Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pope: “When they tell me that there is a Congregation that draws so many vocations, I must confess that I worry."


“When they tell me that there is a Congregation that draws so many vocations, I must confess that I worry."

That nasty little gem was one of a number of bizarre statements from a recent Q & A with Pope Francis, curated by Antonio "Sock-Puppet" Spadaro. It was published today in Corriere Della Sera and in turn referenced by Lifesite News.


I was going to say it was an "astounding" statement, but of course, coming from Pope Francis, it unfortunately wasn't. And to be fair, Francis is not the only one with such an attitude. Across the Catholic world, or at least across the European and American Catholic world, the only place where vocations are growing is within traditionalist orders and congregations. In turn, many if not most of those are now within the crosshairs of hostile bishops.

In Chicago, Cardinal Cupich is presiding over a program called Renew my Church - an extremely vague effort that, as far as anyone can tell, seems to be about the managed closure of parishes and schools, dressed up in fluffy language.

Many fear that Cupich would like nothing better than to use Renew my Church as a pretext to act against one of the most thriving parishes in the city and the relatively new religious order based there.  

It's a traditionalist parish, and therefore Cupich views it as an enemy.

I've been attending St. John Cantius for eight years, and I've been publicly commenting on Catholic subjects for more than two of those. But I have to confess, the hatred that successful traditionalist churches inspire in much of the hierarchy is still somewhat of a mystery to me.  I mean, I do understand why they don't like us - we, at our best, represent everything that they are not - but the degree of near fury is at first glance surprising. I have it on pretty good lay authority that Cupich has an almost paranoid obsession with Cantius. Why?

When my wife was confirmed a few years ago, I saw her walk with a few other adults and a much larger crowd of eleven-year-olds to the altar rail for a confirmation practice run. On the way, the supervising priest gave them this cheery message: the world will hate you.

That wasn't merely his opinion, of course. Christ Himself said it. If you love Me, the world will hate you as it hated Me. Not be indifferent to you or annoyed by you or dislike you or whatever, but hate you.

And you might as well learn that at the beginning, even if you're only eleven. It's part of the deal.

Cupich, many other bishops and yes, the current Pope are much more of this world than their titles suggest. Indeed, by now, some of them are almost exclusively of this world. But they still have a sense of what they were or what they should have been. That newly confirmed eleven-year-old girl now has what they will perhaps never have. This gnaws at them. Sometimes that gnawing grows into hatred.

I have no reason not to take the Pope's words at face value: "I worry."

He should worry.         

17 comments:

  1. On the one hand, I confess that I can't quit Francis no matter how much I want to, on the other, his hatred for everything good and holy and wonderful has become so tiresome that I wish I could avoid hearing from and about him ever again. The dude is a total worldling and it amazes me that he has everything so totally backwords. I mean, I know modernism messes with your brain, but this is ridiculous.

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  2. The Pittsburgh Diocese program for the closing of parishes and relocation and consolidation of parishioners is called "On Mission for the Church Alive". Hence, Bp. Zubik's Twitter question about what 'we' would change at Sunday Mass to attract more people.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. Got it.

      The way I see it is, let's assume some current bishop in Pittsburgh, Chicago or wherever, had nothing to do with, say, the fall off in church attendance. I fully understand that if attendance and vocations are cut in half, you might very well have to make some tough choices. But these names - Renew My Church and Church Alive - are almost Orwellian. And they make skeptics suspicious.

      As you know, Fr. Phillips at Cantius inherited a church that was slated for the wrecking ball. There were literally 25 parishioners, all of whom were old Polish ladies. Twenty years later it is the most thriving parish in the city with thousands of parishioners and hundreds of kids. Why and how did this happen? It was all about, as Fr. P. would put it, restoring the sacred.

      Just from the point of view of unbiased empirical observation, it's a no-brainer. It's not about slightly tweaking the homilies to make them more dynamic or relevant or whatever - a few of the priests at Cantius can often be as dull as dishwater in their homilies. The central idea was restoring the TLM. Everything else flowed from that.

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    2. Fr. P's Cantius model was/is truly an inspiration of the Holy Ghost. How brilliant to super-size the reverence of the OF, which then acts as a stepping stone to understanding and appreciating, or even preferring the EF! The truly Faithful attend Mass for their love of God, not for social programs. Beauty and reverence are magnets for people who seek to love God with their whole hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

      But I am bothered by the PR campaign (which may be the work of some business that's being paid handsomely) "Church Alive" here in Pittsburgh. Its sole purpose seems to be to break the people in on the fact that there just isn't enough money to sustain the many churches due to the loss in numbers of faithful. Why did they leave? Because of the miserable failure of the clergy to proclaim and defend boldly all the teachings of the Church. Because of the decades long dumbing down of the liturgy and the removal of everything that would inspire wonder, awe, and reverence. It's the fault of the clergy and the hierarchy. Fixing it will take a very long time. The sad thing is it's not likely ever to occur.

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  3. It all seems perfectly clear. Pope Francis and Cardinal Cupich are spokesman for the devil, whether knowingly or unknowingly we cannot say.

