Skip to comments.Priests doing too much guessing (GREELEY ALERT)
Posted on 11/26/2004 1:05:21 PM PST by Chi-townChief
The Catholic Church is in deep trouble. The more immediate problems are the sex abuse scandal -- which has not gone away and won't for a long time -- and the clumsy efforts of some bishops to deliver votes for the Republican Party. There are three chronic problems in the Catholic Church to which it is not even trying to respond -- the decline in mass attendance, the decline in vocations, and the decline in parochial school attendance.
Ask what is causing the problems and you'll hear personal opinions and cliches, most of which blame the laity. They're materialist, consumerist, secularist, weak in faith, caught in the grip of American hypersexual culture, etc., etc., etc. Having delivered themselves of that wisdom -- which cannot be verified because it cannot admit of falsification -- the priests who prate such nonsense settle back complacently. There is nothing for them to do, except turn on the TV.
It is difficult to imagine that another large institution faced with similar difficulties would be satisfied with such easy and self-serving analysis, much less demoralizing policies, in response to apparent bad news. The church closes parishes because people are not attending mass, closes seminaries because there is no more vocation, and closes schools because apparently no one wants them or needs them anymore. No hope, no leadership, no vision. Bad news, cliched judgments, then cut and run! Pessimism and despair carry the day. Real bright!
Research shows that Catholic priests are the happiest men in America and that Catholic schools are among the best religious and educational bargains in America. Catholic art and liturgy are the richest devotional heritage in the Western World. Yet let's close up shop and run for the hills without trying to figure out why we have troubles.
We do studies of Catholic schools, of course, and expensive studies at that, but the purpose of them is to figure out which schools to close, not to ask why some schools are closing and others have waiting lists. Priests write petitions to Rome advocating the abolition of celibacy, but they never ask themselves serious questions about the quality of preaching and liturgy. Nor do they ask themselves when was the last time they tried to recruit young men into the priesthood.
A cardinal back in the 1940s said to an expert who suggested routine research (presumably something more sophisticated than counting noses on an October Sunday), "The Catholic Church doesn't need research, sir. We have the Holy Spirit." No one quite says that anymore, but the presumption is the same -- guesswork, strongly held opinions, faith in God, and panic when money seems to run low. That will have to serve for what in the secular world is called "R and D."
God help us all, though we don't deserve God's help because we're not able to do anything ourselves.
I have my own opinions on these matters -- homilies and liturgies are bad, no one recruits, no one promotes the schools. But they are only opinions, though unlike the opinions of some other priests they can be disproved by research. "The sexual revolution" or "secularism" or "consumerism" are explanations that cannot be falsified and so cannot be proved, either. So if you're a priest or even a bishop, you make major decisions by wetting your finger and putting it in the air or reading the entrails of dead foul or guessing or talking to your stock broker.
I argue for research not because I intend to do it anymore -- my name on a research project causes priests to reject a priori the findings -- but because I cannot imagine the CEO of any other institution operating without it. Well, we've been around a long time and so we'll muddle through, even if that is another form of tentatio dei -- tempting God.
It may not be possible to turn off the Catholic laity. If sexual abuse, bankruptcy and political meddling don't do it, what will? Maybe closing their schools and their churches without good reason or -- as in some dioceses because your financial people say that land is ripe for resale -- will do it. At least we're going to try.
My longtime colleague William C. McCready once said to me, "The Catholic Church is in terrible trouble." I nodded. He went on, "All it has left are the Catholic schools and the Blessed Mother, and a lot of you guys don't believe in either anymore."
Not hard to imagine at all - it sounds quite a bit like the democrat party and their apologists in the media.
Whatever trouble the Catholic church is in is due in large part to frauds like Andrew Greeley.
so middle managment lied to upper managment who lied to the boss..... seems very american if it wasnt so pathetic and such a crime.... and no one gets punished.... how is that.... ??? ok one or two sacrifices..... what about all the others.....
if we did this ..... we would be under the jail.... so why are nt they?
The new assistant pastor in my parish barely speaks English (that I could over look) and his theology sucks - that I cannot overlook. I've already changed parishes twice to find one where the theology is solid and/or aims about the third grade level but with no luck.
Wonder why that is? (Sarcasm)
"A cardinal back in the 1940s said to an expert who suggested routine research (presumably something more sophisticated than counting noses on an October Sunday), "The Catholic Church doesn't need research, sir. We have the Holy Spirit."
I believe that in the 1940's, the Catholic Church was robust, respected, her priests were popular heroes, and they did indeed have the Holy Spirit.
Greeley is such a self-important puffed up fool he has the answer nailed down right in front of him and he is too smug to see it.
And yes, BTW, what exactly has Fr Greeley himself actually DONE for the church lately, besides get rich and famous from pulp novels?
Try an Eastern Rite church. They are still traditional.
No one seems to care that all, repeat all, religions have had "clergy" involved in sex scandals of one kind or another .....at one time or another.
The sum and substance of this is cheap shooting of a wounded faith carried along by a willing media and then pounded furthur by other "religious" leaders....
Let him who is without sin cast the next stone...
Its Bush's fault.
"The church closes parishes because people are not attending mass..."
Sure not a situtation in evidence where I live. Our Church
is so packed at each of the 4 weekend masses, we're in the middle of a $25 Million Church renovation/addition! Our
PREP school runs twelve months a year, able to accomodate
just over 810 kiddoes annually (2nd thru 8th graders). And
there are 6 other Catholic Churches running similar numbers
within 8 miles of us!
Most closings are in the cities where population shifts have
occurred. Many of those old buildings are sold rather than renovated due to cost effective decisions.
Having the Holy Spirit and obeying the Holy Spirit are not the same thing!
One of the problems was /is the secular and homosexual infiltrations of the clergy, changing "let us pray" into "let us PREY".
And, apparently, a hierarchy more concerned about bean-counting than the character and quality of those serving.
"For the sin we are about to commit, we give thanks."(sarcasm)
Somehow, I don't think any of this is what Jesus had in mind when He said,"Let the little children come unto Me."
It has to make a difference for one to be Catholic. The Church cannot be afraid to say that it's better to be good a Catholic than to be a good atheist. It's better to be a good Catholic than to be a good protestant. And it's infinitely better for you to be a good Catholic than a bad Catholic and here's what marks a bad Catholic and you should start asking yourself which you are.
Start looking at the orders and the diocese which DON'T have a vocations crisis and you'll start to figure out what works and what doesn't. By and large, a diocese or an order will get the vocations it deserves. People know who are getting the vocations and who are not. Instead of making the obvious connections, instead they'll tell you that that kind of Catholicism may work out in the sticks, but it doesn't fly here. And so instead of making changes that will encourage vocations they'll make changes that encourage the laiety to take over the responsibilities of the priest. The result is a further erosion of love for the Church and even fewer vocations.
What I really want is evangelical Catholic but not the Lutherins. :-D
I agree but none of the problems you describe were going on in the 1940's--certainly notwithstanding an isolated case could exist somewhere. As far as "having" vs "obeying" the Holy Spirit, I don't know. Whatever your point is, I concede.
As I examine it from a management perspective, it seems that an autopsy will soon be in order.
>>What I really want is evangelical Catholic but not the Lutherins. :-D<<
Oh Geez, too bad you are not in MI. I just ran away from an evangelical Catholic church to an Old Ethnic one.
Most of the churches in my area are what you are looking for. I think.
What is your definition of Evangelical?
The facts show clearly that in dioceses that have had good bishops, the Church has done very well, but that in diocese where the bishops are liberals or dissenters vocations have plummeted, schools have closed, mass attendance is down, and sex scandals were unpunished.
Priests like Andrew Greeley are part of the problem.
Dioceses like Boston and Chicago which now have good bishops on the heels of bad bishops are bound to suffer for years, because a new bishop will have a hard time dealing with all the dissident priests, catechists, and established bureaucrats. You can fire priests, but then there's no one left to say mass. But the only long-term solution is to return to the teaching and practice of the faith.
Your second sentence answers the first.
When you rely on your own wisdom, and your own moral strength, instead of doing as the Holy Spirit prompts(+), you end up with the problems we have now, instead of those in the 40's.
(+) Think of being urged to do good instead of tempted to do bad, for example. Both processes are CUMULATIVE. After a certain amount of 'minor' vice, you're comfortable with sinking lower. After a certain amount of reaching, growing--dare I say being sanctified--you reject behaviour you used to take for granted. Project these from an individual onto mass society as a whole, and you begin to get the picture...
>>Start looking at the orders and the diocese which DON'T have a vocations crisis and you'll start to figure out what works and what doesn't.<<
Where are you at?
My new, very ethnic, very traditional parish has eight seminarians. Is this the case with you?
Hi, I am Catholic educated from the 50s and 60s, the Church needs, in my opinion its doors for Confession open all afternoon on Sat, like it used to, the Church is strong if on ly people adhere to its beliefs, but the culture is at fault, the revolution in the 60s has changed this, and if you can have an ad like the one of "Levis" with the girl taking off her jeans and giving them to the guy, it is a cultural diaster, people don't recognize things that are offensive to God anymore. Start the guilt trip again, it is real and people will start coming back to the Church, you can't have a love fest forever and sing kumbiya all the time. sin is sin period.
There was a very good exchange on this topic last year at our local parish. The church was losing its priest and being paired with another parish which was going to result in fewer masses and less access to the priest's time. The parishoners were in an uproar over it! They demanded their own priest. At a meeting with the diocese rep, she asked them when was the last time their parish provided a priest for the diocese. It turned out that it had been years and years. No one could remember. Well, pointed out the rep, if you're not providing priests, you're not in the best position to demand one.
The parish is the typical "feel good" parish with synthesized music, watered down sermons, and a Church building that looks more like a auditorium than a sacred space. They're biggest request for the priest was that he attend their kid's t-ball games. They really gave the impression that a priest was a hired hand. I think some of them were wondering if they could "hire" one elsewhere.
Like I said, you get the vocations you deserve.
lets start by boycotting these products that have this kind of advertising, I was watching prime tv with my friends family last night, spiderman, the game etc, and about died when that ad for Levis came on, it was unbelievable! No wonder our kids are messed up, they are getting the wrong messages, freedom of expression,oh yeah, lets tear up the Constitution too while we are at it, get out of my country then you wacko perverts!
I agree with you fully. The biggest problem is our 50ish priests and Directors of Religious Education are mostly flaming libs that think that all Catholics want is touchie feelie religion.
That don't realize that Protestant churches are really good at doing Community. If the Catholic churches try it, sometimes we do a poor subsitute for it. If we get back to being Catholic and stop being the best of all worlds, Catholics will be back.
I'm sure one said that observing Christ on the cross - and we know how that turned out!
There was small warning fom the Holy SEE that this would take place. One week there was the traditional Latin rite and the week after we were virtually Ptotestant.
The old folks freaked, and most of the others went shopping for a new Church. Once the tradition of being Catholic was gone, why would anyone stay? The number one raiding target by other Churches were and is Catholics. And we have a cut and run Liberal to thank for it.
Thats the way I see it.
You think the eight seminarians are unusual, look at this. We have 3 masses a day and five on Sunday. We say a Rosary before the main ones. There is one mass in Latin each week, which is a blessing for a mom trying to teach Latin to her children.
We even say the Kyrie in Latin in every mass. We have six priests! NO one walks out after communion and some ladies still cover their heads. We are Ethnic but not Eastern Rite.
Go back to the tradition and we grow the pious. There are enough liberal churches in our area that are losing families. I am very blessed to be here.
