Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Blog Site


Blog Moved

the caholic eye has moved to

Being a Priest

I believe that, for a man, there is no greater vocation in the world than that of being a Catholic priest, and a recent survey from Our Sunday Visitor finds priests are “among the happiest people in the country.” I would suspect the same is true for women being a nun. I have been very fortunate in the priests I have been honored to know—as are a vast majority of the faithful in the priests they know—for they all reflect the results found in this survey from Our Sunday Visitor. An excerpt. “Although modern secular portrayals often paint the priesthood in a negative light, the results of a new study reveal that Catholic priests are among the happiest people in the country. “A thorough scientific evaluation conducted by Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, clinical associate professor of pastoral studies at The Catholic University of America, shows that priests as a whole are highly satisfied with their lives. “The study, which includes data from a 2009 survey of 2,482 priests from 23 dioceses and a 2004 survey of 1,242 priests from 16 dioceses, is the basis of Msgr. Rossetti’s new book “Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests” (Ave Maria Press, $18.95). “Msgr. Rossetti, a licensed psychologist, told Our Sunday Visitor that at first the study’s findings may seem surprising or even counterintuitive. “But the results, he explained, are in line with secular studies and social science research conducted over the past three decades. “Studies consistently show that religious people, those with a strong spiritual life and a religious faith, tend to be happier, more well-adjusted people,” Msgr. Rossetti said. “Frankly, the reality is that religion is good for you, psychologically and spiritually.” “That is especially true for priests, he said. In the study, priests tested slightly higher on standard psychological evaluations than the average person, and reported one of the highest rates of satisfaction with their work of people in any profession.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Progressive Catholics

It took several years after our conversion and baptism to recognize and fully appreciate how much they differed from conservative Catholics (within whose camp we've found our home) and while it really isn't a matter of progressive vs conservative, but being congruent with traditional Church teaching rather than not and conservatives tend to be the former, progressives the latter.

Once realizing the difference and understanding their perspective, the attempt to ally Peter with Occupy Wall Street isn’t a surprise.

George Weigel, one of the Church’s most important theologians—his books are at Amazon’s author page—writes about them on the Ethics & Public Policy Center.

An excerpt.

“It's been a bad three and a half decades for self-styled "progressive" Catholics.

“First, there was John Paul II, whom many in that camp habitually labeled a charismatic reactionary. Yet the Polish pope was a hero all over the world during an epic pontificate that bent history's arc in a more humane direction, and did so without the aid of liberation theology. John Paul's funeral Mass on April 8, 2005, became, in the apt phrase of NBC anchor Brian Williams, "the human event of a generation," a moniker unlikely to be attached to the obsequies of, say, Hans Küng, John Paul's most embittered progressive critic.

“Then came the election of the progressives' bête noire, Joseph Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict XVI: a horror that a prominent progressive, Notre Dame's Fr. Richard McBrien, declared electorally impossible a mere 24 hours before it happened. Catholic progressives hunkered down for what they hoped would be a brief Ratzingerian interregnum. But Benedict XVI has proven an energetic pope whose pontificate has been in dynamic continuity with that of his predecessor, an astute analyst of the cultural crisis of the West, and a man determined to strengthen Catholic identity as the sine qua non of Catholic reform.

“Thus the Wojtyla-Ratzinger years have put paid to the notion, beloved of Catholic progressives, that Catholicism began anew -ex nihilo, as it were - at the Second Vatican Council. Committed to the hoary "liberal/conservative" hermeneutic of the Council's history, Catholic progressives hold that Vatican II represented a dramatic rupture with the past. The great teaching pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, however, have proposed a far more plausible interpretation of the Council as one in dynamic continuity with the great tradition of Christian orthodoxy. That interpretation, in turn, is shaping an entire new generation of Catholic intellectuals who are far more interested in exploring the complex riches of that tradition than in deconstructing it. Unlike the aging progressives, who have shown themselves rather infertile intellectually and who survive in large part because of that most conservative of institutions, the tenure system, many younger Catholic scholars are fully committed to putting theology at the service of the "New Evangelization" for which John Paul II and Benedict XVI have insistently called.

