Sunday, 01 August 2010
World Cup fever has finally dissipated now that July is over, but this story was just too funny and bizarre for me to pass up.
I’m somewhere between a casual and a semi-true soccer fan. I watch the big games, like the World Cup and the UEFA Champions League, but I’m not rushing out to buy any Los Angeles Galaxy jerseys.
I would say I’m more interested in soccer than the average American. But even the most die-hard American fan does not come close to the average European fan.
Take, for example, Reverend Paul Vlaar, a Catholic priest in the Netherlands who held an orange Mass to pray for the Dutch national team before it faced Spain in the World Cup final.
According to a report on ESPN.com, Rev. Vlaar dressed in an orange robe for the service and decorated the church with orange flags. During the Mass, he deflected a soccer ball like a goalkeeper when one churchgoer fired it down the aisle.
And my mom always told me never to play ball in the house.
The orange Mass apparently did not sit well with Bishop Jozef Punt, who suspended Rev. Vlaar because his ceremony “did not do justice to the sacred nature of the Eucharist.”
Bishop Punt ordered Rev. Vlaar to enter “a period of reflection” because the Mass “caused outrage” in the Netherlands and internationally. The Catholics at Rev. Vlaar’s church were surprised by the suspension because his passion is what draws them to Mass in the first place.
As crazy and weird as this orange Mass was, it actually raises an interesting point. How far should priests and the Catholic Church as a whole be willing to go to bring people to masses?
Obdam Parish’s vice chairman Win Bijman raised the point that Rev. Vlaar’s church is usually full, while other parishes struggle to get people to come to Mass.
Should the Catholic Church consider alternative ways to bring people to Mass? How far is too far?