What is it with all the recent controversies of clergy with big houses and the media stirring up opposition and division in the Church.
The latest in a string of these reportings focused on Cardinal Bertone the former Vatican Secretary of State. He is remodeling a Vatican apartment described by the press as opulant and having angered Pope Francis. Really?
Much is said about Pope Francis living in the Vatican Motel 6. He stated that the reason he lives there has nothing to do with his vow of poverty but purely psychiatric reason for his mental health. He wants to be around normal people everyday.
He still works at the Papal Palace where his office is. Technically for him to live and sleep there too would have a greater sign value in terms of poverty, rather than taking up space elsewhere.
The bigger question is the right of priests and bishops who are not under the obligation of the vow of poverty to do as they wish with their hard-earned money. Even though the Church is paying us, we work for our pay and earn it and once it is given to us it is ours.
Do we not have a right to invest that money, save it, prepare for retirement and buy material things? Can we have a summer home or a retirement home? Yes we can! There is no Church law preventing it.
As far as those places where we live which the Church owns, others in the parish or the diocese, such as pastoral councils and finance councils should have some oversight and input into what is spent for renovations, purchases and the like if these are purchased with parish funds, not the personal funds of any particular priest.
This is what the National Catholic Register is reporting on this:
by ANDREA GAGLIARDUCCI/CNA/EWTN NEWS 04/29/2014
VATICAN CITY — In an open letter, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has addressed accusations that he had angered Pope Francis with his “luxurious” new residence, saying he and the Pope are on good terms.
“I am personally grateful to Pope Francis for having called me April 23 to express his solidarity and his disappointment for the media attacks about the apartment, of which he had been informed as soon as the article was published,” the emeritus Secretary of State wrote in an open letter published in the magazines of the archdioceses of Vercelli and Genoa, both of which he led for a time.
Italian daily La Repubblica published an article April 20 claiming that the cardinal was moving into a lavish 6,500-square foot apartment in the Vatican’s San Carlo Palace, while Pope Francis has been urging clerics to adopt a modest lifestyle.
According to La Repubblica, the Pope himself had been angered by the luxury of Cardinal Bertone’s new apartment.
The paper claimed that the restructure combines two apartments, one formerly the home of the head of the gendarmerie, and another once home to a Vatican monsignor.
Three nuns who worked with him while he was Secretary of State will live with him in his new residence.
San Carlo Palace is a few steps from Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse where Pope Francis resides.
La Repubblica’s article caused a certain media frenzy in Italy.
Cardinal Bertone did not make any official statement, but in the end decided to send a letter to the weekly magazines of the two dioceses where he had been ordinary, in order “to thank the friends” from the dioceses who showed him support for the media reports and also for “those who may have been surprised by the news.”
Cardinal Bertone stressed that the source of the article “doubled the size” of the apartment he is going to live in, and complained that “it was even said that the Pope angered with me for living in so much luxury.”
He explained that the apartment “is temporarily given to me” and that “after me, someone else will be living in it.”
He added that the apartment is a typical size for the Vatican palaces, and that he renovated it “at my own expense.”
“As Pope Saint John XXIII used to say, ‘I do not stop to collect the stones launched against me,’” Cardinal Bertone wrote, concluding his letter.
"Who am I to judge?"
It seems to me that this is an internal concern between the pope and the cardinal. The pope, or his designee, sets the Vatican budget.
As for secular clergy in general, we in the Latin Church are bound by canons requiring us to "cultivate a simple style of life" and preventing us from "conducting business or trade" without episcopal approval.
I don't know too any priests in our diocese who make enough "hard earned money" to buy vacation homes. And, really, it's not our money to do with as we please. Stewardship, which we preach, tells us that we are simply stewards of what's in our bank accounts. The "opposition and division" isn't coming from the media. You can't blame the messenger here.
But really the more serious issue is the wasted diocesan monies spent on useless conferences across the country. Our former bishop, Bishop Lessard would not allow any priest or diocesan personnel go further west than the Mississippi River.
