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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Girzone packs'em in

More than 250 people filled the Asia and Africa rooms at Maryknoll to hear Fr. Joseph Girzone, retired but very active priest and author about Jesus today.

Ironically many "Catholic" bookstores resist carrying the "Joshua" series of books, despite their success and popularity among Evangelical and Pentacostal Christians and even Jews. Even the Vatican bookstore carries the "Joshua" books and says they are very well read, by Cardinals and popes

Jesus, according to Girzone, is little known and less understood in the Church today, which focuses too much on laws and rules and rituals.

This gets Girzone onto hot water with the chancery. Forty percent of Catholics are divorced and remarried, which by extension alienates their children. So Girzone invited all fallen away Catholics or Protestants who believe in the Real Presence to come to Communion.

He got called to the Chancery and pointed out that Jesus gave communion to Judas, even after Judas has made up his mind to betray Jesus. "Surely these people gave not sinned as much," Girzone explained.

It was these confrontations and deteriorating health that forced Girzone to consider leaving the priesthood.

He wrote to the bishop with this intention. The bishop was reluctant to let a 50-year-old priest retire as it might set a bad precedent.

Foregoing any remuneration, Girzone was allowed to give up active ministry to concentrate on writing.

He ended up with a larger "congregation" than he ever imagined: the world.

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