Sunday, June 01, 2008

Worst Book By a Catholic Priest. Ever.

God Underneath by Edward Beck

A few weeks ago, I had managed to lock both my wife's car keys, as well as her spare car key in her car. This meant we had to wait for my father in law to come home from Mass since he also has a key, so we had some time to kill. I picked up this book and started reading and it was just sad. Fr. Beck is a Passionist Priest and his book made me wonder if he wished he had done something else with his life. He tells of the ordination Mass for two of his classmates and him and how he really wanted to have a friend of his who sings and plays guitar to sing at this Mass and insisted this be allowed. His classmates did not really want this and when they tell him their opinion and remind him that the Mass is not just for him it makes Fr. Beck burst into tears. For his first Mass he invites a female friend to both read the Gospel and give the homily. He somehow "forgets" to mention this to the pastor of the parish and when she comes forward to receive the pastor's blessing before reading the Gospel the pastor, totally caught off guard, correctly says oh no and does the Gospel reading himself. The woman then gives the homily, in violation of Church teaching that lay people do not give homilies. Fr. Beck frames this story as rudeness on the part of the pastor, who he says later apologizes. Fr. Beck does not seem to think asking a lay person to proclaim the Gospel and give a homily without telling anyone what he is doing is not rude. These two stories pretty much sum up the book, all the world is filled with people who are not kind and considerate enough to allow Fr. Beck to do his thing. Liturgy, retreats, music should not be about worshiping God, but about Fr. Beck, friend of Carly Simon, showing the world how compassionate Fr. Beck is. He presents himself as a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue of those poor Catholics oppressed by the rigid orthodox clergy. This is a silly, sad book.

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