Praying for You and Thinking You’re Incompetent

boticelli Madonna Magnificat

God made us to give Him glory. By His grace, we try to do that in everything—every waking moment, and every sleeping moment, too. Like Mary our Queen put it: My soul magnifies the Lord.

Of course our main way to glorify God is: Holy Mass. Our souls magnify the Lord most when we offer ourselves to God at the altar—the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, united in true worship. We offer ourselves along with the Host and Chalice to the Father, in our humble churches all over the world.

I, for one, find myself limping along with this right now. I think many, if not most, of us American Catholics find ourselves limping along with this.

Catholics cannot expect every pope, bishop, priest, or deacon to speak and act like a living saint all the time.  We all have our foibles; we all need to exercise patience with each other.

But can’t we reasonably expect more humility, honesty, and coherent prudent action from our shepherds? More constructive communication? We can’t expect great sanctity. But can’t we expect basic pastoral competence? Steadiness in the basic duties?

What is “The Scandal of Summer 2018?” Isn’t it the evident fact that we don’t have competent governance of our Church? The evident fact that sure hands do not hold the wheel? And that they haven’t held the wheel for some time now?

The wheel of the Church is in the hands of an impaired driver, one who only knows how to react—and reacts sluggishly and sometimes steers right into danger. The driver does not seem to know where we are going. It’s like our Church is just following a computer-voiced GPS, rather than having a real father at the wheel, who knows the roads and where we’re headed. And knows things like: where we might stop for a rest, a meal, a lovely view.

steering wheelI don’t mean just the pope. Of course I wouldn’t wish the burden of being a bishop on anyone, much less the burden of being the bishop of Rome. I wouldn’t wish the burden of being a priest on anyone, or the burden of being a father.

After all, there’s only one way to make it through life in one piece. To be a monk. In this sense: To give over all my burdens and responsibilities to God every morning and every night. To try to glorify Him according to His holy will today; tomorrow will offer another, unknown battle.

That’s the only life that can get a soul to heaven, that kind of monk’s life—whether you’re married, a priest, single, whatever.

Also, humility means that we acknowledge: It’s not really our place to judge the competence of our superiors. The Church cannot function without obedient hierarchical co-operation, any more than any family can function without obedient hierarchical co-operation.

But, in August 2018, we have a right to suspend that ecclesiastical convention of unquestioning humility. We have not just a right to suspend it, but a kind of duty. A duty to honesty. And a duty to our hope for a better future.

So we say: We will continue to live the life of the Church. We will pray at the altar according to the Roman Missal. We pray for you every day, dear pope and bishops. But we think you are incompetent.

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3 thoughts on “Praying for You and Thinking You’re Incompetent

  1. Question of the hour: How does the people, the church, move together to see that change occurs at the most necessary levels? I would suggest a Gandhi approach of peaceful protest/long term fast, but I am not even sure that would have any impact! But I am in if anyone else thinks this might be a good approach… perhaps we need to gather strong in Vatican City, like we do here in Washington DC over various issues, and have real, honest-to-goodness, “I ain’t movin'” a sit-in…? Even if… I still question how that would actually result in any material change.

  2. Here’s another thought expanding on the seeming lack of sanctity: Somehow it seems that holy orders has lost its focus on sanctity and celibacy. I know that there has been corruption since the beginning of time, but is it somehow more disordered now? Has the covering of the crimes of our priests and bishops created a culture that almost promotes sexual misconduct, diluting the vow of celibacy, simply by the fact that those who commit crimes or even those who engage in consensual adult relations know that there will be no material punishment or if there is, it won’t occur until much later in life? I have seen priests and deacons removed from ministry for far lesser offenses yet these great crimes go unpunished! Doesn’t that in and of itself give our priests permission to do whatever they want?

  3. Remember the term discombobulated? (?sp). I personally feel that way when I read or hear some new story or opinions from members of the clergy. For example, the German bishops give communion to the divorced, they are allowed to give Communion to Lutheran spouses who are accompanied by their Catholic wives. The reason we are told is that the Pope says it is o.k. If their bishops say so – a diocesan level decision. What happened to Scripture? What is the Catechism for? A priest spoke in Ireland this week who is promoting the LGB ( I cannot keep up with the additional letters recently added, which includes transgender, etc). Now we have homosexual communities in some seminaries.
    I recently read in the Divine Office this week and even as far back as Leviticus about the consecrated hands of priests.
    Certainly, God instructs us to forgive but it seems that we have negated the definition of sin as described throughout the Bible.
    In summary, there will always be good priests and bad priests, good Popes and bad Popes, good bishops and bad bishops but the judicial scale is much too low on one side these days. Speakers always speak about how secular society has changed the world so why don’t we go back to God’s teaching? If people can’t accept it, our church may get smaller, by, if what we have left are devout Catholics receiving Communion more often than on Sunday and stop acting lke a CINO (catholic in name only), God will answer. We have to stay strong.
    You know how they say, write to your Congressman – start writing to your bishops. God sees all and I believe that the Church has drifted too far away from tradition in an attempt to please all and that has not worked.
    There is a place for hatred in the church. We need to hate sin and hate the devil. This concept is hard to grasp if the church accepts it all. You can accept the person but if the do not know what sin is, we will never be strong and faithful again.
    No solution here but one thing I do know for a fact – daily Mass, confession and Communion after you know what sin is will always be the key to heaven. Pray for all and become a devout Catholic.

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