Letters to the Bishop

Liturgical Flora

Your Excellency:

Two months ago, the priest in our parish removed six candles from the back altar of our church—the one that’s still against the wall—and replaced them with potted plants on either side of the tabernacle.  When asked why he had replaced the candles with plants, our priest replied that the candles were liturgically incorrect.

Soon, the number of plants began spreading across the front of the church.  The plants appeared mysteriously, as in that old science-fiction movie where alien pods intent on taking over the earth keep reproducing.  Potted plants turned the prayer space before Our Blessed Mother into a miniature garden; several taller artificial  plants clumped themselves around the pulpit; at one point during Eastertide, a fountain was added to this garden, popping on unexpectedly during Mass so that  some parishioners initially feared that a pipe in the sacristy had broken.

You will note, your Excellency, that I am not a fan of indoor flora.  Real plants belong outside; they shed leaves, emit pollen, attract insects, and often require more care than a dog, without the corresponding return in affection.  As for artificial plants, they are best left to the lobbies of  banks, motels, and government buildings.  (By the way, I have noticed that the priests who complain about the tackiness of certain religious statuary are often the very ones who adorn the church...

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