Monday, August 13, 2012

Of Marines And The Church Militant And Synchronicity

Personally I prefer the Marine Dress Uniform, but I understand Cardinal Burke needs a little more 'salad dressing'.


John Allen has another interesting post up at the NCR.  This one deals with the gung ho wannabe marine bishops recently appointed to US Archdioceses.  These include Cordileone to San Francisco, Lori to Baltimore, and Aquila to replace the first of these gung ho guys, Chaput in Denver.  It looks like Sensus Fidelium is to be replaced by Semper Fi.

For me though, the really frightening part of Allen's missive came at the end:

.....In terms of church politics, most observers see Cordileone's appointment as a sign of a growing role for American Cardinal Raymond Burke, president of the Apostolic Signatura. Burke, currently the lone American heading a major Vatican office, sits on the Vatican's powerful Congregation for Bishops. (To be honest, and this is not a charitable thought,  every time I hear this man's name I have an instant mental association to 'clown masses'.)

The tendency to credit Burke is augmented by the fact that the papal ambassador to the United States, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ², privately has expressed concern about "politicization" of the American church heading into the 2012 elections, suggesting a preference for a more diplomatic style of leadership. Some observers wonder if ViganĂ²'s involvement in the ongoing Vatican leaks scandal, centering on revelations of private correspondence he wrote to the pope charging corruption in Vatican finances, have diminished his influence in the nomination process. (Makes more sense to me that it's the unbelievable level of influence of Carl Anderson that is at work here, not Vigano's lack there of.)
 
Further opportunities to shape the direction of the American church are on the horizon, with three other archdioceses due for a new bishop soon. Indianapolis is presently vacant, while in Portland, Ore., Archbishop John Vlazny is already over 75, and in Hartford, Conn., Archbishop Henry Mansell turns 75 in October.
Even more importantly, Cardinal Francis George in Chicago is already over 75. Although most observers do not expect a successor to be named imminently, it's the next diocese traditionally led by a cardinal likely to see a change at the top.
Yet no matter what happens in those locales, the reins of the U.S. church now seem firmly in the hands of leaders committed to a "no retreat, no surrender" stance.

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I agree with John that the US Church is in the hands of the 'no retreat, no surrender" crop of men.  This is the major reason I don't think the LCWR notion of discernment and dialogue has a hope in hell of being successful.  Men who are determined to conceptualize everything in terms of war and enemies are not known for their capacity to dialogue.  We are about to see a concerted effort to turn  American Catholicism into an actual sort of Church Militant.  Frank Cocozelli's recent post on Open Tabernacle deals with this exact kind of thinking taken to it's ultimate end from the mind of one Fr. C. John McCluskey, an Opus Dei priest who seems to think the "Work of God' is armed civil war in the US. 

One of the things that Sr Pat Farrel mentioned in her closing speech at the LCWR convention as a sign of the new consciousness was the term synchronicity.  The common synonym for synchronicity is coincidence.  A more accurate conceptualization would be coincidence with in a meaningful space of time.  The usual NEW AGE example of this is the concept of 'parking angel'. Or how we all think it's a nice coincidence that a parking spot in front of Walmart is available right after we were thinking how nice it would be if we didn't have to walk with a cart full of groceries to the back hinterlands of the parking dodging 40' RV's.  We like to think our prayer was answered by a 'parking angel'.  Today I had one of those synchronicities. 

I was thinking this morning about how the Cordileone's and Lori's of the USCCB and the Carl Andersons' of the K of C, and the Michael Vorris' of the Catholic media world have taken to speaking in military terms, and not just in military terms, but more like the bravado of the mythical Marine.  As if somehow they were in God's Marine corps and were insisting real Catholics best get in shape and be real Marines like them.  And then this morning John Allen posts of this exact same thinking, even right down to quoting a Marine hero.  I took my thinking a little further though, and wondered if these Real Catholic Marines would ever give any credit to the thought the real Marines know they can't function without the Navy, the Air Force, or God forbid, the Army and that more often than not, these troops are now involved in peace keeping activities and humanitarian relief rather than actual war.  So I thought to myself it might be nice if these wannabe's actually followed the real Marines around for awhile because they might learn what their own vocations are actually supposed to entail.  And then when I thought about Cardinal Burke following around real Marines, I almost choked.

28 comments:

  1. Will someone PLEASE tell Cardinal Burke that he looks ridiculous?

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  2. Cardinal Burke you look like and ass...damn where is the Christ in all this?

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  3. On the one hand, martial symbolism is and has always been a rich part of Christianity.

    On the other hand, I think you're right. There is (I'm thinking of Voris in particular here) a tendency among certain types of orthodox Catholic men to couch their arguments in a language that is excessively macho and militaristic.

    This is not because I think the Church ought to be feminised, but rather that the language of these guys can sometimes appear to be a little too strong, sailing too close to theatre rather than a rooted, authentic masculinity. Perhaps not so much too strong, on reflection, as too unbalanced, too one-sided.

    This said, I've yet to see such a tendency infect an actual member of the clergy, let alone a bishop. Although I don't have anything much to do with the Church in the USA, so perhaps it is so, I just wouldn't know.

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  4. OMG. LOL. Cardinal Burke looks like a celery stick. I kinda like, for assorted reasons, Vidalia Onion Dressing. Now where did you get that picture?

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    1. I found it doing a Google search. I personally cannot get past the ever so tastefully draped drapes. I do agree that the mitre does sort of make him look like a grumpy celery stick.