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  4. "Christ Himself said ... If you love Me, Poop Francis will hate you as [he hates] Me. Not be indifferent to you or annoyed by you or dislike you or whatever, but hate you".

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    1. As much as I take a dim view of the doings and sayings of Pope Francis, I must take issue with this comment. We dare not place words in the mouth of Our Lord. It is not funny. It may be blasphemy.

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  5. But I have to confess, the hatred that successful traditionalist churches inspire in much of the hierarchy is still somewhat of a mystery to me.

    It makes complete sense, if they are masons.

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    1. Rejection plays a part. Christ tended to bring this out, too.

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    2. It is the same psychological phenomenon that you see among pro-abortion people who feel threatened by, and make vigorous efforts to shut down, pregnancy service centers that offer pro-life alternatives and concrete help to women in crisis pregnancies. If feminists were really about "choice" for women, why would they be opposed to expanding the menu of options? But they have guilty consciences, since most of them have either had abortions (sometimes, more than one) themselves, or have helped their friends or family members to get abortions. The problem for them is that THEY KNOW, DEEP DOWN, WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG. That voice of conscience must be squelched/repressed at all costs -- and so, anyone who stirs that conscience, who reminds them of what they've buried, is the enemy and must be destroyed.

      I really believe that the #1 factor driving human behaviors that seem irrational, hard to explain, and often self-destructive, is repressed guilt. And I think that's what we're seeing in so much of the Church hierarchy.

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  6. My wife and I were in Chicago about 15 months ago and we went out of our way to go to Mass at your beautiful church. I can easily see that there was great love for Christ and for other people radiating from it.

    As a confession, we belong to what is a very ordinary NO parish, you won't see any silly abuses and the pastor himself has a very reverent attitude towards the Body of Christ and generally does a good job of reinforcing the Real Presence. Still the music is usually not great, and many people don't seem to be that engaging in the Liturgy. That still is in contrast to other more liberal parishes that while very active have left me feeling very cold and unwelcome.

    I grew up in Northern Virginia, which has had many young priests over the last few decades focus on good reverent liturgy, so bad liturgy was the exception for me growing up and I naively accepted that it was the norm everywhere.

    So where do I live? Baltimore where the Archbishop Lori has been spending time forming pastorates to deal with many of the same issues. Granted many of the churches that shut before he came were in neighborhoods that had more or less been abandoned, still his proposed plan seems to be more a less a band-aid. If it were a way to get a TLM or NO done right at one of the parishes a weekend, I would be thrilled but that is a fat chance. At least it could be a way to reaching out towards others and try to show them what they have been missing.

    For me the frustrating thing is that Lori is not a Cupich and is generally pretty conservative. One of his roadblocks is that he is going up against a.) a very liberal chancery b.) a very liberal history in the diocese and c.) at least in the city and the large suburban centers a very liberal flock

    I would love to see him invite the Institute of Christ the King to one of these struggling parishes, as it would attract a very underrepresented part of the diocese of traditionally minded Catholics, but also be a beacon of hope for so many poor communities. Like Chicago the violent epidemic here is closely related to fatherless households and there are young men here that could use a strong role model. Alas, it is even difficult to find a parish that even does a respectful liturgy that remains active, most places just seem to be on auto-pilot.

    On the whole I was less than pleased with the model the bishop released, because again it does nothing to address how closely related liturgy is to attendance. We have a deacon that can be rather dry, but I'm ok with it knowing that at least during the Liturgy of the Eucharist my pastor won't do anything to beclown himself and more importantly insult Christ. Another parish is a good example, it is located in of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city, but the pastor while magnetic more importantly isn't silly with the liturgy and regularly does processions and offers programs on teaching the faith. This parish does a great job of attracting people from other areas in the city and across the city line to be parishioners. As I stated earlier though and widespread movement towards restoring the liturgy at least in the city and its suburbs would have great resistance for several reasons/

    Anyway, really at your question at hand I don't fully understand the hostility either. In an age where options are all the rage and we can follow our conscience what is so wrong with people following that to beautiful liturgy?



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    1. I just googled and found this:
      http://stalphonsusbalt.org/our-church/. It looks like it's the only one. I assume you have been there.

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    2. I have and the church is beautiful, St. John Neumann was pastor here for a period. There is an Anglican Ordinate parish as well. I'm still in the process of trying to get my wife fully on board with the Latin Mass. My other concern is that Msgr. Bastress is well into his 80's, and I'm not aware of another priest that knows the EF.

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  7. Is the pope worried about people on path to holiness and making it to heaven in certain congregations that draw so many vocations by their beauty and respect for the sacred and Christ out of love.

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  8. How true! Hatred for all things or people who treat God with reverence, and doctrine which is the Truth turned back to front.

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  9. Two of the daughters of the vice of sloth (sorrow for spiritual goods) are spite and malice. Sorrow over a congregation having a lot of fruit in vocations is definitely sloth, and it shows in the daughters.

    www.thecatholicblogspot.blogspot.com

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