When you reach the breaking point, DO NOT DESPAIR! Look East! The Catholic Church is both Western (Latin Rite) and Eastern. As most of us realize, the Church began in the East. Our Lord lived and died and resurrected in the Holy Land. The Church spread from Jerusalem throughout the known world. As the Church spread, it encountered different cultures and adapted, retaining from each culture what was consistent with the Gospel. In the city of Alexandria, the Church became very Egyptian; in Antioch it remained very Jewish; in Rome it took on an Italian appearance and in the Constantinople it took on the trappings of the Roman imperial court. All the churches which developed this way were Eastern, except Rome. Most Catholics in the United States have their roots in Western Europe where the Roman rite predominated. It has been said that the Eastern Catholic Churches are "the best kept secret in the Catholic Church."
Earlier this year, totally frustrated with the liturgical abuse in my RC parish and fed up with the wreckovation of so many churches in my diocese, I followed the sage advice of a fellow freeper, check the Yellow Pages, and located 2 Eastern Catholic (not to be confused with Orthodox) Churches nearby. I was swept away by the beauty of their liturgy and total reverence for catholic tradition. The liturgy is chanted - a conversation between the celebrant and the congregation. Incense is used extensively throughout the liturgy to purify the Book of the Gospels, the altar and the Divine Offerings. When the priest dropped to his knees, extended his arms heavenward and called down the Holy Spirit to accept our offerings, I was left speechless. Communion is distributed ONLY by the priest(s), and on the tongue. There are no EEMs, no communion in the hand, no dancing girls or boys. Altar servers wear a cassock and surplice. Check the information at this link to determine whether or not there is an Eastern Rite Church in your community. If so, check the web for information on that particular rite and plan to attend their Divine Liturgy this Sunday. Note that in the Eastern Rite Churches, congregants gather after the liturgy for refreshments and conversation. They are very community oriented and the pastor will make a point of greeting each and every one who attends the mass, including you! Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to freepmail me. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
If you say "Kyrie Eleison," you say it in its original Greek.
Five of your Sunday Masses are the Novus Ordo, correct?
Why do you have six priests? Some retired, or in residence?
Your parish could have three priests and take care of all the Masses.
Do you mean 'sin' in general? Or 'sin' as in 'child molestation' as in 'FELONY'?
Amen brother (or sister)!
What's been beaten down is the Catholic identity, either for 'ecumenical' reasons or 'pc' reasons (sort of the same thing), both equally misunderstood completely... far too many Catholics are that way only because they were baptized so. They have no idea, really, what it means to be a Catholic. And they aren't hearing it from most priests, especially ones like Fr. Greeley.
Just to let you know that Archbishop O'Malley of Boston has appointed Voice of the Faithful leaders in key chancery positions. Things here are getting worse and the faithful priests are beside themselves from what I hear. The one approved Tridentine Mass will not have a home as that parish is slated to close in June. The Latin Mass group here has petitioned the Archbishop for a FSSP priest to lead them and the Archbishop has refused. While the archbishop may be personally a good and holy man, God alone knows what the heck is going on.
We have the Real Presence, Confession, Holy Orders, First Communion, Marriage as a sacrament, a consistant teaching that the sanctity of life is the first and foremost consideration, a belief that birth control is contrary to God's will, teaching against divorce and remarriage, keeping the Lord's Day by attending Mass --- Gosh! I could go on and on about why I am a Catholic and not a Protestant!
The old folks freaked,
True for the most part, I remember that. No comparison between a pipe organ and a guitar or an awe inspiring work of art and a felt banner.
... and most of the others went shopping for a new Church.
I dunno which new Church they joined since the Protestant demominations are in pretty bad shape... I think some Catholics just stopped going gradually, lured away by a newly liberated society (if you want to go to Mass, smells and bells don't keep you, a deep faith does).
I don't think John XXIII was a liberal but I don't think he was wily enough to see what the liberals/progressives had in mind... give them an inch and they'll take a mile every time.
I assume the "deliver votes for the Republican party" part was a reference to the bishops who urged parishes around the U.S. to follow the Vatican and the Church leadership regarding instruction on what to do with Catholics who overtly announce their pro-abortion stand, particularly politicians. If Greeley thinks that is a bad idea, why try to destroy the Church from within? Why not go start another sect? Lord knows there are plenty he could join up with, but maybe he could start another, like the "reformed pro-abortion church of amerika" or something like that.
