A Letter from the Editor
A couple readers of Another Voice have rather strongly reprimanded me for contributing “ever more to the destruction of the Catholic Church.” One reader told me to come out and honestly admit that I am really anti-Catholic and that I must take “great delight in bishop-bashing.
So for the record (once again) let me state a few personal positions as clearly as I can:
(1) I am the proud product of eight years at a Catholic grade school, four years at an excellent Catholic high school, four years at a truly exceptional Catholic college. And I have two doctorates from Catholic universities. I am proud and grateful for the Catholic education I was fortunate to receive.
(2) For almost fifty years I have worked at and for Catholic institutions. I am neither anti-Catholic nor anti-bishop.
(3) I am VERY concerned about what I see as a major leadership failure by our Catholic bishops going all the way from Rome, Italy to New York City, USA.
(4) Our bishops have turned their backs on contemporary people and the contemporary world and now have their heads deeply planted in the sands of a nineteenth century ethos that stresses triumphalist clerical authoritariansm.
What do we mean by authority in the church?
I The ability (power) to create specific consequences in the life of another. The power which affects the public order of the church. This is: Impersonal: normative and legal authority. We see good contemporary examples in people like Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal-in-waiting Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
II The ability to motivate and transform people based on trusting relationships. This is operative and relational authority. We see the best historic example in the life and spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. We see it as well in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
What behavior do I look for in our bishops?
I Genuine listening…….not a paternalistic dismissal of what the people have to say.
II Contact with contemporary reality. In November the USCCB decided to shut down the American College in Louvain. The hallmark of Louvain is that its theologians have always had one foot anchored in Catholic tradition and the other solidly rooted in contemporary life. Closing the American College of Louvain is a sign of the closing of the American episcopal mind.
ÌII Consonance of word and deed. I am disgusted for instance at new cardinals who spend $15,000 on their red costumes and rings, when most of the world is in a serious economic depression. When this dissonance was brought to the attention of one new cardinal, he chuckled and said: “the poor we will always have with us…”