Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fr. McCloskey's Catholic desiderata for 2012




Fr. C. J. McCloskey at The Catholic Thing has seven wishes for the Catholic Church in America in 2012:

Desiderata for 2012 

By Fr. C. John McCloskey III 

Way back in 1989 (my, how the years fly by), I wrote an an article for the Christmas edition of the old Crisismagazine entitled “Good Guys Finish First: Ten Reasons to Smile This Christmas.” Over two decades later, I remain bullish on the Catholic Church in America for the New Year of 2012, especially if the year includes persecution and further societal decline.
That’s because the Church flourishes in bad times. Why? Because it is the answer to humanity’s problems, which are in their roots moral. No country can flourish or perhaps even survive if it kills its babies, indulges in pornography as its favorite entertainment, and neglects to protect the institution of marriage.
But, “bullish” as I am, my optimism needs some elaboration. The good news for the Church in America and, indeed, in the world is that the sequential pontificates of Blessed John Paul and Pope Benedict have dealt a death blow to the Long Purgatory afflicting the Church from the close of Vatican II. 
In another piece written some years ago, I suggested 2030 as the target year for a generally healthy Church running on all spiritual cylinders in our country. I projected this recovery because the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council is gradually being revealed, enforced, and practiced.
Bl. John Paul saw a “new spring time for the Church” and a new civilization of love and truth in the new millennium. Pope Benedict on the other hand has posited “a small creative minority” of members of the Church, at least in Europe and what was known as the West. Which prophetic view will be correct (or whether in fact they are both aspects of the same reality) will become apparent in the decades ahead.
So what does the Church in the United States need right now, in 2012? Here are some suggestions, in no particular order:
1. Large numbers of new priests who will celebrate the Holy Mass reverently, spend hours in the confessional, preach the evangelizing and life-giving truth to the faithful, and strive in their prayer and ascetical life to imitate the Holy Cure of Ars.


2. Thousands of men and women religious who will bear witness to the eschatological life by their poverty, chastity, and obedience and – by the habits they wear in public – will give glory to God and attract additional vocations. This includes those in monasteries who spend their lives in prayer.


3. More bishops who put their interior and ascetical life before anything else (including meetings and dinners), so that they can be true spiritual fathers to their priests, shepherds to their flocks, and examples of holiness and sound preaching. These bishops should also be willing to firmly discipline those Catholics-in-name-only, who operate in the public square and give scandal to the faithful and our fellow citizens.


4. A laity that takes seriously Vatican II’s universal call to holiness and evangelization through their family lives, friendships, and presence in workplaces and public affairs. The local parish is very much in last place. It exists to provide opportunity for worship and reception of the sacraments, Catholic formation and catechetical education. Ideally it should be a launching pad to change the world, not a place to hide from it.


5. Truly Catholic colleges and universities. In fact, I hope by this time next year that they all qualify for favorable mention in the list of Catholic colleges maintained by the Cardinal Newman Society, even if their average SAT scores and college athletic rankings decline. (As it happens, the Angelic Doctor does not mention these in his Summatheologiae as necessary for salvation.)


6. A Catholic laity prepared to be confessors and/or martyrs for the faith in the decades ahead in our country. Ah, you say, it can’t happen here! I reply: You bet it can! For the vast majority of us it would be the quickest if not the most comfortable route to canonization. The best way, however, is to live your family, professional, and spiritual lives so faithfully and attractively that the many hundreds of people you know are drawn to wonder what you have that they don’t, and then to receive from you the reply, “I am a Catholic.” That should generate the response, “How can I become one too?” And then you can bring them to Christ and his Church through your local parish. That is how the Church spread from 64 to 312 A.D. among the first Christians, who exercised a one-to-one, family-to-family apostolate to the pagans around them, and gradually converted the Empire. It is due to their perseverance that we are here.

7. As long as we are wishing boldly, a newly elected, well-formed devout Catholic president would help, as would Catholic voters, judges, and legislators who strive to live both their public and private lives according to the moral and social teaching of the Church. If that were to happen . . . well, we might find ourselves in a truly exceptional country of citizens attempting to order their lives according to the natural law and divine revelation, and respecting human dignity from conception until natural death. We might, in fact, become what our American founders intended, “a shining city on a hill.”

Happy New Year!

Let us hope and pray that Catholics, and all of our Christian brothers and sisters, will work together to bring our nation closer to a new civilization based more fully on love and truth.

In other words, may we bring our nation closer to Christ. 

21 comments:

  1. 5. Truly Catholic colleges and universities. In fact, I hope by this time next year that they all qualify for favorable mention in the list of Catholic colleges maintained by the Cardinal Newman Society, even if their average SAT scores and college athletic rankings decline. (As it happens, the Angelic Doctor does not mention these in his Summatheologiae as necessary for salvation.)

    There's the recipe for a successful intellectual renewal!

    I looked at the CNS list of Catholic colleges and recognized just two of the names, Catholic University of America and Franciscan University of Steubenville. And I am speaking as someone who knows the college scene reasonable well, having served on a graduate admissions committee for a number of years. And to boot, I know of Franciscan only because of internet shenanigans of one of its faculty members.

    What's even more notable about this list is the conspicuous absence of the University of Notre Dame, easily the most visible and academically best Catholic university in the US. The Cardinal Newman Society has a separate website for Notre Dame, Notre Dame Scandal. Their sin? Inviting President Obama as a 2009 commencement speaker and giving him an honorary degree.

