The feast of Corpus Christi is a golden opportunity for priests to preach a good old fashioned doctrinal sermon about the Real Presence. Our Blessed Lord's real presence in the Eucharist is the dogma upon which the entirety of Catholicism hinges. If you lose faith in the real presence, you lose the Catholic faith in its entirety. Much like the dogma of the Holy Trinity which we celebrated last Sunday, however, most priests are deeply uncomfortable or lack the confidence to preach on the subject of the Real Presence.
The priest was a guest from another diocese in the midwest. He opened his homily this morning with a personal anecdote about how he once made Cardinal Timothy Dolan angry. Dioceses from back east, you see, are faced with mass parish closings and that makes people angry. "Why don't you sell your fancy mansion?!" people said to his Eminence. This priest was interviewed by CNN and blurted out, "Yeah, I think he should." Oooops. But, the priest went on, wouldn't it be nice if more bishops and priests lived like the good and humble Pope Francis who lives in a motel? Unlike those mean old monarchist reactionaries Benedict XVI and John Paul II he was surely thinking.
People are upset about parish closings, he said, because that's where the community has memories. That's where we get baptized, where we get confirmed, receive first holy communion, get married, have our own children baptized and confirmed, and get buried. It's where we have our deep personal encounter with Jesus who loves us.
I don't think he directly touched on the dogma of the Real Presence at all. Much like last Sunday's homily on the Trinity, the important thing, these priests are saying, is not all of this theological mumbo jumbo that nobody is smart enough to understand or that nobody really cares about anyway, but that we love each other and that Jesus loves us just the way we are like a celibate boyfriend. So allow them to ignore the readings and the feast day and tell you the story about how good and holy and wonderful you, the congregation, truly are...
He concluded with an appeal to pray for vocations. Yesterday my diocese ordained two men as priests. Two men out of one million baptized Catholics in the diocese. Well gosh, when the priesthood mainly involves kissing the asses of the nice old white ladies who actually run the parish, what self-respecting heterosexual man wouldn't want to be a part of that?
I'd like to run an informal poll of my Catholic readers: what was the priest's homily about today? Was it good, bad, or indifferent?