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By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 17, 2004

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2007 (XIS) Citing increased awareness of pastoral responsibilities, the U.S. Catholic bishops decided yesterday to drop Easter in 2008 from the roster of Christian feasts. By a vote of 184-28, the recommendation of the USCCB Task Force on Kerygma for "strategic pruning of liturgical deadwood" was adopted by the assembled prelates. The resolution proposed by the committee expressed concern that the Easter date of April 11 in 2008 would "materially distract Americans" from their civil obligation of preparing income taxes before the April 15th filing deadline. It was further noted that the NBC-TV mini-series "Dead Ball Foul," which concerns the HIV infection of former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, is scheduled to climax on the evening of Holy Saturday, causing a "potential conflict" for Catholics who could feel "caught between a sentimental attachment to the beauties of tradition and their Christian duty to stay fully informed about the premier health care issue of our time."

Anticipating grumblings from traditionalist factions within the U.S. church, the resolution conceded that "the symbol of the dead and rising god was and remains a cherished part of our heritage" but insisted that "quality scriptural and theological scholarship reminds us that even the first Resurrection Event was not a 'holy day of obligation' but a re-affirmation of what is best and noblest in the human experience."

Objections by some bishops that dropping the feast would reduce revenue on a prime collection weekend provoked sharp responses from many of their brothers. "We are an Easter People!" said Delbert Popp, the Archbishop of Muncie, "Easter is an affair of the heart, not of the calendar." Popp suggested that opponents of the resolution were trying to "box God in a paper time-frame" and to "frighten Catholics out of the faith by telling them 'Don't think of God unless we say so!'" Medford auxiliary Tod Malcomune concurred. "My priests are already stressed to the limit and beyond," he insisted, "They're presiding at three or four liturgies a week, not to mention their breviary. Even without this Easter business many have had to give up 'Desperate Housewives' and 'E.R.', and one of my best men is considering dropping his aerobics class. How are we going to be available to God's people if we keep the church's past as an obstacle in our path?"

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Nov. 18, 2004 9:37 PM ET USA

    thank you for the much needed laugh!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2004 10:50 AM ET USA

    Considering the lack of liturgical and theological training of so many of our bishops, and their training in canon law giving them the ' power" to establish things this is too possible to be funny.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2004 4:35 AM ET USA

    I must admit ... I thought this was just another report from the front ... at least until I got about 6 lines into it. It wasn't the "fact" that convinced me something wasn't right ... it was just the tone.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 17, 2004 5:32 PM ET USA

    The shame of this is that I cannot laugh too hard because it is a little too close to reality.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Nov. 17, 2004 3:05 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, how did you get an advance copy of this directive from Cardinal Mahony and his new USCCB Liturgy Chair Bishop Trautman?

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