The great biblical waterway is now little more than a shallow, unimposing trickle of sludge, a murky body of water that is in danger of withering into nothingness.
by Doug Lawrence
Pope Francis’ recent confession about stealing a cross from the dead body of a fellow priest reminded me of a funeral I attended a long, long time ago – and something that I had never before confessed.
It was a pleasant summer morning at the cemetery. The grave had been freshly dug and the customary Astro-turf had been put down all around the perimeter, with the casket-lowering apparatus set upon it. A nearby oak provided a modicum of shade for all those assembled.
My employer’s elderly mother had passed away, and I was attending the graveside internment ceremony. Since one of my fellow employees and I appeared to be strong, vital, young men, we were assigned as escorts for several of the elderly ladies in attendance. Nobody told us precisely what we were supposed to watch out for or what we were to do. The idea was simply to stay close and offer whatever assistance might be necessary.
The internment rite competed, everyone prepared to pay final respects to the deceased, walking past the suspended casket and placing a flower on top. My fellow escort took up a position in line, some three persons ahead of me. Then there were three elderly ladies – and me. So far, so good!
The procession continued without a hitch, until the lady right in front of me began placing her flower on the casket. Somehow, in the proverbial “blink of an eye” – she just disappeared!
Her scream was not very loud, but it was still blood-curdling. O-o-o-h! O-o-o-o-h! O-o-o-o-o-o-h! as she slipped into the grave - already in up to her shoulders and still going down! Mouth wide-open. Pleading eyes as big as saucers! Hell was about to swallow her up!
Such a thing would have seemed impossible, since there appeared to be only a few inches of clearances between the casket and the edge of the grave. But since the casket was merely suspended on a couple of nylon belts, there was nothing to stop a little old lady from pushing it aside and going right in. I’ll never forget the image, which has been permanently burned into my brain.
I managed to reach down and in one fluid motion, grab her right wrist and hand, pulling her up, out, and setting her right back on her feet. She was OK. In fact, things couldn’t have gone better if we had practiced! I brushed her off a bit and we continued on. Quick as a flash, the incident was over – or so I thought.
Looking up to see how my escort “buddy” had fared during all of this, I was met with a smirk – which quickly escalated to a chortle – which quickly escalated into a full blown, out of control, “laugh-in-church” type of scenario.
The emergency successfully past and safely overcome, there was no denying the levity of the situation. We had just experienced a rare and unusual happening and desperately needed to express our feelings. But we just couldn’t, right now!
So, red-faced and choking back tears, we respectfully made our way back to the car, rolled up the windows, and for the next ten minutes, laughed our respective butts off. I’m sure the car was shaking, the whole time!
We like to think that our hysterical laughter might have been mistaken for grief.
Such is the nature of True Funeral Confessions. Send us your own similar stories, for publication.
The purpose of a Church Council is to declare the Faith in a way which can change over time only by increasing in depth and clarity. Vatican II did not do so, and thereby failed in its purpose.
Editor’s note: Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s abundantly clear that Vatican II was and is a total disaster – very similar to the way the Supreme Court’s Row v Wade abortion decision was handed down, then swiftly and recklessly foisted upon an unsuspecting public. Both led to abortions on a massive scale: Abortions of faith and abortions of human lives.
Act in haste – repent at leisure!
For a boy to become a man, he needs to get over his fear of being rejected. And he needs to recognize that part of being a man is experiencing rejection and growing from it and through it. Heck, even Jesus was rejected, so should we expect anything less for ourselves?
Bishop Camillo Ballin
Recently, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah of Bahrain agreed to donate land for the construction of a Catholic church, to be called “Our Lady of Arabia,” which will serve as the cathedral for the Vicariate of Northern Arabia. Without a church, the custom up to this point has been that guest workers who want to attend Mass generally go to one of the Western embassies, especially Italy’s, or they gather either in a private home or on the grounds of a foreign-owned oil company.
Bishop Camillo Ballin, a 69-year-old Italian and member of the Comboni missionary religious order, leads this burgeoning Catholic community. He was in the United States in early March to raise money for the cathedral, which he estimates will cost around $30 million.
The original idea for a monument to Christ came from a group of Brazilians who, in the wake of World War One, feared an advancing tide of godlessness. Church and state had been separated when Brazil became a republic at the end of the previous century, and they saw the statue as a way of reclaiming Rio – then Brazil’s capital city – for Christianity.
A frank discussion of various positions, based on the latest available research.
The Church teaches that it is reasonable for married couples to try to regulate births; in fact, the Catechism says that it is one of the “aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood.” (CCC 2299). However, a “legitimate intention” to regulate births does not “…justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).” (Id.).