Cleansing Fire

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Fr. McBrien’s Hall of Fame

June 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

Fr. Richard McBrien has a new column up at the National Catholic Reporter …

US bishops from a better time

The death of Williams Borders, retired archbishop of Baltimore, this past April at age 96 has dramatized the acute change in the composition of the U.S. hierarchy over the past 30 years, that is, since the election of Pope John Paul II in 1978 and the departure of Archbishop Jean Jadot, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, in 1980.

So marked and long-lasting has the change been that many Catholics today, clergy, religious, and laity alike, tend to view many, if not most, bishops as ciphers at best, hopeless reactionaries at worst. To such Catholics, bishops are irrelevant to the life and mission of the church, and to their own lives as well.

This week’s column offers a reminder that this was not always the case.

Taking the various U.S. dioceses in alphabetical order, here is a representative sample of retired or deceased bishops, many of whom have served the church in America with uncommon pastoral zeal and who are fondly and gratefully remembered by many in their dioceses.

Fr. McBrien then goes on to list over 50 retired or deceased bishops and archbishops. While I am not familiar with every name on the list I wasn’t surprised to find several of the more famous members of the progressive camp.

Fr. McBrien then winds up his essay with this Orwellian piece of doublespeak …

If anyone wants to know why there has been so much hemorrhaging from the Catholic church in recent years (the Pew Study of U.S. religions has put the number at 3 in 10) and why there is so much demoralization among those who have thus far remained, we need look no further than the general pattern of appointments to, and promotions within, the U.S. hierarchy over the past three decades

Read the entire column here.

As something of a footnote, DOR’s own Deacon Ray Defendorf posted this comment on Fr. McBrien’s piece …

I’d add to Fr. McBrien’s list of outstanding bishops the late Joseph L. Hogan, 1969 – 78 and our current bishop Matthew H. Clark (1979 – present)of the Diocese of Rochester, NY. These outstanding and very pastoral leaders have made our diocese a refreshing oasis where lay participation at all levels of church administration and pastoral planning are valued and encouraged.

Bishop Clark will retire in a few years and we are praying that the deeply spiritual pastoral leadership and commitment to the values of Vatican II that we have enjoyed for over thirty years will not be retired with him.

May I recommend Bishop Clark’s book Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry, (2009, Ave Maria Press) as a required primer for bishops who truly desire to allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to take root within their diocese.

I can only surmise that the ongoing implosion of the Diocese of Rochester has escaped Deacon Ray’s notice.

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7 Responses to “Fr. McBrien’s Hall of Fame”

  1. avatar Nerina says:

    Mike,

    Given what I am reading in the book, “Good bye, Good Men” Fr. McBrien’s article seems even more outrageous. I almost spit out my coffee when I read the DOR deacon’s response. An “oasis”? Is he kidding? Maybe if you define “oasis” as a place of plummeting Mass attendance, Catholic school closures and promotion of ecumenism defined as accepting any thought except traditional Catholic ones. Oh, please.

    And who are these “many Catholics today, clergy, religious, and laity alike, tend to view many, if not most, bishops as ciphers at best, hopeless reactionaries at worst.” Look at the numbers, Fr. McBrien. Look at the dioceses where Mass attendance is strong and where seminaries are actually producing vocations. Shame on him! This man continues to place millstones around his neck!

  2. avatar LarryD says:

    Mike – I wonder how the DOR would have fared if the late Bishop McCafferty had been more than just an auxillary bishop… McCafferty was a friend to our family. As was the late Bishop Casey (who was an auxillary bishop, too, until 1966) – of whom I was named after.

  3. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    I think he was supposed to say desert, because our churches are becoming deserted by its members, especially our young men who may have thought about the priesthood, but were confused when all they see is an all female sanctuary. You can’t say alter boys anymore. It’s now alter servers. I’m so glad that our priests are encouraging these young girls to be “priests” since that’s the direction our diocese seems to be headed in. What a joke. Richard McBrien needs to be removed as a priest before he does any more damage. Being a priest is a privilege, (actually a special call from Jesus) not a right. Why we call these crackpots Father still baffles me. Is it still Fr. Callan? Are you going to tell me once a priest always a priest? I may sound cynical but I am pretty ticked off about all of the garbage spewing from our churches. Pope Benedict’s supposed to be the “Rottweiler”. Well get attacking before we lose more souls.

  4. avatar benanderson says:

    mcbrien just yells louder nonsense as be descends into irrelevancy.

    @mcbrien @DeaconRayDefendorf
    your story isn’t true because you want it to be. look at reality. reality is that the young and vibrant Church is an orthodox people who are faithful to the magisterium. They want a Church that offers something other than the world does, not one this is the same as the world. The people calling for change could hardly even be called Christians. They are secular humanists who want to use the Church for their own good.

  5. avatar Dr. K says:

    May I recommend Bishop Clark’s book Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry, (2009, Ave Maria Press) as a required primer for bishops who truly desire to allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to take root within their diocese.

    I feel like I just posted about this here. Progressive Catholics always seem to think that the Holy Spirit is not being heard unless their agenda is being fulfilled. Hey folks, you don’t own the Spirit! I know you’re the ones “keeping the Spirit alive” and all, but sometimes the Spirit does not agree with you.

    For what it’s worth, I think this Deacon Defendorf is now retired. At least he’s no longer a Pastoral Administrator (thank God).

    I do hope that McBrien realizes he has spoken positively of a couple sexual deviants through his little list there.

  6. avatar Richard says:

    The comments on his article that you gave us are simply Kool Aid of liberal Catholics spouting the typical liberal brand of Cum-bay-ah

  7. Bishop Hogan was good at transfering troubled priests out of Monroe County to other counties in his diocese.


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