Friday, November 12, 2010

About This Meeting Of Cardinals

Perhaps the Vatican's team of cardinals will also have a dove amongst them.

Yesterday I linked to a couple of NCR articles (here and here)on the coming consistory in Rome of all our cardinals, those who are and those who are to be.  According to the schedule discussed by Eugene Kennedy the Vatican has set a pretty aggressive agenda for the single day of the discussions. It's a schedule that is far more about being lectured to, than it is about discussing with or debating about. 

The fact is all the information that will be given in all the lecturing at the cardinals could be emailed, and the entire day devoted to cardinals talking with and debating about the topics to be covered.  That's the way most modern institutions do things now. They don't waste expensive time, and this is an expensive proposition flying in all these cardinals, lecturing people about information that could be given beforehand. The value of these kinds of meetings is derived from the discussion about the topics.  For some reason the Vatican is opting for a lecture hall format.  I wonder what that reason could be.

In the comments section after the Kennedy article was one comment,  that in it's sheer emotional truth, put all of this purposeful manipulation in perspective.  It was written as a letter to Cardinal Schoenborn by a fellow priest: 

Dear Cardinal

Dear Cardinal Schoenborn,

Fifteen years ago, I went public about having been abused by two priests at Junior Seminary. I was young, fearless and angry. At that time, I received an anonymous letter from " A priest." In it he thanked me for having the courage to speak out on behalf of people like him - people who "no longer have the strength to speak out anymore." The letter was heart breaking.

He had been abused as a child by a priest and it was obvious from his letter that this man was suffering, suffering to the point of suicide.

I never found out what became of that poor man, my brother priest. I had no way of contacting him. My way of supporting him from afar was to continue to speak out and to ask for a more honest and courageous Church.

Shortly afterwards - in the same year that he wrote to a French Bishop who had covered up for an abuser priest, and hailed the Bishop "a hero" - Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos wrote to my Bishop, ordering him to shut me up. I was appalled and confused..... and so naive!

Years later, I find myself in a position I never thought possible then. I could write the same letter I received from that priest. I am broken, worn out and my confidence is in shreds.

Things have changed. My heart used to miss a beat when I read Karl Rahner - "I envisage a courageous, new, world-wide theology.. a theology which doesn't shun conflict... which doesn't just flick through the pages of our familiar friend Denzinger... a theology which listens to the wisdom from the East, which hears the cries for freedom in Latin America, a theology which hears the sound of African drums beating." (So do I Father Tony, so do I.)

Things have indeed changed because it is now the Catholic people of Europe and America who desperately need to be listened to. They are speaking a profound truth and your colleagues are simply not listening.

Cardinal Schoenborn, I met you last year. I was so impressed. You have the wisdom, the humility, the compassion and the courage to make such a colossal change to our Church. Someone has to speak out. Someone in the College of Cardinals has to say, "Enough is enough!" I believe you are that man.
Words from this Sunday's Gospel - "You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives."

Please make your friend Benedict listen.

This is such a profound comment.  Cardinal Schoenborn could make Benedict listen.  He could start the process by standing up and insisting he not waste his time being lectured to like a college freshman.  He could say, "Enough is Enough".  He would only be voicing the truth for the majority of the People of God.  We have had enough. 

I suspect he would not find himself standing alone. I suspect a significant number of his fellow cardinals would stand with him--especially cardinals who had to fly in from distant points on the globe.  Hopefully, these cardinals would be joined on their flight by a Dove.  That would be something to see.


  1. This is what happens when your world view dictates that men and women are 2 entirely different animals, rather than subsets of the same species. They highlight the great gender divide, and not the common humanity of all people

    It would seem to me that in their worldview, men would have a church and women would have an entirely separate church. God would relate to each gender in entirely different terms. But that would mean the male clergy would have to give up extreme amounts of power I suppose. Far better to pretend the men have empathy enough to become momentarily pseudo-feminine so they have clerical authority over women [but never ever can women manage this in reverse].

    It is this that convinces me they are more interested in the earthly power than the spirituality of faith.

  2. @ Veronica,

    May I gently disagree? Men don't have to give up anything, nor do women. We all need to find a way to collaborate to create something bigger and better than our current church. Think of all the human energy, initiative, imagination, and hard work that could be brought to bear on this great project.

    Loaves and fishes!


  3. I've seen other comments from Fr. Anthony before at NCR and I believe it is a real breakthrough that he is being courageous enough to speak the truth. I am hoping that Cardinal Schoenborn hears the message and acts upon it.

    Perhaps within the lecture hall format it is a way for Benedict's OD men to identify anyone with views against theirs and to create the spin and fear, as well as dangle carrots on sticks, to defeat such thoughts from actually being discussed.

