Wednesday of Holy Week Lent Letters and Spirit of the law and Holy Trinity Parish in Dallas TX.

One of the things that often confuse people is the transition from the Lenten season of the Church to the Easter Season. Most people treat lent as running to Easter Sunday or at least till the Easter Vigil mass (the longest mass of the year) on Saturday after sundown.

The reality is actually that in between Lent and Easter there consists the shortest season of the church year the Easter Triduum consisting of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday

Now because of this there are some people who will end their Lenten vows on Thursday or Thursday evening (since in ancient Judaism the day ended at sundown which is why you have vigil masses). Depending on what was being given up and such people are following the letter of the law.

The problem with the letter of the law is that the Easter Triduum is actual the most solemn season of the church. You have the trial, torture. crucifixion and death of Christ.

I don’t think you can get more solemn than that.

That being the case I think that it’s more appropriate to wait until Easter to lift any restrictions one has placed on oneself because while one might be following the letter of the law one might also wish to follow the spirit of the law.

And that brings us to Holy Trinity Church in Dallas and the case of Deirdre Hariston a pregnant mother of was at mass during Lent praying after receiving holy communion

Three police officers were waiting for her after she went to Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church. She was kneeling down and holding her baby when the police officer said she needed to leave the mass.

When Deidre continued to kneel and pray the police officer grabbed her arm and tried to lift her and drag her out of the church. The officer told her she was trespassing — by attending mass!

Deirdre later found out the main pastor ratted her out! The usher was in the background screaming, “Lock her up!”

The police officer then asked her for ID and told her she was going to arrest her.
She was told not to come back to this Catholic Church again.

The degree of clueless here is astounding, particularly given that she had already received communion meaning the mass was practically over not to mention the optics of police removing a woman at prayer from a church, during lent no less and an usher crying for her to be locked up. I mean it’s not like the pastor couldn’t have approached her after mass to talk to her if he had a problem.

But that cluelessness pales before the statement by the Diocese of Dallas which backed up the pastor even though there is not only no mask mandate in Texas but no Mask mandate by the Diocese itself saying in part:

Canon Law grants parishes jurisdiction over their parishes and while the bishops has not mandated masks for every parish he has left the specific details to the pastors of the diocese

Now if the pastor wanted to stress that he desired parishioners to wear a mask he could have approached her quietly after mass rather than calling police on a pregnant mother.

Furthermore it’s my experience that pregnant mothers are exactly the people you want at parishes because without them you have a parish that dies.

In fairness the priest and the diocese have the letter of the law on their side but might I suggest that while this year we are praying with Mark they they might want to re-acquaint themselves with this passage from Matthew

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,

“The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens (hard to carry) and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”

Matthew 23:1-4

Pray for the diocese, the priest and for the young lady who I hope will find a parish that will welcome her and her children with open arms.