Tuesday, December 30, 2008

B16 on theologians and "the humility of faith"

Fr. Z had another post related to Fr. McBrien on his blog yesterday.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his address to the Plenary Session of the International Theological Commission (5 Dec 2008) said:
"From the subjective point of view, that is from the viewpoint of the one who does theology, the fundamental virtue of the theologian is to seek obedience to faith, the humility of faith that opens our eyes. This humility renders the theologian a collaborator of the truth. In this way it will not happen that he speaks of himself. Interiorly purified by obedience to the truth, he will reach, instead, the point that the Truth itself, that the Lord, can speak through the theologian and theology."

I can think of several theologians besides Fr. McBrien who might benefit from a long meditation on this paragraph.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fr. McBrien and the Catholic Courier

One day after I wondered out loud whether the Catholic Courier had dropped Fr. McBrien's column my question was answered.

Unfortunately, the answer is "No."

See here.

What's wrong with this picture?

Another story in Mark Hare's ongoing series about faith in the Rochester area is on the front page of today's D&C.  This one focuses on the various Orthodox churches in Monroe County.

Accompanying his story is a second article by Hare attempting to show the relationship between Catholicism and the various Orthodox churches:

Orthodoxy's roots trace to early Christianity

As Christianity spread across the Roman Empire in the first three centuries after the death of Christ, leadership was invested in the bishops of five major cities: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome and finally, Constantinople (today Istanbul).

Known as patriarchs (or in Rome, the pope), these bishops worked together to govern the church. The teaching, doctrines and traditions of the church were developed and defended with no single patriarch exercising primal authority.

Following the legal recognition of Christianity by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine in 312, the church began to clarify and express its beliefs at Ecumenical Councils. In the fifth century, disagreement over these issues led the Assyrian Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox Churches to leave the original union of the church. They are still separated from the Orthodox Church.

In the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West in 476, the patriarch (pope) of Rome began, of necessity, to exercise more civil authority. But in doing so, he also began to assert his position as the primal leader of the Christian Church. Such a claim was unacceptable to the other patriarchs.

The final break, known as the Great Schism, came in 1054, when each side excommunicated the other ...

As sources for the above Hare cites, "Joseph Kelly, professor emeritus of religious studies at Nazareth College and liaison from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester to the Orthodox community; and Rev. Ken James Stavrevsky, rector of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester."

This is a somewhat interesting retelling of Church history which, I believe, would come as something of a surprise to such folks as Irenaeus, Ignatius of Antioch and Augustine of Hippo, to name but a few of the early Church leaders - both from the  East and the West - who looked to the Bishop of Rome for leadership in faith and morals.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Has the Catholic Courier dropped Fr. McBrien?


Fr. Z. has a new post on his blog reporting on a recent Boston Globe interview of Fr. Richard McBrien and this exchange caught my attention:

IDEAS: Your column is not running in some places that it used to run.

McBRIEN: If I had all the papers that once carried the column, I’d have nearly 50 papers, which is a lot in the Catholic market. Don’t ask me how many I do have, because I never really know, but I have a relative handful of that number.

IDEAS: What happened?

McBRIEN: As the Catholic hierarchy became more conservative under Pope John Paul II, bishops who were open to a diversity of viewpoints in the church either died or retired, and were replaced, in almost every case, by bishops who were more, let’s say, attuned to the desires and intentions of the Holy See. I used to kid, I’d say bishops get points if they drop my column. They get noticed, and then they get promoted eventually, and so forth ...

As I read this it occurred to me that I didn't recall seeing a Fr. McBrien column in the last couple of print issues of the Catholic Courier and a check of their web site shows that they haven't posted one of his columns online since late October.

Has the Catholic Courier (quietly) dropped Fr. McBrien's column?  If so, I doubt that concerns over his orthodoxy are at the heart of the decision.  Perhaps it's just a cost-cutting measure.  Whatever the reason, however, I'm happy to see him go.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New DOR Schools Ad

A new 30 second spot appeared yesterday on SchoolTube.

The ad promotes our Catholic schools and one supposes that it will be showing up on TV shortly before 2009-2010 registration period begins on January 26.

If it does it would signal a 180 degree turnaround from last year when the diocese refused to publicly promote its schools, thus making the enrollment level predicted by its panel of "experts" a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"A good foundation and a sound establishment"

Columnist Bob Marcotte has a piece in today's D&C on people important in the growth of Rochester.  Among his choices is our first Catholic bishop.

Bishop Bernard McQuaid, as in the Catholic high school, was the first bishop of the Diocese of Rochester, from 1868 to 1909. During his tenure, the diocese increased from 35 parishes and 29 mission churches to 93 parishes and 36 missions. The number of Catholics in the diocese more than doubled, to 121,000, including such diverse ethnic groups as Irish, Germans, Poles, Italians and others. McQuaid managed to keep the diocese united. More than 50 parish schools were established as well as St. Bernard's Seminary. He "left a good foundation and a sound establishment," notes the diocese.

Today, while DOR claims some 340,000 Catholics, only about 84,000 are at Mass on any given weekend.  The total number of parishes and mission churches is the same (129) but is certain to fall in the not too distant future. Finally, the number of elementary schools is now in the teens and St. Bernard's Seminary is but a distant memory.

It sure looks like we've squandered that good foundation and sound establishment.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Catholic Schools Save U.S. Taxpayers $19.8 Billion Per Year

With hundreds of billions of dollars going to the recent bailouts of financial institutions and insurance companies, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the nation's network of almost 7,400 Catholic schools is saving the taxpayers about $20 billion each and every year.

The WSJ reports,

Catholic schools provide $19.8 billion in savings each year for the nation. The figure is based on the average public school per pupil cost of $8,701 and the total Catholic school enrollment of more than 2.2 million students.