Having never attended an "away" conference at my own initiative, it puzzles me than some priests travel so far and so often to attend these. I see this phenomenon seemingly often among priests on Facebook and Twitter, who post photographs of their quarterly or even bi-monthly trips away to various conferences and pilgrimages. Religious priests seem to do so the most.
That said, perhaps some priests just need more time away, or maybe their parishes/chaplaincies truly profit from what is gained at these conferences. It could be that my pastoral work suffers because I don't imitate them.
But it's still hard to shake the feeling that they are being extravagant.
By the way, I intend to live in a rectory upon retirement, behaving just like Father Jack Hackett from "Father Ted"!
Secular clergy are not religious clergy. While most certainly they should try to live simply and should be proper stewards with any income they do have left over...it does not mean that one can't do something nice for one's self once in a while. If one needs more space to accommodate the nuns, who am I to judge?
I don't see anything wrong with prelates living in a dignified residence. It takes nothing away from anyone. What I have a huge problem with is prelates teaching or tolerating heresy.
It is telling, Good Father, that you judge the National Workshop on Christian Unity a "useless" conference. You have never attended one and you have ZERO knowledge of the program. Just because you have no interest in the work being done to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ doesn't mean the work is useless.
A $2 million is not useless nor your workshop, just the extravagance of it all using diocesan money when it could be given to a better use like our Catholic schools or prolife ministries. If you spent your own money then that is yours to do for the altruistic reasons you list.
$2 million house I should have written
The "National Workshop on Christian Unity" looks like pure garbage to me. Looks like all the COCU hippies back for another go in their senescence. LOL!
Pin/Gene - Welcome aboard the Good Ship Ignorance. Your captain is Fr McDonald who, like you, is talking through his hat. People love to stand at a distance and cast aspersions on others, all the while not lifting a finger to lighten the load. Sound familiar?
And, Good Father, would you say to your former bishop that all the good work he did for the Church on ARCIC was "useless?" Would you say that to his face, or would you weasel out and make such disparaging comments here?
+RWL says ecumenism isn't cerebral or academic, but practical and grassroots. The Alleluia Community has more ecumenism in its little toe than all the silly academic musings of silly conferences west of the Mississippi which you would not have been allowed to attend under hid glorious reign. On top of that Daybreak in Macon would have been a better place for you to experience this week in terms of actual ecumenism and interfaith cooperation on the grassroots level right under your nose that has lost its sense of smelling these sheep in your city.
Ignotus, I'll bet I've lightened as many loads as you ever have.
+RWL regularly and devotedly participated in the ARCIC dialogues. His academic/intellectual ability was a valuable component of those dialogues. While YOU dismiss the value of academic theological discussion, +RWL never did. His own example exposes your falsehood.
You present a false dichotomy, Good Father. Both grass roots ecumenical cooperation and serious theological dialogues are needed. And both are the work of the church.
The 2015 NWCU will be in Charlotte on April 20-22. You're invited!
It is on this side of the Mississippi and thus approved and I can drive, stay at a motel 6 and avoid the unnecessary expense to the diocese.
Ignotus, that is hilarious and more of your hypocrisy. You have consistently avoided any meaningful theological dialogue on this blog despite several people offering it. Probably because your theology is humanist/modernist and has very little to say. You enjoy the company of the likes of the NWCU because they have no theology, either, except for "ecumenicism."
The Church is already united and can be nothing but united. People outside the Church simply need to convert to the one true Faith, the Body of Christ, the Church.
It is really quite simple. I'm not sure why you need an entire conference...
Yes, Catholic, and that is what ecumenism is…"the Church shall cover the world."
Pin/Gene - You have never attended the NWCU, so your claim to know the theology of attendees is so much chaff blowing in the wind. It is waste.
There are theologians, pastors, seminary professors, and dedicated lay men and women here whose theological competence and ability you can only dream of.
+RWL is a very well trained theologian whose capabilities are well known to Good Father McDonald. His contributions to ecumenism are published, are yours?