    May the Dove be with Cardinal Shoenborn and others. We have had enough as you say Colleen. Inasmuch as we have had enough with the direction that Pope Benedict is taking the Church, we have had enough in the USA of policies that create its destruction.

    I can only pray and perhaps we could start a letter writing campaign to the Pope from Catholics addressing our concerns for needed reform in the Church. Maybe if they receive enough letters we will be heard. As one example, Amnesty International conducts this sort of thing for prisoners of conscience and many are freed from prisons or are moved to better quarters.

    Maybe it is too late for Benedict to hear, so maybe we could address our letters to Archbishop Schoenborn.

    word verification is undroo

  4. Oh, I said Archbishop Schoenborn... He is a Cardinal...

  5. "Far better to pretend the men have empathy enough to become momentarily pseudo-feminine so they have clerical authority over women [but never ever can women manage this in reverse]."

    Veronica, this unfortunately is just one example of the circular kind of reasoning much of Catholic dogma is based on.

    p2p, I've been thinking a great deal about how one would bring about the change and reform you are writing about. It would be so wonderful if it could be brought about by one voice, like Schoenborn's, who might then give voice to others in the heirarchy until it became a resounding chorus echoing across the globe--and no I don't drean too much :)

    Butterfly, the letter writing campaign would need support from the Southern world. It looks to me like Benedict's Vatican is content to write off most of the West. I think his dicastery for re evangelization is mostly all smoke and mirrors whose real goal is to hang on to as much of Spain as the Church can. Spain is the big connection to the Church in Latin America. It wouldn't shock me in the least if the first real project from this dicastery is connected with World Youth Day in Madrid next year.

  6. Colleen, I do not need, nor do you need approval from the South to write a letter to demonstrate disapproval of the direction of the Church and the need for reform. I really do not understand your response.

    A spark for and towards reformation has to start somewhere. I say, inundate the Vatican or Schoenborn with letters. You say, no. Wait for who and wait for what? Who in the South is for Reform?

    I admit, I am impatient for this reform.

  7. I didn't say permission butterfly, I said support. The Southern church is almost ten times the numbers of the Church in the West. Reform needs to reflect the entire Church, not just the West.

  8. OK, well then we are doomed for the male machismo of the South.

  9. It also means that the Church is democratic in a demographic fascist sort of way.

  10. Let me rephrase that, we are doomed in the sense that the hierarchy will not in the immediate future change their awful sounding boring & abusive old tune. The world is quite sick of them.

    Cardinal Schoenborn seems like a light in the darkness at least.

    Tonight, some Austrian synchronisity, as Rick Stevens show was in and around Vienna. The Benedictines have a monastery there and the Church is beautiful, a little over the top, but a place of reverence. I could see myself living there.

  11. Butterfly, your forgetting Liberation Theology was born in the South as was the Community Base movement which really empowered laity, especially women.

    It's not all machismo and beans by a long shot.

  12. "Butterfly, the letter writing campaign would need support from the Southern world."

    "Butterfly, your forgetting Liberation Theology was born in the South as was the Community Base movement which really empowered laity, especially women."

    There is the support then that is needed for a letter writing campaign. Do you agree?

    Something needs to be done to affect some change that is good. We are never ever going to make a positive difference or have Reform by just writing in a blog.

    People need a positive way to release the energy of the Holy Spirit. Colleen, please enlighten us as to what you think can possibly be done to bring about positive change and reform in the Church so that the voice of the laity and role of women is not stuffed and stifled and belittled for another generation or two or three or four.

    word verification p2pwasmouse

  13. I write from Spain, my English is not good enough, but I read your blog regularly.
    It's true, we have to write this letter to the Cardinal Schoborn or to the Vatican.
    Many Catholics in Spain disagree, these Church is not the Church of Christ.

  14. OMG!

    Butterfly, that's a wild word verification. Really? Wow.

    I wasn't mouse. I am not mouse. But my verification word now is "cloner".


    @ Ana A

    I would love to travel to Spain next year. It is my desire to travel the way of the pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago de Compestelo. I will offer my journey for my daughter, my wife, my mother, my sister and all my female relatives,especially those whose names I do not know.


  15. @ p2p

    The only people I want to see give something up are the clerics in power who abuse women and the laity.

    I was not advocating separate churches for the genders. I was saying that in the view of the current clerical caste with regard to the separate genders, I don't understand there there is NOT one church for men and a completely different one for women.

    My view is that we are all children of God and gender is a secondary characteristic. I've talked with others - male and female - who insist we are gender primarily and not simply all human created in the image of God first and foremost. It appears to me that it is only those who insist on gender first who buy into the whole complementarity of the genders as dictated by the clerics.

    word verification: glomi