Thursday, April 8, 2010

Giants in the land

Are you sitting comfortably? Once upon a time... well it was once sort of true....most leadership in the Church came from the clergy and religious of both genders. It's the model that most traddies would have been comfortable with. There is no doubt that there is a bit of a shift in the tectonic plates of Church dynamics. Not the theology or dogma, mind you, but surely a paradigm shift in the way things are going to operate and, more importantly, where the impetus for reform in the Church is going to come from.

Where do we stand at the moment? Well, as of today, parts of the Roman Curia are looking a bit murky - those 'brown' envelopes say a lot about careerism in high places. Whole episcopal conferences are looking a bit dodgy as we wait for some inspired  maverick  to break ranks and bring the whole thing toppling down.  The clergy in the trenches have got far more pressing things to deal with. There's a bit of unreality going around. We know that things are seriously wrong amongst our leaders but exactly the best way of bleating about it escapes us- particularly if you've got seven plus Masses a week, a couple of funerals and whatever else comes to the door. Face it. The clergy, particularly those celebrating the traditional rites, must just get on with what they were ordained to do- hatch, match and dispatch.

Step up the laity! If the 'saving' of the Church is going to happen soon it's you that will have to take the upper hand now. We can assure you of our prayers, our spiritual guidance and whatever practical advice and help we can give but apart from that, at the moment, we are pretty well hamstrung. This is not to denigrate the seminal importance of a sea of wonderful weblogs but with the indolence of what is going on immediately above our heads you can be sure that these honest and valiant voices will be silenced if they rock the boat too much.

But why the laity? Well there at the moment I see the real spiritual riches of the Church. I think of 'X' an elderly man who quietly hears Mass in the Church each morning having already been praying for an hour and then goes off to clean another Church, voluntarily I might add, in a neighbouring suburb. I think of 'Y' who says the Stations each day, most of the year round, for the intentions of priests. I think of 'Z' and her husband who have not had an easy time of it but they are still there on there knees every morning well before the Iudica me starts. These are the spiritual giants.

I think also of 'A', one of the finest young philiosophical minds in Britain, who works tirelessly for the traditional rites providing a solid basis for the controversies swirling around our heads.  I think of 'B' a well known layman who is probably one of the best practical scripture teachers in the English speaking world. I think of 'C" one of the great webloggers who has managed to amass a lot of co workers, lay and clerical, into what is one of the most important sources of information for the traditional Catholic world. These are our intellectual giants. This small list could be expanded. They are not alone. The finest minds, at least in Britain, are largely amongst the laity. Most importantly these giants are not fettered by the inertia seemingly affecting the clergy. The reasons for this inertia are probably partially psychological but they are certainly fueled by the demonic.

At the moment the real power for reform would seem to lie with those laity undoubtedly in union with Pope Benedict. I know it's not easy to break the mold (or is it mould?) of centuries but I suspect it's time to stop being nice. Remember Our Lord cleansing the 'filth' from the temple? It certainly wasn't cucumber sandwiches with Aunt Agatha but then again it might be an alternative model that could be considered to have greater spiritual merit in comparison to the rather tired and impotent 1960s self love obsessed pseudo-gospel of passivity. 


  1. Yes, Father, it absolutely comes from the Laity...but never without the support of our Priests! As typical of Catholicism, it's both/and!

    Was it St. John Vianney who pointed out the importance of the Priesthood in relation to the holiness of the Laity? If the Priest is will be his people. If he is lukewarm...they'll be...uh...not so holy. (sorry can't think of the official quote but I'm certain you know it.)

    We look to our spiritual Fathers to be an example, and yes...then we go out into the world, and there we exercise our Baptismal and Confirmational call to be leven to the world, salt of the earth.

    The problem is that too many of the laity have been formed to the new clericalization of the laity and laicization of the clergy, and so all the focus is on "active participation" in the liturgy alone, to the detriment of souls in the world who are looking for the message of Christ IN US!

    I can't speak to the UK, as I don't live there and have never been there. But I can speak for America and what is going on here. I'm in the trenches, both formally in a parish, and here, on the internet. But I can say this; where the laity is taking ownership of the New Evangelization, and our RIGHT to Apostolate in union with the Church as a whole, things are happening. In places where the Laity is focused on taking "power" in the context of formal ministry that belongs only to what belongs to the nature of Holy Orders...the Church is dying. They are a cancer, and the only chemo is, And I don't know how to reach that crowd other than by thinking with and acting on behalf of the Church within my own state in life.

    We are a divided Church, and it's killing us. yet...I don't know if there has ever been a time in history where the Church has not been divided against herself. The human component is forever diseased,and it is in this disease that God is most glorified through the motives of credibility that reveal the Church as His Bride. His very diseased and weak and ailing, yet...strong, immortal...Bride.

    I'm sorry to go on. I'll just stop there. Please pray for the apostolate some friends and I are beginning...which I won't and can't get into at this point.

  2. Adoro: that many of the laity are poorly formed and that this would (in a variety of ways) obstruct the plan that Father is outlining was the thought that came first to my mind.

    But, the truth is strong; surely it is up to us to keep stating the truth (in charity, to be sure!) over and over again. The truth will win.

  3. I thought it was the traddy laity that you loathe so much?!

  4. Only if they think the cut of a maniple is an indicator of orthodoxy!

  5. Gregory ~ yes, I agree. My point is that the laity that ARE informed and formed PROPERLY need to do a better job of stepping up to the plate. There's very few of us (and yes, I'm always working on it, too, both in being formed and forming others who are open to receiving the message!)


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