Bl. John XXIII was in no way a radical liberal. If he had lived another five years, the situation of the Church would be very different. A cursory glance at Ad Petri Cathedram, Aeterna Dei Sapientia, or Veterum Sapientia demonstrates this, as does an examination of his handling of Stanislaus Lyonnet and Maximilian Zerwick.
Although I was young at the time of the council, my observation was that JohnXXIII had pushed through these changes all in the short years of his papacy. This present Pope, JPII, has been the Holy Father for almost thirty years, and cannot touch the mostly radical changes that JohnXXIII has affected.
That he was a liberal administrator is to me in no doubt.
I suspect that all those things you annotated in your first paragraph are the very same things you will find in the Episcopal Church, although there are some other differences not listed.
As far as other churches to which Catholics fled, just see how many former Catholics are in the Baptist and Assembly churches. I can assure you Catholics will be the highest percentage bar none.
The missal used by traditional groups is the Missal of 1962 - the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. John's beliefs:
And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons -- the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods 13 -- are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor, and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored...
Bishops and superiors-general of religious orders shall take pains to ensure that in their seminaries and in their schools where adolescents are trained for the priesthood, all shall studiously observe the Apostolic See's decision in this matter and obey these Our prescriptions most carefully.
In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See's will in this regard or interprets it falsely. (Veterum Sapientia)
We address Ourselves now to all of you who are separated from this Apostolic See. May this wonderful Spectacle of unity, by which the Catholic Church is set apart and distinguished, as well as the prayers and entreaties with which she begs God for unity, stir your hearts and awaken you to what is really in your best interest.
May We, in fond anticipation, address you as sons and brethren? May We hope with a father's love for your return?...
There is never any need, therefore, to turn to proponents of doctrines condemned by the Church; for they only draw men on with false promises and when they obtain control of the state, try boldly and unscrupulously to deprive men of their supreme spiritual goodsthe Christian commandments, Christian hope, and Christian faith. Those who adhere to the doctrines these men propose, minimize or eliminate all that our present age and our modern civilization hold dearest: true liberty and the authentic dignity of the human person. Thus they attempt to destroy the bases of Christianity and civilization.
All, therefore, who wish to remain Christians must be aware of their serious obligation to avoid those false principles, which Our predecessorsespecially Popes Pius XI and Pius XIIhave condemned in the past, and which We condemn once again...
There is one truth especially which We think is self-evident: when the sacred rights of God and religion are ignored or infringed upon, the foundations of human society will sooner or later crumble and give way. Our predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII, expressed this truth well: "It follows . . . that law becomes ineffective and all authority is weakened once the sovereign and eternal rule of God, who commands and forbids, is rejected." (Ad Petri Cathedram)
These are not the words of a liberal. Latin in the liturgy? The "ecumenism of return"? An "exclusivist" conception of the Church?
That he was a liberal administrator is to me in no doubt.
There should be. Consider how he had Lyonnet and Zerwick dismissed from the Pontifical Biblical Institute for their heretical theories, how he had books added to the Index instead of dissolving it like Paul VI, how he had conservatives like Msgr. Lefebvre appointed to the commissions to prepare for the Council...
Amd Msgr LeFebrve...was it not he who ran afoul of this Pope, and was virtually run off. Did he not insist on Latin remaining in the Church, and be condemned for not following Vatican II? If this was not LeFebrve, then I think it was some French churchman.
I am convinced this Pope (JPII) is a conservative churchman, asmuch as John XXIII was not. I do not believe that the two men's accomplishments can ever be called near compatible.
I was almost thirty when Humana Vita was promulgated. Many of my contemporaries fled in droves to protestant churches rather than submit to that encyclical issued by Paul VI. My friends,and I had been told by our confessors for some years that the Church was going to approve of the pill and relax the teaching on contraceptives. When that did not occur many,many left.
"So this teaching only represents the ideal right?"
The priest kind of stammered and said that was the case.
"Oh good," replied the man as if the matter was now settled to his satisfaction.