Rite of Back Turning


Palm Sunday, 2003

Dear Father Bloom,

Please quit your job at Holy Family and RUSH to the Archdiocese of Boston!!!

Okay, maybe you can't do that (and probably don't want to...you seem like a sane enough priest).

Anyway, I'm having a terrific time at your web-site...I just finished reading your homily of today, and was very moved.

Minutes before, I read your "Usual Homily" and was also moved...straight to the floor because I was laughing so hard!

My name is Kelly Clark. I'm a parishioner at Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, where we are all trying to get used to our new pastor, a fine priest named Bishop Lennon, and, if things go according to the way they've been going for the past couple of years, as soon as we do, we'll have a new pastor to get used to. (You wouldn't have any Archbishop aspirations, by any chance, would you?)

Masses at the Cathedral are always interesting. We thought that once our beloved (hard to imagine, I know, given our local newspaper, but thousands of Boston-area Catholics _do_ consider him beloved) Cardinal Law got outta Dodge, so to speak, the "protestors" would go away. Not so! These days, we are privileged to greet the "faithful" of the fashionable western suburbs who deign to travel deep into our inner church. Once ensconced in the pews, they perform what must be a new liturgical practice we Cathedral folks haven't heard of yet. It goes like this:

During Bishop Lennon's homily, they stand up and turn their backs to him. While performing the Rite of Back Turning, they are photographed. When the homily is ended, they leave, thereby entirely avoiding the Creed (and, perhaps more importantly, the collection). These folks -- as they'd be the first to tell you! -- are devoted Catholics who belong to a group known as "Voice of the Faithful" who don't want to "really" change the Church, except for some minor details such as structuring it based on the United States Constitution.

And speaking of Father McBrien -- sorry, I've been leaping hither and yon all over your site -- he and his good friend Father "Call Me Walter" Cuenin are "Voice of the Faithful" advisors (or perhaps I should say "cheerleaders") so you know they're about as orthodox as you can get.

Ah well. Before he left, Cardinal Law told me, and some other parishioners, that we must pray for the "Boston Priests Forum" and for the "Voice of the Faithful" Beautiful People (he didn't call them that, I just did) and so I do.


Sorry to blow off steam, Padre, when what I really wanted to do was to thank you for your wonderful web-site. I came across it via my friend Lisa's web-site (www.lisaslighthouse.org).

May God bless you and keep you. Please know that you and your very blessed parish are in my prayers.

In Christ Crucified,

Kelly Clark

The lady in the pew http://www.pewlady.com
updated regularly, God willing


Dear Kelly,

Great to hear from you. I took a look at your website, appreciated it a lot and will be linking to it.

I heard a good rumor about who is coming to Boston. If it is true, a quite wonderful man. (He taught me ecclesiology when I was in Rome.) I wouldn't wish the job on anyone - a real crucifixion. Of course, we have to pray for all our bishops - and especially the one eventually assigned to Boston. More than anyone else he will need the wisdom of a serpent and the innocence of a dove. I honestly don't have either of those qualities, especially the latter. Well maybe, especially the former. I don't know.

I appreciate your prayers, Kelly - and your fidelity - and the way you are pointing out some simple truths that a lot of people seem to miss.

You have my prayers. A Blessed Easter!

Fr. Bloom

Dissent and Integrity