Letter to a friend who left

A friend of mine — let’s call him “B.” — a musician and long-time Catholic who recently joined another church, got a letter from his pastor saying that he wouldn’t be able to perform at services in his old parish any more. The pastor had no problem with non-Catholics performing music at the parish, but for someone who left the Church to visit and perform liturgical music in our services would create “confusion” for the faithful.
The pastor was going a little bit lightly when he chose his words. The precise word, I think, is “scandal”: it means leading people into error or sin. He doesn’t want the faithful to think that the Church regards it with indifference when people leave the Church and join another body with different doctrines, a body with which we cannot share the sacraments, a body with its own system of authority apart from the Church’s unity.
B. posted the letter on the internet and many of his friends commented to sympathize and to grouse about how the priest could not possibly be a good man if he wrote such a letter.
I didn’t want to answer right there and get his friends all angry, but I did write him a private note.

Dear B.,
I imagine that getting the letter from Fr. K is a bit of a sting, and I’m sorry about that.
There is a real pain of separation involved when people move from one Christian communion to another. I’ve experienced it too, on coming from Evangelical groups into the Catholic Church years ago. For you, being barred from the choir loft at St. Helen’s is just one piece of that experience.
I hope you know how grateful I am for you and your musical service at the parish, and for all the good that you’re doing now.
Yet I also respect Fr. K for acting as a pastor. Perhaps he’s acting out of a sense of duty, trying in his way to call you back to unity, according to the Church’s faith. Or at least he doesn’t want the parish’s music ministry to contradict the Church’s striving for unity. To separate from one Christian communion and adhere to another is a serious matter: this is something on which Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox all agree.
Ecclesial communion is something that Vatican II wrote about: how we believe together, share the sacraments, and live under one authority in the Church. So Fr. K is acting on a long-established principle, not a narrow parochial point of view.
I don’t know if this makes it more comprehensible. But I’m running on, and telling you things you probably know already. God bless.
With sincere regards,

Free speech, part I

I’ve been thinking about free speech issues lately, and along the way I came across these videos of Canadian journalist Ezra Levant, from his 2008 appearance before the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The HRC called him in for questioning after complaints from a Saudi-trained imam about Levant’s act of publishing the Danish Mohammed cartoons. (Catholic Light writer Pete Vere and Kathy Shaidle wrote about this case in their book The Tyranny of Nice.)
Throughout the questioning, Levant pugnaciously told the questioner that the Commission, a government entity, had no right to judge his thoughts or intentions as reasonable or not. Here’s his opening statement:

There are several more videos from the inquiry under Levant’s YouTube account.

Incoming missal

The attractive new edition of Daily Roman Missal
arrived at my mailbox yesterday.
This is the seventh edition of Rev. James Socias’ hand missal which first appeared in 1993. It was issued by Midwest Theological Forum, the Opus Dei-related publishing house near Chicago, where Fr. Socias is vice president, and the book also bears the insignia of Our Sunday Visitor Press.
First of all, I’d say that the general build of the book is good: the leather cover has a padded feel, and the binding looks well-made. I don’t usually buy leather-bound books, but that’s the edition I was able to pre-order from Amazon (and for only $48), so I took it. (There are, incidentally, conventional hardbound editions too in black or burgundy, less expensive than the leather-bound versions.)
Now that it’s here, I feel like it’s a bit too nice for me to carry around casually as is my habit; I may have to save this for use at home, and get some simpler book that I can put into a tote bag with my other odds and ends for the drive to a weekday Mass at the mall chapel.
On the inside, the book contains full Scripture readings and propers, and I’m pleased to see that it includes Latin texts for the proper antiphons. The typefaces are well-chosen, though the very nice bible paper does let text and artwork show through from the other side of the page, as you can see in the examples below; this detracts a little from the page’s readability.
The ordinary parts of the Mass appear on facing pages, in the Church’s language and in the vernacular. I’m pleased to see the rubrics included too. The book has about 30 illustrations in its 2500 pages, which is not much. It would have been good to see more art. And they did have room for it: the book includes a little over 200 pages in devotional prayers.