It is a rare thing to see Amy Welborn fisking something, but in this case also a thing of beauty and a must read. She takes to the retrospective column by National Catholic Reporter editor Arthur Jones called The Roman Imposition. She asks in response to it if their is a parallel universe that she is unaware of. She is close when NCR and their fawns have indeed created a parallel Catholicism more in tune with the bearded Spock universe than the real Catholic Church.
What I myself found so laughable was his term the "Wojtyla-Ratzinger continuum" and basically the impetus of the idea that neither Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI actually get Vatican II. So I guess we are suppose to go to the editor of a dissident rag I would ‘t grace the bottom of a parrot cage with for the Council’s correct understanding and implementation over two intellectual lights that were actually heavily involved in Vatican II
Amy takes a look at the what Arthur Jones calls the "reclericalized church." And by the way why is it the "We are Church" types always refer to the Church in only the lower case "church" as Jones has consistently done?
Another lie – a more serious and laughable one – that Jones presents here is that the Church is now rather radically re-clericalized as opposed to the flourishing of lay ministry post-Council, blah, blah, blah.
Once again, I’d ask. When it comes to public Catholicism, when it comes to the figures in this country who are representing Catholicism in the media, in books, in print…is that a scene overwhelmed by clerics? Actually – no. Who were the Catholic "experts" all over television in March and April? It was a very balanced crew, with, I’d say, a slight edge going to the laity. Look at the bestselling Catholic book titles. Who’s writing them? The ONLY priest who consistently appears on that list (aside from Benedict) is DEAD.
Who are the most popular and sought after speakers on the Catholic speaking circuit? With a couple of exceptions (Groeschel, Corapi) – they’re laity.
But when a group of laity establish the largest Catholic apologetics and evangelization organization in the U.S., NCR has had nothing but dist ain for them. I am referring to Catholic Answers of which NCR has gone after time and time again with such statements as "I have a question for Karl Keating: Why do we need you?" So what the truth of it is they would have no problem with clericalism just as long of the majority of clerics were in the McBrien or Gumbleton mode and they are all for the laity running things just as along as they have the same heterodox mind set as themselves. When it comes to some prominent lay authors they make cracks like:
Other theologians have confirmed to me that their graduate students are familiar with "conservative" authors, Catholic apologists like Scott Hahn, Mark Shea and Patrick Madrid, whose works their professors wouldn’t dream of reading.
And back to Arthur Jones:
The latest piety floating around the institution is that Catholicism is awaiting a new Francis. The church has had four decades of Francises and Clares worldwide and did everything it could to marginalize them.
Match the modern Francis and Clare’s Jesus-inspired activist poverty against the anachronistic fixation on today’s pomp; compare that to the gold threads and silks of the hierarchs’ floor length dresses. The divide and distance between Jesus’ call and the present-day institution couldn’t be clearer: The Vatican public function has succeeded the British royal family as the television pageant of choice.
And just who are these modern Frances and Clares who have been marginalized by the Church? Blessed Mother Teresa was surely one of them and just how was she marginalized? Amy mentions such groups as the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Opus Dei and I can think of others like the Missionaries of the Poor started by Father Richard HoLung. He is really referring to those who have followed the Gospel in helping the poor but have minimized or reduced the rest of the Gospel to modernistic pulp.
I also don’t remember St. Francis attacking Pope Innocent III for his ceremonial clothes. St. Francis in his obvious love of the poor also helped to foster devotions by creating the first Nativity and starting the Stations of the Cross. St. Francis was not just some activist against poverty, but something much fuller or more wonderful – somebody who loved God and neighbor and responded to the Gospel.
It is an old story that, while we may need somebody like Dominic to convert the heathen to Christianity, we are in even greater need of somebody like Francis, to convert the Christians to Christianity. –G.K. Chesterton (The Dumb Ox)
Update: Speculative Catholic explores the meaning of the Wojtyla-Ratzinger continuum with good effect – very funny.