Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mrs Brady Catholic Old Lady

Oh, goodness gracious! You've caught me all in a sweat my dear! I was hoping to get this weeding done before the sun got too hot, but I'm all in a lather, and this straw hat isn't much good is it? You think it looks nice? Thank you sweetie. Isn't he a dear? How old? Just seven. Isn't that grand!

Now, Felicity don't apologize. It's always nice to see you and Dominic, and it's no trouble at all. I was wanting to take a break, and now's the perfect time. I made some lemon cake this morning, and I was wondering who might drop in to help me eat it.

Where is the rest of your wonderful family? Out camping with Dad? How exciting! All seven of them? Why didn't you go Dom? Poison ivy? How terrible! I've got just the thing--some of Grandma Watkins' special lotion. I'll go and get it.

Come along dear. You can fix us some iced tea while I freshen up for just a moment. Dom, honey, you sit on the porch for a moment. In the box there are some toys. See what you can find love, while Mummy comes with me, and we'll be back in a jiffy.

The tea's in the refrigerator dear. Ice in the freezer...There. That's better. I thought you were looking rather upset. Father who? Crappy isn't such a nice name is it dear? Oh, Corapi? I'm afraid I never heard of him. Is he one of our local priests? Here we are Dom. Is that a spaceship? Made out of Lego? How clever you are! You don't want Grandma Watkins' lotion. Well that's alright. Don't you worry.

Let's sit here shall we dear? You take the rocking chair, I don't mind. Oh, on television? I've tried watching that ETWN network dear, but it just didn't do much for me. I kept thinking that Mother Angelica reminded me of Captain Pugwash in a habit. Isn't that awful? Then she had that eyepatch and it made things even worse! But I liked that Marcus Grodi. So good looking! But I never really connected much with it. To tell you the truth, I don't think it's a very good idea for a priest to be a television star. Too much temptation!

Well, that's interesting. You say he was the one orthodox priest in the church today and now everyone is saying he was rich and running around with women? Involved with drink and drugs and fast cars? Oh dear, oh dear. But you mustn't defend him dear. It's very possible you know, and if you say he was a television star, then perhaps the temptations were just too much for him. Commit him to the good Lord and move on is what I say, and you know he's not the only good priest and teacher. There are quite a few good men out there if you stop and listen.

You know, I've been thinking quite a bit about this whole matter while you were talking and I think I've figured out why I didn't like EWTN very much. I know they meant well, but I always felt they were promoting their own form of Catholicism, and I'm always worried about any group of Catholics who set up on their own apart from the bishops and the parishes. You see dear, so many people seem to want excitement in their religion. They want to see apparitions of the Blessed Mother or they want a miracle or they want some holy man or holy woman to get them all excited, and it usually ends in tears. I'm too old for that sort of thing my dear, and I'm always sad when I hear about Catholics who complain about their parish priest and bishop--as if they know better!

My favorite priest is old Fr. O'Driscoll who I visit in that retirement home. He was just an ordinary parish priest his whole life and served people at the everyday level in an ordinary church and never really did anything exciting or special--except to say Mass every day and hear confessions and preach simple sermons and marry people and bury people. He's the one for me dear, and if you don't mind me saying so, you and Bryan would do well to stick with the local parish and support Father Baldwin--even though he's rather tiresome and grumpy at times. Did you know he once called me a meddlesome old biddy? Well, I laughed and told him he was absolutely right and that he was the grumpiest priest I'd ever known, and after that we've been best of friends.

Dominic? I've had an idea. I have an old pup tent in the attic that needs to be aired out. Would you like to help me put it up, and then you and Mummy can come back this evening and we'll set off those fireworks I've kept from the fourth of July and have a campfire and cook hot dogs, and then camp out in the tent.

That will give you a little break Felicity dear, now go on...have another slice of that lemon cake.


  1. Amen. Saint Willibald, pray for us.

  2. I think EWTN has been pretty good about being obedient to the bishops (although the manner of obedience of Mother Angelica was sometimes pretty darned Italian-American! Heh!) and they've always been for sticking with Mother Church.

    OTOH, if you're going to be the Catholic equivalent of public TV and educational programming, you're bound to reflect at least a few current obsessions of the devout that don't pan out. But there's also something to be said for having all this stuff out in the light of day, available to thrash out. When Father doesn't know what's going on, some pretty awful things can happen.

    I agree that being a "TV star" is spiritually dangerous, just like Father being a great preacher or even famous for holiness. But TV itself is a good tool and there's nothing wrong with using it with skill (or with being a great preacher, or amazingly holy). Being a nobody is spiritually dangerous, too, if you don't control your pride and the other Seven Deadlies.

    I suppose somebody could preach on TV with a bag over his head, but that might cause notoriety too! :)

    Paying attention to life in the parish and parish teachings is certainly more important than paying attention to TV; but I know my grandfather found great spiritual comfort on EWTN in his last years, and not so much in his parish (though he never stopped going to Mass every Sunday). EWTN was the adult Catholic education I never got. I am grateful for that, and so are many others.

    The thing is to not get so attached to spiritual helps and training, or even teachers, that they turn into spiritual crutches.

  3. Thanks Banshee. Remember, Mrs Brady's opinions are not necessarily totally my own. That woman has a mind of her own...

  4. I want to be like Mrs. Brady when I grow up!

  5. Oh for the days of Fulton Sheen, these modern TV priests just don't have the knack

  6. Yeah, Fulton Sheen was pretty awesome. Getting on TBN after he was dead was a nice trick, for instance.... :)

    You know what just occurred to me? A lot of this stuff that we do today only seems Really Big, because we don't have all the Really Big Sodalities and movements and lay guilds that we used to have. (Or all the eucharistic congresses and diocese-wide Masses, for that matter.) If half the guys in the parish were in K of C, all the girls were in that Mary group with the "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes", and all the women were in the Altar Guild, and all of that -- EWTN would just be another sodality, like the local Catholic radio stations are. Big and important, yeah, but not bigger than a lot of other groups.

  7. Father, how do you deal with the fame? You're a bit of a celebrity yourself, with the blog and books and radio and TV appearances (even on EWTN). Do you ever worry about pride or ego?

  8. Father, may I just say how much I have enjoyed your writing lately?

    Not that I want to make you a celebrity priest. :-) But as one writer to another -- very good work, very well said. All of it.

  9. I would love to be a priest like O'Driscoll one day.

  10. You write really well.