See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Thursday, October 01, 2009

More Rembert Weakland stuff...


What happened to the Catholic Church in the United States.
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Though I often play the fool, I really do know that the official documents of Vatican II do not say what the spirit of the Council advocates have always said they do. I had to study the Vatican II documents, and I continue to reference sections every so often - I also grew up with the spirit of the Council propaganda. This fight is 40 years old now... yet only now does it seem a remnant of faithful Catholics are waking up to realize the enemy was within. That "smoke of Satan" thing people couldn't figure out...
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It is not that we weren't warned either - it was what Traditionalists were saying all along, but now, after the scandals exposed chinks in the great facade of the American Church, along with tell-all books like archbishop Weakland's memoirs, we are getting a much better perspective on what happened to diminish Catholic identity and practice after the Council.
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That said, Russell Shaw, who worked for the bishop's conference as Secretary of Public Affairs from 1969 to 1987, has an insightful review of Weakland's lament - memoir - and he succinctly sets forth, what I think is a very accurate interpretation of the post conciliar upheaval. Shaw poises two points of view.
(I apologize for the length.)
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"A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church needs to be read by faithful Catholics: not, God knows, to be persuaded by it but to learn from it. It’s like studying photographic negatives—reality reversed, dark turned into light, light into dark. In these plodding pages it becomes clear how some prominent and not-so-prominent people in the Church went disastrously wrong in the last 40 years and why correcting the harm they did is so difficult now.
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Rembert Weakland was more intelligent than most bishops of his day and his sexual foibles were atypical, but he was a representative American bishop all the same. Usually, he notes, he’s called a “Jadot bishop,” a reference to the late Archbishop Jean Jadot, apostolic delegate in the United States from 1973 to 1980, who did so much to reshape the American hierarchy along “pastoral” lines—pastoral in this instance meaning more permissive, less concerned about orthodoxy and discipline, more open to voices of diversity and liberal dissent.
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But Archbishop Weakland prefers the designation “Dearden bishop,” and in this he’s correct. Cardinal John Dearden was archbishop of Detroit from 1959 to 1980. As the first post-Vatican II president of what was then called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (now, the USCCB), he gave the Church in America the national episcopal conference in its modern, bureaucratized, activist form, as later he was to give it the notorious, left-leaning Call To Action Conference of 1976. His influence is visible in the careers and leadership styles of a generation of American bishops with names like Bernardin, Quinn, Roach, and Malone. It persists even now via the old-boy patronage system in the hierarchy.
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At this point it’s useful to recall that there are two radically different versions of the story of American Catholicism in the four decades after Vatican II. Which you subscribe to tells much about where you come down on many key issues in the Church.
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The first version sees these years divided into two sections. The first, starting with the council’s close in 1965 and continuing until 1978, was filled with turmoil and dissent. Rectories, convents, and seminaries emptied. New vocations to the priesthood and religious life fell precipitously. After the brave gesture of Humanae Vitae in 1968 and the violent reaction against it, Pope Paul VI grew increasingly weary and depressed. The Church seemed to be rushing toward collapse. But 1978 brought the election of John Paul II as pope, and collapse was averted.
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Version number two divides this era the same way, but sees the two periods very differently. In this view, the years from 1965 to 1978 were in many ways a golden age when heroic figures battled reactionaries over the renewal of Catholic life, by and large (except for setbacks like Humanae Vitae) emerging on top. Then came 1978, the death of Paul VI, the election of John Paul II. Suddenly the emphasis in Rome was on thwarting renewal—a project that continues to this very day under Benedict XVI.
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Archbishop Weakland subscribes to this second version of history. As Abbot Primate in Paul VI’s Rome during the post-council years he was a Vatican insider and, in his own sphere of influence, an important player in renewal. He returned to America in 1977 as archbishop of Milwaukee full of hope. Under John Paul II, however, a new ice age set in—an age of authoritarianism, centralization, and repression. From being an insider, the archbishop suddenly found himself part of the “loyal minority.”
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Many things that happened in the postconciliar era are best understood in light of Archbishop Weakland’s diagnosis of immaturity and narcissism among the clergy (to say nothing of women religious), both those who left and those who stayed. The pre-Vatican II formation system produced many admirable priests and religious, but its rigid structures and rules also produced many who proved to be ill-equipped for the fluid and ambiguous ecclesiastical situation immediately after the council.
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In these years, for long stretches of time, a fundamentally adolescent spirit dominated the much-heralded American Church. Significantly, Archbishop Weakland reports that “sexual awareness”—apparently he means awareness of his homosexuality—arrived for him at the advanced age of 45. Many other priests and religious were similarly late bloomers for whom sexual self-discovery and sexual experimentation belatedly became pressing issues in their lives." - Catholic World Report
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Links:
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Inside Catholic
PewsitterNews
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Photo: Separated at birth photo - Phil Silvers as Weakland.

3 comments:

  1. Just read the ncronline for a confirmation of this assessment...good Jesus, help us!
    What damage, what absolute arrogance and hubris, what distortion of the 'real' Council!
    This is definately a call for us to redouble our efforts to follow Pope Benedict XVI, who was a peritus at the Council, and who is leading the Church to a 'hermeneutic of continuity' to heal the 'hermeneutic of rupture' that men such as Archbishop Weakland have caused in our Holy Mother Church. Great post!

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  2. This is why so many progressives are upset at the "reform of the reform", or whatever you want to call it. They complain about the efforts and time being spent on correcting the errors in the liturgy, saying that there are "more important issues to deal with".

    Excuse me, but what could possibly be more important than fixing the liturgy? Perhaps they innately understand that in fixing the liturgy, in ridding the abuses and excesses from the past 40 years, their chance in making the Church "Their Own" will have been thwarted, and they will have lost the battle. All their work and effort will have been for vain. To which I say - great! They are seeking to permanently imprint their ideals on Christ's Church, and that must be stopped. It's not going to be easy, and it may very well take a long time - perhaps this battle to regain authentic Catholic identity is going to be the greatest defining moment in Church history, more so than the Roman persecution or and Reformation. Well, bring it on!!

    Viva la Papa Benedict! The cure is painful only when the disease is fatal.

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  3. May the English and Welsh martyrs pray for us that we may "be faithful unto death."
    Just reading about what these heroic men and women underwent under similar circumstances of the "state" vs. "the Catholic faith" makes me wonder if we are not going to face similar circumstances?

    ReplyDelete


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