Cleansing Fire

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Among the Last Acts of BXVI and among the First Acts of Francis…

April 8th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Just about the last thing Benedict XVI did before he departed for his final pilgrimage was to make a bit of purple rain fall in my former home town of Atlanta, Georgia, elevating no less than three of my former pastors to “Chaplains of His Holiness” – Monsignors. This was a warm thanks and a welcome salute to these dedicated men in black whose pastoral hallmarks include doctrinal fidelity, meaningful liturgy, perpetual Adoration and widely available sacramental Confession.

Now I note with great interest that among the first acts of actual governance of Francis in the U.S. are the appointment of two bishops in the midwest – both alumni of the Diocese of Lincoln and proteges of the retired Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. Under his (+Bruskewitz’s) leadership, the Diocese of Peoria thrived –  vocations exploded and there were zero reported acts of sexual predation of minors.  So one can suspect that these new appointments have been well prepared. Quite obviously, these appointments were in the works prior to Francis’ election, but none the less they are the first to my knowledge acts of governance that applies directly to our side of the pond.

Blessings and prayers for Bishop Michael Owen Jackels, the new Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa and Msgr. John Folda, the next Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota. I continue to wait and pray with hope for our turn at the top of Francis’ in box…

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12 Responses to “Among the Last Acts of BXVI and among the First Acts of Francis…”

  1. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Stupendous! We are supported in our prayers and hopes for the future!

  2. avatar annonymouse says:

    It should not go unnoticed that Bishop Jackels also worked in Rome at the CDF under then-Cardinal Ratzinger for eight years.

    This is indeed good news today!

    A bit more about Bishop Jackals from Wiki:

    Bishop Jackels most recently joined the other three Kansas bishops in approving a pastoral letter opposing embryonic stem cell research. He has spoken against same-sex marriage and abortion, as well. He also opposes the death penalty and has written in the diocesan newspaper, Advance, in favor of what he views as more just immigration laws. He also voted to approve language changes in the Mass to bring the English translation into a better accord with the original Latin at the June 2006 meetings of the USCCB in Los Angeles.

    In areas outside of doctrine, he is active in promoting Catholic education, and helped to establish the Drexel Fund which calls for donations to help financially strapped Catholic schools within the diocese. The diocese has 48 seminarians, one of the highest numbers of seminarians per capita of diocesan Catholics in the United States.[

  3. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Kudos. Now, let’s appoint a few 100 more men like them! TB2G

  4. avatar DanielKane says:

    And…earlier, Pope Franics appointed Gintaras Lunas Grusas, a Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio alumni as Archbishop of Vilnius in Lithuania which is a cardinal-level post. I do not know much about the U.S. born prelate, but this Padre is on one fast track being ordained in 1994 and consecrated bishop in 2010.

    See – http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=17532

  5. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    While the appointments reported by DanielKane warm my heart,
    I look forward to a reform of the epicopacy and the priesthood as
    Weigel describes in his EVANGELICAL CATHOLICISM pages 111-151.

    Perhaps Pope Francis has the same reform in mind.
    See http://www.spiritdaily.com/missionchurch.htm

  6. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    One note as to reforming the clergy, I have a friend who has a sick relative who has joined a Protestant church. She is near death and has been saying “She wants to receive Jesus”. So who do you think was contacted? A pastoral administrater, a non ordained individual. We told her to contact a priest and get him to the hospital as soon as possible.

    It is tragic that souls could be in jepardy by having non ordained individuals serve in the roles of priests. They have lost the notion that there are people in hospitals who may be getting ready to “see our Lord” and we can’t fool around with “priest wanna be’s” when the salvation of souls is so critical.

  7. avatar annonymouse says:

    RT – It would be best if a priest were available to go and administer the Sacrament of the Sick and give viaticum, for sure.

    But, if no priest is available, what sort of god do you believe in who would condemn a person to an eternity in hell when that person had a sincere desire to “receive Jesus” but only a lay minister was available?

