Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Non Datur Tertium?

As reported here, Cardinal Rigali met yesterday with his priests. And in an unprecedented moment in the modern history of the church in Philadelphia, the Pharaoh got an earful from his presbyterate
One pastor took to the microphone to say he was "greatly disappointed in the archdiocese's weak and deplorable" defense of Cardinals John Krol and Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

The criticism was greeted with scattered applause, sources said.

Another priest - trained in moral theology - reportedly lectured the cardinal yesterday for defending Krol and Bevilacqua on grounds that they had never intended to hurt children.

"You seem to stress intention. You try to claim there was never a wrong intention," the priest reportedly told Rigali.

But from a Catholic moral perspective, he said, the "horrific" outcomes of Krol's and Bevilacqua's cover-up vastly outweigh their efforts to protect the archdiocese from scandal.

"The people are not interested in intentions," he told the cardinal.

A third priest reportedly asked Rigali if he could "shed light on the impression" that the archdiocese under Bevilacqua and Krol had "put too much reliance on legal wisdom, or the wisdom of the world, and not enough reliance on Jesus and the Gospel."

Rigali "really did not answer," said one priest who attended the meeting, which included prayer and readings from St. Paul and Timothy. He characterized Rigali's remarks as "diplomatic."

A fourth priest told the cardinal it was "the wrong time to defend the indefensible."

I doubt it was intentional, but it's one of those blessed ironies of history that the 90-minute meeting took place in the Romanesque splendor of St. Martin's Chapel, site of Philadelphia Catholicism's last great "Crossroads Moment."

In the spring of 1964, the Conciliar wave of enthusiasm swept through St. Charles, as it did at most every American seminary. At one point, the frustrated students took matters into their own hands and walked out of classes en masse, going on to release a "White Paper" to The Bulletin -- then the paper of record here -- detailing their proposals for changes to the formation program in its academic, spiritual and human elements.

They were the six days that shook the Sem.

A week after the double-blow of the student protest and the media leak, then-Archbishop John Krol shocked the community by showing up to preside over Sunday Vespers in St. Martin's.

At the close of the rite, he addressed the students at length, dictating the course of the next four decades of his archdiocese's history in the process.

"You have the choice of staying and obeying, or leaving," Krol said. "Non datur tertium" -- "There is no third choice."

With those words, as practically every other See succumbed to the excesses of the Conciliar wave, John Krol drew his line and beat back the tide in his archdiocese.

Given these recent events and the newfound openness of the priests, is it safe to say that the tide averted for so long is back with a vengeance?

It seems we'll see. But suffice it to say that, under the same roof where the Boss once fumed, the boys listened and the words shaped a generation, this time it was the Boss listening and the men speaking their minds in words that might well shape a new generation.

It's official: The old order is no more in Philadelphia.



Blogger Jeff said...

Good for the priests!

28/9/05 05:54  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello Rocco,

All this Philly stuff is, I confess, terra incognita for me.

I'm curious if you (or someone) could detail what the 1964 White Paper demands were. That might help me determine if the tide we are seeing now is in fact (in any sense) the same tide which Krol tried to hold back in 1964.

best regards

28/9/05 09:09  
Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

We'll see if this changes the "old order." Cardinal Rigali was right to let some of the clergy blow off steam about what they thought about the grand jury report. Such are not normal times. It wouldn't surprise me, once the furor dies down, things go back to where they once were: unless a shitstorm arises because a bunch of priests decide to publicly disclose their sexual orientation in response to the Visitation.

28/9/05 11:10  
Blogger Ioannem said...

Saint Martin's Chapel at the seminary is Italian Renaissance, not Romanesque. Anybody who had high school art can tell you that. As for the white papers, the seminarians demanded several things. By way of a few examples, the small group of seminarians (they were not a majority) wanted Mass always said facing the people, as opposed to what was happening at that time, with some priests using the high altar and other priests using the plywood altar some seminarians built in the woodshop. They also wanted independent Bible studies and their classes taught in English as opposed to Latin. They also wanted the form of spiritual 'formation' to change, that is for each seminarian to have a spiritual director rather than one priest for an house 300 men. Perhaps actual spiritual direction would have helped the church's future presbyterate in many of these horrid cases. As you can see, these demands, though revolutionary at the time, are the norm today. I believe that it was the act of disobedience and arrogance on the part of the seminarians that caused His Emminence to not 'grant that third option' rather than the demands themselves.

28/9/05 11:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it really that unusual for priests to speak up before their Cardinal. In Detroit, at every priest's convocation and presbyterate council, someone stands up to tell the Cardinal about how he should be ordaining women.

28/9/05 11:35  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello Iannonem,

Thanks for the clarification. That helps a little.

I can't agree on versus populorum, which I still think, with Pope Benedict, seriously defective in its sacramental theology, but the other demands sound reasonable. But you are no doubt correct that Krol was reacting as much to the fact of the challenge as its substance.

best regards

28/9/05 12:24  
Blogger Arch Episcopus said...

Visit us at the REAL CHURCH where an indult is NEVER needed to wear your FAVORITE GALERO!!!!

Versus populum (populorum means of the people, one of the many popular NEW CHURCH ERRORS) is for for MISSA LUBA types, every mass should have a rood screen, iconostasis and basketball court between the priest and people, the mystery would never be forgotten!

28/9/05 13:28  
Blogger RightJack said...

While what's going on in Philly may indeed signal a sea change in episcopal/presbyteral relationships, it is painful to see that the discussion centers so immediately in the arena of clerical politics.

It's about the kids who were abused and damaged for life! It's about the kids and their families! It's about the parishes of those kids and their families! It's about the people of the church of Philadelphia and everyone who knows them as the local incarnation of the Catholicism!

I don't for a moment mean to suggest that those in the thread here are not concerned for the children - I know that you are. Nor do I want to suggest that the ecclesio-political concerns are unimportant - they are. But if the center of our discussion is immediately on clerical relationships (and the defense of individuals) well, that's dangerously close to the clericalism that allowed this tragic story to unfold in the first place.

28/9/05 13:30  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Episcopus: your Arches have truly fallen.

Why not peddle your sore feet frustrations elsewhere?


28/9/05 14:20  
Blogger Arch Episcopus said...

What blessed honesty, A RARE quality in "The Church".

Jimmy, consider our seminary.

28/9/05 15:30  

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