vexation without representation

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 19, 2006

The Toronto Globe & Mail shakes the pom-poms for tactical gallicism:

A Canadian Roman Catholic body representing 22,000 priests, nuns and religious brothers has labelled the Vatican and the Canadian church outmoded on issues such as contraception, homosexuality and divorce, and locked more into defending church dogma rather than listening to people's search for meaning.

For starters, the claim that this body (the Canadian Religious Conference) represents "22,000 priests, nuns and religious brothers" is bogus. The total membership of affiliated congregations may number 22,000, but any notion of democratic representation is pure fiction. Individual priests, nuns, and religious brothers who think the CRC General Assembly should be boiled in oil are not permitted to "disaffiliate," since the pertinent decisions are beyond their power to change. As with the American CMSM and LCWR, the CRC's manifestos and declarations and position papers are not the results of a plebiscite, but executive committee agit-prop.

Yet even executive committee agit-prop can be effective where the news media are sympathetic. The multiplication of these self-accredited quasi-religious bureacracies has been a boon for dissenters, since the organizations are not under episcopal control and are only obliquely responsible to the member congregations themselves. The advantages of a public platform with insulation from Vatican discipline are obvious. Back to the article:

In a letter sent to every bishop in the country, the Canadian Religious Conference also faults the Canadian church for its "unconditional alignment ... with directives issued from Rome."

Let's see, these vowed religious are unhappy with Canada's strict adherence to Roman directives ... do you think they're petitioning for more stringent norms governing poverty? expanded use of the Tridentine mass? greater ecclesiastical respect for the right to cloister?

[The letter] talks about the Vatican's and the Canadian church's intransigent stands on sexual morals, their unwelcoming attitude toward homosexuals, their lack of compassion for divorced persons, their fear of dialogue with other churches and their censorship of dissenting views.

Oh that's right. People's search for meaning.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 19, 2006 7:55 PM ET USA

    Were I a member of such an organization and it presumed to speak in such a way for me, I would write four (4) letters. First, one to the Pope asking him to suppress them; Second, one to my bishop asking him to separate himself from them; Third, one to my mother apologizing for the embarassment they may have given to her and; Fourth, one to the newspaper blistering their bloody arses with fire and brimstone in the hopes of "motivating" the miscreants to get themselves to confession....

  • Posted by: djp196 - Mar. 19, 2006 5:39 PM ET USA

    I have not heard of any priest, religious speaking out against this statement, and it would seem to me that sure does indicate some type of affirmation for what this national religious conference had said.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Mar. 19, 2006 11:38 AM ET USA

    continued: ...outside their expertise. They do not even have religious authority outside their own particular religious community. They can command their own subordinates under holy obedience but outside their order they are just another Tom, Dick or Harry. In short they have no authority to make "statements" and should just be ignored.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Mar. 19, 2006 11:32 AM ET USA

    I get bent out of shape when I hear of the conference of Jesuit Provincials publishing a "statement". Even more when the CONFER emits "statements". My question always is: By what authority do they make these statments? It is not democratic authority, they are not elected. It is not academic authority, while many provincials are academics they are a mix of sociologist, biologist, philosophers, and theologians. So when they comment on politics, economics, or even theology many are making an ...

  • Posted by: - Mar. 19, 2006 8:57 AM ET USA

    Harken to Abp O'Malley's words in today's Boston Globe story: "The church cannot allow itself to be assimilated into the secular culture around us, and sometimes I think that some of our Catholics have been so influenced by their culture, and then are upset when the church doesn't follow the same path of assimilation, rather than one of giving prophetic witness to a different message, that is the message of the Gospel."

  • Posted by: - Mar. 19, 2006 8:47 AM ET USA

    Viktor Frankl call your office.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 19, 2006 8:25 AM ET USA

    I believe that this potential difference between the consensus of the leadership of the Canadian Religious Conference and that of the general membership is important, if it exists, and definitely worth exploring. I think that there may be a disparity between many such bodies, and their general membership (USCCB?, teachers unions?, ABA?, AMA?, APA[x2]?,various other?). I hope you're right Diogenes.