Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal will meet President Barack Obama. It appears that the good general and the good president will have a pow wow over some sarcastic remarks, what some might call snarks, concerning the president's leadership as well as the leadership of others in the president's camp. Clearly this seems to be a case of insubordination on the part of the general. I will be surprised if the general is still in his position after his meeting with the president, unless of course, the president is glad to have those under his command who question everything and even the president's leadership.

There are some parallels to this in the Church today. Everyone is called to mature obedience to God and His Church in the areas of faith and morals and even canon law, yes,canon law. Catholics must follow the laws of the Church as it concerns marriage, ordination, pastoral councils, finance councils and so on.

We must also follow the liturgical norms of the church, which after Vatican II have become more flexible and diverse. For example today many parishes celebrate both forms of the one Roman Rite, the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form. This was not even possible until about three years ago.

As well, a monumental change in the English Mass is about to be implemented. There are some in the hot houses of academia in the Church who are none to pleased with Pope Benedict's liberal allowance of the EF Mass and the Vatican's insistence that the new English translation of the Mass be a literal translation of the Latin, even in sentence structures. These academics and their students are seeing red and it's not just the red of the rubrics that they are seeing. In fact, the red of the rubrics they've become color blind to years ago.

What's the connection between General McChrystal and public dissenters in the Church toward the legitimate authority of the Magisterium even in non-infallible leadership such as approving a particular English translation of the Mass? Well, the Church leadership sometimes will go the extra mile to keep dissenters in the Church or wait them out or show mercy to them. We've seen this with errant and abusive priests time and time again. In the long run, this tolerance of errant, disrespectful and abusive behavior has undermined the entire Magisterium of the Church. The Magisterium will recover and is recovering, but it will take making strong and decisive decisions against public dissent even in administrative areas of the Church. There will have to be real consequences for such public dissent.

I never thought I would say this, but depending on what happens today with General McChrystal, President Barack Obama may be giving authority figures in the Church a very clear message about dissent, disrespect and the consequences of such. Yes, this leadership will be from the president who praised the president of Notre Dame for having the courage to invite him to speak at last year's commencement ceremonies despite the fact that Fr. Jenkin's was strongly "encouraged" to modify the invitation. How ironic!


pinanv525 said...

Ya' see that second picture? This is what you Priests are missing by not marrying...LOL!

Anonymous said...

Followership was once a major point of study in the military. The point was to understand how to follow, to be sincere, ethical and supportive. It would entail honest feedback to leadership that was respectful and tactfully given. This is where the concept broke down. Many felt the license to criticise any decision openly to whomever they wanted. For the lowly soldier this may have been simple grousing. But to anyone in the chain of command this easily became disruptive and undermined the ability to execute any mission at all. I do not support Obama at all; except that he is the President of the United States. When a soldier on foreign land undermines the Commander in Chief, he encourages resistance of our enemies, weakens his men through doubt and endangers their lives. In a better time McChrystal would have hung himself.

It is ironic that the homily has become as great a hazard for leaders of the Church as interviews with Rolling Stone are for military leaders. As much as I love the Mass, I always dread the homily and its narrow and often non sequitur interpretation of the Liturgy. The same extent that McChrystal should have looked to his leader, his, people, and his mission before speaking about his own desires I pray that our Church leaders will look to the simple and truth and beauty of the Liturgy and speak more of it and less of their own desires.


pinanv525 said...

If you have a difference of philosophy, or a difference of perspective, that is serious enough to become a matter of conscience, then resign...period. That is statement enough and it maintains your integrity. You really don't need to say anything but, if you must, do it after you resign.

Now, with regard to changing things from within a structure, you may talk with superiors and peers, file legitimate complaints according to protocol, write letters, and provide examples by your own behavior while maintaining dignity and respecting the integrity of the system. These people who stay within the system and decide to be disruptive, petulant, and subversive need to be kicked out.

