Monday, February 18, 2008

Cardinal Rode: Priests becoming too worldly

This is good to hear coming from someone in the Vatican. I mean, the issue is not good, but acknowledgment is the first step to fixing anything.

It also highlights the need to pray for our priests and religious. My emphases in bold and comments in red.

Priests becoming too worldly, Vatican prelate says

Rome, Feb. 15, 2008 ( - The prefect of the Congregation for Religious has lamented that many Catholic priests are neglecting their duties under the pressure of conforming to secular culture. [Keep in mind that we are all called to be countercultural, most especially, priests and religious. Saints were not known to "go with the flow" and we should all desire to be saints].

In a February 14 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Cardinal Franc Rode said that priests today tend to be less obedient to the Church and more responsive to the world. He cited reluctance to wear clerical dress as a symptom of this trend [Deo gratias - that we see newer communities emerging who have embraced the religious habit. While many cloisters and monasteries may have retained the habit, the vast majority of active communities shunned the habit. It has taken these newer, active communities, such as Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Dominicans (Ann Arbor, MI), the Dominicans Sisters of St. Cecilia (Nashville, TN), the Sisters of Life, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, among others who got back to basics with regards to community life and habit].

“A drift towards bourgeois values and moral relativism are the two great dangers that weaken religious life," said the Slovenian cardinal. "The biggest problem today is the climate of secularization-- present not only in Western society but also within the Church itself.” [Wow, he called that one out. It's such a relief to know it's not all in our heads].

Cardinal Rode said that young people continue to hear God's call to a vocation in the priesthood or religious life. But he suggested that a lax model of priestly or religious life is not likely to encourage vocations. As evidence the cardinal pointed to the young Catholics who are attracted to contemplative life in highly disciplined religious orders. "They are attracted because it is a radical life choice," he said. [Yes! I have been making this case for the last two years. The trend points in this direction. Those communities who have gone lax, and even introduced new-age spirituality are gray and dying out with few, if any, vocations. The two Dominican orders I mention above have discernment weekends that are so full, the girls must sleep on the floor in sleeping bags!!! They just expanded in Ann Arbor and I tell you it is not big enough. Nashville has expanded by sending sisters out around the country in parishes, something the Ann Arbor community has recently started, as well with some heading to Phoenix]

Source: CWNews

Let me add that it is not only the religious habit, which was only one example cited by Cardinal Rode. In addition, the communities that are growing, not only embrace the habit, but they are very Eucharistic and Marian, with a rich and ordered prayer life. Don't think that service went out the window when the habit came back in - a common complaint of yesteryear. The Sisters of Life for example, work hard with expectant mothers and on the streets. The Franciscan Friars of the renewal are right in the bowels of cities where the poorest of the poor and downtrodden can be found. The Dominicans serve through teaching and other apostolates.

Without prayer, all the service in the world can't be nearly as effective as that which is rooted in prayer and love for God. You can't love your neighbor until you learn how to love God. The first step in loving God is following the Commandments, using the sacraments and building a strong relationship with Him through prayer.

What better example can I provide than Mother Teresa, whom was despised among some of the more "justice & peace" religious orders because, as some of them claim, if she hadn't spent so many hours a day in prayer she could have served more people! Right - and, how many of those "justice & peace" types are up for canonization? I'm not talking about any "justice & peace" types, but the kind that blow-off and dismiss Marian and Eucharistic devotion.

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