Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On the Homefront...

Coming back to my own town, I recently got an e.mail with a notable question -- how's Cardinal Rigali doin'?

As I've come to be known as the ranking scholar of my cardinal-archbishop, here's my reply. Hopefully it gives a good synthesis of the Philadelphia situation at this point in time:

As for Cardinal Rigali and Philadelphia, he's taken to this town like a fish in water. He loves the culture and has been extremely supportive and affirmative of the cohesion here among the priests. He's made the auxiliaries work harder than they ever have in their lives by giving them both pastoral responsibilities over large areas of the archdiocese and vicarious control over particular sectors of the curia. (One, I'm told, was getting FedEx visits twice a day on his recent vacation!) And most of all, he's been extremely humble, sweet and kind with our people on his visits to the parishes and institutions. He'll talk with the gardener who nobody else approaches for 10 minutes or something like that -- it's just his quietly personable way, and it's been received with great acclaim.

That said, he's also realized that this is a culture which doesn't always accept the teachings of the Council in their fullness -- he is very much a Vatican II bishop, having taken part in the Council as a young priest. And reading his speeches, one can find a great emphasis on the Conciliar vision of the Church as servant and instrument of communio in the modern world. He hasn't yet gotten to the point where he's calling people on the carpet about it just yet, preferring the "you catch more flies with honey" approach -- which also fits his diplomatic side better -- but he's much more attuned to the work of Social Services, justice and peace causes, etc. than, say, [conservative prelate's name excised]. He knows the facts and figures of the international situation, and it's really impressive to watch. Rigali has long been a leader on this side of the pond in working to combat human trafficking, a cause dear to the heart of the Holy See and the JP "Culture of Life" ethic. We even had a Justice Department conference on it here in Philly thanks to Rigali's work on the cause. By contrast, when [conservative prelate's name excised] was asked about the issue, he looked at the interviewer as if he had six heads.... Justin really is a workhorse bishop. I don't always see eye to eye with him, and I rib him from time to time, but for all that, I am exceedingly proud and happy to have him here.

And that's the way it is.



Blogger John Hearn said...

There were a lot of code words used here. What does this article mean by "Vat II bishop?" I'm sure that [conservative prelate's name excised]would claime that *he* too is such a bishop.

As just what is this wonderful bishop not yet calling people on the carpet for? This post usese a lot of words to tell those who don't have a magic decoder ring very little.

7/9/05 15:22  
Blogger mariette said...

Call me.

7/9/05 15:46  
Blogger mariette said...

Oh - also, I hadn't heard you were known as the "ranking scholar" of your "cardinal archbishop." But thanks for telling us.

Your view of the church as oriented primarily towards this-worldly goals such as social justice and political realities is extrememly time-bound. It reflects your upbringing in the post-conciliar church. I wonder what effect some long, hard reflection on the fact that the aim of the church is the supernatural fulfillment of its members might have on your reporting?

7/9/05 16:03  
Blogger Jason Cardona said...

Whence came the term "social justice"? Whatever happened to the good old corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

7/9/05 16:23  
Blogger Jeff said...

I'm sorry this earned you only three critical sounding comments so far. This is a different voice from the one we have been hearing of late on your blog. I like it VERY much. It's modest, reasonable, kind and (this one we almost always get) informative.

"Liberals" often say they want to "build" and "unite" and "bring people together." Those are good goals and they can't but have some good effects.
Let's have a little more of this kind of thing--amidst all the vituperation.

Thanks. Me and my "ilk" are grateful.

7/9/05 17:37  

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