Saturday, September 15, 2012
CONSERVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY: THE ONLY ANSWER IS CONSERVATISM, ALL OTHER NOVEL APPROACHES HAVE FAILED
Whispers in the Logia reports on Lincoln, Nebraska's new bishop who succeeds Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.
In the first Stateside appointment of the new "Vatican year," at Roman Noon today the Pope named Bishop James Conley – since 2008, the lone auxiliary of Denver – as bishop of Lincoln.
This is a portion of what Rocco Palmo writes:
In the southern Nebraska diocese of 100,000, the 57 year-old prelate – a longtime staffer at the Congregation for Bishops with a notable global cult following – succeeds the oldest active American prelate, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, whose retirement comes a week after his 77th birthday, two years past the canonical age. (The duo are shown above this morning at the local announcement.)
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz the "godfather" of a cadre of outspoken bishops who've firmly shifted the US hierarchy's center of gravity rightward over the last two decades, the Milwaukee native led the Lincoln church since 1992.
Aided by the departing ordinary's flair for the combative, under Bruskewitz the church in Cornhusker Country has become widely known in the Catholic world as a lodestar of an unabashed theological conservatism whose results have sometimes flown in the face of wider trends. Not only did a sudden bumper crop of priestly vocations prod the diocese to open its own minor seminary early in his tenure, but since 1998, Lincoln has likewise been home to the nation's lone formation house for the traditionalist Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), whose apostolates make exclusive use of the 1962 ritual books. (According to its website, the diocese currently has 44 seminarians, a figure on a par with several of the nation's largest Catholic outposts.)
Conversely, however, what arguably remains Bruskewitz's emblematic act in the spotlight – a 1996 decree excommunicating those of his faithful who, with "contumacious persistence," belonged to any of 12 groups whose purposes he deemed as running afoul of church teaching, including Planned Parenthood, the Masons, Call to Action and Catholics for a Free Choice – likewise saw the same sanctions levied against local adherents of the Society of St Pius X and another traditionalist chapel.
Years later, the Holy See upheld the controversial move. The Lincoln prelate has likewise taken significant heat for his refusal to fully implement the US bishops' Dallas Norms on clergy sex-abuse cases, which Rome has confirmed as particular law for the American church.
MY COMMENTS:I cannot name any diocese in this country or anywhere else that is center or left of center that is in any way doing as well as Lincoln, Nebraska. Keep in mind that this diocese only has 100,000 people and has 44 seminarians, yes, 44!
Shouldn't the hierarchy of the Catholic Church wake up and smell the coffee and recognize that the progressive meme that so many dioceses have embarked, and this means not only the bishop, but his personnel, both clergy and laity, has had a deleterious effect on conserving the Catholic Faith and conversely, Catholic identity?
Our new Bishop, Bishop Gregory Hartmayer recognizes that one of the biggest deficits in our diocese concerning the conservation of the Catholic Faith is poor catechesis from parents on down to children. He is right!
But that is not the only problem. We have in too many places a sloppy, casual liturgy sometimes improvised with sloppy, poor liturgical music and a lack of adherence to scrupulously following the rubrics of the Church and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. There is also often a failure to even follow canon law in minor and major ways.
Cathechesis is only one piece of the pie to re-establishing Catholic identity and I believe the smaller piece of the pie. The larger piece of the pie is authentic Catholic spirituality and morality.
It is true that under the umbrella of Catholic Spirituality are many "smaller" spiritualities. But these should all be Catholic, profoundly so and flow from the Sacraments and doctrines of the Catholic Church. Tied into this is also appropriate use of traditional devotional practices, the premier of which should be the recitation of the Holy Rosary.
But also a bigger piece of the Catholic identity pie is Catholic morality and there is no room for a left-leaning approach to that as the left leaning approach is immorality at worse or amorality at least. Think of Catholics for Choice--what an oxymoron!
If only more priests and laity in our diocese desired the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the spiritualities of a strong Catholic identity that flows from it, I think all the other problems with conserving the Catholic faith would dissipate and there would be a very strong gravitation pull on the Ordinary Form of things in the Catholic Church making them more extraordinary. We would have strong Catholic families, leading to strong Catholic parishes, where Catholic families see children as a gift from God to be embraced not contracepted and we will see more social justice and caring for the poor and the promotion of the culture of life. We will see more vocations to the priesthood and religious life and there will be a need for more seminaries and houses of formation for religious. Are you on board?