Virginia Beach –

    During our family’s conversion experience, we visited over a dozen parishes in the Hampton Roads area (we started as high Anglo-Catholics and were spoiled for reverent liturgy).  We gave up on all the Roman parishes and found a wonderful home at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Catholic in VaBch.  Because we share a priest with a parish in Williamsburg, the only weekend liturgy is at 5:30 on Saturday evenings.  Please pay us a visit sometime.  Except for the Navy bases, the most conservative Novus Ordo mass we saw was at St Gregory’s in Va Beach.  There is an indult Latin mass at St Benedict’s in Chesapeake, and I think they share a school with St Gregory’s.

    We have our child attending school at St Mary Star of the Sea in Hampton, which is run and taught by the Nashville Dominicans.  Of the parishes linked to that school, I would start with St Rose of Lima in Hampton.

    For those wondering why I wouldn’t just fight it out in the closest Roman parish, I offer this:  On September 12th, 2001, I woke up early and went to the Daily mass at that parish.  I found myself attending some sort of communion service presided over by a vested woman standing behind the altar.  I left mid-service, despite the parish in question having the most wonderful Romanesque architecture I have seen in the region.

  • Keith – Thank you for your input. I have heard wonderful things about the Nashville Dominicans – and as the goal is to find both a faithful parish AND school we will check out St. Rose of Lima church and St. Mary Star of the Sea school in Hampton.  What is your opinion of St. Gregory school by the way? And I know there is a school attached to Star of the Sea near the beach – I assume it’s not the same Star of the Sea . We have attended Mass there and it has a…….Protestant feel – as in….where’s the tabernacle, etc.