“In the United States, the progressives have also been steadily losing their grip at the national, diocesan, and local-parish levels. Various lay-renewal movements have become vital and self-consciously orthodox factors in Catholic life, and a new generation of priests and bishops, many of whom look explicitly to John Paul II as their model of ecclesiastical leadership, have come to the fore. For the past half-decade or more, the Catholic bishops of the United States, following the pope's lead, have increasingly stressed the importance of Catholic identity, by which they understand fidelity to Catholic teaching, in confronting an increasingly hostile cultural and legal/political environment. That problem has been considerably exacerbated by the Obama administration, which many Catholic progressives welcomed with loud hosannas, and for whose regulatory assault on Catholic health-care and social-service agencies progressives have provided cover, often by implausible appeals to Catholic social doctrine.

“Throughout this fairly rapid decline, progressive Catholicism's distinctive cultural marker has been its skepticism about the teaching authority of the Church: whether that teaching authority was formally and authoritatively addressing the ethics of human love, the suitability of women for Holy Orders, the uniqueness of Christ as universal savior, or the intrinsic evils of abortion and euthanasia. Thus it was another sign of the increasing incoherence of progressive Catholicism when several of its American paladins mounted a raucous defense of a "Note" - a kind of Vatican white paper - on international financial reform issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) on October 24. It was an extraordinary exercise: The progressives depicted Benedict XVI as a senior chaplain to Occupy Wall Street, described the Note in such overwrought terms that the gullible might have thought this white paper shared in the charism of papal infallibility, and darkly suggested that those who disagreed with the Note's prescriptions were cafeteria Catholics, picking and choosing their doctrines to fit preexisting political tastes.

“The irony of men such as the former editor of America, Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr., and National Catholic Reporter blogger Michael Sean Winters promoting a notion of papal teaching authority more expansive than any imagined by the most wild-eyed traditionalist will not be lost on cognoscenti of ecclesiastical intrigue. This new notion of PCJP infallibility does, however, raise interesting questions - about the nature and modalities of Catholic teaching authority, about the organization of the Holy See, and about the state of Catholic progressivism in America.

“Given the continuing confusion caused by Father Reese's assertion that the Note positioned Benedict XVI "to the left of Nancy Pelosi" (which reverberated throughout the media echo chamber), it's important to pin down just what the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is, and what authority its statements bear.

“The Pontifical Council (with whose president, Cardinal Peter Turkson, I had an entirely cordial 90-minute conversation last year) was established after Vatican II as part of the "New Curia," a set of agencies intended to give organizational expression to some of Vatican II's pastoral concerns: the promotion of social doctrine, the family, the lay mission in the world, and so forth. Unlike the older Congregations of the Roman Curia, which exercise an authority of jurisdiction (over bishops, clergy, religious life, Catholic worship, etc.), and unlike the Tribunals of the Curia, which make binding legal decisions, the "Pontifical Councils" of the New Curia were intended to be in-house think-tanks. Bureaucracy being what it is, however, they quickly morphed into something else: paper factories issuing all sorts of statements on all sorts of issues. As I wrote in God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, there was concern during the 2005 conclave over the large amount of paper being generated by the New Curia: paper that was inevitably, if inaccurately, interpreted publicly as being the settled understanding of the Catholic Church and its highest teaching authority on X, Y, and Z.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

U.S. Sexual Abuse Trial

The trial concerning the scandal in Philadelphia—involving an Archbishop—is moving along, as reported by the Washington Post.

An excerpt.

“PHILADELPHIA — Prosecutors seeking to convict four Roman Catholic priests and a teacher in a pedophilia case want to use evidence of other sexual assault complaints and priest transfers in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

“They filed a motion Friday to include relevant conduct at the high-profile trial, which is scheduled for March.

“Monsignor William Lynn, 60, is the first U.S. church official charged with child endangerment and accused of transferring predator priests who then abused more victims. Two priests, an ex-priest and a teacher are charged in the same case with raping two boys.

“Prosecutors hope to show that Lynn had a pattern of transferring known predators and that priests “had the opportunity and cover” to abuse minors.

“They also want to show the jury broad evidence of the archdiocese’s handling of sex-abuse complaints, to try to prove the complaints were ignored, enabling predators and exposing them to new victims.

