Thursday, August 17, 2006

So the Feast of the Assumption has come and gone, and the big question we all have is: Were there riots this year?

A brief history for the uninformed: For about 130 years, a Franciscan basilica in Ohio has had a big Assumption Day mass, complete with old-fashioned procession, to which Catholics throughout the area have flocked. There's a significant Chaldean Maronite Catholic population in that neck of the woods, and they've been big participants. For the last several years, a new tradition has developed in which incredibly obnoxious Protestant "street preachers" would confront the worshippers during the procession, screaming (literally) such interesting tidbits of ecumenical dialogue as "Your Mary is a whore" and "You worship Satan." What with the first amendment and all, there's not much to be done but ignore them.

Last year, there was a development. Those of you who remember where Chaldea is won't be surprised to learn that the Iraq war and subsequent emigration of large parts of the indigenous Christian population has meant a vast and sudden increase in the number of Maronites in Ohio, many of them young men whose families only recently escaped a place where people who hate their faith were shooting at them and bombing their churches. They apparently didn't take the in-your-face whore-worshipping charges in the American spirit intended, and a small riot broke out.

So eyes have been on Ohio this year. Amy Welborn has a good roundup of the coverage, with some first-person coverage by journalist David Hartline:
It was more than a little disconcerting, while attending Mass inside the basilica, to hear the bellowing voices of the street preachers over the readings and homily. The church isn’t air conditioned so one can easily hear what is occurring outside. While what the street preachers were saying wasn’t decipherable, it could be heard. I attended the English Mass but it must have been more than a bit ironic to hear the din of the street preacher’s comments during the Chaldean Mass. The Chaledans say their Mass in Aramaic, the ancient language of Jesus. Can you imagine a group of fundamentalists, whose primary doctrine concerning such topics as the rapture and salvation that comes from the 19th or 20th century, lecturing a group whose traditions and language go back to the Apostolic era?
A couple of the protesters, a Pastor David Ickes, "Franklin," and "George the Preacher," were kind enough to leave comments at Hartline's blog with compelling defenses for their annual behavior:
Have you forgotten the consitutional privledges granted when you stage a PUBLIC EVENT!! If you stayed within your church doors WITHOUT publically parading down a public street, we would let you worship anyway you want to! We have been preaching for a LONG TIME and preached many different events and this one rates just like the Sodomite parades of this year and previous years! VIOLENCE AND WAR IS IN THEIR HEARTS! Who do you think you are fooling except yourselves. We have the RIGHT in America to preach in the public and if you do not like it, just walk away, but NO, instead you Catholics would have KILLED us given the opportunity!!! You know NOTHING of the love of God to care about anything except your lies and distortion of the truth. You will continue to lie and distort THE TRUTH about Mary, the priesthood of BELIEVERS, the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, grace and faith, and EVERY biblical principal found in the scriptures! Carry on.
Yada yada. Is there some kind of biblical principal [sic] that you must never use paragraph breaks? Here's their website, if you feel called to make friends.

Anyway good to see that, this year, the Maronite kids were made to understand that in the U.S., the flipside of getting to worship Christ without your family being shot or your church being bombed is that other people get to scream vile things about your faith without fear of retaliation.

Just as followup, and in case any of those charming gentlemen should follow the links (as they seem to have with Hartline's blog) and drop by, if you've read this far, definitely take the time to read Mark Shea's recent posts on the Assumption: the first more theological, the second more apologetical. Take and read.

1 Comments:

Blogger sophia said...

I'm really kind of shocked and dismayed about this.

9:37 AM  

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