Yesterday I joked that it was too bad we didn’t’ trade Bishop Hubbard for Bishop Herzog in the Diocese of Albany. Today I received the VOTF newsletter praising a new program by Bishop Hubbard "Called to BE Church." You know right off it VOTF is praising it that it is really not worthwhile and reading the program you can see exactly why the bishop is putting all his eggs in Pastoral Associates to run parishes because of their priest shortage.
At the Called to BE Church page the Bishop has a document called The Mission of the Contemporary Parish [PDF] which I think is a quite useful document. That is if you do exactly the opposite of what the document calls for in regards to parish life. I guess salvation and forgiveness of sins has nothing to do with parish life. And the Eucharist is hardly mentioned except in regards in EEM’s. Prayer is only mentioned in the context of Ecumenism.
I thought to myself, "What more could people be looking for in a parish liturgy?" A welcoming environment; a well-choreographed
service; maximum lay involvement, wonderful music, and a homily that informed, challenged and
pulled all the elements of the liturgy in a cohesive
whole. Yet the pews were only half filled, the collections in the parish had gone flat and within six months the school, which had been such a
viable part of the parish since its inception in the late 1950s, had closed its doors.
I think this paragraph is a perfect example of how he just does not get it especially since in other parts of the document he calls contemporary music wonderful music. How do you judge maximum lay involvement? For me that we be that people were actively praying with the Mass, something that would be rather hard to determine. Obviously he has a different idea of what maximum lay involvement means and that is people physically doing something.
…for opportunities to partner ecumenically
in addressing the great social issues of our day: war, terrorism, economic disparity both nationally
and globally, family breakdown, sexual and
environmental exploitation and gender identity, as
well as the spiritual ills of hedonism, individual-
ism, consumerism and secularism that can corrupt
the spirit and the progress of understanding life’s
ultimate meaning and fulfillment.
Not surprisingly something seems to be missing from his list of "great social issues of our day", of course abortion. Though he does mention abortion and embryonic stem-cell research latter in a dismissive way when he says why should they be the only moral issues? He does manage to mention "zoning ordinances" when it comes to social justice issues though. He also manages to quote the usual suspects such as Peter Steinfels and Teilhard de
Chardin. Basically he just doesn’t have a clue as to how to revive parish life. He has been the Bishop of Albany since 1977 and somehow wonders how parish life under his care is not what it should be.