    Please remember that it is Jesus Christ, not the priest, who is the Savior. Let us place our trust in God’s mercy, He who is the only One who can judge our hearts.

    Your post has nothing at all to do with the reforms of the priesthood and episcopacy that Weigel prescribes, and nothing to do with the appointments of which DK writes, either.

  8. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Mouse,

    Sure. That is right. But how this was handled was not correct. A priest should have been contacted immediately. Instead, others contacted a pastoral administrator, not the priest. It’s this mind set that I have issues.

    When someone is near death, it is mandatory that a priest be notified. I am a control freek and this is something I would never delegate. I myself would contact a priest. I would never give anyone else, except my wife and several other trusted souls the responsibility of this serious action.

    And if the bishop is a true shepherd, I would certainly ask retired priests to serve in this role to take the burden off other active priests. And here in the DOR, retirement was mandated at age 70. I am sure there are plenty of “retired” priests who can function in this capacity.

  9. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Page 115 “Evangelical Catholicism”, Weigel writes:

    “….some of the Chirch’s most deeply committed and
    intelligent lay Cathplics cannot understand why
    the Church seems to have no established and timely
    method of removing incompetent, malfeasant,
    or dubiously orthodox bishops-the bishops who
    fail to live out the task of watchman as described by
    the prophet Ezekiel 3:17-21; the bishops who Saint
    Augustine called ‘wicked shepherds’ in his sermon
    ON PASTORS……..”

    Weigel asks: ” (has) the episcopate become a self-
    protecting and self-perpetuating caste”?

    Then answers:

    “It hasn’t.”

    The rest of the story, later.

  10. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Weigel has shown his readers that there is a crisis of the Catholic episcopate. Reform is needed in both the appointment process and the exercise of the office of bishop in the Church. From where does George Weigel suggest a model of episcopacy upon which to base this necessary reform?

    None other than the former Archbishop Karol Wojtyla himself!

    From Krakow’s most famous Archbishop’s idea of the office of bishop and methods of living out that episcopal vocation lessons can be learned on how to best renew the Catholic episcopate.

    1) Give absolute priority to teaching and sanctifying while governing.
    2) In facing problems, challenges or opportunities always ask:
    a) “What is the truth of faith that sheds light on this?” (‘The truths of the faith set the standard by which all decisions ought to be made, all programs planned and all projects either accepted or rejected…..Look first to the Gospel.’)
    b) “Who can help or be trained to help?” (‘The captain of the boat looks around his crew and passengers to make use of the personnel to effect his teaching, sanctifying and governing.’)
    3) This episcopal approach to leadership and decision making must be complemented by an intense life of prayer. (‘Wojtyla spent the first two hours of every day before the Blessed Sacrament praying, thinking, writing.’)
    4) Engage people in conversation. (‘Information about situations is drawn from real resources, not from a bureaucracy.’)
    5) Spend time, and lots of it, in the diocese’s parishes, being with the people, experiencing life with the faithful. (Come to the parishes as the shepherd, high priest and teacher, being present to the parishioners, living and calling others to live the universal call to holiness.)
    6) Do all of this as a ‘matter of conviction, deputation, priority-setting, and above all, prayer’.

    Come, Holy Spirit, come!

  11. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Dominick,
    I think that’s what St Alphonsous Ligouri did. Spend time in the parishes.

    Today, bishops rarely do that and they really don’t teach.

  12. avatar Thinkling says:

    Dominick,

    Interesting, and perhaps unsurprising, that Weigel sees ++JP2 as a model for episcopacy. The other point you mention, the appointment process, was arguably the weakest part of his papacy (and I suspect Weigel off the record would agree).

    Too trusting, not enough verify. Seems this is a not uncommon weakness; Cdls Rigali and Dolan (e.g.), for all their strengths, also grapple[d] with this.

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