Category Archives: Church (ecclesiology)

Synod of Bishops for the Middle East

The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East begins today. The importance of this particular Synod is given by NCR correspondent John Allen.
The Synod’s meeting is the result of requests of bishops and the pastoral visits of the pope to that part of the Church. The Christian minority in the Middle East needs our help.
The Synod is using Arabic for the first time as an official language and a rabbi and 2 Muslims are observers to the Synod.
The North American contingent to the Synod is quite substantial. See the list…

The Synod meets from October 10-24.

We beg the Holy Spirit to guide the work of the Pope, the bishops and other attendees.

Supporting Catholic Schools

This morning the Archbishop of Hartford, Henry J. Mansell hosted what has become the annual Columbus Day Breakfast to provide scholarship grants to students attending Catholic elementary schools in greater New Haven. The Archbishop assisted by the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools helped us to look with fresh eyes at the need for Catholic education in greater New Haven. I am very happy to have been invited to attend this morning’s breakfast.

Some thoughts though… It was a good networking opportunity but something was missing, the reason why we dragged ourselves out of bed to have breakfast with people vaguely known but connected through our concern for Catholic education: Jesus Christ and our friendship with Him. While we are all very grateful for the $60K raised for Catholic elementary students, the absence of noting who sustains our efforts and why we are at all interested in Catholic education was for me problematic. Do-gooders are well-meaning; they can be helpful and advancing a good mission such as education. Yet, as I mentioned to a friend, I don’t care about Catholic education or any other program if we’re not helping each other seek a relationship with Jesus and try to live as Catholics (Christians, if you will). It is not a “what” that sustains our efforts in education but a “who” –it is Jesus Christ. “Remember Him,” I’d like to say?

I agree that “An education would be most impoverished if it were limited to providing notions and information and neglected the important question about truth, especially that truth which can be a guide in life” (Benedict XVI, January 21, 2008). That truth is none other than unique offer of love and salvation given to us by the Lord. It is the pursuit of Truth that makes education, formal or informal, worth it. Everything else pales. 
Anthony Cernera, President of Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT) spoke well of remembering the past and dreaming for the future. When we remember the past we hold in ourselves an attitude of gratitude for graces received. When we dream we look forward in hope for realization of the desires of the heart given by God Himself. If the Church is correct, then those who believe in Christ are obligated to hope, to live concretely in the present yet looking to the fulfillment of the promises God has made personally with each of us. Catholic education is indeed in a difficult place today with the great divorce of remembering and dreaming, faith and reason, and faith and justice. SO, yes, support Catholic education because as Mansell said, “Our schools not only provide a rigorous curriculum, but also an education for a lifetime….”

Sacred Duties, Episcopal Ministry: what’s wrong with the US Conference of Bishops

Few people in these parts (in the Eastern part of the USA) know the name Robert F. Vasa except ecclesial-philes like myself, but that’s because he’s on the other side of the country. Never mind. Who could say with honesty that there’s a genuine concern for knowing ecclesial affairs viz. from a person who has little name recognition such as Robert Vasa. That is, until now, who, with some excellent, even controversial ideas, is sure to anger the round heads. Only now Vasa’s thinking is gaining some currency. But let’s give him his just due respect. Robert F. Vasa, 59, is the Bishop of Baker, OR, a priest of the Lincoln Diocese who delivered an extraordinarily good address titled, “Sacred Duties, Episcopal Ministry” on September 16, 2010 at the 2010 InsideCatholic Partnership Award Dinner in Washington, DC, that has not received the attention it deserves.

The Bishop is taking a critical look at the contemporary ministry of the bishop, at least in the USA, as we’ve seen it unfold with the existence of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
I DON’T like the USCCB and would prefer to see it close, or at least downsize significantly. I find USCCB officials intrusive, their work open to misinterpretation, the bishops not doing what they are supposed to do for “needy bishops” –to give fraternal constructive correction to bishops not doing or incapable of doing their episcopal ministry as expected– and I find the USCCB documents compromised or agenda driven. In addition, I find the tax paid on each “Catholic head” in the dioceses to be excessive and it’s a genuine burden on many dioceses, particularly the Eastern Church dioceses who don’t have access to large amounts of money. One last word on the bishops’ documents: they are often not written by the bishops themselves (who would have the time?) but are produced by the staffers of the USCCB or outsiders and are vague and lack substance that would clearly address the issues at hand; when the documents are “committee documents” they are often ground for the lefty-loonies to manipulate for their own ends.
There are few instances where I think a conference of bishops in the USA is useful but not absolutely necessary. The usefulness of a conference of bishops would be seen in knowing the needs of the Church in North America, in the work done in the fields of the sacred Liturgy, certain questions on immigration, healthcare and pro-life and certain relief agencies like CRS. The translation of texts is labor intensive and it needs wider episcopal oversight and input that 10 bishops can give. BUT let’s be clear, the USCCB is not an alternative teaching body for the Church in America; it has no authority to teach or make laws over and above the Universal Church or the individual diocesan bishop; it does not speak for the Church’s bishops. Diocesan bishops can’t absolve themselves of the duty to rightly to teach, govern and sanctify the people entrusted to them personally by the Holy Spirit and for the Church in general. Episcopal ministry is exercised not with strategies and programs but by listening, praying and teaching when needed. 
Some people who are USCCB favorable will be dramatic by saying, “The USCCB said and demands thus and such….” AND the response you should give is, “SO what.”
Read, study and pray with Bishop Vasa’s address noted above. You may want to say a prayer for him, too. He’ll likely get hate mail for his attempt to teach what is true. In my mind this address is necessary reading for informed Catholics. The point here is not be disrespectful of the sacred duties and responsibilities of bishops. My point here is to live, to act and to think with the Church under the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. As Catholics we are to be total and radically centered on the person of Jesus Christ lived in the sacrament of the Church and under her magisterium. I follow Christ through the ministry of the Pope, the bishop of this diocese but not in a bureaucracy of bishops.

Counsellors to assist Legion of Christ restructuring announced

Velasio de Paolis, C.S., the Pope’s delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries
of Christ, announced the names his four counsellors who will assist him in
restructuring and renewing the Legion.

The counselors:

  • Father Agostino Montan
    C.S.I., episcopal vicar for religious life in the Diocese of Rome;
  • Monsignor Mario
    Marchesi, vicar general of the Diocese of Cremona, Italy;
  • Father Gianfranco
    Ghirlanda S.J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University;
  • Bishop Brian Farrell, LC,  secretary of the Pontifical
    Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of
Valladolid, Spain, is the visitator for Regnum Christi.

Thomas Dubay, SM, priest, RIP

Fr Thomas Dubay.jpgI recommend to your prayers the peaceful repose of the soul of Father Thomas Dubay, SM, who died yesterday morning in Washington, DC. Father Dubay has been ill for some time.

An announcement may be read here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory