|Bishop Olmstead on EWTN radio with you know who looking larger than life and over his shoulder. Look out LCWR for Bishop Olmstead now has the power to protect the 'simple' nuns from you intellectuals.|
The orthodox hurricane continues to swirl. It's now taken Phoenix's Olmstead and whirled him right to Rome where he will replace Archbishop Tobin as Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life. This move removes the LCWR's best friend and replaces him with another ladder climbing Grand Inquisitor. The following is the first paragraph of Vatican Insider's coverage of this impending move.
The Bishop of Phoenix, Olmsted, will soon be officially announced as the new Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Lifemarco tosatti - rome - Vaticn Insider - 12/7/12 The official announcement of the appointment of the Bishop of Phoenix (Arizona) Thomas J. Olmsted, as Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life is expected any day now. Olmsted should replace fellow American, Tobin, who occupied this delicate position for a very short period. Tobin heads the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Olmsted’s approach in the Congregation is expected to be far closer to the sensibilities of American bishops with regard to issue of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious)’s rebellious stance towards Catholic bishops and the Holy See. The number of nuns in the United States dropped by over two thousand members in just one year, from 57,113 to 55,045..........
The Vatican is surely on a roll. If LCWR congregations lost 2000 members in one year, they will undoubtedly lose more after this announcement. Perhaps Pope Benedict's first tweet will finally acknowledge the Vatican is conducting a purge of historic proportions. A purge which is aimed squarely at the progressive 'feminist' wing of the Church. Over on her blog Iglesia Descalza, Rebel Girl has listed the priests who have been punished by the Vatican in 2012. Not surprising most of them have been censured for public statements of some sort in favor of women's ordination or gay civil marriage. A number of these men have been censured in the last month. The same month in which Pope Benedict issued a motu proprio demanding adherence to Catholic identity markers take place of prominence in Catholic social outreach ministries.
The move to replace Tobin with Olmstead is reminiscent of the appointment of Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco. It's a way of placing favored orthodox lions in perceived wolves dens. In reality these kinds of appointments come across as 'in your face' statements of unilateral power and hence very juvenile. I've maintained for a long time that Pope Benedict's real desire is to actually create a leaner and meaner church and that as the end of this year approached we would start to see one decision after another that was designed to create this kind of Church. The consequences of these moves will be a leaner and much meaner Church, but I'm not sure that is the motivation behind these moves.
Back in 2009, I wrote a piece in which I used this quote from Italian marxist Antonio Gramsci. I'm not sure of the year in which Gramsci wrote this, but since he died in 1937, he didn't write it in response to today's Church. In a sense then it is prophetic.
"The strength of religions, and of the Catholic Church in particular, has lain, and still lies, in the fact that they feel very strongly the need for the doctrinal unity of the whole mass of the faithful and strive to ensure that the higher intellectual stratum does not get separated from the lower. The Roman church has always been the most vigorous in the struggle to prevent the “official” formation of two religions, one for the “intellectuals” and the other for the “simple souls” … That the Church has to face up to a problem of the “simple” means precisely that there has been a split in the community of the faithful. This split cannot be healed by raising the simple to the level of the intellectuals (the Church does not even envisage such a task, which is both ideologically and economically beyond its present capacities), but only by imposing an iron discipline on the intellectuals so that they do not exceed certain limits of differentiation and so render the split catastrophic and irreparable."
What I find most interesting is that in his defense of silencing Fr Hans Kung, Cardinal Ratzinger used just this rationale when he said the task of a bishop is to protect the simple faithful from the intellectuals. I truly believe this has been Pope Benedict's motivation all along, not to motivate the 'simple' to a more mature faith, but to protect them from such a move. There are all kinds of other reasons for the Vatican to engage in such a strategy. The 'simple orthodox believer' is motivated from obedience, not maturing in Christian notions of love. For them one matures in love, or demonstrates love, through obedience. Obedience, as the cardinal virtue, greases the wheels of patriarchal authoritarian structures. It is balm for the Vatican soul. That it also leads to gross violations of human dignity, as exhibited in Catholic countries in World War II, is irrelevant. That the pursuit of perfect obedience is in essence utterly self serving and self protecting, goes unmentioned. That it is designed to promote the status quo is unacknowledged except in official acts which silence voices of forward movement.
It is no wonder that the orthodox Vatican part Roman Catholic Church has become fixated on fighting women's ordination and gay marriage. Women's ordination threatens the exclusively male status quo and forces a different view of women as equal in the spiritual realm, and accepting gay marriage means elevating notions of relational love over obedience and mechanistic biological notions of gender complementarity. Both of these issues directly threaten traditional notions of obedience to male authority, but more than that, they threaten the notion of male authority as the complimentary piece giving order to the otherwise chaotic feminine spirit of creation. For Catholic culture to move forward on either of these issues threatens chaos, especially for the 'simple' believer, many of which seem to reside with in the Vatican's walls.
I don't know how many "simple believers" there can be in a society that requires education in order to make decent living.ReplyDelete
A Gallup poll from earlier this year found, astonishingly, that 25% of Americans with postgraduate degrees believed that "God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years."Delete
Not even graduate-level studies can disabuse everyone of pre-critical religious thinking.
A lot, since many of our beliefs depend on how far we have gotten beyond our families. The Church is counting on most of us not getting beyond our parents world view. It's also counting on it's newly ordained priests not getting beyond the world view of their seminaries, a world view which is not allowed to get beyond Pope Benedict'sDelete
Yes, Prickliest. One of my theology professors said the people that drove him the craziest was not people who were uneducated, but the ones who held professional degrees but still maintained a twelve year old's confirmation faith. He thought that was incredible given how science called so much of that faith into question....even in their own fields of expertise.Delete
He thought that should give priests pause, at least to consider that collars had a huge impact on personal faith. He said it was unbelievable to him that anyone would place the opinions of priests before the truth of their own disciplines. This observation is still valid and that is even sadder than it was in the mid seventies.
