Saturday, April 22, 2006

New Wine, Indeed

Word from the Midwest is that Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph has announced a new lay formation program for his diocese in partnership with Ave Maria University.

Talk about your 180s.

Last year, Finn announced the scaling back of the Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry, which facilitated New Wine, the diocese's home-grown formation program. New Wine was viewed in some quarters as theologically suspect for its overly-progressive take on church teaching. The Ave Maria program -- which, like New Wine, will be a three-year certification course -- was announced in yesterday's edition of the diocesan paper, the Catholic Key, whose contents have not yet been posted on the paper's website.

In an interview last summer with the Key, Finn cited the high cost of the New Wine program as the basis for his decision to cut the CPLM budget in half. "For all the good [New Wine] has accomplished, can we really afford to have that much of our resources to do the work of the Center? We've got to do it cheaper," he said.

The vehicle for the new formation program seems to be named for Bishop Charles Helmsing, who headed the diocese from 1962-77. In advertising for the directorship of the Bishop Helmsing Institute, the diocese seeks someone who "will be committed to the educational mission of the Diocese, which is the education of the whole person in the Catholic liberal arts tradition, as articulated in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Veritatis Splendor, and Fides et Ratio" with established competencies in "patristics, moral theology and all magisterial teaching."

Elsewhere on the map, rumors flew a while back that Ave Maria had also sought the permission of Bishop Allen Vigneron to establish an outpost in the diocese of Oakland, which Vigneron heads. There's a lot of history behind that potential move, but of yet nothing has come to light.

SVILUPPO: For those checking in from Open Book, you can find excerpts from Bishop Finn's column announcing the new program at the link.