Monday, October 27, 2014

the hits just keep coming

Rod Dreher, regularly cited on this blog, commented on Philip Jenkins' "Last Episcopalian" post last week.  The results, apparently, were dramatic.  Dreher received one comment so long and insightful he gave it its own post.  A former United Methodist pastor weighs in on what drags down so many church organizations...

(When I left the UMC ministry – my district superintendent told me that he (along with over half of his colleagues) was on anti-depressants and that he suspected that when he retired he wouldn’t need them anymore.)
Understand – I’m not against anti-depressant medication – it can literally be a lifesaver for folks suffering from clinical depression – but he was telling me that his job environment was so toxic that he needed to drug himself to cope (and frankly saw no irony in that fact). This is just symbolic of the denial that so many in leadership in these denominations live in. Our annual conferences were multi-day exercises in self congratulation and furrowed brow deliberation over countless resolutions that accomplished nothing other than solidify the entrenched political power of the denominational apparatchiks. Clueless old-school church politicians fighting over the remaining scraps of organizational power deluding themselves into thinking all is well.

and Dreher extends that to organizations in general. 

Pretty sobering stuff.

Read it all here.

restore us again, O Lord...

Over at the St Joseph's College Theology blog, Father Frank Donio, SAC, provides a great reminder:  pray.    Father Donio writes:

Fervent prayer, ardent prayer, in the way that Pope Francis is calling for is an on-going dialogue with God throughout our day, an awareness of the action and activity of the Holy Spirit permeating our lives. It is a seeking for God and finding God in all things, in every moment and in every place. St. Teresa of Avila encourages us to be seekers of God and St. Ignatius of Loyola calls us to “find God in all things.” St. Vincent Pallotti puts the two aspects together, as was often his way, and challenges us to:
Seek God and you will find God.Seek God in all things and you will find God in all things.Seek God always and you will always find God.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pope Paul VI and the martyrs

This past Sunday's installment over at the St Joseph's College of Maine theology blog.  Coming up this weekend:  the St Joseph's Symposium on the Second Vatican Council.  Highlights next week.

And then will start some reflections--along with catching up on what should've been a busy month of blogging, lots to blog about--about Blessed Pope Paul's legacy.  There's far more there, I've discovered, than just a second name for another pope or two.  Blessed Paul, pray for us!

Friday, October 17, 2014

obligatory Synod blog post

Quite frankly, it's not much.  1) Everybody else is writing about it and I'm trying to figure out for myself just what has been said and why.  The Cardinal Kasper fiasco has only muddied things further.  2) Life's busyness factor has kicked it up a notch or two (or five) around here so time has not been in great supply.

That being said, this post from Artur Rosman seemed hit a number of good notes-with a sense of humor too.  He closes with this:

If that that’s not enough for you, the highly respected Church historian Robert Louis Wilken weighs in with this:
And so began… a time when leading bishops of the Church disagreed profoundly on central matters of Christian teaching. Ecclesiastical councils publicly debated deep theological issues, with the aim of reaching consensus on language to express central Christian beliefs in formal statements of faith. The disagreements ran deep, and the disputes were often bitter and sometimes violent.
Gotcha! This quote actually comes from Robert Louis Wilken’s history of Christianity, The First Thousand Years. The Aquinas and mysticism scholar Fritz Bauerschmidt dropped this passage on social media explaining that it applies to Church history stretching from the start of the fourth century to the middle of the sixth. That’s one long stretch of time. Bauerschmidt adds the following comment, which all would be Synod commentators should heed:
It’s déjà vu all over again. Somehow I find that comforting.

Read it all:

And continue praying for the Church.

Monday, September 29, 2014

best laid plans

This blog is going on semi-hiatus.   Please keep in touch via and Twitter @SpiritualDiabet.  Yes, it'll return, but posts will be spotty for a while.  How long that while lasts remains to be seen.  Pray for the Church, Pope Francis, the clergy, all the faithful, and for the sick, poor, dying, and lonely.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

new blog

Mark Shea recommended Leticia's new blog.  Even the shortest glance indicated that, not only was Shea right (about this and much more), but I think I might have some competition for that coveted "St. Augustine award for off-beat Catholic humor blog."  She introduces herself:

I am a hot mess convert who loves Jesus and has a scandalous sense of humor. I love music,reading, writing. If I am ever canonized I will be the patron saint of people who can’t stop cussing.

 Well, we'll see about that.  I usually reserve discussions of canonization for, well, y'know, those becoming saints.  However, I've certainly populated that "can't stop cussing" crowd more than once.  Ha ha.

Best wishes for what looks like a great new addition to the Catholic blogosphere!

another angle on the familiar tensions

conventional wisdom:  PreVatican II= conservative, post-Vatican II=liberal but submarined by lurking conservatives, now rehabilitated by Pope Francis.

OK, so we've all heard that tune before.  But then consider this reading of the same period;  the Benedictines, supporting Pope St. Pius X, set up the Mass as the high point of Catholic prayer while the Jesuits give a prominent role to individual reflection (following the lead of St. Ignatius Loyola).

Read it all here.

This conclusion seemed particularly interesting:
Perhaps the most ironic twist in this still unresolved (and now more complicated) debate is the contrast between the current pope and his predecessor. Although not a Benedictine by profession, Benedict XVI closely identified throughout his career with the monastic vision of the all-pervasive centrality of the sacred liturgy, where God and man can meet most profoundly in praise and in communion, at once expressing and accomplishing the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ. At his first general audience in April 2005, he explained that he had chosen the name Benedict in large part as a homage to the Father of Western Monasticism, co-patron of Europe and architect of Christian civilization. With the first Jesuit and overseas pope, we have a pastor who appears to hold many of those modern Jesuit views that Blessed Columba Marmion and other Benedictines, in the name of fidelity to St. Pius X, so stalwartly resisted in the first half of the twentieth century, and that Ratzinger/Benedict himself patiently opposed in his writings and magisterial acts. We have unexpectedly seen the trajectories of the two schools played out before our very eyes in the magisterium, ars celebrandi, and priorities of each pontificate.

Quite honestly, while intrigued I am not quite ready to accept this too readily. After all, St. Ignatius Loyola made it pretty clear:  we are to think with the Church (see #353).  Still, it's an incredibly helpful perspective when considering the state of contemporary Catholicism. Which, btw, a recent poll indicates there remains much room for improvement.