Perhaps it's so in the U.S. with its peculiar "religious" culture but perhaps not so much in Western Europe and that should be examined.ReplyDelete
Perfect lines, Colleen--brilliant, as ever: "Obedience, as the cardinal virtue, greases the wheels of patriarchal authoritarian structures. It is balm for the Vatican soul."ReplyDelete
What's sad about this decision by the Vatican is its inability to understand that real religion never, ever arises out of obedience as its primary impulse.
Nor does real spirituality. Obedience only works in fear based systems and fear is not the basis from which one truly learns to love.Delete
All evil, if traced back to its roots, is based in fear.Delete
Not only that, Bill, but as one commenter noted at NCR, the bishops tend to view holiness as unquestioning acceptance of their dictates, rather than following Jesus' example. It hasn't dawned on the bishops that they aren't following Jesus' example, and they may never get that message. Magdalene, you are correct in your observation of the ultimate source of evil as fear.Delete
William, what I find interesting is the opinion of one of the most regarded men of letters in conservative circles, the recently deceased Jaques Barzun. As he wrote in his work, From Dawn to Decadence , about the Catholic hierarchy's culture since the Council of Trent that aligns with the comments make here about obedience...Delete
"... The vain effort of Catholic churchmen at the Council of Trent to impose uniformity of belief on the faithful has instead “kept making unbelievers, or rather . . . has deprived many of the chance to believe.” More congenial to Barzun was the spirit of Rabelais, Montaigne, and Shakespeare, who extolled tolerance and magnanimity, who recognized the diversity of human cultures and the complexity of human nature, who commended humility, modesty, and self-restraint, and who showed compassion and humor at the folly of mankind."
Barzun also saw modern Western civilization as "decadent" , as a great unwinding. Colleen ,as you put it, the old energies dissipating. As I've seen one writer put it, this current trend to reactionary traditionism is like an act of cultural taxidermy, preserving the outward body by draining out the life inside. Barzun didn't despair though, he imagined that inspiration from the past and present could be bringing about a new Renaissance. However, trying to keep the old forms going was just a dead end. Barzun, while no liberal, saw strict adherence to traditions and dogma as detrimental to human flourishing. As he said about his own faith, he was no longer a practicing Catholic due the extreme conservatism coming from Rome.
Thanks Colleen for another outstanding blog. It's interesting how the prelates feel so threatened by women and gay rights. Sometime I'd like to participate in a forum on the effects of an entire global organization run by bachelors living in their own country, immune from any law enforcement, without women and children, or for that matter anyone much different than themselves. Would the present Catholic Church not be the expected result? Betty ClermontReplyDelete
How could it not be? And yet we both know how effective that system is in perpetuating itself and maintaining control. Unfortunately I don't believe maintaining that control necessarily has the laity's spiritual health as it's number one goal. I happen to think the number one goal is geo political and financial power. Can you imagine any other system that would produce Pope Benedict as it's de facto supreme ruler or CEO?Delete
I have been a Catholic in the Phoenix diocese since birth, over the age of 50 and I have never been alienated so much by anyone as by Olmstead. I have refused to give one dime to them anymore, and instead direct donations to St. Joseph's Hospital. Unfortunately he reflects most of the bishops now. Only the most arch conservatives like and defend this guy. He has alienated so many Phoenix diocese members, hundreds have left. He could not have devised a philosophy to drive out members any greater than he has. The thought of him judging religious orders is obscene. I call him the ultimate Pharisee, order, conformity, and rules trump spiritualism. This method is based on fear, his, and other bishops fear women, and thinking. I always defended the Catholic Church over conservative Protestants, for its openness to intellectual thinking. Now these bishops seem to be as closed minded as the 6000 year old earth crowd.ReplyDelete
From obedience to biology? Not exactly a seamless leap.ReplyDelete
Well, Missy Olmstead certainly is zooming up that ecclesiastical ladder isn't she? She can't wait to outshine Missy Burke in their lace togs.ReplyDelete
WOW! I happened across this webpage and after reading this article and the comments section I feel like taking a bath to scrub off the filth and evil emanating from it. Why do you people bother spending your time castigating the Catholic Church? Why don't you leave and start your own pseudo religion? Do you think you can convince people of faith to listen to your garbage and believe it is true? You pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-feminist folks who think Catholic teaching can be changed by your mealy-mouth protests are sadly mistaken. Yet, the good Lord tells me I should pray for you. I do, but I don't have to like you. By the way, respond if you want to, but you will be talking to yourself, not to me, since I will never open this webpage again.ReplyDelete
Of course, you will open this webpage again. People who write such things are just dying to see what the reaction is. Here is the reaction to your post: YAWN! Now go on outside and play.Delete
Here we have another true believing trad who doesn't want to believe that Pope Benedict sees them as a 'simple' person in need of protection from the power of intellectuals. Given the content of this comment, I'm beginning to think Benedict is absolutely right.Delete
What would you expect from Ratzinger/Benedict. He's a tyrant, a dictator. I'm sure he finally saw the writing on the Vatican walls and realized the church he wanted was fast fading into oblivion. He should have returned to Germany. What a lot of nerve to park his miter in the Vatican gardens! But no surprise coming from this arrogant, medieval reincarnation.ReplyDelete