Saturday, May 25
Who's Catholic now?
Peter Nixon at Sursum Corda sent me an email last night, asking whether he was wrong about something. Well, at least not this time. He saw my comments on yesterday's Office of Readings, and thought he must have been wrong. Well, as it turns out, I had my ribbons all mixed up. I was in the 6th week of ordinary time, and any good Catholic should have known it was the 7th. It wasn't that I was going by the Zoroastrian calendar or anything. We just started back into Volume III after the Easter season, and away I went, with nary a clue that I was off by a week.
A small word in my defense. The Liturgy of the Hours, though not brain surgery, is not for the simple of mind, even if it ought to lead to humbleness of heart. Anyway, it's complicated.
But I'm ready to take the correction from Peter. I'll also count my mistake as another sign of God's providence. I think I needed to read that text yesterday, in light of my friend's struggles. Speaking of that, thanks to those of you who have written with encouragement and assurance that you are, indeed, praying for your priests and seminarians.
By the way, there's a whole passel of priests-to-be being prayed over and ordained today. Why not join your voices with those of the Heavenly Host, rejoicing that Christ is grafting men more deeply into Himself for the sacred duties of the priesthood?
With that, I say have a great weekend, everyone. I'll be being blog-free.
Not that it matters at all
You are Kermit!
Am I wasting time, or what? Go ahead, I know you want to hit that link! Remember, it's the weekend. Jim Hensen, RIP.
posted by Fr. Steve | 5/25/2002 |
Heat and Light
Amy Welborn has turned her keen eye to a couple of books by Michael S. Rose. Of special interest for those in formation is her treatment of Goodbye! Good Men, an expose of life in Catholic Seminaries. I briefly mentioned in an earlier post how easy the Situation makes believing every word of this troubling text. Indeed, the book seems to confirm all our worst fears.
It's a page-turner. One can read through it quickly, wondering page after page what new outrage awaits. Yet, it is covered in the mantle of science. It is based on first-hand accounts and news reports, both of which are valuable sources. But, in this case, they seem to mark the limits of his method. He compiles horrific tales and draws easy conclusions. The stories and his conclusions shock and appall. So much so that many good Catholics might be loathe to believe. Or would they?
Tragic times make it tempting (almost irresistable) to look for culprits. (And there surely must be some!) So this book could not have come out at a better time, especially for Michael Rose. People are ready to read and believe the worst about Catholic Seminaries. And though seminaries are implicated in the current crisis, they ought not be the sole scapegoat.
Rose seems to provide enough evidence to convict, but there are reasons for pause. Some are nicely captured in the reviews and comments on Amy Welborn's site. They are must reads, especially for those who find themselves eager to believe all that Rose reveals. These reviewers don't sugar coat the problem. They believe that there are problems in screening procedures, diocesan chanceries, and formation in the seminaries. But solutions to these problems should not be primarily based on the partial picture Rose paints.
I am a seminarian at one of the seminaries (Mundelein) that is panned by Rose's pen. I am no apologist for this or any seminary, but can say, in brief, that the Mundelein I attend bears little resemblance to the one he describes. Sure, improvements can (and should) be made. But, from what I see here and what I hear from men studying elsewhere, seminaries are not as bad as he describes. At least not now. Having said that, if practices in places are still as bad as Rose describes, they should be exposed and must be addressed.
Rose's book sounds a warning cry of crisis. And, as troubling as it is, I hope the book forces a re-evaluation of policies, attitudes, and practices surrounding the formation of priests. However, if it is to serve the Church, the heat Rose's book creates must be transformed into Gospel light. The point is to purify places where priests prepare, so the seminaries (all of them) need to be seen as they are, not simply (or even primarily) as they were.
Rose raises some red flags, but he's not the final referee. His voice needs to be complemented by others. These critical reviews broaden the view, and help temper the temptation to see the seminaries of today as the cause of problems that have deep roots in the past.
Friday, May 24
He's more Catholic than Zoroastrian
I'm sure of it. Here's a follow-up to the mini-row about women's ordination and who's Catholic and who's not. For the record, I voted for "more Catholic than Zoroastrian" when evaluating whether Peter Nixon of Sursum Corda was "thinking like a Catholic."
RCIA not required
I suspect these bloggers have been attending for awhile, but are now just officially enrolling at St. Blog's. First of all, Michael Shirley, an emailer turned blogger (at my suggestion, no less). Also of recent membership are Dave Pawlak, who offers Pompous Ponderings, and our newest (is that right?) priest at St. Blog's, Fr. Jim Tucker. There are also a couple new Latinate blogs: Ad Orientum, by Mark Sullivan, and Alexandra Baldwin's (let's hear it for the women!) Oremus: Adventures in Orthodoxy (let's hope they're not too adventurous).
As usual, the place to go to list a blog or track one down is, aptly enough, Some Catholic Blogs.
A big welcome also to the scores of others who have followed these fine folks into the fellowship hall of St. Blog's parish.