|It's kind of strange to view Pope Benedict in a suit and tie, but then this was back in the days when he was unafraid of the vision of the Church articulated by Vatican II. He looks downright dashingly secular.|
Eugene Kennedy currently has a piece at the NCR about the recent decision of Irish bishops to remake Maynooth seminary into a more monastic setting. The idea according to the rector is about "trying to get the balance right between the need for the seminary to be a distinctive prayerful community and ensure that the seminarians have all the benefits that the Maynooth campus has to offer." In my own mind I didn't make the initial connection that Kennedy did with prisons. I made the connection between the residential situation of big time college athletic programs and this seminary idea. Isolating young men from their peers seems to be a tried and true method for authoritarian male leadership to enculturate their pet values in their captive audiences. The truth is that these kinds of artificial living situations don't lead to any kind of 'balance', they lead to the creation of serious imbalances in the maturation in some members of the captive audience. The graduate school I attended has recently admitted they might have a problem with rape in their football program after the latest allegation involved three football players in a date drug gang rape.
I've never been a fan of isolating young adults by gender or age or activity. Where as these kinds of living situations might not be detrimental for most young adults, for others it is seriously detrimental as it can create all kinds of victims and enhance the worst aspects of these distilled cultural milieus. That's one thought I had, but Kennedy had one paragraph in his piece I think deserves to be immortalized:
In short, the Irish bishops think they are solving a problem whose roots can be traced back to the isolation from the healthy experiences with others that characterized the supposed golden age before Vatican II spoiled everything by reminding the church that its whole purpose was to embrace the sinful world and relieve its suffering rather than to push it away like a leper whose suffering might contaminate it.
Those lines just really struck me as getting to the root cause for the 'reform of the reform'. Vatican II had to be respun precisely because it spoiled everything by reminding the church that its whole purpose was to embrace the world, not push it away. It really doesn't surprise me that our current Pope is the biggest champion of this reform, because virtually his whole life after WWII has been spent in a clerical world designed to keep him safe and secure from the leprosy of secular contamination. In some respects it appears he's substituted Hitler's demands for protecting the "fatherland" from the contamination of non Aryans with protecting Holy Mother Church from secularists and atheists. It's really a juvenile boy thing, not a mature man thing. I've seen this retardation of male maturity play out over and over again in numerous different settings and it's always at the expense of women and the least powerful. It's the human version of the juvenile male elephant phenomenon. It needs to be eradicated from Catholicism, not resurrected.