Well, the announcements are here! No surprises here. Apple announced the new 3G iPhone; not the third generation iPhone, but the iPhone with 3G mobile technology. Here was a an article that I had read regarding the naming of this piece of equipment: the iPhone Name Game. It was interesting to see the problems arising from the use of acronyms and such.
You may think that a priest should not be so interested in the things which are not really necessary for his ministry. You are right. While I admit that the iPhone is very attractive to me—I like gadgets—and part of me wants to get it, it is certainly not necessary for my ministry and my life. Can a priest be so worldly? The ideal answer is “a priest should not be too worldly.” The reality is that many priests, including myself, have these sorts of temptations. While I am not trying to justify anything, it is important to note that because of my interest in worldly pursuits like the internet and computers that I am able to publish this blog. Is this blog necessary to my ministry? I cannot reply in the affirmative. Without posting on this blog, I can still minister as a priest. Without posting, I have not neglected my duties as a priest. Yet, does that mean that I should not blog at all?
That last question sounds a little like a trick question. After all, a yes would imply my leaving cyberspace. That gives me a little tug in the heart; not that I cannot let go but that saying yes does not seem quite right. Saying no would also cause my heart to give a tug because I am doing something that is not absolutely necessary. My heart tells me that the answer is somewhere in the middle. Our hearts are usually good gauges for telling us what is right and what is wrong. St. Paul tells us so in his Epistle to the Romans Chapter 2 verse 15: the law of the Lord is written in our hearts. Our conscience tells us what is right and what is wrong. When we have done something wrong, our hearts tell us that we have done something wrong. The heart ‘bugs’ a person—his/her conscience disturbs him/her.
Someone asked me recently, “Is it a mortal sin for the priest to omit the words of consecration?” My immediate response was to say “Yes!“ but my heart tugged me at that moment. Objectively, a priest who omits the words of consecration does something wrong. However, sin is not merely doing something incorrectly. Mortal sin requires three elements: grave matter, knowledge of the sinfulness of the act, and free consent. If any one of these is missing, there is no mortal sin. I had, on one occasion, forgotten the words of absolution during a confession. Try as I might, I could not remember the words. I fumbled through the beginning but I remembered the last part clearly: “Through the ministry of the Church, may God grant you pardon and peace and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Although I did not cause the sacrament to be invalid, I certainly did not mean to mock the sacrament. Did I commit a mortal sin? I made my confession all the same.
The words of consecration are important and, if omitted, the sacrament becomes invalid. Only God and the priest knows if he has committed a mortal sin. My advice to the anyone who has witnessed a priest who has omitted the words of consecration is to tell him tactfully. Then, pray for him. He may not have done this intentionally, or he may not believe that he has done anything wrong. A wrongly informed conscience may not clear him from culpability but unless we are his confessors, we should not even start to judge whether his sins are mortal or not.
I certainly did not start out wanting to talk about mortal sin. I was speaking about the WWDC—Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference. Why did I begin the post about this? It’s due to the fact that Steve Jobs also announced MobileMe. This has impact on my podcasting. I use the .Mac site to present my podcasts. That service is going to change to MobileMe. However, I don't know if there is going to be any problem for the transition. I promised myself to start writing material for podcast production and I want to start podcasting again. However, being a kiasu kind of a person, I am afraid that I might have to upload the podcasts all over should there be any problem with the transition. That, believe me, would cause me to use up a great amount of time, which brings me back to the first issue that was mentioned at the top of the post: Is it necessary? Should I give up the idea of podcasting totally? I know of a few people who ask about the next podcast. Some of my friends tell me not to waste my time. I know that the Lion City Catholic Cast—in its latest form—is not as well done as the SQPN podcasts, but I still enjoy getting a podcast together. Call it a hobby; call it recreation; the question still is: Is it necessary?