Sunday, December 10, 2017

Boston's Pastoral Planning Advisory Board Presents Findings to Priests

I have to confess that as soon as I come across an article with a title like "Boston's Pastoral Planning Advisory Board Presents Findings to Priests",  I immediately say to myself "this is going to be a doozy". And it never fails to disappoint.

Consisting of seven laypeople and one priest, the PPAB was founded in 2014 to evaluate the implementation of Disciples in Mission.
SEVEN lay people and ONE priest.  Are ya kidding me???   Why not seven deacons and one priest?

Disciples in Mission is the archdiocesan revitalization/evangelization program while closing and merging parishes.  A tough job under any circumstances.  Still, I remain perplexed by the things Archdiocesan leaders think, do and say.

The Disciples in Mission program would be successful if priests saw conversions, increased numbers in the Sacrament of Confession, Christ in the Eucharist with an understanding of what it's all about. How is it possible they thought its leadership should be seven lay people and one priest?

The article goes on to describe the feedback from priests across the diocese:

  • About half said since becoming a pastor of a collaborative, there has been less time to pray and connect with parishioners
  • About 90 percent said that in multi-cultural parishes, it has become more difficult to retain relationships with parishioners.
  • A little over half of the pastors said Disciples in Mission has had a negative impact on their physical and mental health, and they have experienced more stress, anxiety, and less free time.
  • Over half of the pastors said it is now harder to maintain personal relationships with friends and family, and most pastors said their relationships with parishioners have suffered. However, they noted that relationships with staff are strong.
  • Many pastors also listed financial restraints, as well as time restraints, as having a large impact.

Other than that Mrs. Kennedy, how was the parade?

Here comes my favorite part of the article:  The feedback from Archdiocesan officials.

John Straub, chief financial officer (CFO) and chancellor of the archdiocese, noted that Disciples in Mission has been successful.

After an initial financial drop-off, he said, parishes in collaboratives have seen, on average, a two percent gain in collections.

The program's success is measured on the money, the money, the money.   If the priests have no relationships with the people, there is no knowledge or interactions between them and the priests are curled up into a ball from exhaustion and stress, this is not a benchmark that tells you how the program is going.

And, after the Cardinal listened to priests tell him how they feel, he said he's got some thinking to do:

Responding to concerns over personal health, Cardinal O'Malley pointed to a recent study by the archdiocese's Clergy Funds, which indicated that overall, priests are healthier, in part thanks to a number of new mental and physical health programs the archdiocese provides.

The study "seems to show our health seems to be a little better, actually,"  (WUT???!!)  the cardinal said, although he made it clear that he also would be taking the feedback into consideration. (Ya think?)

It's the age-old question that bewilders luminaries who work in a chancery:

Is it the people you've convened to produce a 'study' that tells you what you want to hear or the priests actual descriptions of what's happening to them when their feet hit the floor - which one elucidates factual information?

Another unsolved mystery in a Chancery.

More importantly, why wouldn't it occur to them that their job is to provide solid spiritual health programs for priests who are out to steam?   They are not an extension of the local gym or mental health clinic.

I have to admit that the dishonesty is getting to me, especially when it comes from within.   Sometimes I spend way too much time going back and forth with people who are unwilling or incapable of unraveling the dishonesty.   Sometimes, I do it to back the dishonesty into the corner until all observers, excepting the advocate, see it is absurd, but how low the advocate is willing to sink into dishonesty and chicanery is exasperating.    I'm not out of steam, but the older I get, the less I want to spend my time and energy subjecting myself to it.  

Fr. Rutler describes the dishonesty in his weekly column this week as Orwellian insanity.   He also reminds us of the service and duty to Christ.   I'm doing the best I can but, admittedly, some days and some situations, I just don't have the bandwidth!

Father Rutler's Weekly Column

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

As a chaplain in a state mental hospital, I quickly learned two things. First, sometimes it was easy to mistake a psychiatrist for one of the patients. Second, and more importantly, the mentally ill can be highly intelligent. If one begins with an illogical premise, one may convincingly make a fallacy seem cogent. An unfortunate man in a locked ward who thinks he is Napoleon Bonaparte can almost convince a visitor that he is there because he lost the battle of Waterloo.

Insanity is not a lack of brains; it is a lack of judgment. The Second Sunday of Advent focuses on the right use of reason, in preparation for the coming of Christ the Logos, the source of all creation. He is the Righteous Judge because he is supremely logical, and it would be a form of madness not to expect the Logos to be so.

