Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Festivus Native American Style?

Air out the grievances! It's FESTIVUS!

The television show, Seinfeld, had this one episode where the characters celebrated the fake holiday "Festivus". The 3 components of Festivus were: Putting up the Festivus pole, airing grievances and showing feats of strength.
Bishop Garcia of Monterey in a Mexican themed stole

While not exactly according to the rubrics (and what in the post-Vatican 2 church is), I was thinking of Festivus when I read this article concerning an American bishop apologizing for the mistreatment of Native Americans.

"This Mass, during the time of Winter Solstice, marks an important day of prayer for renewal and hope for the future of the Mutsun People,” an announcement in the mission’s parish bulletin states. “The Tribe wishes to express our thanks to Bishop Garcia for offering apologies from the Church and for this Mass of Reconciliation. Events for the day include: 10:15am Fire Starting Ceremony; 11:30am Traditional Dance of the Mutsun Tribe; 1:00 pm Mass of Reconciliation. A meal of acorn, deer & elk will be shared at 2:30 pm with Bishop Garcia, priests from the Monterey Diocese, Tribal citizens, invited Elders from other tribes, friends & partners.”

 Granted, our church has had a history of apologies. Recent popes have done their mea culpas. John Paul II apologized to Galileo (posthumously, of course) for the Church's condemnation of his theory of solar centrism. Benedict XVI has made some gestures of apology and goodwill to Western Jews.

Saying you're sorry isn't a bad thing. The Church however must be careful that the apologies for real abuse, such as promoting slavery, does not lead us to giving up some of the good we do and offer for the world's redemption.

Positively, the Church can offer supplication but also offer Mass (as the Bishop is doing). I do hope it does not devolve into something that accepts within the context of liturgy and teaching, a practice of a non-Christian religion. Nothing against the Winter Solstice but that's just a term in science books. We call it Advent. Or should.

But enough of the grievance.

Being sorry means that you regret what you've done. You don't regret who you are.

Now, on to the show of strength!