Friday, February 05, 2010

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Catholic America: Catholic clerical narcissism - On Faith at

Catholic America: Catholic clerical narcissism - On Faith at

Despite numerous efforts, my rebuttal to this article is not being published on the Washington Post website.
So much for fair and balanced journalism.

Here is my reply (after you read the above 'opinion' )

OUCH! Why the ad hominem attack and why was it necessary to imply the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is guilty of clerical narcissism? I agree that sadly there are some members of the clergy who are more concerned with their 'career' insofar as they seek to climb the ecclesiastical ladder, so to speak. Most priests and deacons, however, got ordained to serve God, His Church and His People.

What is narcissistic about seeking personal holiness? Is this not what every Christian is asked to do? Why castigate an association of clergy which merely seeks to promote ongoing post-ordination formation of its members? The Second Vatican Council in the document PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS officially teaches that ordained ministers need to live holy lives to help them help their parishioners do likewise. Vatican II spoke of the universal call to holiness. All the baptized are challenged to become saints. Ongoing spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and human formation for those already ordained is mandated by the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests. Why is it presumed that when priests and deacons pray, study and promote healthy fraternity that somehow these would conflict with the mission to evangelize and catechize?

As President of the CCC, I can vouch that our members are young and old, from east coast to west coast, from middle America to deep south. All of them profess their love of Jesus Christ and especially during this YEAR FOR PRIESTS, it was an honor and pleasure for us to participate in a first time international gathering of English speaking clergy in Rome. We did this not for selfish reasons. On the contrary, ongoing formation is but a means to an end. Our final goal is the sanctification of the people we serve in the parish. We can only help them if we first help ourselves learn and grow as fellow pilgrims on the journey. Professing fidelity to the Pope and Magisterium is something we are not embarrassed nor ashamed of yet I cannot see how it could ever conflict with caring for the poor or spreading the Good News. You do us an injustice by inferring or implying a form of clerical narcissism. When doctors attend annual workshops and network with fellow physicians, it is to help them become better doctors to better treat their patients. Likewise, whenever deacons, priests or bishops engage in ongoing formation, especially in annual seminars and workshops and whenever they spend some quality time together in prayer, study and fraternity, it is precisely to enable them to go back to their people and better serve them.

We do not claim the CCC is a panacea and realize there are other groups, associations and societies tailored for the gifts, talents and needs of the individual members. Please do not paint us all with one wide brush. If the Council Fathers at V2, the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the Congregation of the Clergy all agree that ongoing formation and the pursuit of personal
holiness is a good and honorable objective for the ordained, how can it be seen as selfish? Our only desire is to help as many of our people get to Heaven as is possible, by the grace of God and with the help of continued formation which includes prayer, study and personal sanctification.

Fr John Trigilio, Jr.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pope Reminds Bishops to Be Close to Their Priests

Papa Benedetto spoke to bishops from Ireland and the United Kingdom during their quinquennial ad limina visit.

In this Annus Sacerdotalis [Year for Priests], I urge you to hold up to your priests his example of dedication to prayer, pastoral sensitivity towards the needs of his flock, and passion for preaching the Gospel. You yourselves should set a similar example. Be close to your priests, and rekindle their sense of the enormous privilege and joy of standing among the people of God as alter Christus. In Newman’s words, "Christ’s priests have no priesthood but His … what they do, He does; when they baptize, He is baptizing; when they bless, He is blessing" (Parochial and Plain Sermons, VI 242). Indeed, since the priest plays an irreplaceable role in the life of the Church, spare no effort in encouraging priestly vocations and emphasizing to the faithful the true meaning and necessity of the priesthood. Encourage the lay faithful to express their appreciation of the priests who serve them, and to recognize the difficulties they sometimes face on account of their declining numbers and increasing pressures. The support and understanding of the faithful is particularly necessary when parishes have to be merged or Mass times adjusted. Help them to avoid any temptation to view the clergy as mere functionaries but rather to rejoice in the gift of priestly ministry, a gift that can never be taken for granted.

These words apply aptly here in the United States as well. Our bishops NEED to be close to their priests and deacons. No one is suggesting that the dignity and honor accorded someone who possesses the fullness of the priesthood as a successor of the apostles be denied or diluted. On the contrary, we priests and deacons WANT to honor and show respect to our superiors but we also want to know and see that they care for us, not as mere employees but as spiritual sons.  Bishops are not managers or corporate executives. They are shepherds and spiritual fathers. They govern, teach and sanctify. They are the pastor of the local church we call a diocese. The business model of ecclesiolog which permeated the American church in the 1970's and lingers even today is not biblical nor theological. It is sociological but is also detrimental. The church does business but she is more than a business herself. She is the spotless bride of Christ. Holy Mother Church is much more than a flow chart of responsibilities.  Mission statements cannot replace divine law or divine revelation.  When clergy are in spiritual need, in deed, even when they are in trouble, they need a FATHER to counsel them, to correct them, to discipline them, to forgive them and to love and affirm them.  Managers and bureaucrats cannot do that.  Good shepherds love and know their sheep and do NOT act like hired hands.  Pastors will practice what they themselves experience. If the bishop and diocese act and work merely as a business or local government, then that model will extend to parish life. IF however, the family style of relationship where the father is the head of the family is used by bishops to his priests, priests and deacons will do likewise in the parish. Not democracy or republic but FAMILY as God Himself ordained.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Perennially Valid

  Dr. Ralph McInerny

Doctor Ralph McInerny was a professor of philosophy and the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He died on January 29th, 2010, at the age of 80. An unabashed Thomist, Professor McInerny never hid his love and commitment to the philosophy often referred to in Church documents as being PERENNIALLY VALID. Thomism is more than the personal thoughts of Saint Thomas Aquinas. It is the entire perspective of moderate realism based on the Aristotelian principle that reality can and must be objectively known. The rational intellect abstracts via the senses from individual objects universal ideas that are known and knowable only to the rational mind.

Former President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Dr. McInerny debated vigorously attempts to 'modernize' Thomism by adapting it to Kantian philosophy (aka, Transcendental Thomism). He preferred a more pure presentation and application of the Angelic Doctor's philosophy in the tradition of Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson.

Author of the "Father Dowling Mysteries", he also wrote commentaries on how the so-called 'spirit of Vatican II' was used by some modernists to distort the real spirit found in the actual text sixteen documents of the Council.

He will be sorely missed and was a beacon of hope at Notre Dame showing that one still can be orthodox and a devout Catholic, loyal to the Magisterium and Roman Pontiff while teaching at that infamous institution.


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