Our society has employed cleverness to justify moral madness, rationalizing a radical overhaul of social order as “hope and change.” George Orwell anticipated this in his “doublethink” which means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously and accepting both of them, so that, for instance, ignorance is strength, war is peace, freedom is slavery. Currently there are those who call censored speech “freedom of speech” and redistribution of wealth “income equality,” and who varnish anarchy as “resistance.” Infanticide is responsible parenthood, infidelity is independence, decadence is progress, common sense is bias, and natural law is hate speech. When the modern moral collapse euphemized as “sexual liberation” redefined vice as freedom, defective judgment unleashed a host of contradictions, so that the very institutions that promoted libertinism affect to be scandalized when celebrities are revealed to have done precisely what the euphemizers wanted. Like Casablanca’s Captain Renault they are “Shocked! Shocked!”

“Doublethinkers” cannot cope with the consequences of their manipulation of logic. Immature students riot when a professor disagrees with them, and voters scream at the sky when an election does not go their way. Their intolerance calls itself tolerance, but it is the false kind of tolerance which, as Chesterton said, is the virtue of the man without convictions.

The same people who ask “Who am I to judge?” judge right judgment to be tactlessly judgmental, and they politicize the judiciary to appoint justices who will usurp the function of legislators. Certainly, our Lord forbids any attempt to judge the human heart or the fate of a soul (Matthew 7:2), but blurring the line between right and wrong, which the theologians call antinomianism, turns an entire culture into a raucous asylum.

“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezekiel 3:18).


JBQ said...

"Seven deacons and one priest" would be illogical in the "scheme of things". You have to read the handwriting on the wall instead of the graffiti. The priesthood has been deemed as obsolete. As pastoral counselors, they are deficient. As conduits of sanctifying grace, they are beyond a necessity.---The priesthood is being phased out. Look at reality. The signs are there for the "priesthood of the laity" to take over a faltering Church. The writings of Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, say so. The interpretation in the books of Malachi Martin, SJ, document it to be so.---The signs also say that Francis is the final pope in this "brave new world".

Mary's Child Mariann said...

Thanks for posting this. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

The blind are leading the blind.

Indeed, and the lunatics are running the asylum.

I doubt that it is any better here in the Archdiocese of New York
but, honestly, I stopped reading Catholic New York, years ago....

I have no attachments, except sentiment, to my life-long parish.
Fraudulent multiculturalism. indeed, destroys. I am an outsider.
I can walk to it, when I desire to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
Our parish has become a majority of folks from our southern
countries former inhabitants. I do not speak Spanish, although
knowledge of other languages, I feel is beneficial. Nevertheless,
older English speaking Americans are becoming increasingly
marginalized and demonized and I hear/read of very few Hispanic
Americans willing to admit this or to address this. But, perhaps I
simply have missed it. Certainly the liberal leftists would deny
flooding as they stood on their toes stretching to keep their lips
above the water level. To me, this lack of respect for the
functional, established order of things, is prima facie evidence of
how wrong what is going on, actually is.

American culture is being gutted, fillet and exterminated, without
the gas chambers and most of the firing far.

The bigots, however, are NOT those like me. They are those driving
this injustice.

Sorry, this needs to be said. Too bad the knee jerk response would,
likely, re-enforce the predominant, unadmitted, Anti-American
sentiment that is ubiquitous.



TTC said...

JBQ, I don't believe any of that for a second! It contradicts Christ's promises about the gates of hell not being victorious in its battle to prevail over the Church!

Anonymous said...

It would not surprise me for some to be in favor of eliminating the priesthood. Evil is real.

The priesthood was ordained by Jesus to continue in his place. It has, however, become polluted with the ways of the world and needs to be restored. The current Pope is simply a clear indication of how defiled the ranks of the priesthood has become and his "openness" to a married priesthood, shows his devious nature. Pretty much most things about him are evidence of his personal corruption and lack of a Catholic conscience.

But, those of us who are laity create and give incentive for the priesthood to decline. We must take up our own Crosses and follow Jesus, in order to attempt to try to restore, NOT REFORM, the priesthood.


Michael Dowd said...

Hang in there Carol. The Church has become the theater of the absurd, existential insanity. Franz Kafka comes to mind when considering the Byzantine goings on in the Vatican and chanceries around the world. Pope Francis is the nemesis of all rationality and all that is good and holy. We just have to believe that Help is on the way. We can only do our little part. God will have to get into it.