Tag Archives: ecclesiology

Ordination of bishops

Today the Pope ordained, or consecrated, if you will, two priests as bishops of the Holy Roman Church. Noteworthy is the New York native, now Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Charles John Brown, 52, until now an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. May I note that among other things Archbishop Brown is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Rome’s Benedictine school, Sant’Anselmo (places close to my heart)! A snippet of the Benedict’s homily follows:

Charles Brown.jpg… how can we fail to recognize in all this certain essential elements of episcopal ministry? The bishop too must be a man of restless heart, not satisfied with the ordinary things of this world, but inwardly driven by his heart’s unrest to draw ever closer to God, to seek his face, to recognize him more and more, to be able to love him more and more. The bishop too must be a man of watchful heart, who recognizes the gentle language of God and understands how to distinguish truth from mere appearance. The bishop too must be filled with the courage of humility, not asking what prevailing opinion says about him, but following the criterion of God’s truth and taking his stand accordingly – “opportune – importune”. He must be able to go ahead and mark out the path. He must go ahead, in the footsteps of him who went ahead of us all because he is the true shepherd, the true star of the promise: Jesus Christ. And he must have the humility to bend down before the God who made himself so tangible and so simple that he contradicts our foolish pride in its reluctance to see God so close and so small. He must devote his life to adoration of the incarnate Son of God, which constantly points him towards the path.

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The Church is alive, complacency is not an option, Archbishop Chaput told his people

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:

Charles J. Chaput coat of arms.jpeg

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

Claim the Truth of Christ, says Archbishop Dolan in USCCB address November 14, 2011

You can read Archbishop Dolan’s presidential address in its entirety elsewhere; here I offer a few points from the address to reflect upon:

our most
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
the kingdom,

a shepherd with
no flock,

to believe
without belonging,

a spiritual
family with God as my father, as long as I’m

the only child,
without religion

faith without
the faithful

Christ without
His Church.

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Pope to new bishops: balance your Christian life, be open to the laity

Newly ordained bishops are invited to Rome for a baby bishops’ camp each year. This year more than 100 new bishops came together for a series of workshops sponsored by the Congregations for Bishops and Eastern Churches on the theme of the Holy Spirit in the life of the bishop and the Church. The pope addressed the new bishops today. He exhorted them to live a balanced Christian life of prayer, study, work and rest. Moreover, he reminded the bishops that they are pastors of souls –not CEOs– and have to be concerned for the eternal destiny of those they are called to serve asking them at the same time to welcome the gifts the laity bring to the life of the Church. Every baptized person is brought into the inner life of the Trinity. In other words, the Pope told the bishops don’t act arbitrarily and be human: clericalism has no place in pastoral leadership.

Watch the video presentation of the event.

Vatican cardinal meets SSPX superior general

Card Wm J Levada.jpgThe 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.

Bernard Fellay.jpeg

The Doctrinal Preamble gives canonical and ecclesiological guidance for life in the Church, including principles for interpreting Church teaching since the Second Vatican Council, namely ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, religious freedom and the sacred Liturgy. This is understood in the saying: thinking (feeling) with the Church” (sentire cum ecclesiae).
No deadline was given but it is understood that a period of a two to three months is given to understand and pray about the issues at hand. It has been 21 years since the SSPX broke with Catholic Church.
Read the Vatican Radio’s announcement about the meeting.
Cindy Wooden of CNS covered the story.

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]yahoo.com.
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