Thursday, February 26, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Storm clouds are gathering in Austria right now. A few of you might have been following the case of former Bishop-Elect Wagner, an orthodox priest with a healthy parish who was recently appointed by Pope Benedict to become the auxiliary bishop of Linz, Austria. Linz is a pretty liberal diocese. He gave a fantastic interview:
In it Wagner states, "What unifies us, is our Catholic faith. Those who dissent should consider whether it is not really they who are being divisive. I fail to see why I should portrayed as divisive when I step up in defense of the Church and align myself with the Pope. Something is not right there."
Recently, the Austrian Bishops' Conference held an emergency meeting to discuss this "crisis" of an appointment, led by Cardinal Schonborn. They mailed petitions to parishes all over Austria to have Bishop-Elect Wagner resign, and to ask Bishop Schwarz, who was going to do the ordination, to refuse to ordain the Pope's man. Result: Bishop-Elect Wagner resigned.
Why is this relevant? The Austrian Bishops' Conference published an open letter to all parishes in the country, declaring war on the pope's ability to appoint bishops. Some excerpts follow:
"We bishops are convinced that the procedure provided for in canon law for the selection and the examination of candidates has proved its worth, if this procedure is really followed. Therefore, before the Holy Father takes the final decision, reliable and thoroughly tested basic information must be provided on which he can rely. In Austria in the next few years a number of bishops are to be appointed. The faithful are legitimately concerned that the process of candidate search, examination of the proposals and the final decisions should be carefully undertaken and with pastoral sensitivity are possible. This can ensure that bishops are appointed who are not 'against' but 'for' a local church. We bishops will make every possible effort to support the forthcoming episcopal appointments in the sense of monitoring these procedures in close cooperation with the relevant Vatican offices."
"The situation in the vast diocese of Linz makes the bishops worry - this even after the resignation of Father Gerhard Wagner. There is much good news from this diocese, which is often too little seen, even if some problems should be mentioned...It is not just about differences of opinion in terms of structures and methods, but ultimately the question of sacramental identity of the Catholic Church. This especially this concerns the ordination for priests and deacons in relation to the general priesthood of all the baptized. The pastoral path can only be followed which is in accordance with the worldwide church. For all differences, this path of the church persevering in prayer and in conversation with the universal Church should be undertaken on the basis of the Second Vatican Council."
The good news from the diocese to which they refer might be that of over 5,600,000 Catholics, fewer than 801,000 attend Mass on Sunday.
Though the language of the letter sounds friendly, remember that refusing to accept Rome's instructions when it comes to consecrating bishops is what sparked the largest schism, or more accurately the largest potential schism, of the past century in the situation of the SSPX. It is a very serious action--they are effectively stabbing the Holy Father in the back. In this very public letter, the Austrian Bishops' Conference is clearly throwing down the gauntlet to the pope and his attempt to keep the Church focused on Christ and His teachings. Their boldness might inspire other conferences to do the same.
Though this grave act is not yet a schismatic one, it certainly shows that the country may be on that trajectory.
They need prayers badly. I encourage everyone to continue in the novena for the Holy Father, ending on February 22nd, the Chair of Peter.
(say 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, and 1 Gloria)
V: Let us pray for our Pope Benedict.
R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.
V. Thou art Peter,
R. And upon this Rock, I will build My Church.
Let us Pray,Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant, Benedict, our Sovereign Pontiff, and guide him in your goodness on the way of eternal salvation; so that, with the prompting of your grace, he may desire what pleases you and accomplish it with all his strength. Through
Christ Our Lord.
V. Mother of the Church. R. Pray for us
V. St. Joseph. R. Pray for us
V. St. Peter. R. Pray for us
V. St. Paul. R. Pray for us
V. St. Benedict. R. Pray for us.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
As Valentine's Day approaches, I am reflecting, willingly or not, on possible future marriage partners. It's a continuing theme often taken up by my girlfriends and myself. Today what struck me was the economic difficulty in finding my perfect match. The difficulty is as follows: I make a pretty good amount of money. That in itself is not a problem (can anyone say DOWRY??). The problem comes when you apply two key principles (whether they be rigid principles I leave for someone else to dissect): one, because a man feels threatened by a woman who makes more money than he does, the man should make more money in a relationship; two--and this just dawned on me today--a lot of people nowadays, men or women, who make above a certain amount of money tend to have certain goals and ways of life that are not strictly compatible with a strong spiritual life. They are the rich young man in the Gospel story.
I am the last person to say that you must intentionally become poor in order to live out your vocation as a Catholic lay person, but there's no denying the strong temptation that a sizable income provides to material attachment. This attachment is especially prevalent in single people like myself. Without a family to provide and sacrifice for, singlets can easily indulge themselves with money and possessions; I know that all too well from experience. That brings me to the quandary: I don't want a man who is so focused on career and money that he cannot see true spiritual goods in their proper and ordered light (i.e., WAAAAAY more important than your bank balance). However, though I don't strictly aspire to "marry rich," I would prefer to marry in my general social class. Therefore, I do want a man who makes more money than I do, even a lot more money. He also has to pray a lot.
Is there a man out there who makes plenty of money yet spends ample time on his knees? Probably, because there's all kinds of people, including crazy me. It's interesting, though, to see how unlikely and unusual such a person would be. Moreover, perhaps this is as close as I'm going to get to making an online dating profile, so that might amuse you too. I make great cookies! :0)