Magazine article Anglican Journal

Church Falls Prey to Frenzy of outside World

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Church Falls Prey to Frenzy of outside World

Article excerpt

`Look busy!'

ONE OF THE GREAT raconteurs of the Canadian church, the late Jim Mahoney, Roman Catholic Bishop of Saskatoon until his death a few years ago, had a grand story whose action he located, apocryphally, in his own diocese.

In the story he receives a frantic Sunday morning call from a pastor. "It's the second coming! Our Lord has turned up at the 9 a.m. mass. What do I do?"

"Hold the phone," says the bishop, "I'll call the apostolic delegate in Ottawa." The delegate tells the bishop to wait while he consults the Bishop of Rome.

Eventually the pastor gets a call from the bishop to relay the words of the apostolic delegate passing on the Pope's advice. The message: "The Holy Father says, `Look busy!"'

We hear on every side that busy-ness is an affliction of our society. The employed work overtime and often speak of being harassed by busy-ness; the unemployed suffer in many ways, including the sense that they are not valued because they are not busy.

Today's workplace provides workers with more opportunities for being "got at." As well as the mail and the telephone, there are now faxes, e-mail, and voice mail. Some even have portable phones so they can be "got at" anywhere, and therefore, can do the same to others. More busy-ness.

And the victims of all this both complain and brag. Complain, because the process saps energy, robs people of family time and increases pressure of all kinds. They brag because it also conveys a perverse sense of being needed, valued and made a greater human being, even though it diminishes us as persons. …

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