Expert Answer Forum
Change Churches? QUESTION from Ritamolloy October 24, 1999 We do not attend either of the two closest churches because of what we consider to be abuses by the priests. The one pastor uses inclusive language, he holds the bible way up above his head before the Gospel but during the consecration of the mass he quickly raises and lowers the host and the chalice. He has Call to Action on the church web site. My question is whether we should leave this church(which is closest to where we live)where we might possibly be able to have some influence or try to find churches that are more in tune with the magesterium. We have found it very disturbing to go there but would do it if we believed that we could make a difference.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on October 28, 1999 Dear Mrs. Ritamolloy:
Your question is a difficult one and something only you can determine.
In one respect we need to be careful abandoning a parish where the Mass is abused. If the Consecration is valid, and in most cases it is, then Jesus is there. Are we to leave Jesus alone with the abusers?
It can perhaps be a great act of grace and love to stay in such a parish and offer your personal motification to God for the conversion of the priest and the parish to be loyal to the Church. A mighty grace can come from such mortification.
The choice is staying and mortifying yourself or leaving to a parish more loyal to the Church and thus more spiritually nurturing to you is dependant upon whether the Church allows us to cross parish boundaries.
Canon 518 states: As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is it embraces all the Christian faithful within a certain territory...
This seems to make it clear that the parish will consider YOU in the parish whether you consider yourself apart of that parish or not. I don't know but things like marriages and baptisms may have to take place in the technical parish that you belong to.
The question is, Is it permissible to join another parish?
The Canon Laws that I looked at don't seem to answer that question clearly.
It is clear that the Church is concerned with the pastoral care of the faithful. If people are coming from other parish territories then it is difficult for a pastor to know them perhaps, or to be able to visit them especially if they are at a distance.
I am interested in this question myself, because I do not attend Mass in the parish in which I reside. In fact, I have been attending Mass is a different diocese. (I live on the border of two other diocese).
As far as I can determine, while it is expected for a person to attend his local parish, and maybe things like marriage and baptisms will have to be in the local parish (check with the pastor on that one), there does not seem to be a prohibition of a person traveling to another parish for Mass.
The choices appear to be twofold. 1) Do I leave Jesus alone with the abusers and mortify my personal desires for hte sake of a missionary suffering perhaps?; or 2) The need for pastoral care for myself and my family warrants going to another parish where we can be nourished?
Only you can make that choice. Both are valid.
Which is God calling you to do? As Mary says, Go ask Him, and do as He says.
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