    Good luck, guys.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @oleg:

    Obama is a very public hard-core supporter of abortion, which is complicity with grave evil and is a mortal sin. A Catholic university that honors him with a degree is on very thin moral ice.

    In my view, Rev. Jenkins (president of ND) should be defrocked, and if unrepentant, excommunicated.

    The Church, in my view, ought to take much tougher stands on defiance of essential church teaching on the part of public officials.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There you go, Mike. Keep hacking off the best parts! That will make Catholic higher education healthier!

    ReplyDelete
  4. They have also crossed Georgetown off the list. Oh, well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @oleg:

    You show such tender concern for Catholic education.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, Mike, I do. And you don't seem to give a damn.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Support for pro Abortion politicians should not be offered by Church/Christian supported Schools or institutions.
    It's that simple, Oleg.
    Christians are against elective abortion and euthanasia.
    We see both as interfering with the natural potential of life. Influential people who have promoted the growth of an industry based on 'free' (actually billed to the taxpayer) abortions provided for poor (mostly minority groups) people should NOT be honoured by Church based institutions - ANY Church, but ESPECIALLY the RCC.
    Besides being obviously counter to it's mission, such a display is of disloyalty and RANK hypocrisy by the leaders of that institution.
    Surely you can see that, even if you disagree with the mission, Oleg?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can only sympathize with you, crus, and I am saying that quite sincerely. Catholics should think twice before declaring their best academic places fubar. You can withdraw into a cocoon at the recommendation of the CNS or you can engage the real world as Notre Dame and Georgetown do.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Regarding Obama support of abortion, here is what Pope Benedict XVI said on this subject:

    Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not... with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    It is said that Obama is a Moslem. It is also said that the Quran supports pleasure marriage (a.k.a. prostitution). Then no wonder Obama is a very public hard-core supporter of abortion.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is said that Pépé is a child molester who likes to sodomize the bodies of little boys he just killed.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @troy
    Poor, poor, poor, poor, poor, you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Pepe:
    "It is said that Obama is a Moslem. It is also said that the Quran supports pleasure marriage (a.k.a. prostitution). Then no wonder Obama is a very public hard-core supporter of abortion."

    OMG...are you REALLY trotting out the muslim accusation? Excuse me, 'moslem.'
    Unreal... I suppose your one of those birthers too - believing he's not a U.S. citizen.

    Where were you guys when Bush was president? And all the cronyism, ineptitude, favoritism, etc. etc. etc....

    ReplyDelete
  13. @all,
    Does anyone else find it odd that Troy makes a direct comparison between being Muslim and buggering the remains of dead children? Pépé notes the rumours of Mr Obama's religion and Troy attempts to reciprocate with a suggestion of necrophilia?
    Apart from being offended for Pépé, I am gobsmacked by the latent bigotry. I, who have fought and captured militant Muslims - and perhaps have a soldiers excuse for prejudice - would never make such a connection.
    @Troy, you may be accustomed to slapping the cheek that turns away quite safely, but continue with such comparisons and you will soon learn why that makes you a coward.
    Be careful with that hate.
    Don't lose your head over it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. OK, it looks like no one is interested in discussing Point 5. I wonder how many of the Catholics here would be willing to restrict their children's choice to the 26 colleges listed by the Cardinal Newman Society. My guess would be not one.

    I also have a question about Point 7:

    7. As long as we are wishing boldly, a newly elected, well-formed devout Catholic president would help, as would Catholic voters, judges, and legislators who strive to live both their public and private lives according to the moral and social teaching of the Church. If that were to happen . . . well, we might find ourselves in a truly exceptional country of citizens attempting to order their lives according to the natural law and divine revelation, and respecting human dignity from conception until natural death. We might, in fact, become what our American founders intended, “a shining city on a hill.”

    Whatever happened to Render onto Caesar's?

    It seems to me that this Fr. McCloskey is a pretty odious character, who is viewed as divisive by quite a few Catholics.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I do not comment on the specifics of Roman doctrine because I am not a Roman Catholic, Oleg.
    I am not intentionally ignoring you or intentionally being rude (on point 5 or 7), but was deferring to the RC's who post here to respond.
    As for point 5, I hope to see more colleges that espouse a Christian morality and charter. That morality includes a non-negotiable position on the sanctity of life.
    So there would be no honorary degrees handed out to people who support and promote distinctly anti Christian positions such as eugenics programs like abortion or the killing of the sick, infirm, and unaware. They would also revoke medical degrees and certification from physicians who practice such evils for profit.
    On 7 I will continue to defer until there is a proper chance for the Roman Catholics to read your comment and respond.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @crusadeREX: Medical schools don't "certify" physicians in the U.S. That's the job of medical boards.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @anon:

    Revocation of a medical degree would naturally lead to revocation of certification.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Anon,
    One leads to another. Try getting certification WITHOUT your degree...in any field. I would add I am not referring to just the United State, but all free and civilized lands.

    @mregnor,
    Exactly.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oleg. Our politics reflects and is informed by our values. Good political policy comes from a good culture and a good culture would come from a population of faithful Catholics. That is what Fr. McCloskey is getting at. Reform the culture. Politics will follow after.

    ReplyDelete
  20. One leads to another. Try getting certification WITHOUT your degree...in any field.

    Many states in the U.S. allow people to practice a profession without any kind of degree so long as they pass the required exams.

    Those pesky facts. Getting in the way of your arguments again.

    ReplyDelete