I am a bit discouraged by a lot that is going on in the Church these days. Things like Bp Blair and the whole LCWR issue, the appointment of the new bishop in San Fran and the tricks he pulled in Oakland with the oaths, etc. I’m glad our local bishop, even with his abusive style of ruling, does not do those kinds of things.
The other day I listened to Bishop Blair interviewed on Fresh Air. He really believes the stuff he was handing out, a company man to the max. That must have been some cool-aid. It does not seem to bother him that so many folks are just ignoring the hierarchy, or that some of the ideas he is pushing as divinely revealed are simply historical adaptations based on contemporary situations.
He really believes the hierarchy has all the answers. There is no need for negotiation. All the nuns have to do is accept everything the bishops tell them and they will be saved. It seems to me that he spoke somewhat condescendingly about the nuns and the work they do. He says he hopes for a revitalization of religious life for women. Maybe he ought to look for a vitalization of integrity in the hierarchy. Dialogue means simply accepting everything the bishops say.
Thus, in his mind, and, unfortunately, in the minds of many in the hierarchy, there is neither need nor room for faith to develop and mature. Just mouth the right words and everything is fine. In the eyes of many folks there is a difference between the Magisterium and the Church. The Magisterium is talk, and the Church is action. The bishops are part of the Magisterium – talk.
I belong to Future Church (headquartered here in Cleveland) and am on their optional celibacy board. There seems to be some progress in reaching out to bishops, some of whom I think are open to the issues, if not actually in favor of them. But with the current hierarchy focus, I wonder if there is any hope. There are many organizations around the world, but I don’t see much happening.
Increasing numbers of folks seem to be telling priests to stand up in protest. I personally am getting tired of these folks telling us what to do. I understand the guys’ hesitation to speak out. When our area priests had our meeting with our bishop to address his concern that our relationships with him we very bad, I spoke up fairly forcefully. Three others much less so, and the other 20 or so sat on their hands. I understand that. My situation is unique in that I take no money or anything from the diocese or the parishes where I help. So, there is nothing the bishop can do to me expect take away my faculties. No problem. But it bothers me that folks who have no idea what it is like to be a priest in a parish these days are telling the guys what to do. There has to be a better way. From time to time I raise the question with folks, and the responses, such as they are, demonstrate no awareness of what the guys’ life really is like. Most of the guys are just trying to serve their people as best they can. Many of them are just plain weary.
The polarization resulting from the hierarchy’s attitudes is devastating. Good people are judging each other, often very nastily. Too many people think they know everything about everything. Its starting to look like the NHL. We need a penalty box and timeouts.
Is there any hope?
Just sayin . . .