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.