Friday, February 5, 2010

Back And More Stunned Than Ever

Cardinal Rode surrounded by the splendor of European culture. Note the absence of any shallow vocations from any non white non European sycophants.

Rodé: Religious orders are in modern 'crisis'
Feb. 04, 2010 By John Thavis, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- A top Vatican official said religious orders today are in a "crisis" caused in part by the adoption of a secularist mentality and the abandonment of traditional practices.

Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the problems go deeper than the drastic drop in the numbers of religious men and women.

"The crisis experienced by certain religious communities, especially in Western Europe and North America, reflects the more profound crisis of European and American society. All this has dried up the sources that for centuries have nourished consecrated and missionary life in the church," Rodé said in a talk delivered Feb. 3 in Naples, Italy.

"The secularized culture has penetrated into the minds and hearts of some consecrated persons and some communities, where it is seen as an opening to modernity and a way of approaching the contemporary world," he said.

Rodé said the decline in the numbers of men and women religious became precipitous after the Second Vatican Council, which he described as a period "rich in experimentation but poor in robust and convincing mission."

Faced with an aging membership and fewer vocations, many religious orders have turned to "foreign vocations" in places like Africa, India and the Philippines, the cardinal said. He said the orders need to remember that quality of vocations is more important than quantity.

"It is easy, in situations of crisis, to turn to deceptive and damaging shortcuts, or attempt to lower the criteria and parameters for admission to consecrated life and the course of initial and permanent formation," he said. (What in the world is he saying here? That white Anglo European vocations are more true and valid than other vocations?)

In any case, he said, "big numbers are not indispensable" for religious orders to prove their validity. It's more important today, he said, that religious orders "overcome the egocentrism in which institutes are often closed, and open themselves to joint projects with other institutes, local churches and lay faithful." (Perhaps Rode is slyly referencing the style of Opus Dei and the Legion who combine lay apostolates with consecrated religious and insinuate their view of Catholicism in ordinary dioceses.)

Rodé, a 75-year-old Slovenian, is overseeing a Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation of institutes for women religious in the United States to find out why the numbers of their members have decreased during the past 40 years and to look at the quality of life in the communities.

He spoke Feb. 3 to a conference on religious life sponsored by the Archdiocese of Naples. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published the main portions of his text.

Rodé said it was undoubtedly more difficult today for all religious orders to find young people who are willing to break away from the superficial contemporary culture and show a capacity for commitment and sacrifice. Unless this is dealt with in formation programs, he said, religious orders will produce members who lack dedication and are likely to drift away. (Perhaps the Benedictines should start their own version of Hitler youth.)

The challenge, however, should not be seen strictly in negative terms, he said. The present moment, he said, can help religious orders better define themselves as "alternatives to the dominant culture, which is a culture of death, of violence and of abuse," and make it clear that their mission is to joyfully witness life and hope, in the example of Christ. (The dominant culture in which Rode grew up was all about death, violence, and abuse. That was the Catholic European culture he seems to miss. He also seems to have forgotten he was liberated from that culture by the generosity of North American blood and sacrifice. The very same North American blood which flows through the veins of the LCWR. And some of that North American blood was not white European blood, but Black, Hispanic, and Native blood.)

Rode told Vatican Radio Feb. 2 that his office was working on two documents: a joint document with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on the importance of prayer in the life of religious; and a document highlighting the importance of religious brothers in the church. ( I can't wait to read Rode extolling on the virtues of religious brothers as opposed to the vices of religious sisters. Won't that be a novel change.)


If this little message from Cardinal Rode is indicative of where the Vatican has it's brain, then Catholicism is truly facing a serious crisis of mission. This is an incredible insult to any Catholic whose skin is not white and whose native origin is not European or North American. Even if Rode meant to insinuate that North American congregations were using developing countries to pad their numbers, it's still completely outrageous.

This message seems to me to be a very clear statement that Roman Catholicism is at it's core all about white European male culture. Rode would have us believe that that culture, as modeled by Roman Catholicism, is Christ's preferred culture. For some reason I doubt that Christ had white European culture in mind when he described the Kingdom.