I detest Obama and this entire administration. I am a strong supporter of the military and those who defend our country. But, I believe McChrystal was wrong, not to mention stupid...Rolling Stone magazine, for heaven's sake! All should take a lesson from General George C. Marshall in WW II. During a planning meeting with JCS at the beginning of the war, someone asked, "What about the press?" Marshall replied, "The press? Tell 'em when it's over and who won."

Anonymous said...

Vat II opened that tolerance to questioning everything. What started with buckled shoes led to the whole question of women's ordination. And it has not let up yet. This flood gate needs to close. People without the backround, not even qualified to judge sit in judgement of all the Church represents and has stood for, for centuries. This is a real danger for the Church.

Henry said...

"As much as I love the Mass, I always dread the homily . . ."

So far this month for me: 18 daily Masses, 0 sermons. Does it get much better than this?

Of course, a sermon at each Sunday Mass, but all rock solid.

Although, however excellent a sermon is in doctrine or theology, how often is one heard that really adds to rather than subtracts from the Holy Sacrifice?

Especially, in the TLM with it's severely penitential prayers at the foot of the altar that so powerfully remind us how awesome is the sacrifice to come, a sacrificial tension built up to such an extent that almost any sermon is like a pin pricking a balloon.

Indeed, to the extent that a really fine sermon may be more of a distraction than a poor one that goes in one ear and out the other, leaving nothing in between to dilute focus on the ensuing Sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

The Homily is nourshiment! Not annoyance.
Who do you people think you are to criticize any Homily?
Do you think that you are more insightful, learned, or well spoken than any priest?
The Homily folks is PART OF the Mass, not a sideline interruption.
Perhaps you are closed books..
Perhaps you are not truly open to what God is trying to give to you through the Homily.
As for me, I relish each moment of every Mass. There is no such thing as a bad Homily or one that is too long. Plus I think that the whole Mass should SLOW DOWN.

I'm happy for those that can attend 18 daily Masses in a month. Pray for and remember those of us that want to be there, but cannot.
One day I hope to be able to do that. As far now, I hunger deeply, practically starve from Sunday to Sunday.

Honestly, how arrogant can one be to criticize Homilies?
Is not a Homily a time when the Lord is using the humanity of a priest to speak to us audibly?
Quite frankly, it's inconceivable that one can simultaneously say they experience a 'sacrificial tension' and then bad mouth Homilies by comparing them to a pin pricking a balloon or say 'As much as I love the Mass, I dread the Homily..'
Incongruent statements.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by good homilists....
or maybe I'm simply grateful and grateful simply.

pinanv525 said...

Homilies are important and I generally take something good away from even the mediocre ones. Some at St. Jo's these past several years have been pretty powerful, one or two have brought tears and I do not cry easily. Fr. MacDonald is theologically astute and very pastoral. Our last three Vicars have all been quite good homilists. Let me quote a couple of my favorite lines from Fr. Justin's homily a few months ago. It is most apropos for our discussions here: "So, all you cafeteria Catholics out there...tell me how you are different from Protestants. I mean, you don't recognize Papal authority or the Magisterium of the Church, either. So, why are you here?"

And this from Fr. (at our recent Requiem Mass): "You Protestants out there believe in Purgatory whether you know it or not. If I were to die tonight and be blessed with entry into Heaven, I won't be like I am now. I'll be changed. I won't be angry at several people, and I am now. I won't be disgusted with myself about some things, and I am now. Something happens through Our Lord and Saviour to change me...and that, dear friends, is Purgatory."

Finally, from Fr. Dallas, our former Vicar (at Easter after we had shouted out "Crucify him, crucify him!"): "How did you like saying those words? But, you said them. We were all there in that crowd, scorning Him. Now, I want you to think of your very worst sins. Go ahead. Think of your worst sin against God or the Holy Spirit...but, never be afraid. For, Our Lord and Saviour has commanded you to never think of those sins except in the light of His Cross and His Blessed Sacrifice." It doesn't get much better than that.