“The Commonwealth needs the ‘other acts’ evidence to make out core elements of the crimes charged: Lynn’s knowledge, and the intent he shared with his supervisors and with accused priests, are established by the patterns evident in his extensive history of handling priests who sexually assaulted children,” city prosecutors wrote in a pretrial motion filed Friday.

“Defense lawyers have a month to file their response and cannot comment on the filing because of a gag order.

“They have sought, unsuccessfully, to separate the rape charges from the case against Lynn, who is charged solely for his administrative actions as secretary for clergy.

“Lynn’s lawyers say their client was acting on orders from Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, whom he served from 1992 to 2004.

“In another key pretrial issue, prosecutors are seeking to preserve Bevilacqua’s testimony before trial. However, the archdiocese argues that the retired cardinal, at 92, suffers from cancer and dementia and should not be dragged into court.

“Lynn’s lawyers will clearly try to limit the scope of the trial testimony to job transfers involving the three priests on trial with him. They are the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 64, the Rev. James Brennan, 48, and former priest Edward Avery, 69, along with former teacher Bernard Shero, 48. All of them have denied the charges.”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Catholic Church & Occupy Vancouver

A local church almost got taken over by the group, as reported by All Headline News.

An excerpt.

“Organizers of the Occupy Vancouver movement almost took over the Holy Rosary Cathedral in downtown Vancouver on Sunday morning.

”Vancouver Police stopped the protesters from disrupting mass at the Catholic church. A spokesman for the group, which renamed itself Occupy Vatican, said the purpose of the aborted church takeover was to bring to the Catholic Church’s attention the thousands of residential school survivors who suffered under the clergy.

“However, some members of the Occupy Vancouver movement said that the Occupy Vatican movement did not secure consensus at their Saturday night general assembly and was not supported by the majority of protestors.

“Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miler anticipated the march of protesters and requested extra police protection outside the cathedral to prevent the disruption of the mass.

“In the U.S., protesters from Nashville and San Diego were arrested over the weekend after police moved into their camps at night.

“Nashville police used a new law that banned overnight camping near the Tennessee state capital. San Diego police arrest 51 protesters, removed tents, canopies, tables and other furniture.

“Making the Wall Street movements more challenging is an early cold storm that hit parts of the U.S. over the weekend, which also disrupted Halloween celebrations.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Economic Justice

The reaction to a recent Vatican document entitled: TOWARDS REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY, that came from the Pontifical Council of Justice & Peace has raised a lot of comment and after reading it I can see why the fuss, but it is a good document, thoughtful and well worth a read.

An excerpt.


“The world situation requires the concerted effort of everyone, a thorough examination of every facet of the problem – social, economic, cultural and spiritual. The Church, which has long experience in human affairs and has no desire to be involved in the political activities of any nation, ‘seeks but one goal: to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth; to save, not to judge; to serve, not to be served.’”

“With these words, in the prophetic and always relevant Encyclical Populorum Progressio of 1967, Paul VI outlined in a clear way “the trajectories” of the Church’s close relation with the world. These trajectories intersect in the profound value of human dignity and the quest for the common good, which make people responsible and free to act according to their highest aspirations.

“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence. What is more, the crisis engages private actors and competent public authorities on the national, regional and international level in serious reflection on both causes and solutions of a political, economic and technical nature.

“In this perspective, as Benedict XVI teaches, the crisis “obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time.”

“The G20 leaders themselves said in the Statement they adopted in Pittsburgh in 2009:

“The economic crisis demonstrates the importance of ushering in a new era of sustainable global economic activity grounded in responsibility.”
“The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace now responds to the Holy Father’s appeal, while making the concerns of everyone our own, especially the concerns of those who pay most dearly for the current situation. With due respect for the competent civil and political authorities, the Council hereby offers and shares its reflection: Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of global public authority.

“This reflection hopes to benefit world leaders and all people of good will. It is an exercise of responsibility not only towards the current but above all towards future generations, so that hope for a better future and confidence in human dignity and capacity for good may never be extinguished.

“Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson +Mario Toso
President Secretary”