Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

A Teacher and a Pastor

April 8th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

While I was in college, I enjoyed playing intramural basketball. After one of those games a teammate’s girlfriend came up and told me that I was better at basketball than she would’ve expected. “Oh really? Thanks, I think.” She explained that because I was one of the smarter kids in class and kind of geeky that she didn’t expect me to be very good at basketball (in reality I’m neither all that smart nor all that good at basketball). I wasn’t really offended by that, but it stuck with me that many people seem to think that certain character traits are mutually exclusive. If you’re like this, then you must not also be like that.

I was reminded of this life lesson, when I read a recent article about Dale Fushek, the once-popular Catholic pastor who founded LifeTeen and later lost his position and ultimately was excommunicated and defrocked. It’s an interesting read. What most struck me about that article is this statement from Fushek (speaking of Bishop Olmsted, with whom he butted heads)

Olmsted, he said, is a teacher, focused on what’s right and what’s wrong. Fushek said he is a pastor, ready to teach right from wrong but helping those in the wrong back into the church’s good graces.

“I believed in a big tent,” Fushek said. “He wanted to purify the church.”

In the book, Fushek writes about Olmsted, “He excommunicates, not reconciles. He evaluates rules and rubrics, and cares little about spirituality.”

I don’t follow Bishop Olmsted closely enough to know for sure, but I’d certainly hesitate to say that because he’s like this (a teacher) he must not be like that (a pastor).  As Paul said, we must be all things to all people.  Those out there who would like to label our orthodox leaders as un-pastoral need to find better logic with which to do so.

Speaking of being both a teacher and a pastor, I had the joy of recently listening to Fr. Robert Barron on March 25th on CA Live.  If you can’t listen to the whole thing, at least try and listen to the first 10 min. or so.  Fr. Barron is a real gem.

(I’m attempting a new way of embedding the audio, so it may or may not work right away.)


One other note on this topic.  Just as I complain that progressives should be careful not to profile us orthodox Catholics, we must grant them the same privilege.  We must be open to the fact that not every single thing they do is wrong.  While I’ve been reading through Fr. Callan’s book, I’ll admit that some things about him surprise me.  We must be sure to commend what is commendable.  If for no other reason, it gives more credibility to us when we disagree.


5 Responses to “A Teacher and a Pastor”

  1. Raymond Rice says:

    Excellent reflection!!!

  2. Choir says:

    Yes, I agree with Raymond. You may not be “neither all that smart nor all that good at basketball” but you left the most important part unanswered…are you that “geeky”?

  3. Scott W. says:

    In the book, Fushek writes about Olmsted, “He excommunicates, not reconciles. He evaluates rules and rubrics, and cares little about spirituality.”

    An outrageous swipe that only reminds us that he earned every measure of what he received and then some.

  4. Thinkling says:

    Ah, this is the famous Satan-sends-us-lies-in-pairs trick.

    Behind door 1: dissent.

    Behind door 2: uncharity.

    Pick a door, then if you realize you’ve picked a “wrong” door, you are totally convinced that the other door must be true.

    False dichotomies have no winners. “The only way to win is not to play the game.”

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    are you that “geeky”?

    doesn’t that go w/out saying?

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-