The Archdiocesan (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Planning Task Force is well underway. Public meetings have ended. However, the Task Force is still accepting input via their website
So, here, as the process is well underway, come along one of my favorite groups
of the confused with their 10th hour suggestions that the process is fundamentally flawed and unfair because it is not addressing concerns of importance to them
. You can probably guess what they are but here’s the bulleted list (with my cranky answers):•Why do young adults abandon faith formation classes immediately after Confirmation? Why are such a large percentage of children offered no faith formation at all or, if the offer is made, why are they not accepting it?
You don’t need to be a faith formation director (feel free to weigh-in if you are) to know that the answer to the first part is: they are not getting any encouragement at home to continue. Also, in my humble opinion, if there is a weakness in our church, it is that we don’t often have outreach to youth after Confirmation. Confirmation in some parishes is treated like a high school graduation. Oh, yep, you’re done; rather than a step in an ongoing life of growth-which really is life even after high school, right? The second part of their question: Huh? Maybe there is no faith formation in their parish (if so, that’s something that should be remedied)? Maybe their parents (again) are discouraging it? I don’t know. I’ve never heard of the second part of their question happening. I want to see the proof. I suspect the second part is an irritation that, perhaps, their, uh, "creative" faith formation programs are, perhaps, being rejected in some parishes. Having lived thru those "radical and questioning" programs (barely), if that's true that they are being rooted out, thanks be to God.• Why don’t two-thirds of registered Catholics go to Mass?
Good question. I’m curious if they clarify this lack of attendance as: “never” go to Mass, “occasionally” or “once/year” But, regardless of clarification, the question is outside the scope of the Planning Task Force (we’ll get to that later)• Why are good and capable men not stepping up for ordination as priests?
B to the 1, S to the 10. They are. The seminaries in town are busting. I think this is a gripe that “their” men are not stepping up. Well, when you belittle and discourage the priesthood, what do you expect? In any case, why are they even pretending this lack of men bothers them-see the bullet after the next one.• Why is celibacy required for the role of priest?
[I told you this was Catechism 101!]It’s a necessary practice for a Latin Rite priest. Celibacy is for more than just priests. The practice is for all of us. Unless you are married (to someone of the OPPOSITE gender), you are to be celibate. There may even be instances where married couples are celibate. I’m celibate. It’s a good practice and that's why it exists. Again, the Planning Task Force is not setup to discuss celibacy.• Why aren’t women’s vocations to the ordained priesthood recognized and accepted?
Why recognize what can't be? Thus, it follows: why accept what you can't recognize? The Planning Task Force, even if it was set up to discuss this "issue", is in no authority to implement a female “priesthood”. Why would the Task Force discuss this non-"issue"? No. Case closed. In any event, didn’t they just say a little bit ago they were concerned about the lack of men
going into the priesthood?• Why are third and fourth generation American Catholics leaving the church in great numbers?
Third and fourth generation starting when? The Church is 2,000 years old; not 40. • How is the money collected by the Archdiocese spent? We want the Archbishop to be accountable for his expenditures as the parishes are accountable for theirs.
I seem to recall seeing a financial statement for the Archdiocese that is published every year and is publicly available. It’s as detailed as any parish financial statement I’ve ever seen; both as a parishioner and a parish council member.
I’m pleasantly surprised that Galileo and the clerical sex abuse scandals where not mentioned.
The real kicker is the group goes even further in suggesting that the Task Force ask the Archbishop for the “power” (the dissenters favorite word) to discuss these bulleted issues (which they will be happy to help them facilitate). If the Archbishop refuses to grant the Task Force the ‘power’ to discuss this group's issues, they want the Task Force to throw down their scented hankies and resign in protest!!! Well, ok, no scented hankies and no throwing down, but they do want the Task Force to resign in protest!
If the Task Force agreed to take on this challenge on our behalfs and at the request of the Archbishop, the likelihood of them resigning in protest over a small splinter groups "issues": "issues" they don't share, means they are unlikely to resign over them.
These "issues" will not be discussed as part of the Task Force’s duties-not today, not yesterday, not ever. The Task Force has enough to do under its existing mandate than dealing with these diversions that have nothing whatsoever to do with their mandate and add nothing constructive to the process. I have a hard time believing Frs. Bauer and Laird are sitting around in the Planning Task Force meetings convinced that the answer to all the Archdiocese's challenges are women's "ordination" and a repeal of the practice of clerical celibacy.
Of course, the group also insinuates that the Task Force already knows what its going to do and the solicitations for public feedback and the public meetings are all a sham.
It’s a sad day when someone reaches the point in their life that they have lost all trust; not to mention faith (small ‘f’).
This group will use any opportunity; they will even create their own, to air their gripes. That’s all this is-just their latest.
What irks me is that rather than supporting the process with constructive solutions like; “Hey, we’d happily encourage vocations to try and reverse this alleged dearth of priests” or “We should do something to make sure that these reported youth who are being denied faith formation are getting it” they come up with their usual deconstruction plans and suspicious insinuations.
I’m continually amazed at how they have willfully failed to admit that we are at the point of even needing the Planning Task Force largely because of the fruits of the false “Spirit of Vatican II” that this group continually stands behind. The folks who perpetuated their falsehoods about Vatican II did their work so well in discouraging authentic faith formation, discouraging large families, encouraging “alternative” families, and belittling the priesthood, that their miseducation program is, largely, why we are facing possible parish closures and consolidations in this Archdiocese.
If we want to talk in purely “business” terms and reduce the Archbishop to “CEO” of the Archdiocese; than think about this: How many CEO’s do you know even bother to solicit input from the employees when they are considering saving money by making department, job or budget cuts? CEO’s may have “task forces” too. You may not even know about them until the day you get your pink slip-if even then. I think it's incredibly generous of the Archbishop to be as open in the process as he has been.He's under no obligation to do so. If he wants to sit in his office with a map and thumbtacks and pick parishes to close or consolidate all on his own; than he can do that. He'd be a poor pastoral leader if that was his method. He's not and he isn't.
We may come out of this process smaller in number of parishes but I’m convinced we will be stronger.
The people who wrote the questions are worried that their parishes; those parishes that historically have encouraged this type of “faithful” dissent, are going to be closed or consolidated as a way of rooting them out.
Even if that happens, I know this group will not go away that easily. There is a breakaway community here in town that is realizing that they still need the instititutional church in order to have some thing to fight. No one cares about them down the street at the community center or wherever they are meeting this week. They aren’t getting any press. As Fr. Rutler said: “It’s easier to dissent with the parish copy machines” This breakaway group has started making “under the table” overtures to one of its dissenting partner parishes in town to form an alliance of some sort. Even if the dissenting parishes were closed; their followers will still be around. They’ll disperse to other parishes and they’ll form or join external dissent groups. Some people just can’t live unless they are protesting or fighting some thing.
The recent outreach of the Holy Father to the Anglicans is not good news to this crowd. It is not an occasion of rejoicing that our seperated brethren may come back to the Body. It only means, to them, more conservatives in the Church-fewer allies of their agenda. If the Holy Father had completely lost his mind and extended the invitation to the United Church of Christ, it would be a rare occasion of them supporting the Pope.
As happy as many of us our that our seperated Anglican brethren may come back to the Church; we should be even happier that our seperated brethren WITHIN the Church would come back.