Friday, February 16, 2007

Huzzah! Archbishop Dolan

Two (not really unrelated) items appeared in my mailbox. Both are about Abp. Dolan, and both tell us that the Archbishop is heading in the right direction.

Regarding Catholic schools:

It’s Catholic Schools Week. I thank God for our wonderful system of Catholic schools in southeastern Wisconsin: first-rate grade schools, the great majority parish-based, excellent Catholic high schools, colleges and universities, all built, supported, sustained, with a lot of grit, sweat, worry, sacrifice, and trust by pastors, principals, teachers, women and men religious, volunteers, boards, parents, parishioners, and benefactors from the broad community. They realize what an irreplaceable gift our schools are, as we entrust to them our most priceless treasure, our children and youth, to be formed in soul, mind, heart, and body.

The usual stuff, heartfelt, no doubt. But then this admission and the question:

Our schools have lost their Catholic identity, and have become private schools subsidized by parishes. I sure hope not, but I’m afraid the many thoughtful people who observe this have a point. You know what aspect of Catholic education is growing most? Home schooling, and the opening of lay-run Catholic academies. These parents will tell you that they have become disenchanted with parish schools and our high schools because they are no longer “Catholic.”

Of course, if this is true, only we – bishops, pastors, principals, teachers, school boards – can reform that. Only the “customers” – our parents and parishioners – can encourage and insist on that.

Abp Dolan's predecessor refused to admit publicly that there actually WERE such things as "homeschools" and "private Catholic academies" in Milwaukee. And he did as much as he could to make their existence, ah, challenging.

We encourage the Archbishop to continue asking questions of parochial school principals and their pastors. Like, for example, "Is First Confession administered BEFORE First Communion?"

He could even go into a 7th-grade classroom and ask the students to recite the 10 Commandments--or the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know, stuff like that.

OK. Changing the topic, but only slightly, the Archbishop also spoke to the students at North American College in Rome.

Maybe the greatest threat to the Church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism, but this sanitized, feel-good, boutique, therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifice, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin, but only soothes and affirms.

I am afraid that too often today the 'accident' of our own person, our own agenda, trumps the substance of the person of Christ and the message of His Church.

For some preachers it seems obligatory to criticize the church in their homilies. They claim she is hopelessly outmoded, patriarchal, oppressive, insensitive, corrupt, unenlightened--all of which really translates "Unwilling to do what they want."

Ordained ministers are unequivocally 'men of the church' as preachers, and their duty is to 'teach what she does, not preach what we like.' (Transcription from CNS)

As we said, HUZZAH!

1 comment:

Brother James said...

Sounds like Milwaukee is in good hands, I just hope that the traddies are patient during the course correction process. Next, hopefully, a little matter about Call to Action..