Sunday I posted this about Saint Nick's in Wilkes-Barre and their support of the Archdiocese of Washington's "Lenten Carbon Fast".
I was of the opinion that the fast from carbon did nothing to further the salvation of souls, and was therefore a waste of time and effort for Catholics during Lent.
Don't get me wrong, if you want to sign up for an e-newsletter from a green organization or let your clothes dryer "breathe" (two suggestions of the Archdiocese for Lent), then go ahead. But don't do it in lieu of true sacrifice or reparation during the Lenten season.
I had the opportunity to speak with Monsignor Joseph Rauscher, Pastor over at Saint Nick's and asked him some questions about the parishes support of the "fast".
At first he sounded reluctant to speak to me, but he agreed to answer a few questions.
I felt the best way to question Monsignor was to present certain situations and ask for his thoughts. Since I did not record our conversation I do not have exact quotes, I'll give you an overview. For future interviews I'll have to start recording if I can figure out how, with permission of the interviewee of course. I did take some notes, so any quotes are from that.
So I asked Monsignor who placed the documents in question in the church, and he told me "Sister Nancy and the parish social concerns". That right there set off alarm bells since I know that the "Leadership Conference of Women Religious" was in cahoots with the "Environmental Outreach Committee" of the Archdiocese of Washington to adapt this nonsense. It is exactly these "Sister Mary Liberated" types that have caused the Vatican to have a special investigation of women religious in America.
I asked Monsignor "Did you read it?" He replied "Not too closely." When I asked him if he thought that a "Lenten Carbon Fast" was appropriate to be promoting during Lent he replied with the normal "disrespect for others is disrespect for God", "we are called as Catholics to think of the environment", "respect creation and use it wisely", and then he said something about caring for the environment was a part of our Catholic heritage.
When I told him there was a school of thought that eco-spirituality is new-age paganism within the Church he laughed. He became defensive claiming I was "uncharitable and unchristian" for just calling him out of the blue and accused me of questioning his Catholicity. I wasn't questioning it before our interview. I am now, however.
When I asked him how taking a shorter shower was going to help get me into heaven he said "you gotta ask God about that."
Then after reciting some Al Gore talking points he said he had to go, took my name and number and said he would call me back.
That was on Monday.
Today is Thursday.
He hasn't called.
I emailed Diocesan spokesman Bill Genello two days ago on the topic and have not received a reply.
It's ok that neither of them got back to me. It's a touchy subject when someone questions the prevailing modernist thought. I wonder if the good Monsignor took into account his carbon footprint while he was burning last years palms to make this years ashes? I certainly hope he plans to discontinue use of the massive air conditioning unit at St. Nick's this summer. Open the doors and sweat a bit. It's good for the environment!
But really, there's nothing wrong with good stewardship of God's Creation, but we shouldn't make the mistake that Monsignor Rauscher is making by merging doing something nice for the environment with the penitential observances of Lent.
In Caritas in Vertitate Pope Benedict called for responsible stewardship while avoiding neo-paganism or pantheism.
Lent is a time to do penance for our sins and to make ourselves worthy of the Lord's Redemption. We should be concentrating on eliminating mortal sins from our life during this time by mortifying our senses and begging forgiveness for those sins we have committed.
Not think that if we put a lid on a boiling pot we are achieving salvation.