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  5. Well, I was so overwhelmed by the picture with the post that I'd forgot that there was something else that caught my attention.

    It is the use of the word syncronicity. That, I believe, is Jungian term. For me, it is the same as, yes, grace. It means more than a parking spot at wal mart.

    If only the leaders of the church, the bishops, could finally recognize the reality of modern day science, contemporty psychology, then they might not sound so out of touch.

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  6. Jung did use it originally, but I wanted to tweak Invictus with the New Age thing. Synchronicity to me is about Grace, but it's also about the more mundane things like finding a front row parking space at Walmart. It's like a wink and nod from the mysterious unknown part of our reality. And sometimes it can be enormously funny.

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  7. Yes, I agree, it can and is about mundane things. I have been trying to avoid the Invictus debates. I gave up long ago trying to talk to rabid conservative people. I admire your patience.

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  8. To compare these closed-minded petty tyrants to the Marines is an insult to the Corps. I have close friends who are Marines. These guys, with their funny hats, pretty frocks and Belgian lace, are no Marines. They prefer to let the nuns muck it up on the front lines of Gospel Christianity and then snipe at the sisters for failing to be sufficiently orthodox. Incidentally, Burke looks like the tyrannical ruler of some far-off planet in a second-rate Star Wars parody.

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    1. I know Bill, which is why I really did almost choke when I thought of Emperor Raymond of the planet Celery following around a real marine.

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    2. As a former Marine myself , that's an interesting comment. The nuns are the "grunts" out in the field "walkin point" trying to tell the bishops, AKA, the rear echelon pogues, that they're not seeing a lot of the things we see. As an old military maxim I recall says , your plans work well until the first contact with the enemy. It seems to me that the nuns have learned this over the last forty years and have had to improvise, overcome and adapt in their ministries.
      .
      Another thought that came to mind is this trend to put things into warfare terms bu the bishops. An old Marine Corps legend came to mind for me, that legend is Smedley Butler. After he retired from the Corps he spoke his mind in a pamphlet called War Is A Racket. That's what I can't help but think as the conservative Catholic wing in the Church talks about the culture war; this is a racket and somebody's gettin' played.

      John Fremont

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    3. John, for some reason this comment wound up in the Spam file.

      The culture war is a racket for the benefit of the Republican party. Butler's quote brings to mind Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex and how it would become the bane of the US. Whole lots of folks getting played I think.

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  9. That is the most ridiculiouly FUGLY outfit I have seen since a particularly bad episode of Project Runway.

    FIVE colors of Green, none of which go together,
    GREEN GLOVES - is he out of his mind!!??
    And the red / pink white lace thing underneath.

    There just are no words, other than HOT MESS. People, this is why we have liturgists and Offices of Worship. They are people who actually have taste and a sense of design. They will save you from looking like - THIS.
    Help us Tim Gunn,you are our only hope.

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    1. Maybe it was a Christmas Mass. That's the only think I could come up with, and the gloves are $800 a pair. You'd think for that kind of money his Roman tailor could have at least matched the rest of his outfit.

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    2. I was wondering about the small table runner sized napkin the man is wearing...

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  10. Not Christmas, that is a White vestment liturgy. This is Ordinary Time and Green vestments. It is just intentionally bad. Sometimes ridicule is the best medicine.

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    1. I forgot about that. Well, it could still be a Christmas Mass and he just hasn't found someone who will donate the $30,000 for a white set and he was stuck with the green.

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  11. Maybe he needs someone from Color Me Beautiful to come in to figure what season he belongs in. "The Winter of Our Discontent" would be my guess.

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    1. LOL. Certainly represents the winter of my discontent.

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  12. Posted to Twitter for the awesome picture of Cardinal Burke. Also, great commentary as always...

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    1. Thanks FreeRange. Certainly is a unique photo.

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  13. He reminds me of Humpty Dumpty. What an outfit! What a chair! What a hat! Now that is a high back chair if I ever saw one!

    And his face. He looks terribly miserable, as if he was sitting on something rotten or something.

    About the colors. LOL! What can I say? A pool of different shades of green pea soup with a splash of red tomato at the bottom. I nearly fell off my humble low back chair reading the comments above that he looks like a piece of celery!! LOL!!

    Fran

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  14. Off topic, but I couldn't figure out how to send this to you via email--there's a breakaway Catholic church near Charlotte that just popped up: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/13/3451465/leaving-to-become-better-catholics.html

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  15. "A little more salad dressing": and what better way to start the vinaigrette than balancing a big old lemon atop your head? :-)

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  16. Perhaps the clerical bling is all to reinforce Bully Burke's own self-importance. You would think that with all the money he dropped on the bling that he could at least get it color-coordinated.

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    1. For some reason this photo bugs me precisely because it's all so mismatched. So I have a theory. I think Cardinal Burke was presiding at some small TLM gathering and they provided all the vestments. I'm thinking these vestments had been packed away for some time and the only contribution of his were his gloves. I know I saw those exact gloves on Sipe's website in the piece about the cost of Burke's get up.

      This would also explain his sour look. He knows precisely how all this looks.

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  17. Bill S in Wausau WIAugust 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    What pains me most about Cardinal Burke and hierarchists like him is that they are leading the Church that has such potential for beauty and good on a triumphal march to irrelevance. And they don't have a clue. I don't like to use ridicule or call names, even to Ray Burke, but can't and won't handle the pomposity. Lets get back to the essence of the teachings of Jesus.

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  18. What a *horrible* colour scheme LOL. Those colours do not go together, they really don't.

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