Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fr. Anthony C. Neusch: On Whitewashed Mediocrity (God would never allow me to go to hell)

Fr. Anthony Neusch is a priest of the Diocese of Amarillo and Pastor of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Hereford, TX.  He was ordained to the priesthood, on May 29, 2004.

He wrote a guest column yesterday at the blog of Bellarmine Forum, entitled: The Problem with the Prevenient: Low Expectations are Killing the Faith.
I would like to offer a brief reflection about expectations and support to meet and exceed them.  I want to root these thoughts in just one word found in the Prayer Over the Gifts for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception “prevenient.”  This single word proves that I and my brother priests have, for the most part, failed generations of faithful Catholics.  I have personally heard or read several bishops and many priests use this single word to point to the failure of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.  They say things such as, “Who uses the word prevenient anymore?” or, “The use of the word prevenient is proof enough that there is no concern about the reality of the American Church.”  Or my personal favorite, “I mean, I know what it means. But I have had eight years of seminary study.  There is no way that the normal person in the pew could even begin to understand what that word means.”  This good brother didn’t even try to pronounce it in his denunciation...
Then in a classic understatement:
      Too many of my brothers have set the bar too low...
If our expectations have been set so low, and I fear that they have, then the result is a sacramental ministerial priesthood with no zeal.  Why should I have a fire for souls when through our own lack of formation and evangelization the faithful have been assured of their own personal salvation through the virtue of niceness?  We have all heard it, “I am a good person, and I believe in God; He would never allow me to enter into Hell.”  To encourage the lowest common denominator of Christian knowledge can result only in the mediocre Christian life.