Why are Bishops Blind?
vision document at the beginning of Advent which states its aim as not "managing decline"....It then goes on to suggest a strategy for managing decline. We don't have any vocations you see.
It's not all complete rubbish one good idea is that Parishes work together and help each other/ share best practice (something I have been trying to encourage in my own locality for years now). However, the plan basically seems to be that lay people will have to do the priest stuff from now on. In the "Restructuring Section" it explains:
As our number of priests reduces from the situation we currently have towards this long-term position we will go through a transitional period that we have previously referred to as the “medium term”. As we go through the transition over the next 15 years the number of priests will reduce as God sees fitIt's like we are locked in to a cycle of inevitable collapse and real "renewal" is seen as a total impossibility. What is this if not managing decline?
And the plan's no.1 key strategy is...Social Justice Work! Hooray! The same tired old crap that we have been doing since V II brought so much "life" back into the Church (not).
Liturgy comes in at no.2 and the disastrous pretence that is "Catholic" education is no.3. The family is only no.4, which makes sense I suppose as it is somewhat of an endangered species and only getting more so.
Vocations (to the priesthood) is no.11 but it is really good to know that:
"Prayer cards have been printed and sent out to parishes to help people pray for vocations at morning and evening prayer."PHEW! That's OK then! Panic over!!!
The reality is that there is literally no plan for Vocations. The priesthood is central to the whole thing, but it is pretty much completely ignored.
This is not an exhaustive critique of the Diocesan Development Plan, there's LOTS to criticise, but I'll save that for another day. This is about the most glaringly obvious thing about the whole situation and which has been prompted by this article in The Catholic Herald.
And it is something so blindingly obvious I have blogged about it here, here, here, here, and here. It must be the most blogged about subject on my blog, and how; as a father of four sons it is natural that a priestly vocation would be something we consider as a family regularly. When my oldest son attended vocations events in the diocese, he came back utterly disillusioned on every occasion because the events seemed to him to be largely gatherings of misfits and weirdos. Not what I have always taught him priests are: our brightest and best.
The place he has most been drawn to? The FSSP. Could that mean something????
As The Catholic Herald article states:
"...nearly half of the seminarians came from just 15 of the 70 dioceses in the country.
There are seven dioceses and seven seminaries in Spain that “stand out in a clear way from the rest,” he said.
They were, he said, Cartagena-Murcia, with 38 seminarians, Cordoba with 39 seminarians, Getafe and Orihuela-Alicante, each with 28 seminarians, Seville with 51 seminarians, Toledo with 67 and Valencia with 63 seminarians.Is this really as complicated as it seems to be from the UTTER lack of implementation we see throughout our dioceses???
“It would be very interesting to make a deeper study of the reasons of their success, but I could point some evidence for it: traditional and orthodox bishops, teachings, and formation, popular religiosity, a lot of young priests who create a vocational culture in their dioceses, a good and active youth ministry,” Father Gomez said."
And it isn't just me, practically any good priest I know would totally agree...So is it just the bishops who don't want the Church to grow and fulfil its' mission? Are they blind? Or could it be that they don't want the faith to be actually preached? That in fact, they seek to spread a version of the Catholic faith which fits their own agenda? It seems so, and it doesn't take much reflection on that possibility to conclude that this is a spiritually terrifying reality wherein our hierarchy are, through their own hubris and arrogance, working AGAINST the Holy Spirit and thwarting the work of God in His people. I tell you, I only get angrier!
It is great to see the blindingly obvious being recognised on Twitter:
This story is important, because it shows that the narrative of ever declining vocations is not the only narrative. The evidence is (here and elsewhere) that orthodoxy leads to vocations. It seems to be a choice between orthodoxy or closing Churches. https://t.co/mqjlVnM47B— Fr David Palmer (@FrDavidPalmer) March 21, 2019
I just don't get why bishops work against this!We see this over and over again. Vocations plummet when bishops seek cultural approval, and boom when they lead flocks into an orthodox understanding of the Church’s teaching on faith & morals, when Mass is most reverently said, and where family devotions most encouraged. https://t.co/XUeHz3NKo7— C. C. Pecknold (@ccpecknold) March 22, 2019
Dear Brentwood Diocese
If you want to mitigate the shortage of priests which has brought you to publish the dire Diocesan Vision Document (aka "Managing Decline") repent and believe the Gospel: it is that simple!
Lots of Love and Social Justice