Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Vanguard Worker-Bishop

Um, OK, so what's the hubbub?

Bill Tammeus in the Kansas City Star reports that Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph has confirmed his affiliation with the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, the supernumerary group of Opus Dei.

Finn, who became bishop earlier this year when the Vatican accepted the resignation of Bishop Raymond Boland, has not talked about his Opus Dei connection in previous interviews with The Kansas City Star. But in response to requests for comment on Tuesday, Finn issued a statement that said:

“I haven’t seen John Allen’s book on Opus Dei. He contacted me some months ago to ask my permission to list my name among bishops who are associated with the Work. I said yes.

“I became familiar with the Work in the mid-1990s and went to days of ‘recollection’ they have offered for diocesan priests. I benefited — then, as now — from spiritual direction from a priest of the (Opus Dei) prelature. Later I became a ‘cooperator’ in the Work and, in recent years joined the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. (A cooperator is someone who wants to help Opus Dei without being a member.) Of course, most people don’t speak publicly of all the details of their spiritual life, their prayer and spiritual challenges, except with their spiritual director.”

Now, why is this a news story? Somebody tell me.

I knew Bob Finn before he became a bishop and count him as a dear friend, and I've long known of his affiliation with the Work. (It was never any kind of state secret.) And, to be honest, I've come to respect the Work more because, if anything, its spirituality gives him the enrichment which enables him to be the remarkably kind, self-giving and holy priest and stellar shepherd of souls that he is. Same goes for Jose Gomez in San Antonio, an incredible person and a fearless pastor.

By its fruits you shall judge it, no? First off, in my experience, people affiliated with the Work are some of the healthiest people I've ever met in my own work. The Work could teach the Trads so very much about what Christianity is, let alone what faith is, what love is, what charity is. That alone would make it invaluable.

But here are two bishops of the same school of spirituality -- Finn and Gomez -- who "get it," who live it and who do wonderful work. In a time when those attributes are sadly not the province of every bishop, it seems there's some good fruit in them thar hills.

If the Work's spirituality is as effective on the broad scale as it is in the ministries and prayer lives of these two men, then every bishop should be Opus Dei. I'm dead serious and would be very happy with the result, because we'd have a better, purer, healthier church for it.

Bring it on.

(And tip to Todd.)



Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

"The Work could teach the Trads so very much about what Christianity is, let alone what faith is, what love is, what charity is. That alone would make it invaluable."

Your description of Opus Dei roughly corresponds to my own experiences and impressions.

One of the reasons why so many Trads hate Opus Dei is because, at least in the U.S., it does not openly wage war in Wanderer style against liberal bishops and priests, but instead tells people to sanctify themselves. Although the members of Opus Dei that I know are VERY conservative both politically and theologically, they aren't into vendettas. It's like the old Christophers's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

21/10/05 15:01  

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