Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fallout in Motor City

Announcing the archdiocese of Detroit's reconfiguration plans yesterday, Cardinal Adam Maida struck a tone more reminiscent of his recently-retired (and much more popular) auxiliary than someone with a penchant for being an ecclesiastical tycoon:
"I was born into a church where things were very centrally planned and things came down to us from on top," Maida, who turned 76 this month, said. "But through my years in ministry, I've learned that God works through all of us."
Proving yet again the ancient adage of episcopal management: when times are bad, we're all in this together. When times are good, bow down.

But of course, one Detroit priest has been able to see through all of the legalese and find the real culprit of the closings: a celibate, male-only priesthood.

Forgive me for feeling nauseous.
In Wyandotte, the Rev. Charles Morris, pastor of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church said he's frustrated Maida is allowing the priest shortage to drive the downsizing. Like Wasko, Morris said he wishes Maida would not insist that every parish be supervised by a priest.

"A big question the church is going to have to address is: Is it more important to have male celibates but with less access to the Eucharist?" Morris asked. "What is the more central core of the Catholic faith?"
If every other denomination were ordaining droves and droves, or at least a significantly higher per capita, this argument might hold some weight in terms of, you know, the empirics.

But -- guess what -- it doesn't. And what's the one thing worse than a clericalized clergy, friends? That's right: clericalized laity.

So an administrative exigency is being exploited as an ideological battering ram.... Then again, what's new?