Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

‘Cries of desperation’ from a diocese ‘in retreat’

September 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

Dr. K.’s The Church Bishop Clark Wants reminded me of a article I found on the EWTN web site.

The following excerpt reads like it could have been written last week.  It is, however, more than 13 years old and shows that Bishop Clark’s efforts to move his progressive AmChurch agenda has been in the national spotlight for well over a decade.

A Sign Of Failure

There are, however, other ways to explain the obsession with planning for the future, with micromanaging parishes from downtown headquarters, with issuing new sacramental guidelines embodying the latest thinking from the dissident Chicago Studies (as do the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ new guidelines for Penance).

One is that Church leaders do not know how to confront the reality that the Church is “in retreat” all around them.

“Despite all their plans for renewal, their change agents, their control of institutions, and their money,” said an expert on recent Church history in Rochester, “they are failing.

“Plans like Bishop Clark’s are ‘cries of desperation.’ He has been a bishop for almost 20 years, during which time he’s pushed for ordaining women, protected [Fr.] Charlie Curran and other dissident theologians, advanced the homosexual agenda, and what’s the result? He has a priest shortage, he’s losing his flock, he’s closing parishes, and he’s grabbing for pages from the corporate management style handbook trying to find a strategy to keep the whole kit and caboodle afloat.

“He’s running out of money and people, but he’s so committed to changing the traditional Catholic Church that he has to keep the bureaucratic wheels grinding on to change the liturgy, change catechesis, change morality, change the entire concept of Church enshrined in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

In his project to bang all parishes and pastors under chancery control, Clark is managing to alienate even his liberal priests. As one told The Wanderer: “Why doesn’t he just run my parish from a computer in the Pastoral Center?”

Aside from the issue of control, however, there is the fundamental problem that the new “vision” of parish being “articulated”-not just in Rochester, but across the country-is a construct at odds with both canon law and The Catechism of the Catholic Church which defines parish as:

” ‘. . . a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular Church; the pastoral care of the parish is entrusted to a pastor as its own shepherd under the authority of the diocesan bishop’ (Code of Canon Law, 515.1). It is the place where all the faithful can be gathered together for the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist. The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the of the liturgical life: It gathers them together in this celebration; it teaches Christ’s saving doctrine; it practices the charity of the Lord in good works and brotherly love.”

In ordering parish councils to develop “vision statements” to manifest their compliance with the essentially “womanchurch” goals of his diocesan synod, Clark didn’t provide the simple definition of “parish” in the Catechism, but rather demanded that parishes show what steps are being taken to prove they are becoming “a community known for its warm hospitality . . . a welcoming community that actively includes all members . . . that is ready to wrestle with the difficult issues of the day with a radical spirit of faith.”

This quote is from an article written by Paul Likoudis and published in The Wanderer on February 6, 1997.  The entire article is preserved here.

Finally, I’m really curious as to the identity of that “expert on recent Church history in Rochester.”

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2 Responses to “‘Cries of desperation’ from a diocese ‘in retreat’”

  1. benanderson says:

    good find, Mike. And then there are some of our priests who have the gall to call him the best bishop in america:

  2. La Sandia says:

    Interesting how the most liberal, “progressive” bishops who complain the most about supposedly “authoritarian” Rome are often the most dictatorial in their own dioceses. Actually, given the liberal penchant for totalitarian ideology, it’s not that surprising…

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