Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Musings & Queries

It was an evening of mixed emotions in Fort Worth as Bishop Kevin Vann unexpectedly took the helm of the Texas diocese.

In May, Vann -- a priest of Springfield in Illinois -- was named coadjutor to Bishop Joe Delaney, who was suffering from pancreatic cancer, getting through the days aided by an oxygen tube. Delaney was found dead at home yesterday morning, thus adding to tonight's planned ordination Vann's installation as diocesan bishop... The designs of God....

Surely, Vann was looking forward to a peaceful transition in which he could learn the ropes both of his new office and diocese and then be able to ease into the top office. Obviously, that's not to be -- and his first major task will now be to preside over the Monday funeral of his predecessor. He might appreciate it if we keep him in our thoughts; he'll need them in the coming days.

I was really touched and grateful to find a comment from one of the Fair Amy's posters, who basically said "While I had my issues with Bishop Delaney, I'm sad to see him go." I thought about that for a bit, and really started to wonder in the current context of things when we lost that attitude at-large, when we stopped being a church of sinners and somehow became this cyborg-church of holier-than-thou "saints."

I know I don't have the answers, but I try to work my mental processes out here in the sight of the world -- anyone who sees this as a doctrinal forum is horribly mistaken. I don't have the apostolic mandate which the Holy See has apparently given the aspiring schismatics of Los Angeles.

When we all assume the supreme authority and start condemning, crucifying, excommunicating at will, it does wonders for communion -- that is, it does wonders for destroying communion. My qualms, where they exist, are gripes not with doctrine, but with tactics, with the effects of things and the damage irresponsibility can cause, because this community can do so much good if it challenges itself to be good, to be smart, to truly be a light to the world and stop all this internecine haranguing I observe every day.

Second, here's a question which is of great interest to me, and I'd like to hear everyone out on it. My own collaboration with one of the church's great feminine geniuses -- and the un-Christian venom being hurled at dear Ingrid -- impels me to ask why so many people are afraid of, and eager to marginalize, brilliant, strong, assertive women? This recent piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday Magazine highlights it. Anything anyone can contribute on this hot-button topic is greatly appreciated. The misogyny just baffles me.

Lastly, to anyone who gets all hyped up, thank you. It means I'm at least touching some buttons. A friend wrote last week that, "You may be a pugilist, but you're softhearted." If I weren't emotional, how the hell could I be a fighter? I'm the world's greatest romantic, and I've found great love, happiness and emotion at the heart of all this. Fourteen years on, it has been an incredible ride.

But I make as my own these words of that other great lover and fighter, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, from his amazing interview. With them, the shop is closed for the evening -- commentors, keep this wisdom in mind:

Q: And you? Are you ever afraid of making a mistake in your work?

A: "I quit being afraid when I said to myself: 'If one day I make a gigantic error that is printed in block lettering in all the newspapers of the world, what is going to happen to the Church?'"

Q: What was your answer?

A: "That nothing would happen. The Church isn't hurt by a man's mistake. Do you know what I feel like in my work?"

Q: What?

A: "Like an envelope with a message inside it. It needs to be attractive and the handwriting must be good, but it is only a container. Woe to anyone who confuses it with its contents."



Blogger Tony said...

Sure, Rocco. I'll play. Tracked at Why can't a woman be more like a man???

14/7/05 00:42  
Blogger Sam Martini said...

I also wonder at the vitriol hurled at Sister Ingrid. She is a Schoenstatt Sister - very well-thought of and upright. She has faithfully served two Cardinals adn now B16 for 15 years or so - seems very modest and devoted - steadfast. She shuns the spotlight and does nothing to call atention to herself - actually the opposite - I see no ego there. She is well-educated and seems not to mind a blend of housekeeping and administrative assistant work - why would those who do not know her (and never will) be so ungenerous and un-Christian? Her service to God through her work is surely worth more than this ugliness. Methinks some prayer and self-reflection are needed from those with such comments. The Holy Father is a man of deep spirituality and experience - he can clearly choose and invite the appropriate staff and papal family as he wishes. We're back to folks appointing themselves Supreme adjudicants of the faith again - and generating ill will against other hard-working faithful.

14/7/05 07:16  

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