30 April 2008

Mission Statement

Today, as I was trying to register one of my daughters for the fall soccer league at our territorial parish, I noticed the parish's mission statement on the front of the bulletin. You know, the proverbial touchy-feely and oh-so-inviting slogan that has become the inevitable calling card of the modern parish.

The great thing about these statements is not that they give parish councils something to do for a few months. No, that is a side benefit. What is really great about them is that although they are hammered out individually in each parish, they end up looking essentially the same. For example:

We, the parishioners of St. Mission Statement, a body of diverse individuals, come together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to promote the mission of Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by encouraging and supporting the development of the sacramental life of each member in the community through liturgical, educational, social and service activities. We strive to create an environment that fosters communication; an environment that helps us realize we are each a unique child of God. The stewardship of our time, our talents, and our treasures expresses the continuous accountability to God and the shared responsibility to each other, to the community and to the world.

Here is one more example, just for flavor:

We, the members of St. Mission Statement Parish, strive to live out our faith as Christians in the Roman Catholic Church. We see ourselves as a caring community, drawing from the strength and tradition of those who have gone before us, the wisdom of our senior members and the energy of our younger members.

We believe that our faith is our common bond; that all of us are made in the image and likeness of God; and, as such, possess a dignity and potential that is to be respected. We are called to be signs of God's love to each other and to all we meet. We believe our strength and nourishment come from the Church's ministry of Word and Sacrament.

Having experienced God's grace, we commit ourselves to announcing to others God's love for them. We will face the future by reaching out and serving the needy, by fostering spiritual growth in our families, by educating our children in Christian values, by welcoming visitors and strangers into our community, and by joyfully facing the challenges of our neighborhood. We value openness rather than negative criticism and reconciliation rather than materialism, selfishness and prejudice. We want to become a parish family with a care and concern that is characteristic of family members.

OK, there are other variations, to be sure. But essentially, mission statements tend to be a sign of what is euphemistically known as a "progressive" parish. Why? I don't know, but I can only give witness to the observations of long years in the Church. I mean, didn't our Lord give us a mission statement 2,000 years ago?

Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. Mt. 28: 19-20.

These days I belong to a parish without a mission statement, but which seeks to carry out the command given by Christ in those lines from St. Matthew's Gospel. That ought to be good enough for any Catholic parish.

However, I have heard from some critics of this blog that I am stuck in the past in matters of the faith. I want to respect those prophetic voices. Therefore, in order to improve this blog, I propose the following mission statement for your review. I welcome your feedback, after which I will finalize it for posterity.

We, the blogger and readers of Saint Louis Catholic, come together under the wistful hope that wasting time better spent caring for our families or engaging in productive employment can be used in the service of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

We endeavor, under the guidance of our Blessed Mother and other blogs we like, to promote the truths of the faith, to expose the ridiculousness and danger of heresies and those who espouse them, to keep a sense of humor at all times, and to occasionally pat each other on the back.

We reserve the right to talk about subjects that normal people shun, and to wonder why they do so.

We believe the Church has authority given her by Christ Himself, and we highly resolve not to look a gift horse in the mouth. We are grateful, in other words, for all we have been given.

We are truly inclusive group, in that we want everyone to be Catholic--really Catholic-- and to experience the abiding peace and joy that comes with the Catholic faith.

We seek to be a sort of advance newsletter scattered behind enemy lines. No loitering.

P.S. Don't mess with our Archbishop.


doughboy said...

I sign off on that!

lgssws said...

Very good mission statement Timman! You forgot the part about how we graciously accept the ridicule from our families who let us know that the way we are living out our faith is weird, strange, and not normal. For example; willingly accepting all the children God gives us, even the miscarriages, and being open to all future life, even if God has called us to adoption.

Anonymous said...

Better watch out, TheTimman. Your observations about the bulletin are going to get your kids banned from the parish teams.

Mike said...

Mission Statement??? We don't need no mission statement!

GOR said...

Having wasted many hours in the business world on 'Mission Statements' for yet another "can't miss" project dreamed up by the airheads in HR, I can relate!