Maybe the sin being committed by the LCWR is that it no longer bows down to that culture, somehow having gotten to the point where the violence, domination, and death in white European culture no longer has any credibility. It was after all, this Catholic European culture that gave us the twentieth century horrors of totalitarian fascism, totalitarian communism, and the subjugation and domination of non white non European cultures.

This is a stunning message in the depth of it's pathology and maybe that's a good thing. It shines a very bright light on the choices we are being asked to make as members of the 'Catholic' church. It's only 'Catholic' if one is willing to agree to the supremacy of European culture and the world view of it's elitist white male leadership.


  1. Glad you're back, Colleen--and yes, Rode is all about white, European male-centric thinking. (Old males, at that, who seem to think that battling modernity is still where the church is at, though we're now in postmodernity!)

  2. The crisis is that this turkey is in the position that he has.

    There are times that I think that the Lord has a very bad sense of humor.

    Jim McCrea

  3. Good to see your site active again. I have missed this the past few days.

    Maybe the Roman Catholic Church as we have known it; its clericalism, its heavily white European bias is passing from the scene.

    While not perfect, I think that there are some very positive aspects of the present day secular culture. I think there is a thirst for honesty. Science seems to have a role. Questioning of authority is something that is healthy. There is an appreciation for cultural difference and a desire to make accomodations.

    If you do not go back to the past, then just wait and see what a generation committed to some of these ideals develops as their response to the gospel and their way of service. What will these "vocations" look like? I bet they will not look like clerics dressed in the robes of a Cardinal Rode.

  4. The real reason for the "crisis" is abundantly clear in the picture: in its obsession with medieval structures and procedures, as exemplified in the dress and rituals illustrated, too many religious orders are wholly removed from real life.

    It is not "secularism" that is the problem- but the attempt to create a living Church from the fossilised remains of the Council of Trent, where too much of it remains stuck.

    Where vibrant religious orders and thoughtful thelogians have attempted to out new life on the old bones, they have found them the subject of "visitations" by the likes of Rode, banned from teaching, or even excommunicated.

    Rode is quie right of course, in saying that "big numbers are not indispensable" to religious orders: nor are cardinals in red hats and fance dresses indispensable to a vibrant Church. We are all Church, and we can all contribute - whether as part of "religious" orders or not. As Paul said to the Corinthians, we are all part of one body. Whether the institutional church likes it or not, we who are "religious", but not part of the recognised "religious orders" or ordained priests, will increasingly simply take up the slack and do the job ourselves, preaching the truth of the "Good News" in Scripture intead of the empty nonsense that comes from the hierarchs.

  5. Good to see you back and with a great commentary about Cardinal Rode. I read this article the other day and just did not know what in the world to say about it. Stunned is a good way to describe my reaction as well to Cardinal Rode from Slovenia.

    It seems Cardinal Rode still suffers from shell shock from the WWII era and still has the mentality of his childhood in his understanding of it. He seems to still be in that time, in a time lock capsule in which he is still a slave. Perhaps he shares that with Pope Benedict, and evidence suggests he does share a similar mentality and emotional connection to that time. They both seem locked in a fortress mentality. They take information that is healthy for the entire Church and they toss it into the garbage can as foreign. They seem brainwashed from their youth and your observation, Colleen, that "(Perhaps Rode is slyly referencing the style of Opus Dei and the Legion who combine lay apostolates with consecrated religious and insinuate their view of Catholicism in ordinary dioceses.)" seems to be what the Vatican will be pushing. These are the militants that he feels are needed to correct the world. They do have a macho and Euro-centric view of the world, a medieval theology, a retarded & deformed spirituality. Cardinal Rode and Benedict should wear SS boots because they seem to be in solidarity with the same sort of spirits.

  6. Rohde is embarrassing. In fact, he is a Vincentian priest, a member of the Congregation of the Missions, founded as an apostolic order by Vincent dePaul. Would hazard a guess that poor Vinnie is turning over in his chapel grave in Paris when he hears something else from this CM. The charism of Vincentians is to train and education clergy and to do mission work....Rohde has been all over the place in his life but consistently he had been in Rome. Again, what his current vocation has to do with his original CM commitment is beyond me??

