It was announced today that the Vatican has expelled Fr Ray Bourgeois from the Maryknoll Order and dismissed him from the priesthood. His offense was that he took part in the ordination of a woman priest. This act was obviously much more serious than being a bishop convicted of covering up for a priest he knew to have child pornography on his computer. The church “leadership” shows again that it aims at thought control and the repression of the free speech rights of catholics, especially priests and religious. They continue to get away with this because there is no way to stop them. They have their palaces and cars, their skirts and other fine clothes, their bling, places of honor in churches and at dinners, and are called by their honorifics. As long as they mouth the party line and keep close to the nether regions of their superiors they are home free. Not many of the rest of us have such job security.
No doubt the “leadership” claims to be acting in Jesus’ name and how Jesus would act if he had all the facts. Being loyal to the magisterium, really just another convenient tool to keep the folks in line, is more important to “leadership” than living in an authentic and vibrant relationship with Jesus and doing whatever this relationship calls us to. Some would say, however, that a relationship with Jesus is not real and authentic unless the bishops say it is. What Jesus said is not nearly as important as what the “leadership” says Jesus said. So, where our prayer life leads us is not important unless the bishops approve it. Then there is the matter of living according to one’s own conscience. Unless one’s conscience is in line with what “leadership” says it should be, it obviously is in error and therefore cannot be followed. “Leadership” has all the answers for everybody always. How many folks really care what “leadership” says about anything? It looks to be fewer and fewer. Perhaps they are getting their smaller and purer church.
It is interesting that when Jesus said, “Whenever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am with you”, he did not say anything about the permission of the bishop, background check on folks to see if they believe the right things and talk about them the right way and don’t talk about anything that shouldn’t be talked about, coming together only in approved places, using only the approved words or wearing only the prescribed clothes. He also didn’t say much about titles, except telling folks not to imitate those who sought them. The letter announcing Fr Ray’s expulsion from the order referred to him as Mr. Bourgeois. Titles are not important too often. They set people apart and, in the case of the church, put people on a pedestal, which the hierarchs probably enjoy. In some situations, especially the military, titles are necessary because they signify rank and responsibility, both of which are necessary in a well functioning military. In the church, however, when the purpose of the church is to point out the presence of the Lord among us, only his title is necessary. In the time of Jesus folks didn’t come up to him and kiss his ring. Wonder where the whole ring idea started anyway. Not with Jesus.
It seems that the hierarchs have placed themselves in the position of being gatekeepers to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Nobody gets in without their ok. Fortunately not many people pay attention to this. Jesus doesn’t seem to because he keeps popping up in places the hierarchs just don’t like.
Two other things happened in the past few days that should restore the credibility of the church to its original purity.
Alarmed by a decline in the use of Latin within the Catholic church, Pope Benedict is planning to set up a Vatican academy to breathe new life into the dead language. Benedict issued the motu proprio Latina Lingua establishing the Pontifical Academy for Latin. The aims of the Academy are: a) to encourage the knowledge and study of Latin — language and literature, classical and patristic, Medieval and humanistic — in particular at the Catholic institutions for formation at which both seminarians and priests are trained and taught; b) to promote the use of Latin in various contexts, both as a written and as a spoken language. No doubt he hoped for resurgence of Latin will go a long way in restoring catholic morals to all the world.
Also, the Vatican Secretary of State has directed that bishops and priests wear their cassocks when they are in Rome. This has to be among the finest accomplishments thus far of the Year of Faith, and the New Evangelization.
Meanwhile a number of governments throughout the world are in various stages of arranging investigations in to the Church’s handling of the clerical abuse crisis. No comment on this from the Vatican, or from the American Bishops who just finished their meeting in Baltimore. If they ignore it maybe it will go away. But, bad news does not get better with age.
There must be a few bishops who don’t go along with “leadership” on some things. But if loyalty to the group keeps them from saying anything, are are being tarred with the same brush.
Jesus said, “I will send the Holy Spirit who will teach you to observe everything I have taught you”, and, “I am with you always, even till the end of time”. This I firmly believe.
The Holy Spirit is alive and well, and stirring things up, as She does so well.
Just sayin . . .