Of any fair-minded and competent person it is a daunting task of taking on the work of the Chief Shepherd of a very large (nearly 1.5 million Catholics) local church is enough to make one have second thoughts but imagine taking on a project that’s been rocked by low morale among the faithful and clergy, numerous victims of sexual misconduct, of a troubled school and parish systems and the like. But that is what the 67 year old Capuchin Friar-Archbishop is doing in Philadelphia. Rebuilding the Lord’s church as Saint Francis of Assisi was exhorted, Archbishop Charles has completed only 3 months of service in Philadelphia and he’s fresh from a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and now a letter oriented to setting a straighter path to Christ.
Consider in brief, Chaput’s words:
Complacency is the enemy of faith. To whatever degree complacency and pride once had a home in our local Church, events in the coming year will burn them out. The process will be painful. But going through it is the only way to renew the witness of the Church; to clear away the debris of human failure from the beauty of God’s word and to restore the joy and zeal of our Catholic discipleship.
These words may sound sobering, but they are spoken with love as a father and a brother. They are a plea to take our baptism seriously; and to renew our local Church with Christian charity, justice and zeal. As Scripture reminds us so frequently: Do not be afraid. God uses poor clay to create grandeur and beauty. He can certainly use us to renew and advance the work of the Church — and he will.
The full text of the pastoral letter can be read here: Pastoral Letter to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Abp Charles Chaput December 8, 2011.pdf
Fernando Ocáriz, 67, is the Vicar General of Opus Dei. He’s a trained theologian in area of Dogmatics but he’s also trained in physics. In 1986 he was appointed a consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later (1989) made a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy. Msgr. Ocáriz is the author of many books and refereed articles. He’s one of the primary authors of Dominus Iesus. Of late Msgr. Ocáriz has been a theological consultant in the dialogue with the Society of St Pius X.
The following article is published in several languages by L’Osservatore Romano (2 December 2011).
On adhesion to the Second Vatican Council
The forthcoming 50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council (25 December 1961) is a cause for celebration, but also for renewed reflection on the reception and application of the Conciliar Documents.
Over and above the more directly practical aspects of this reception and application, both positive and negative, it seems appropriate also to recall the nature of the intellectual assent that is owed to the teachings of the Council. Although we are dealing here with a well-known doctrine, about which there is an extensive bibliography, it is nevertheless useful to review it in its essential points, given the persistence – also in public opinion – of misunderstandings regarding the continuity of some Conciliar teachings with previous teachings of the Church’s Magisterium.
You can read Archbishop Dolan’s presidential address in its entirety elsewhere; here I offer a few points from the address to reflect upon:
pressing pastoral challenge today is to reclaim that truth, to restore the
luster, the credibility, the beauty of the Church “ever ancient, ever new,”
renewing her as the face of Jesus, just as He is the face of God. Maybe our
most urgent pastoral priority is to lead our people to see, meet, hear and embrace
anew Jesus in and through His Church.
Because, as the chilling statistics we
cannot ignore tell us, fewer and fewer of our beloved people — to say nothing
about those outside the household of the faith — are convinced that Jesus and
His Church are one. As Father Ronald Rolheiser wonders, we may be living in a
post-ecclesial era, as people seem to prefer
a King but not
a shepherd with
family with God as my father, as long as I’m
the only child,
The Vatican office organizing the “talks” between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X issued a press release going over some of the areas of concern between the two. William Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met today for two hours with Bishop Bernard Fellay. Among the issues presented and discussed was the set of principles called the “Doctrinal Preamble” which is outlining the ecclesial solution of bringing the SSPX into full communion with the Catholic Church. Some are thinking that the pastoral solution might be akin to that of a personal prelature like what the Opus Dei is in the Church.