Friday, November 1, 2013

ARE THE ULTRA-TRADITIONALISTS AND THE PROGRESSIVES SPINNING POPE FRANCIS IN THE SAME DIRECTION, AS A PROGRESSIVE 1970'S TYPE, GOING TO HARM VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD?


Yesterday at Pranzo at the Pontifical College North American here in Vatican City, I sat next to Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona. He is in Rome with the Vox Clara committee working on new translations in English for our marriage ritual and the Exorcism Rite.

Oddly enough, yesterday, I celebrated Mass as the main celebrant at our Sabbatical house, Casa O'Toole and it was the first time I've been the main celebrant since arriving here in Rome. Archbishop Emeritus of New Orleans, Albert Hughes concelebrated the Mass. He is on the Vox Clara committee as well. At pranzo day before yesterday, Cardinal Pell sat at the table behind me. He too is on this committee. How can I ever go back to Macon, home sweet home?

But I digress. Bishop Olmsted told me when I said I was from the Diocese of Savannah, that he is a huge Flannery O'Connor fan and that he had been to Millegeville where her home is, Andulusia.  This is about 30 miles from Macon.

He also knows a priest in North Augusta, South Carolina, just across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia, Father Peter Clarke who was the pastor of a very large community of Irish Travelers who have been in the Augusta area since the late 1800's. Fr. Clarke often filled in for me in my parish in downtown Augusta, Most Holy Trinity, when I needed him. He is good friends with the bishop. It's a small world!

Today we are being taught all day by Msgr. James Moroney and is here in Rome with Vox Clara and is the Executive Secretary of the Vox Clara Committee and the PrayTell blog absolutely loves him (tongue in cheek!)

But I digress!

This is about vocations to the priesthood and how ultra-traditionalists in league with liberal progressives are spinning Pope Francis as a wild-eyed 1970's liberal dragging the Church backwards to that horrible period of Church history. Obviously the ultra-traditionalists are quite unhappy about this and the liberal progressives can hardly contain their aging joy!

Bishop Olmsted pointed out the obvious. There is an increase in vocations to the priesthood these days as a result of the "reform in continuity" and the stability that both Popes John Paul II and Pope Benedict have brought to the Church.

Seminaries, such as St. John's in Boston, Mt. Saint Mary's in Emmitsburg, MD and the Pontifical College North American are quite full. In fact the seminary here is packed to capacity, over 240 men, the most ever.

I pointed out to Bishop Olmsted that I do not know of any liberal seminaries or religious orders who are doing well. The only ones that are doing well are traditional and orthodox. That should tell you something about the future of the Church!

He mentioned two orders that have staffed seminaries in the 1970's, the Vincentians and Sulpicians were two of the worst offenders in terms of the progressive 1970's  of seminary students and of their own orders and are not completely recovered themselves.

I did not say this to the bishop, but I have heard that some seminary students listening to the drivel of the ultra traditionalist and the liberal progressives and thinking that their spin of this pope is true are saying they didn't bargain for this when they entered the seminary.

I wonder how many other solid men who might be considering the priesthood might be turned off by what they might think is a regressive regime bringing us back to the 1970's when things were out of control and the Church's priesthood was most corrupt or corrupted by the spirit of the 1970's.

I think the ultra traditionalist and liberal progressive spin of Pope Francis is way off mark and that this pope while a very caring a flexible pastor is still very doctrinally sound and orthodox.

The clarification of Pope Francis' off-the-cuff remarks and certainly approved by the Pope written by Archbishop Muller head of the CDF is a very orthodox treatise on the nature of marriage and why the divorced and remarried without an annulment cannot receive Holy Communion. He also makes clear Catholic teaching on the need for a well-formed conscience that one must follow.

And then yesterday in the Vatican newspaper for November 1st, Archbishop Muller indirectly corrected some things that one of the pope's cardinal advisors, Cardinal Maradiga of Honduras, said in a talk in Dallas that seem to point to a Protestant ecclesiology that eliminates the distinctions between clergy and laity and that all are priests. Archbishop Muller called this out for what it is, a Protestant view of the Church that had its zenith in the 1970's and created and is still creating havoc on the Catholic priesthood and its identity and our ministry, especially the theology and doctrine of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.

This had to be a clarification of the good Cardinals ambiguous talk that really was Protestant in its ethos!

We don't need to go back to the 1970's and empty seminaries. The past is over and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were bringing us back to the future. Pope Francis will do the same. Don't listen to the liberal progressives grasping at straws in terms of their desire to go back to the 70's and the 70's "spirit of Vatican II" interpretation and don't listen to the ultra-traditionalists who are off the wall and wanting to go back to the 1950's.

Once we see understand where this pope is coming from, especially as he reforms the curia, the bishops, the priests and ultimately the rank and file laity, we'll see he is calling us to fidelity to the Magisterium which is fidelity to the Word of God and the Tradition of the Church, what is called the Deposit of Faith which cannot be changed or manipulated.

He is calling us to have a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother and to the saints and to rediscover the popular devotions of the Church, especially Adoration and Benediction of the Most  Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Rosary as well as Novenas.

He is referring to the Church as Holy Mother and the Bride of Christ and Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom which has implications for maintaining the all-male priesthood and the true nature of the Sacrament of  Holy Matrimony and family life.

He celebrates Mass facing the people in an "ad orientem sort of way" which means his personality is kept out of it and he reads the black and does the red.  And now, thanks be to God, he has celebrated the Mass ad orientem.

He is a Jesuit in his liturgical style and austere. God willing, he'll become more papal in his liturgical style and decorum. Time will tell. Did anyone think I'd have at the top of my blog Pope Francis celebrating the Ordinary Form of the Mass extraordinarily?

I am not clairvoyant, but maybe I am, but I predict a new springtime for the Church and vocations to the priesthood and religious life in orthodox and traditional communities.

19 comments:

John Nolan said...

Shouldn't the concelebrating priests be wearing stoles?

Anonymous said...

We're do I start? Francis IS a modernist. He goes out of his way to be vague and at times rambles incoherently. He refuses to condem sins like abortion (and saying "every child bears the face of Christ...is hardly a condemnation)when NARAL and Jane Fonda thank you for your progressive views it's terrifying; he refuses to stand in opposition to gay "marriage" which is tearing the Church apart. But instead makes the silly statement "who am I to judge?" Um, you are the pope and that is why Christ gave you the keys of heaven so that you could judge, it's your job. . He is the first pope in memory to purposefully commit a serious liturgical abuse.....just because he could. He constantly behaves as if the Traditions and Doctrines of the Church are stumbling blocks to Faith. Look at the state of his diocese in Aregentina. A seminary that was full when he arrived and is now empty. Try and find a Mass celebrated in His diocese that isn't given the dignity that would be accorded a circus. Just because he offered Mass towards the East in no way shows he is orthodox. Cardinal Mahoney would occasionally wear fiddlebacks. This means nothing. Francis has sown seeds of confusion from the first moment he stepped out onto that balcony. It's only going to get worse.

Pater Ignotus said...

If candidates are entering the seminary based on their impression of whoever is holding the Petrine Office at the time, or based on who is the diocesan bishop at the time, they are using the wrong criteria.

Priests become at ordination, an "alter Christus," not an alter episcopus and certainly not an alter Petrus. If their primary (or secondary or tertiary, for that matter) motivation is not service to the People of God, then their motivation is weakly founded. And they will become disillusioned when the ancient regime is replaced with a different person, as he certainly will be.

Gene said...

Ah, Ignotus…here it is again…your secular humanism is showing. The primary motivation for the Priesthood or any ordained ministry should be service and obedience to God…NOT the people. That follows later.

Gene said...

I have to agree with Anonymous. I wish I could believe otherwise but, at this point, I cannot.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Service to God and service to neighbor are not sequential. The commandment is that we love God and love neighbor.

In serving others we ARE serving God.

"Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me."

Gene said...

We are called by God to serve Him. Obedience to this call is theologically primary, otherwise we would not be filled with the desire to serve others. The great commandments were spoken of as two, and there was a logical order. Belief is still primary, Ignotus. That just drives you crazy, doesn't it? LOL!

George said...

I once heard someone bring up the roles of "priest,prophet and king" in a way that implied an elevation of the laity as being on a level with
the ministerial,ordained priesthood.
I should have asked him for clarification because maybe I had gotten the wrong impression in what
(or how) he said what he did.
There are some Catholics that do have that perspective, I'm afraid to say.
That's not what Lumen Gentium was conveying.

Anonymous said...

Pater Ignotus.

This is a rare instance where I find myself agreeing with you. If someone is looking to enter the priesthood, it should not matter who the pope is. The only problem is, if I have a Pope like, say, Benedict, who tended to be more supportive of traditionalist Catholics, I, as a seminarian would be more enthused. If I had a pope like the Jesuit pope, who seems to be all over the map, and who has made some pretty reckless comments about traditionalists, I might hesitate, just out of fear that my seminary experience might get too weird or my first parish assignment is going to be with some postconciliar hippie pastor who will be completely intolerant of me.

Either way, if I have a vocation, I guess I should be willing, whether I am going to be supported or persecuted. But I can also understand why some hesistate.

Pater Ignotus said...

Again, the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides direction:

2055 When someone asks him, "Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?" Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets." The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law:..."

"This is a two-fold yet SINGLE commandment."

The two elements cannot be separated; to do so makes a mockery of the Incarnation, the mystery by which we come to understand the embodiment of theology, the practicality of virtue, and the necessity of avoiding any form of theological or material dualism.

And you have misread Matthew 19. Jesus was not asked "Which are the greatest commandments?" (plural) but, "Which is the greatest commandment?" (singular)

The greatest commandment is one, as the Catechism makes clear.

Anonymous 2 said...