"Catholic" - The Church includes those who are not members of the Catholic Church. By Baptism they are incorporated into the Body of Christ, yet we do not yet share the unity that is the will of Christ. Hence, the necessity of this conference, of the dialogues our Church carries on with most other Christian denominations, and of the cooperation with our separated brothers and sisters in various social ministries the world over.
You can stand on the sidelines, shouting, "Sign up for the RCIA, you heretics!" and will accomplish diddly squat.
Good Father, my attendance at this conference is approved by the only one in our diocese whose approval matters. Yours certainly does not!
Actually, Ignotus, I have attended (way in the past) such conferences and do happen to know a number of the people who attend NWCU. I have friends who still teach in seminaries and grad schools and am pretty well in touch with the "theology" that is current among them.
Oh, and I do not "dream" of theological competence, especially if it is what passes for theology in today's grad schools and seminaries. I am quite comfortable and confident with my theological training and background.
Pater, you are incorrect in your definition of the Church.
I don't stand on the sidelines. Everyday I work along side non-Catholics, giving witness to the Faith and answering their questions when asked. The rest is up to the Holy Ghost.
It sounds to me like you are the one wasting time by going to a conference that will accomplish nothing because it is based in falsity.
Gene, I'm rather certain that Good Pater here is one of those pastors attending the conference whose theological competence and ability one could only dream of.
"Catholic" - What "falsity"?
Pin/Gene - I have the list of attendees at hand. Who do you know who is here in Albuquerque?
"Catholic"- And what makes you so sure the Holy Spirit is working only with you, and not here with me?
Your notion of ecumenism is false.
I don't, and never claimed, any insight as to where and with whom the Holy Ghost isn't working. I assume He works to convert everyone...
Ignotus, when did I say I knew anyone attending the silly conference?
Pin/Gene - In your 7:25 post you said you know ppl who attend NWCU.
"Catholic"- my understanding of ecumenism is that of the Church. What do you find false in that?
And you said this NWCU is a waste of time, thus asserting the holy Spirit can't be working here. You are, of course, wrong.
In the military and secular employment world we call this kind of "conference" trip a "boondoggle". Religious subsidizing calls it something else, I guess...
Ignotus, I said I know a number of people who attend such conferences. I did not specify this current one. Why don't you post a list of the attendees and I will tell you who I know.
So Tired - Since, like Gene, "Catholic," and Good Father McDonald, you're not here in ABQ, so your characterization of the NWCU as a boondoggle is nothing more than your own fantasy, now is it?
Perhaps a succinct summary of all the new things that you learned in this week of workshops and tea and crumpets would enlighten us. What new is there under the sun of ecumenism that we didn't already know?
RCIA is the proper form of ecumenicism.
Looks like nothing is new with "ecumenism" to me.
Catholic, I know. I looked at the same site and laughed at the same, tired old agenda. LOL!
I'm pretty sure that when these people refer to "healing ethe remaining wounds in the Body of Christ," they mean a sort of reductionist agenda wherein all the offensive to Protestant doctrines are discarded.
"Pater Ignotus", what does this phrase mean and how is it actuated at a conference like this one?
Allan, what you don't know about ecumenism would fill a small library. And I'll be glad to provide you with a summary, as I have done after each NWCU I have attended.
"Catholic" - Since you are already "pretty sure" you know what the phrase means, what would be the benefit to you of my explaining it?
Ignotus, what, exactly, is there to know about ecumenism that we are all so missing?
Good PI, while you were hobnobbing with the elitist of ecumenism across the Mississippi, way across, way, way across, we at St.Joseph Church were doing grassroots ecumenism! Funeral Mass yesterday where 95% were not Catholic. Assisted at Mormon Funeral today where the Mormon bishop allowed me to say the final prayer (and the funeral home provided an actual crucifix for the service!) Fr. Godfred went and prayed over a dead person, whose parents are Catholics but the son is having a Protestant funeral. We hosted a tour of the Church and a lunch following for an ecumenical group of people visiting Macon, with our music director, full time, who is not Catholic, playing the organ.
