Friday, May 6, 2011

Bishop who Creates Ordination Crisis Removed

Over at Fr. Z's realm, he "rants" about the Vatican removing a Bishop from his diocese in Australia.  In short, Bishop Morris of the Diocese of Toowoomba (my new favorite name for a diocese!) published opinions to the faithful that called for the ordaining of women and for recogizing Protestant "orders."

To any faithful Catholic surfing the web, Fr. Z is required reading.  Me, I like to get my fix in doses of every few days, and just scroll through the page.  This rant of his is no exception.  He rightly points out that the Vatican took this action because there really was no other choice.  Elsewhere on his blog, he makes a point I'd like to expand on.

Many of the Bishops' defenders (in such "catholic" publications as Natholic Catholic Reporter and the like) bewail the fact that Rome is cracking down on innovative ways to solve the shortages in Catholic priests.  Like Fr. Z and others, I believe these people have lost any credibility on the issue.  It was their liberalism that caused the crisis

The Progressive "vision" of the Church has looked to "modernize" Christianity, making it not too different from the modern world.  They presented people with a choice:  the modern world, with all of its "fun", or Christianity, which believed as the modern world did, but every now and then had such things as obligations to go to "worship services", have a vague sense of guilt, and belong to an "institution."  If there's one thing the modern world hates, it is "institutions."

They present Jesus Christ as just an interesting historical figure, if he even exists!  In this sense there is nothing that special about Christianity.  Just like other religions, with a few changes.

Not surprisingly, people haven't responded too enthusiastically to such a Church.  The seminaries emptied, followed by the emptying of the individual churches once they received a liturgy that was bland.  A sunday ballgame was far more "entertaining" that people "got something" out of.  Faced with such a crisis, they conclude that the identity of Catholicism has not been watered down enough.

Those like Bishop Morris essentially want us to become Unitarians.  Who cares if the man is a Protestant who denies the Eucharist, papal infallability, or even the Trinity!  He has a "ministry" the Church should recognize, and invite him to excercise that "ministry" alongside them.  I will be willing to grant their "ministry" the moment they grant the fact that those like Bishop Morris have a direct line of succession to the Apostles themselves and during every Mass offer up the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to the Father as a true and propitiatory sacrifice for sin.

If this were the case, a natural question would have to be posed to the Protestant "minister."  Why aren't you doing this?  If this thing called the Mass is truly a propriation for our sins and we truly receive Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist, why are you denying your flock something this vital?  Are your clever words or business models for evangelization really something better than the Body and Blood of Our Lord?

All throughout Christianity those who are looking to relativize are becoming irrelevant.  Even amongst our seperated brethren the Protestants, the mainstream denominations are a shell of their former selves.  Why?  Because there is no reason to even bother going to Church.  They try to make you feel good.  Football provides more entertainment than their worship services ever could.  Engaging in fornication or adultery makes you feel better in the short term than they ever could.  Even worse, for today's generation doing nothing beats all of the above.  Why even bother getting out of bed?  And we should emulate these men?

Only when being a Christian means something do people follow.  The Pentecostal movement might be a false version of Christianity in my eyes, but they offer something.  It isn't just about the rock concert atmosphere.  They offer the belief that the Holy Spirit is not only real, but actively involved in the lives of the faithful.  (What we disagree about is the way they claim the Spirit works, we agree on the active part.)  Other flourshing Evangelical Churches hold that the solas of the Reformation actually mean something, and change every aspect of their existence.  In Catholicism, traditionalist seminaries run out of room they get so many applicants.  Those dioceses that offer Catholicism as something substantially different and greater than the world have little trouble finding priests.

Yet ultimately this message requires the faithful, from Bishop to pew-sitter, do something of substance.  It requires them to amend their lives and live as new creations.  It requires them to tell the world that there is something we have which you could never in your greatest days hope to posesss.  In short, we need a Catholicism that is not arrogant but still has a bit of swagger.

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