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. 27, 2009 1:29 PM ET USA

    Congressman Murphy's website says: "Due to the large volume of US Mail, email and faxes I receive, I am only able to accept messages from residents of the Eighth Congressional District of Pennsylvania." Living residents, that is.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 25, 2009 8:03 AM ET USA

    Adamh, I should have have put a ";)" after my tongue-in-cheek question about "freedom". I think we agree that piously defending the killing of the unborn abortion is not a legitimate exercise of true freedom, American or otherwise.

  • Posted by: Hal - Nov. 24, 2009 2:09 PM ET USA

    >>>In his 2008 book, "Taking the Hill," Murphy wrote that a local parish priest refused to bless his marriage in 2006 to his wife, Jenni, during his first campaign for Congress because of his stance on abortion rights. "That hurt me deeply," Murphy said.<<<<<< Wow. What a self-absorbed jackass. That pretty much tells you all you need to know right there.

  • Posted by: adamah - Nov. 24, 2009 10:46 AM ET USA

    "But... doesn't the American concept of "freedom" mean calling yourself "Catholic" -or anything else you want- without it necessarily meaning anything?".....well, I guess American concept of "freedom" would also allow me to decide 2+2=5. It does not mean it would be right. It is the Church who decides what one needs to believe to be Catholic. This is not left to individual (un)believers.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 24, 2009 9:58 AM ET USA

    But... doesn't the American concept of "freedom" mean calling yourself "Catholic" -or anything else you want- without it necessarily meaning anything?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 24, 2009 9:52 AM ET USA

    I prefer this Scripture: 1Sa 3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. 1Sa 3:12 In that day I will perform against Eli all [things] which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. 1Sa 3:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.