But I do like your Blog's Mission Statement - especially the PS...!

Guinness connoisseur said...

Unlike the others yours is a hoot to read and carries the element of truth. A bit verbose for a mission statement but that is the point right?

Anonymous said...

'gor' is right -- these things are like
'mission statements' from HR in the
corporate world. They even share much
of the same language:




"unique [child/individuals]"

Other 'mission statements' that other
bloggers have submitted for review
and debate in the past are even more
pointedly explicit in this regard. The
end result is often that the 'mission
statement' winds up sounding like
legalese from a company's HR department
about equal employment opportunities.

So, somewhere, some weird how, and
some weird way, somebody got the idea
that the Catholic Church has elitist
overtones, and that it needs such a
statement added to it, like it was a
corporation, or a university. Quite
likely, the idea got started by
somebody who DOES work in HR when
they are on the job; and they thought
it would be a good 'ideer' for their
Church to have one, too. Also, I
believe that such 'mission statements'
serve a very specific agenda.

the timman writes: "But essentially, mission statements tend to be a sign of what is euphemistically known as a "progressive" parish. Why? I don't know, but I can only give witness to the observations of long years in the Church."

I can't help but to agree; but I do
think that I know why they tend to
be a sign of a 'progressive' parish.
They are a sign of a 'progressive'
parish for the same reason that they
tend to stifle fairness, open debate,
and honest hiring in the corporation.
Such 'mission statements' are in
reality a thinly-veiled *warning* in
most cases; and they are used to
create an 'atmosphere' that is
appropriate to the feminist agenda
(especially when they are talked-
about, power-pointed, group-meetinged
to death, force-fed to each business
unit several times a week, etc., etc.,

So, with all of my experience and
years in the Church, what I see on a
daily basis is that the warning is
this: WOMEN are in charge 'round HERE.

Call me daffy if you like; I really
don't care. I've seen it too many
times to have any more doubt about
the matter. I've seen the way far
too many American women manage their
employees; and I've seen the way far
too many American women manage a
parish. There's very little
difference a'tall in most cases, to
be honest.

The whole wide-world of Catholic
Bloggery is, in my opinion, way past
due in talking openly and honestly
about this. Women are mostly in
charge in nearly all of the positions
that it is possible for someone to be
in charge of in a parish; and quite
frankly, the Catholic Church's daily
business in America has gotten tangled
up in a very angry, very vengeful
part of the feminist movement -- to
a VERY large degree.

Ask any priest what causes him the
most grief -- a man or a woman -- and
the answer is most likely to be a
woman. I've seen it with my own eyes;
and I don't need sensitivity training
(thank you very much). I've seen
priests come *this* close to losing it
as they try to meet the demands of all
the women in their parish, and their
demands for greater and greater lay
(read: female) participation.

I've watched women yell at priests for
daring to make slight changes in the
Church's flower arrangements during
Holy Week ("What! You think this Mass
is about YOU?!?!??"). I've seen parish
websites where the names of the priests
AREN'T EVEN LISTED; and yet every
single woman who is in charge of the
slightest amount of parish business has
her name prominently displayed in bold

I've seen women who have been appointed
to head the vocations committee of
their parish; and I've watched them
vet candidate's opinions about "women's
roles" and "the charismatics" before
even telling the candidate that they
head the parish's vocations committee.
I've watched women hide the incense
from a priest, and conveniently "lose"
money that has been earmarked for his
vestments, solely because that specific
priest doesn't allow EMs to serve in
his Masses. I could go on and on.

So if you happen to be a typical trad
guy in your parish, and you find
yourself wondering why the apse is
crowded with altar girls and women
with blue hair, and you wonder why the
priest looks like he's scared, then
give my thesis a moment or two of
your careful ponderation, my friend.
Yes, Cardinal Bugnini was a guy; yes,
America also has a large bunch of
feel-good, tambourine-shaking baby-
boomers in every parish who are male;
but the yellow-brick linoleum road of
the last 40 years of the typical
Vatican II American parish is filled
with the prints of a whole lot of
high-heeled shoes.