So, now, what was your workshop on?
"Pater Ignotus" - I'm pretty sure about a lot of things in life. That doesn't mean I'm uninterested in hearing more about them. I've been convinced that I was wrong many times in my life when I was previously "pretty sure." I was raised an atheist, became a Marxist, extensively studied and practiced Theravada Buddhism, and have quite a bit of time and experience with the Eastern Orthodox Church. For some time, I undertook a rather expansive study of comparative religion whilst pondering philosophy, principally of the Nietzschean and later existentialist variety. I could be a great ecumenist/interreligious resource for you.
With that said, why is it easier for you to complain about the way I asked my question than to simply answer it?
So, Catholic, am I to understand that you were a Zen-Agno-Sartrian-Marxist-Ubermensch? Wow, cool. I'll bet you got all the Granola crunching, Patchouli reeking, earth biscuit hippie girls..LOL!
The chicks, hippie or otherwise, weren't interested in the pretentious topics that interested me, alas.
And Zen is far afield from Theravada. My roommate in college was a Zen Buddhist, though. He did have the hippie chicks, now that I think about it!
Good Father - The experiences you note were all made possible because the "elitists" of ecumenism have been doing their work. Some of that work was done before you were born, even though you are very old. Much of that work has been done in the decades and decades and decades that you have been alive.
Had that work not been done, the experiences you note would not have been possible.
As much as you want to think that the Catholic world is based in and revolves around your parish and your experiences, it is not.
"Catholic" - what is the "false notion" of ecumenism you think I operate under? And what in "incorrect" in the description of the Church I gave?
PI I've given you a forum, where for the first time, the holy people of God not only of this diocese but around the world who read this blog will hear from you what you learned at this conference. Why keep it all these years under a bushel basket. Who in the diocese knows what you have learned and implemented over the course of years in your own parochial experiences based upon these continuing ed programs you have attended, way, way, way across the Mississippi River and great expense to the diocese, money that could have been given to the poor in the diocese in an ecumenical way since most of the poor to whom we minister are not Catholic?
Call: Advantage MacDonald!
Good Father - In another forum that reaches every registered Catholic household in the Diocese of Savannah, I have published reports of the NWCU's I have attended.
Have you been asleep when those issues arrived? Were you on vacation when they came? Do you pay for the Southern Cross, then ignore it?
Keep an eye on your mailbox. The report of the 2014 NWCU is being written.
And IF money is your concern, tells us about the QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS you are spending to install an altar rail. (I say IF because it is not your concern, but no matter.)
How many "ecumenical" poor might have been fed with that princely sum?
Again, the poor are not poor because the rich are rich or because x amount of money is spent on an altar rail. That is naive nonsense or, in your case Ignotus, progressivist propaganda.
Pin/Gene - I never said or suggested the poor were poor because money was spent on an altar rail. I merely repeated, with gentle irony, Good Father McDonald's silly argument that money spent on other things should have been spent to provide for the needy.
I'm glad you agree with my argument!
Ignotus, LOL! I like the altar rail. I think it is nice that the poorest person off the street in Macon can come into St. Jo's and experience a foretaste of God's majesty and splendor and, if needed, receive comfort and the mediation of God's grace through one of our devout Priests.
Pin/Gene - It makes you comfortable to assume that heaven will resemble the somewhat gaudy interior of St. Joseph Church. That's fine.
I suspect the person walking in off the street would have a greater sense of the Reign of God to come if he/she were welcomed, in spite of belonging to what you call a "feral minority" (African-Americans. Or if he/she was an undocumented alien who was given sanctuary in the parish hall. Or if that person was a "nerdy" kid from St. Joseph School who was being chased by bullies, and whose tormentors were rebuked by one of the devout priests.
Ignotus, I'm sure that any one of those individuals you mention would be welcomed and pastored at St. Jo's if they so wished. Feral minorities and illegal aliens need to go to Mass before they are carted off to jail for the various crimes they commit...
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