THE VORTEX is a rather useful tool for Catholic apologetics. Hosted by Real Catholic TV and presented/authored by Michael Vores (a graduate of Notre Dame would you believe?) it provides a regular five minute or so commentary on current affairs as they affect Catholics. I haven't been able to place this lot on my tradometer yet as I really don't know where they stand on the traditional rites- I suspect they might fall under the general umbrella of 'Neo-Con'. The attraction, to a simpleton like me, is the format of bullet point rebuttals that Vores provides. It does mean at times that the presentation tends to generalize and that's where I was slightly worried by the latest offering.
Now Vores is writing/presenting from the North American situation and this episode finds him rather fraught after a midnight to 3 conversation with an old class mate who has basically given up on Catholic belief. Vores gets it right- you're either Catholic or you're not. But there's a sting in the tail that needs to be questioned. This episode arrived with the following introduction;
'It used to be parishes that got late night phone calls from people in spiritual crisis. Now it’s lay people who are getting the calls at midnight and the wee hours of the morning. Where are the bishops? Where are the priests? What has happened?'
Michael Vores is largely right. One of the strange knock on effects of the last forty years has been a problem of accessibility. Obviously numbers of clergy in that smaller part of the Catholic Church (i.e. the West) play a part in this. Too few pastors spread too thin is a reasonable assumption. Unfortunately add to this a career 9-5 mentality that has entered pastoral life and it's no wonder that the well informed Mr Vores will have what was obviously a 'bad hair' day after a marathon nocturnal session of pastoral counselling. Actually given the matter at hand I think the caller was in safer hands than having to rely on the call centre approach to late calls that has been set up in some dioceses. You ring the presbytery number after hours and you get automatically redirected to the priest for the area who is 'on call'.