Paul Leingang is enjoying a well-deserved week away. On his behalf I welcome readers to this week’s Wisdom Wednesday.
A few weeks ago (July 14) a priest who had been speaking out a lot and got national attention was removed from the parish he led by his bishop. This past week a priest who has spoken out very little and drawn virtually no attention resigned his prominent position at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These recent developments against the background of the scandals of the past 4 decades extend Catholic disappointment and dismay, complicating the efforts of Pope Francis to keep us moving forward.
Pope Francis complicated matters by tightening use of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine style of celebrating Mass that has been adopted by some clergy and laity over recent years. His decision has dismayed many and relieved others. Meanwhile Francis’s Vatican team is preparing a three-year synodal process designed to let everyone play a role in how the Church moves forward.
Following the Catholic Climate Covenant’s 2nd national conference, Fr. Dan Horan writes about the spiritual crisis we are experiencing as fires burn, droughts continue, and our water aquifers collapse yet rain wreaks havoc and oceans rise. Meanwhile an international interfaith Religious Freedom Summit gathered a collection of global religious leaders to mark progress and chart the future.
The Pillar-Burrill Event
Crux Editor John L. Allen Jr. writes about Catholic journalists covering such events as the USCCB’s Msgr. Burrill resignation. Allen says he would not have published the story as The Pillar did for several reasons and concludes that this event “has helped to create a new, more challenging work environment for anyone doing journalism about the Catholic Church.” Read the Exposé that brought down USCCB official likely to have lasting fallout.
A non-journalist religious priest who is in sync with Allen expressed his ethical discomfort with the Pillar reporting.
On another front Fr. William Grimm, a Maryknoll missioner who has long ministered in Asia and is a publisher of UCANEWS, admits that he is fed up with what’s been happening in the Church and the hemorrhaging that results. “The Catholic Church’s public face is pretty ugly,” he writes, but he’s “still Catholic”. Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/religion/fed-up-but-still-catholic/14638.
Bill Mitchell, National Catholic Reporter’s publisher, reflected:
Catholics encouraged by the inclusiveness and compassion exhibited by Pope Francis but confounded by a church that remains bogged down by clericalism and resistance to reforms already too long delayed.”
He based his thoughts on James Carroll’s latest book about “How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul”, a sequel to Carroll’s 2019 article “Abolish the Priesthood.”
Trent vs. Vatican II
Pope Francis surprised many when he reversed Pope Benedict XVI’s authorization of rampant use of Tridentine liturgies rather than the Roman Rite called for by Vatican II. He changed the rules, returning control to local bishops, and explained why he reversed Benedict’s directions. His surprising move provoked several responses. Two sources on the subject:
- APOSTOLIC LETTER ISSUED “MOTU PROPRIO” BY THE SUPREME PONTIFF
- LETTER OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO THE BISHOPS OF THE WHOLE WORLD, THAT ACCOMPANIES THE APOSTOLIC LETTER MOTU PROPRIO DATA “TRADITIONIS CUSTODES”
Our Sunday Visitor addressed the question head on: How and why has Pope Francis restricted the Latin Mass?
La Croix published a piece about the Pope’s role as the “guardian of tradition.”
Columnist Thomas Reese writes that the Latin Mass is not going away soon.
Msgr. Kevin Irwin of the Catholic University of America reminds readers that the church is a ‘we’: reflections on Francis’ restricting the Latin Mass.
Andrea Grillo (b. 1961), professor of sacramental theology at the Pontifical Atheneum of Sant’Anselmo in Rome traces from “Supreme Pontiffs” to “guardians of tradition”: the vicissitudes of the Roman Rite.
Two more viewpoints, from Commonweal:
Pope Francis’ call for a 2023 Synod is the most complex undertaking by the Universal Church since John XXIII’s call for Vatican II. This Synod requires 3 phases of preparation starting with a local synod to be held by every diocese throughout the universal church.
Nathalie Becquart, the first woman subsecretary of the Vatican’s Office for Synods and the first woman to have a synodal vote, explains synodality in this article.
Rafael Luciani, one of three lay Latin American theologians chosen as consultants for the upcoming Synod, hopes to contribute “from a non-clerical vision.” Synod theologian says laity must make decisions, not just implement them (cruxnow.com).
English historical theologian Fr. Thomas O’Loughlin sees synodality as a minefield. He addresses the importance of hearing and listening.
On Other Fronts
Can Catholic colleges and universities survive as solidly Catholic? It looks questionable as unlivable faculty wages put Catholic higher education in existential crisis.
Is the climate crisis about anything more than caring for the earth so we survive. Fr. Dan Horan considers it a spiritual crisis also.
Among the most recent shocks to Christian Americans, especially for Catholics in Canada and the United States, is the discovery of how organized christian institutions collaborated with governments in virtually attempting to destroy the cultures of America’s indigenous peoples.
A rare gathering of international religious and political figures provides an evaluation of where religious liberty stands in today’s world and how it needs to take stronger hold.
We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
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