So no, I'm not saying that all
Catholic women act this way. I've
met some very cool trad-women from
time to time -- some real humble,
holy, and kindly women and mothers
(who also happen to see what I'm
seeing in the Church). But if what
I've said so far has you grinning and
it has got your eyebrows raised, and
your 'by golly, the lad's got a
point!'-meter is going ding! ding!
ding!, then as honest Catholics we
need to start talking about the
effects of ugly feminist politics in
the Catholic Church. It should not
be a delicate issue to talk about;
especially since a great deal is at
stake. I know, for example, a very
good doctor in California who, when
diagnosing stress in his patients
(male OR female), asks them if they
report to a female manager. He asks
them this because, according to him,
whenever he sees the results of
severe stress in his patients, more
often than not they turn out to be
working for a female manager. He
is comfortable asking *women* this
question, as in his professional
opinion it is a legitimate phenomenon
in the world we live in today. So,
Catholics need to stop avoiding this
issue in their parishes, in my opinion.

So, I think these issues are fair
issues for debate, particularly since
the timman has written thusly: "We
reserve the right to talk about
subjects that normal people shun, and
to wonder why they do so." It's been
said by many that the Catholic Church
has suffered greatly the last few
years from modernist tendencies; and
this is obvious to most people. But
it is equally obvious that the
feminist movement has had a huge
impact on the Church, and it is time
that Catholics start talking about
this, and start putting ways to deal
with this into their training slides
for their parish faithful.

Gents -- Ladies -- your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

I will not attend a parish that has a mission statement. It is a sure sign of misguided liberals trying to reinvent the Catholic religion in their own image.

jane chantal said...

Erick, I completely agree with you.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the current tyrrany of political correctness with its accompanying lexicon of buzzwords("inclusive", "diverse", "welcoming", "prophetic" etc.) is traceable -- if we are to be honest -- to the radical feminist movement of the 1960s, of which I considered myself a part for a while.

I remember what that movement was like in its early days, and have observed the havoc it has wrought. I only began to figure out what was going on when I took a very honest look at the implications of what I was advocating. I began to come out of the fog when I realized that the world I dreamed of was, in fact, a world without gender -- and I had to ask myself why I was promoting something that was a denial of reality.

I also began to realize that in very many cases, gender and life issues are intimately related. The legalization of abortion is actually on the same ideological continuum as the insistence that we pretend -- and teach our children -- that there is no important difference between sodomy and reproductive intercourse. I could go on because I feel that the damage that has been and continues to be done to us all -- male and female, straight and gay, child and adult -- is enormous.

The toxic fallout -- operating behind a civilized veneer and using deceptive jargon -- is currently very much in evidence within mainstream Protestantism and now also, as you have noted, in Catholicism. It starts with the impulse to displace men from traditional leadership roles...but that is only where it starts.

My hope is in the current generation of young people, male and female, who are beginning to see through the smoke and mirrors.

GOR said...

Yes Erick and Jane, there's much to be said about the influence of radical feminism in the Church in recent decades. It is irritating in the extreme to see priests tripping over themselves trying to avoid 'gender' in the Liturgy.

The Creed: "...for us [blank] and for our salvation..."

The Eucharistic Prayer: "Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ..."

"Humankind" (as distinct from "animalkind"...?)

Far be it from them that a male pronoun should enter into our prayers.

How long before the Our Father becomes "Our [blank] Who art in Heaven"...?

Another reason to bring back Latin! Most priests wouldn't know enough Latin to change male word endings to female...

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

No Mission statement is best, but I love the line about Archbishop Burke

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

My parish doesn't have a Mission statement either. It's a blessing to be at my parish, how it got stuck in LA, i have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Wow...You don’t attend you territorial parish...??? Is the parish not adhering to the Catholic Faith? Is Burke aware of this fact? He could have the parish council excommunicated for you…!!!

thetimman said...

One parish at a time, friend.

Micky said...

John 13: 34 A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

Anonymous said...

If a mission statement helps to remind people how to act, then it's a small price to pay, and after all, it's a one time deal per parish. How long can it really take in the life of a parish. Also, lets not get too caught up in the wording instead of the meaning.