Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Catholic Church Evicts Parishioners on Holy Saturday: "We're Closed!"

Sabbatum Sanctum, or Holy Saturday, is a dark day for practicing Roman Catholics. No Mass is celebrated. Holy Communion is limited to those getting ready to drop dead. Even the Sanctuary is stripped bare. It's a sad time. I know this kind of shit because I went to catholic schools for fourteen years and my brother nearly became a priest.

I used to be real holy when I was a kid. My friend Danny and I were going to go to Commie China and get martyred. It was quite the rage in those days. This was all pre-puberty.

Ellen and Chris are Catholics, too. I'm sure they were not as holy as me when I was a kid, but this husband-wife team was still moved spiritually for some reason last weekend. Parishioners at the Church of St. Philip and St. James in nearby Phillipsburg, NJ, they decided to seek solace on Holy Saturday in the warm embrace of Holy Mother Church. Around noon, they walked inside the church and sat at a pew in the back.

Why they were thinking about God instead of an Easter ham dinner is any one's guess.

Well, Rev Msgr Michael J Corona straightened them out. He was at the front of this large church with a group of people. He spun around and evicted Ellen and Chris with these very Christian remarks.

"We're closed! You have to leave. You have to get out."

Apparently, he had more important things to do than put up with a bunch of losers who wanted to waste a nice day praying. They should have been golfing or buying ham at Wegmans or something.

I decided to check things out, called the church, and got a recorded greeting that started right off with "God bless you!." That's nice. I then listened to about twenty different options, including one that told me to press "8" for Bingo information. I was waiting for the Powerball number when I finally spoke to the operator, Tracy, and asked if she would put me in touch with the Monsignor.

I was put on hold for about five minutes, but I didn't mind a bit. I was just blessed by God, and now a relaxing Franz Schubert piano sonata was playing in the background. I was nodding off when Deacon Bill, who is also business manager, popped on the line. He took my phone number and told me that the monsignor, a very busy man, would call the next day. I promised to wait for him before writing anything.

Amazingly, about an hour later, I received a telephone call from Deacon Bill. Instead of saying "God bless you," this time he told me he would be recording our conversation.

- "You mean, you're asking for my permission to record this conversation?"

"I don't need your permission."

God's representative on earth explained he was taping this call because he wanted to make sure that what I report is accurate. Whatever happened to the good old days? Back when I was a kid, I was convinced that a lightning bolt would zap me or I'd be automatically excommunicated me if I strayed from the Word of God. But the modern church has replaced the Spanish Inquisition with tape recorders.

Ain't progress grand?

Deacon Bill probably doesn't know this, but in Pennsylvania, where he called me, both parties must consent to recording a telephone conversation. In the process of covering his ass, he may have burned it.

Oopsie. Don't worry, I won't dime God's representative on earth.

Monsignor Corona was apparently too busy with Monsignors Budweiser and Michelob to speak with me directly. Deacon Bill served as Holy Mouthpiece. Apparently, the Monsignor and a bunch of other holy rollers were in the midst of cleaning and decorating the church for the Easter Vigil, another biggie, when they were rudely interrupted by a couple who wanted to pray. Parishoners Ellen and Chris were ordered to leave, but there's a chapel in the back of the church somewhere where people can pray anytime they want.

- "Did the monsignor tell these folks they could pray in a chapel?"

"I don't know. I wasn't there."

- "Well, do you see that this is why the Monsignor should be talking to me? Do you think Jesus would tell these folks to get out? Maybe you can clue me in. I'm not a monsignor or a deacon. I'm just a lousy Catholic. Maybe there's something I don't know, but I always thought Jesus wanted people in his church."

Deacon Bill may have had a tape recorder, but he had no answer. Jesus does. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in ... ." I'm pretty sure Monsignor Corona earned no brownie points at the front office with his Holy Saturday eviction.

As for Ellen and Chris, they'll be pulling their daughter out of CCD this week. My brother, who ditched the seminary for a wife, has one piece of advice for this couple. "They can pray anywhere they want. They don't need to be in a church."

Maybe he should have been a priest after all.


Anonymous said...

Burnie - I thought you didn't even believe in God ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I never said that. I am a lousy catholic.

Anonymous said...

If the Catholic church wants to know why people are leaving in record numbers, it's because of things like this.

Anonymous said...

"My friend Danny and I were going to go to Commie China and get martyred."

what a shame that you never followed through on your childhood dreams.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You bastard! Now I'm going to cry in my little pillow.

Angelina Jolie said...

Hey Bernie. I saw you on tv last night. You are one hot looking dude. I dont know why you wore an old pair of sneakers though. Kind of made you look unprofessional.You really are sexy and whenever you blabbed I kind of got the tingles.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Angelina Jolie," Knock that shit off, Danny.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Hypocrisy in a church. Who would've considered it a possibility!

Rock Hudson said...

I also saw you on tv last night. I was also captivated by your good looks and charm and how ripped you are. Anyway, you made a comment about how newspapers have been endorsing or "something" with government for CENTURIES. Exactly how many CENTURIES have newspapers been around to do this kind of thing?????