Pater and Gene:

I agree with both of you. For believers love of neighbor is rooted in love of God, and love of God is expressed by loving neighbor. It is not secular humanism to say this about believers. But can’t we go even further? Isn’t an unbeliever’s love of neighbor also rooted in love of God -- they just don’t realize it yet? If so, then aren’t both believers and unbelievers in fact loving God when they love their neighbor? And isn’t one (only one, of course) of the keys to effective evangelization helping unbelievers to recognize the truth of where their ability to love neighbor really comes from (given that secular fundamentalist objections based on scientific explanation are ultimately unsustainable)?

I also agree that a man’s discernment of his vocation to the priesthood should not depend on who the Pope is, any more than the decision to attend Mass should depend on who the priest is or the particular form of the Mass (yes, even if it is in Latin, a “clunky” form of English, sung badly or, horror of horrors, accompanied by a folk group). God and His call are beyond all of that (I don’t say they are bigger than all of that because the word big is just silly when referring to God).




Gene said...

Ignotus…yawn...

Gene said...

No, an unbeliever's love of neighbor is not "rooted in the love of God." That is why I continue to point out that belief is theologically and anthropologically primary. I am not talking about the practical application of our belief as it leads us to service. "How shall they know if they have not heard?"
"Love of neighbor" or serving our neighbor can be based upon something as secular and pragmatic as Hobbes' or Rousseau's "Social Contract." Until we believe and know Him, we can neither love Him or properly serve others. Now, is that really so difficult to understand/

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

What about the following language in section 22 of Gaudiem et Spes that “All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way”?:

The Christian man, conformed to the likeness of that Son Who is the firstborn of many brothers, received "the first-fruits of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23) by which he becomes capable of discharging the new law of love. Through this Spirit, who is "the pledge of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of "the redemption of the body" (Rom. 8:23): "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the death dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also bring to life your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11). Pressing upon the Christian to be sure, are the need and the duty to battle against evil through manifold tribulations and even to suffer death. But, linked with the paschal mystery and patterned on the dying Christ, he will hasten forward to resurrection in the strength which comes from hope.

All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.



Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

What about the following language in section 22 of Gaudiem et Spes that “All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way”?:

The Christian man, conformed to the likeness of that Son Who is the firstborn of many brothers, received "the first-fruits of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23) by which he becomes capable of discharging the new law of love. Through this Spirit, who is "the pledge of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of "the redemption of the body" (Rom. 8:23): "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the death dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also bring to life your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11). Pressing upon the Christian to be sure, are the need and the duty to battle against evil through manifold tribulations and even to suffer death. But, linked with the paschal mystery and patterned on the dying Christ, he will hasten forward to resurrection in the strength which comes from hope.

All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.



Gene said...

Grace works in an unseen way in order to bring men to believe. Man receives the "first fruits of the Spirit" after he is conformed to Christ. Your quotes confirm, rather than contradict, what I said. Otherwise, your argument is universalist and indifferentist. It is really not that difficult to understand.
You cannot build a theology, a Catholic one, anyway, upon grace as some kind of divine wild card. That is called protesantism.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

You and I simply read this text differently. And I suspect we understand Catholic teaching on this point differently. Perhaps Father McDonald, Pater Ignotus, or another priest can clear the matter up for us authoritatively. In the meantime I offer this analysis:

http://catholickey.org/2013/06/10/do-all-good-atheists-go-to-heaven/

I suppose my current view is a radical one that we fallen human beings are quite unable to do good and to follow our natural inclination to the good unless we are moved by grace. Therefore, when unbelievers do good in response to the dictates of conscience it is the result of divine grace acting within them, whatever other story they might tell themselves. For me this understanding is required by our radical dependence upon God.

In my own experience there are many “natural Christians” who do not believe and yet seem to manifest the fruits of the Spirit more than those who identify themselves as Christians. Coming from the U.K., I have known many such people. I see divine grace acting within them even though they do not recognize it. They will one day, though. For me faith is capacious and not just, or even primarily, a question of intellectual assent to a doctrinal proposition. It is a matter of the heart, and neither you nor I knows what moves the deepest recesses of a person’s heart. This is not universalism or indifferentism, as I understand those concepts. After all, perhaps the gift is refused -- but then no good can be done because Love will not be active.



Gene said...

There is no such thing as a "natural Christian." That is the most absurd nonsense I have ever heard. The heart and the mind are not separated; they act together. Intellectual assent to theological truth protects us against emotionalism and sentimentality…against the 19th century neo-prot "feeling of absolute dependence" which became the mantra for humanistic, and later existential, theology. Grace may move our hearts to seek Him, but we must know whom and what we seek.
But, it can work the other way…could not an intellectual or a contemplative type person, after much study and academic deliberation, have an intellectual realization regarding theological truth which would then lead to an emotional embracing of Christ? Certainly so. Christ batters our hearts in many ways, intellectual and emotional. I am not prepared to say that the academic's intellectual belief experience is less valid than that of the humble blue-collar guy's or the mystic's. I am sure you are not, either. But, this is a good discussion.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

I agree with much of what you say of course, and I also agree it is a good discussion. It is certainly helping to bring some important things into sharper focus for me. I will try to respond at greater length when I get some more time.