  7. "a stunning message in the depth of its pathology..."

    Wonderful description!

    Yes, we must cut no corners! It is crucial that all religious orders emulate the photo Colleen has put up. Knee breeches! Court clothing with long trains! Courtiers!

    All nuns must follow suit. Ideally prayer in solitude - while crocheting lace for the courtiers and cardinals.

    Let's hear it for a church which harks back to the days of yore with monarchs galore! Surely we can shun materialism and go back to the courtly lifestyle! What is wrong with these young people who don't dig showing off in such finery?

  8. This is very disturbing. What about any of this is "enlightened"?

    - You show a picture of Rode to satisfy the need for vitriolic outbursts on an ad-hominem level. After all, Cardinal Rode only ONCE wore the cappa magna, so you might as well have taken any of the dozens of photos that show him dressed like any cardinal. But that wouldn't have the crowd in stitches now, would it?

    - You start your comments with "perhaps" or phrase them as a question, which doesn't show a whole lot of enlightenment but just an attempt to nudge people into a certain direction.

    - The preferred direction seems to be one of tasteless and unqualified remarks ("Hitler youth") or of a naivety that is either genuine or pretended, both of which disqualifies you from commenting on the issue. Of course, you still have the RIGHT to keep these comments coming, but implying that the "culture of death" Rode talks about has anything to do with the culture he grew up in is beyond the pale and hence makes you look pretty unprofessional.

    BTW: The photo was taken at the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. They have apostolates all over the world, for instance in Gabon, Africa. They educate children there and have a shizillion of black guys running around in their blue habit. Seems to me the Church still is bigger and wider and more open than "enlightened" minds, if even evil Renaissance princes like Rode support institutes that try to keep the faith alive everywhere.

    Sorry for the unfriendly outburst.

  9. Dear (Father?} Allpius,

    I am sorry that your take on this message was so very negative, as I see it exactly the opposite way. I have seen several pictures of Father Rode in similar dress in different surroundings in both more traditional and in more progressive print. So I don't see it as all Vitriolic but only as this old man and aging mind exists.

    When you see the words perhaps as controlling or "nudging people in a certain direction" or another, I see it as a way of not being vitriolic but giving some benefit of the doubt that maybe someone of your position could attempt to answer.

    When I think about Rodes and all the projections that were sent his way in his youth, I think it likely that he got his authoritarian mind set way back then. What you think tasteless seems a way for a questioning mind to understand how such a man in such a high position so deadening both psychologically and spiritually. Needless to say, I see the authors comments as very appropriate and I would only ask you to think of the vitriol in yourself.

    This article shows once again the implosion of RCC leadership continues. They really don't care much about whom they hurt by attempting to kill carriers but only care about preserving themselves in a high position of an authoritarian structure. So many of the current day ethical structures and changes in societal ethics have not come from the church, but from what these men call secularism. If you do not agree with what they say and are attempting to grow and develop true spirituality, hope, and love, they attempt to kill off your mind with condemnation and excommunication.

    So, the major problems with the growth in societal ethical standards has not been as much secularism as it has been clericalism. As far as relativity goes: Simple algebra is always relative and not so simple theories are relative--
    E=MC . So much in life depends on knowledge and observation and since we are finite beings our knowledge must be by definition always relative to what God knows. This is particularly true when we apply our judgements and ethics to others. It is always relative and we should understand what the clergy call relativism is there attempt to declare themselves correct. This is a defense mechanism attempting to intellectualize and preserve there own medieval structure that is in the midst of continued implosion.

    May we gain Grace through peace and understanding.

    R. Dennis Porch, MD

  10. Alipius I must have hit some button with you because you focus on the side issues and not the main issue.

    That's one of my real issues with the apologists for the beaucratic Vatican. We are encouraged to be overwhelmed by the side issues rather than deal with the rot at the center.

  11. Glad to have found some thinking Catholics. Thank you for giving me hope that all is not lost.