Warning Signs


October 22, 2013 by lucieromarin

Signs that your new-found community may not be the orthodox wonderland you thought it was:

1. They suggest you name your guardian angel. Yep. This is wrong. I was taught to name my angel by the worthy priests of everyone’s favourite Personal Prelature. My good angel thus endured a series of inappropriate monikers – such as ‘Rosemary’ and ‘Genevieve’ – until the startling moment in my late twenties when I heard a good priest caution against the practice. My first thought was, but those priests told me it was okay! Guess what? Those priests are wrong.

2. They tell you that Holy Communion is awesome because it means you get to receive Mary’s DNA!!!!! First, her name is Our Lady. (Okay, yes, her name is Mary, but you don’t need to just flap it around like it’s a used tea-towel). Second of all…the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. What part of Divinity is less exciting than someone’s DNA? Third, her DNA isn’t in the Blessed Sacrament anyway, for more reasons than I can detail here, but maybe, for further explanations, start with a look at the Catechism.

3. “I fell to the ground in the aisle and woke up two hours later. The Catholic word for this is ‘Dormition.'” These words were addressed to me at a lunch, once, describing one young man’s fervent slumber in the middle of a church. I didn’t reply as I wished to, because I saw a friend looking out of the corner of his eye at me with an expression which strongly advised me to let it go. (Also, my interlocutor was a nice guy). However, I will say this: ‘Dormition’ is the Eastern Christian word for what happened to Our Lady in the moments before her Assumption into Heaven. It is not the Catholic word for behaviour which never existed in the Church before the nineteen-eighties!

Furthermore, the expression, ‘the Catholic word for…’ means, ‘as opposed to the Protestant word for…’ which admits that you took your behaviour from people outside the Church in the first place. If you hadn’t, it’d just be ‘the word for this is…’

4. They restrict, as far as is possible, the reading of books written by persons other than their founder. I’m not talking about the natural preference of every community for the literature of its own heritage. I’m talking about making sure you actually hear as little as possible about the literature of the Church’s heritage…you know, in case that makes you decide to join a different community within the Church.

5. They know the date of the Apocalypse. Because, you know, they don’t.

6. They believe in Planet X. And they think it has something to do with the Third Secret of Fatima. Even though the woman who discovered Planet X was told about it by aliens. Personally, I’m fine with non-religious people thinking that apparitions are weird and dubious; they’re not the main point of religion, anyway. I’m not, however, fine with religious people mixing their sources of private revelation!

7. Our Lady speaks to their founder.

8. Our Lady told them that they need to wear a hat of a specific colour.

9. Our Lady appointed their bishops.

10. They won’t tell you what they’ve done with your money. An annual report is standard business practice these days. You have the right to see one.



4 thoughts on “Warning Signs

  1. Cojuanco says:

    Wait, is that something officially taught by Opus Dei? If so, why are they not being censured by the Holy Office?

    • lucieromarin says:

      I don’t know – maybe something is only official if it’s on paper somewhere? I know it wasn’t just my chaplain; other of their chaplains have done the same thing. At the same time, I don’t know that all of them do. Maybe it’s more a case that individiuals who join with this idea just don’t get corrected?

      • Cojuanco says:

        Might be the culture in a particular seminary, or simple negligence on the part of those in authority (because how many would ask, upon admission, “What is your opinion on the naming of guardian angels?”

      • lucieromarin says:

        Yes; it’s certainly not a burning issue for most people. Given how many other issues we have to choose from, I can understand why!

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