weep a new church into being

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 28, 2007

The U.S. Catholic leaves no stone unturned in its effort to make us all liberal Protestants on the 1970s model. This month, the rocks turned over were in those "vibrant" churches of Holland and Austria. Guess what they found moving underneath?

Though he is now quite elderly, Schillebeeckx's work continues to bear fruit, most recently among his Dutch Dominican brothers, who in the fall published a booklet titled "Church and Ministry," which argues that laypeople should preside at Eucharist if no priest is available. "Whether they are women or men, homo- or heterosexual, married or single, makes no difference. What is important is an infectious attitude of faith." Not surprisingly the U.K. Tablet judged the proposal "a radical recommendation."

But surprising solutions are not arising only in this country known for liberalism. In October 2002 Bishop Fritz Lobinger of Aliwal North, South Africa, with Austrian theologian Paul Zulehner, proposed a new order of ministry for the priest-poor churches of the developing world. In their vision a council of "Corinthian" priests would be ordained for a particular community to see to its sacramental needs and direct its ministry. These groups, made up of proven members of the community, would be supervised by "Pauline" priests, traditional celibates reporting to the bishop.

A gay Corinthian vicar with a black belt in pastoral counseling. Right. That'll turn things around.

It's all but incredible that the very physicians whose treatments turned a healthy organism into a corpse should continue to be consulted on palliative care. The article above put me in mind of a passage from Andrew Greeley's taped diaries for November 1975, concerning a dinner he'd had with the then-Cardinal Archbishops of Brussels and Vienna (this from an article in the Chicago Lawyer, October 1981):

Before returning to the United States, Greeley had a "sherry-filled, wine-filled, Cognac-filled supper" in Amsterdam with Cardinals Leo Joseph Suenens and Franz Koenig, according to the tapes. ... "Franz Koenig has an idea that the next pope ought to be a young man and non-Italian, possibly non-European," Greeley said. "Leo Suenens suggests it would be a good idea to have four popes -- one for every part of the world."

So what were the world's four pertinent papal partitions? Earth, Air, Fire, and Water? Melancholic, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Choleric? It doesn't matter. The point is that persons overly impressed by the preoccupations of the day -- that's to say, progressives -- invariably mistake the urgent for the important, and refashion that part of the Church entrusted to their care such that its underpinnings are the flimsiest and most transient elements of their experience. Collapse is inevitable. But note that the collapse will never be named for what it is (As Barb Nicolosi observes: when have they ever said, "Well, we blew that call"?), rather it will be taken as a success -- a success, that is, when properly understood according to a new model of church, which they'd neglected to mention when their innovations were proposed.

Indignant? No worries. Confess to your nearest Corinthian.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 5:50 PM ET USA

    Somebody put my name on the U.S. Catholic solicitation list. Fastest exit to the wastebasket in historical record.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 5:16 PM ET USA

    "A healthy organism"? Oh, there are quite a few quacks around, but if the organism was so healthy, why did they have such an easy time of applying their treatments?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 1:16 PM ET USA

    I asked Schillebeeckx in the 1980s what he regarded as the biggest change since Vatican II. He said that he no longer believed that a Mass celebrated without the people was valid.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 10:08 AM ET USA

    But why is nothing done to take the name Catholic away from US Catholic? The magazine has been waging warfare against the Magisterium of the Church for years.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 9:32 AM ET USA

    I worked as a volunteer in Bolivia alongside a number of Maryknoll "Lay Missioners". It was funny to hear them describe their priest shortage as a 'resurgence of the laity in the Church'. They are so convinced that the Holy Spirit is invisibly moving them that no visible sign can convince them otherwise.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 7:36 AM ET USA

    I take great comfort from this morning's first reading for Office of Readings, II Peter 2:1-9. Look it up. Psalm 37 for yesterday's Office of Readings helps as well: "Calm your anger and forget your rage; do not fret, it only leads to evil. For those who do evil shall perish; the patient shall inherit the land. A little longer--and the wicked shall have gone. Look at his place, he is not there." Oremus pro invicem.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2007 7:07 AM ET USA

    Underlying the liberal suggestions for structural change is the principle of subsidiarity enunciated by Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum. The implementation of that principle infused Vatican II, and resulted in much greater autonomy for local bishops and the creation of national bishops conferences. The problem with the implementation is that the liberal focus was solely local, and only paid lip service to the necessity of higher authority to insure doctrinal and moral integrity.