Thursday, March 26, 2015

Madonna House Movie XI - A New Vision

Well, here it is, folks - the eleventh instalment in a twelve-part series on Madonna House community that we produced last year. This one, as you can see, is on a topic somewhat dear to my heart, which is the presence and role of the priests in MH. I show up, burbling away on the subject, throughout this video, so don't know what more I can add here. This is, simply, my vocation, and this short video does a pretty good job of presenting it, all things considered.

I believe that what we are trying to live in MH--priests and laity living together in a common family life with true mutuality and equality of dignity and mission--is not just for our community but is a new vision for the whole Church, one that I have given my life for. So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it:


  1. Thank you and God Bless you Fr Denis. As 'anonymous' has said you have been overly patient with Moe. I will continue to hold him in my prayers but will not miss his comments.

  2. Well, I held out for Moe for the longest time. But, the comments have been increasingly vile. It felt like an assault and in the beginning I weighed it out: it the best response to emphasize, look away, fire back? Moe certainly pushed me to pray....
    The thing is there are a lot of Moe's you know. He will probably come back as a Mary or a Joseph... Maybe just to remind us to pray?
    This is of course a reflection on where I am just now...and how I am supported in supervision....but I am working on boundaries....and even writing letters about this. I can help you with a, but I need you to be mindful of x,y and z. If you are unable or unwilling to do that, then we have three months to term this relationship. You are able to establish a relationship with another provider, if they are willing to enter in with you. I do not speak for everyone, I am only sharing the terms of my practice. Then I wish them well.
    Of course, many of the people I see are very sick.... Most of the folks who come here are gentle, loving people. Although, there are a few who carry a shotgun...and I've been hit by buckshot before....
    I wonder if it would be helpful to post some boundaries? And perhaps some objectives for commentators. I have the sense you are open to responses of all sorts...not just those who are in complete agreement with you. The issue seems to be how that is done? How well we see, hear and love each other.....
    Bless you

    1. Thanks, Catherine. Of course I welcome commenters who disagree - you have often disagreed with me, or at least had a different perspective on the matter than me, and I welcome your comments. I don't think it is possible to set boundaries in this case, or to articulate standards or boundaries for comments that would apply to S.M. His comments have been increasingly indecent, sneering, and utterly uncivil. Beyond the basic standard of 'don't be a jerk', what else can one say? I think it's pretty obvious that calling someone a 'reactionary, autocratic, closeted gay, self loathing, pseudo celibate' is beyond the pale of civil discourse, eh? Anyhow, I bear him no ill will and do in fact pray for him, but I just cannot have that kind of abuse on this blog any more. God bless you, and thanks for sticking around and chiming in when you are so inclined. You are most welcome.

  3. The other problem--perhaps the biggest problem--with abusive commenters is that they deflect the whole discussion onto themselves and their abusive language. The video above presents an entirely new vision of how the Catholic priesthood can be lived, and is being lived, in my community... and there has not been one comment about that. Is what we're doing here in MH real? Helpful? Relevant? Meaningful? Personally, I think it's kind of interesting. But once an abuser shows up and hurls abuse, the real subject of the post sort of gets forgotten... sad, isn't it?

  4. Well, I do not know why God made us the way he did. So prone to the tortures of a closed mind and heart. It is so easy to get caught up in all that and so essential for our well being and the well being of the whole of us to move thru it, recognizing this, I think we use whatever means we can. The temptation is to use religion as a way to change people. But if we do it like that, we get all caught up in ego. Because it is holiness- Gods grace in us- that changes people. After a time, as you point out, you have to receive a message directed to you (not Moe or Mary or Joe) and only then can it work in your heart.
    It is hard living with an essentially flawed nature, hard to live with others, hard to live with ourselves. That imperfection is everywhere around us. I like to think that seeing this weakness in others and in myself allows me to forgive aittle easier. Holiness is about God's grace in us. We restore the world by allowing God to work in our weakness, not by demanding it of others or trying to force our understandings on others. This is true not just for Moe, but for all of us.
    ...I am not trying to say your perceptions creates the world around us (Is that a kind of relativism). I am trying to say that we by allowing grace into our weakness, can create a response to misdirected imperfections...and that response for all practical purposes becomes our reality.
    Bless you


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