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Thursday, 8 October 2015

"Letting the Fly Out of the Bottle"

If you haven't already, go and read every word of Bishop Barron's piece at Catholic World Report.
It treats of the role of women, of the fatherhood of the priest, of the misconceptions those who do not see with the eyes of the Faith have about the Church, (even those, Chris Matthews, who are members thereof,) and the unrealized dream of the Second Vatican II regarding the role of the laity IN THE WORLD.

My only quibble is that Barron asks, How can women find more power? a question I find wholly inappropriate.
One of the greatest wounds on the Body of Christ, IMO, is wrought by individuals seeking power. In the episcopacy and the Curia it take the form of that careerism that the Holy Father has so soundly condemned.
In parish councils and committees across this country the knife is wielded by puffed-up little demi-clerics.
The situation is not that anyone needs to "find" power, but that each person needs to see, and understand, and utilize the power he, or she has.
Barron of course knows this, and points to saints - Thérèse of Lisieux, Bernadette of Lourdes, Mother Katharine Drexel, Mother Cabrini, Mother Teresa, and Edith Stein all wielded more real power than 99% of the priests and bishops of their time. If we move our attention away from the priesthood and toward sainthood, we let the fly out of the fly bottle.
More felicitous examples than that the Pope Francis was taken to task for using - so many times priests end up under the authority of their housekeepers - no?
(I might add Bishop Barron to the list, not of saints, but of people who have more power than their bosses.)
Priests, I explained, have families. I then indicated the ring that I received upon being ordained a bishop and I said, "That's a wedding ring, and we are explicitly told never to take it off, for it symbolizes our marriage to the people we serve."
Then I quoted my mentor, the late Cardinal Francis George: "Priests are not bachelors; they are married men, and they have spiritual children." Celibacy should never be understood in a purely negative way, as though it amounts simply to the denial of something. The no to marriage and children in the ordinary sense is in service of a far greater yes, the yes to a wider, more inclusive, and more abiding form of marriage and procreation. In point of fact, the very familial implication of the celibate commitment is precisely what makes priests uniquely positioned to help and advise families. Once again, the teaching of Vatican II is apposite. Celibacy and marriage are ordered to one another, since both are ultimately in service of the sanctification of the world.  
(I'll use this in discussing the "Sacraments of Service" with my school kids.)

So, Wittgenstein, eh? Who knew...
(I suppose everyone who paid attention in Philosophy 101. Me? I was spouting heresy and receiving compliments for it....)

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