Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Ally for Victory: Reverend Know-It-All

You have to love a priest who pays homage to Bullwinkle J. Moose.  And not only to The Moose, but also to Catholic tradition and orthodoxy.  Meet Fr. Richard Simon of Reverend Know-It-All, pastor of St. Lambert Parish in Skokie, Illinois.  Skokie is part of the Archdiocese of Chicago, presided over by Francis Cardinal George, who has forthrightly defended the institution of marriage, earned the wrath of the Lavender Mafia, performed the unpleasant yet highly necessary task of suspending the notorious Fr. Pfleger -- and permits Fr. Simon to have his soap box.  I know dioceses where a priest like the Reverend Know-It-All would quickly be shut down.

One of the things I really like about the Rev. -- and there are plenty of things to like -- is how he captures thoughts and ideas I have had percolating and expresses them simply, forthrightly and with humor.  I have expatiated in this space about the starvation diet of minimalism to which the faithful have been subjected over the last four or five decades (here and here).  But Fr. Simon's commentary on the subject is far better and more succinct.  He starts out by noting the command, repeated half a dozen times in Scripture yet completely forgotten in our times, not to move the boundary stones set up by our ancestors.  Now some excerpts, with my emphases:
CS Lewis says it much more simply in The Screwtape Letters. He points out that we are not spirits trapped in flesh; we are incarnate spirits. What we do with our bodies we do with our souls. That is the reason for all the kneeling and standing, for bread and wine and oil and water and candles and incense and vestments and wood and gold and stone. We are incarnate spirits. We speak the language of matter because that is how God made us. 


Enough of the dark and mysterious churches [said the New Enlightened], the mumbled rosaries, the plaintiff novenas, haunting chants and sentimental hymns. We would be reasonable; we would be spiritual; we would be modern! They thought they were embracing the fullness of human nature, but they were in fact rejecting it because they failed to understand the unbreakable connection between body and soul, even as their bodies ran rampant and their souls withered. They thought they were above the moral restraints of a darker age and could dispense themselves from old restrictions.


The experts of the age of plastic committed the sin of the tower of Babel, “Let us build a tower that reaches to the heavens.” Chaos ensued then and chaos ensues now. The great lights of the sixties believed that removing the communion rails would bring us closer to the Lord. I think it has had the opposite effect. One stands in a line, shuffling slowly, eyes focused on the back of someone’s head waiting for him to move. The celebrant says “Body of Christ” but more often than not, is thinking “next...” There is rarely a sense of waiting on the Lord, there is no sense of a gift lovingly given and humbly received. There is just, “next....” 
This stuff is so good, I'm tempted to reproduce it all here.  But it would be better if you went over there and read the whole thing.  It includes, among other things, a highly informative explanation of the symbolism of communion rails that I bet you have never seen or heard before.

Keep up the good work, Father! 


  1. I've recently come across Fr. Simon's blog and will, too, add it to my site list on the sidebar.

    Related to your statement: "I know dioceses where a priest like the Reverend Know-It-All would quickly be shut down".

    It is my understanding that, although not shut down, Fr. Ray Blake in the UK, after receiving instructions from above so to speak, had to change the name of his blog. Now it is just called: "Fr. Ray's Blog"

  2. TH2, Our Lady of Akita did warn us that faithful priests would be persecuted even by their own brethren. She certainly wasn't kidding.

  3. Thank you for the link. Our priest, when giving Communion, names everyone: "the Body of Christ, Shirley" I find it really upsetting, as if he is more concerned with remembering everyone's name than he is in presenting us with our Holy Lord. Gah!