Bernie O'Hare said...


Thanks so much for noticing my manly charms. Newspapers have existed for at least 500 years. I think that qualifies as "centuries."

Anonymous said...

Our weapons are suprise and fear and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope! Cardinal Biggles, fetch the comfy chair!

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Hare. How many of those 700 hits daily do you personally account for?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I log in from as many as three different locations.

maverick said...

my girlfriend & i watched you last night, and when you spoke, she got the same kind of feeling running up her leg that chris matthews gets when he hears barack obama. by the way, what medication is tony ianelli on? or was the tape in fast forward?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Maverick, I don't know, but I want some of those pills.

Anonymous said...

Yaaaaawwwwnnnn. More bitterness from a fallen Catholic. The line is long and forms way back there. I love when an organization of 1 billion souls is painted with the broad brush, based on the actions of one asshole among a billion members. The US Catholic Church grows by almost a million members each year. It's tiring to hear the constant whining of the relatively few who've at least had the guts to leave. Now if they'd just shut up with the boring bashing. My dad always told me to , "Never walk away angry, just walk away." From his lips to the blogosphere's ears.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Just like this space suggested for Wegmans and the buses, let's bring the full weight of the government to bear on those Catholics until they come to heel. Cut off their water and sewer! Stop plowing the streets in front of their cultist temples! I've learned from this blog that we have ways of making them comply. And I also want bus stops in front of all these holy roller dens.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like "Rock Hudson" just fell off the proverbial turnip truck.

hayshaker said...

Anonymous 4:48: One billion souls who chase the supernatural. Yippee! By the way, do you have documentation that shows Catholic membership rising in places other than the third world? I know religiosos are often times ill equipped to provide factual evidence ...well on anything.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yaaaaawwwwnnnn. More bitterness from a fallen Catholic. I did not paint the entire Catholic church with a broad brush, just one lousy priest. The only way to make the chruch better is by continuing to note the problems that exist until they are gone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for contributing to the anti-Catholic venom that is common to Topix BO. As a product of Catholic Schools myself, fortunately I did not grow to be a bitter ex-Catholic.
Neither you nor I was in the Church. He may have politely asked them to go to the Chapel. Maybe they were doing their wash in the Holy Water. Come on Bernie, you condemn peolpe who hold themselves above others. Here you are condemning the man cause he will not directly speak to the great B O'Hare. Who the Hell are you.
I think your association with Angle and Stoffa has gone to your head.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:42,

1) I said I was a lousy Catholic. I never said I was an ex-Catholic. If you are, in fact, a product of Catholic schools, you should at least know how to read.

2) I have condemned Monsignor Corona bc he kicked two parishioners out of God's house on Holy Saturday. According to Ellen and Chris, he never made them aware that a chapel was available somewhere. Moreover, he refused to deal directly with this issue, instead designating one of his servants to handle it.

3) A paronoid cgurch actually tape-recorded my conversation with a person who had no knowledge of what had actually transpired. I gave the monsignor the option of answering a few questions and he refused. In other words, I was trying to be fair to him and get the other side of the story, but he ducked me. he did admit evicting this couple.

4) This couple was at the church for one and only one reason - to pray.

5) This has nothing to do with condemning someone bc he won't speak to me. This has everything to do with a proest who evicts his own parishioners from their own church on one of the holiest days of the year.

5) Anti-Catholic venom is common here? You're out of your mind. In over 1,110 posts, this is the first one about the catholic church. The only way that church, or any church, will improve, is by noting when one of its pompous priests acts like a nitwit.

6) Blogs exist to draw attention to precisely this sort of thing. If you don't like it, go to church and pray.

Anonymous said...

May God bless those who love us. May God turn the hearts of those who don't. And may He turn the ankles of those who hearts won't, so at least we'll know them by their limp.

Bernie's a bitter limper. But at least he's got the limp.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks so much for the faux Christian sentiments. I could see Jesus saying that while he chucks people from his own church. But I'm no expert like you.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, were these parishoners of the church that would have been recoginized by those present. I ask that because on three occasions, we had church breakings around holy days when there is a lot of activity and the church was left open more frequently. Items taken included keys, a coat stolen (from the back), wine, and even property (not all at the same time though.)

Bernie, you denied twice...don't make it a third.

Happy Easter Brother.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:41,

This is a middle-aged husband and wife with a teen-aged daughter and son who regualrly attend services. They are parishioners, and their daughter is currently enrolled in CDC. They stopped at the church at noon on Holy Saturday to say a few prayers. The monsignor and a few others were at the front of this rather large church, preparing for the Easter Vigil. They posed no threat and must have been recognized by a number of those present. Yet they were summarily ejected.

Simply put, the pastor of this church acted far more like a pharisee than a priest.

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example of how this guty (Msgr. MJC) operates. Many of us are leaving his new parish because we have seen this side of him. Haughty!