Faithfulness conquers all: Why is this such a hard lesson for some to learn?
Are you a Bishop scratching your head about how on earth you can increase vocations in your diocese? Does your task sometimes seem impossible? Do you feel your job is simply to manage the decline?
You need new, improved ORTHODOXY!!!!!!!!
Yes, that's right: globally conducted tests scientifically prove that actually believing in what you stand for has a dramatic and rapid effect on your diocese increasing both attendance and vocations!
Case in point: Madison, Wisconsin under the inspiring leadership of Bishop Robert Morlino. Last spring, the Diocese of Madison announced a vocations initiative intended to raise funds to support the tremendous surge in vocations in that Diocese. There are now 33 seminarians, up from just six in 2003 when Bishop Morlino arrived. The diocese needs $30 million to educate current and future seminarians—and they distributed pledge cards—asking parishioners to dig deep—and they more than met the challenge.
|Bishop Robert Morlino, Diocese of Madison|
The article goes on to say [emphasis mine]:
Priestly ordinations are on the uptick nationally, no matter how much Commonweal would like to deny that fact. And that is because certain bishops have made priestly vocations a priority. [Here in the UK we have seen Bishops Davies, O'Toole and Egan do this as well]. Bishop Morlino increased the position of director of vocations to full time and consistently promotes the priesthood at functions. But, more importantly, Bishop Morlino is unambiguous about Church doctrine and does not tolerate dissent—and faithful Catholics are grateful for such clarity and courage. [And it really does seem to be that simple, doesn't it? We see time and again, where prevarication & attempts to pacify the 'spirit of the age' rule, the people turn away, infected by relativism and disillusioned with a Church which claims to have the fullness of truth, but lacks the courage or ability to explain or teach it. Where the faith is professed with clarity and courage the faithful rally behind their pastors with gusto!]
Unfortunately, members of Madison’s Call to Action—the aging dissenters from the 1970s (they call themselves “Revolutionaries in Rockports”), have called Bishop Morlino “rigidly doctrinaire and lacking in pastoral empathy.” The dissenters claim that the seminarians recruited under his tenure will be carbon copies of Bishop Morlino.
Undeterred by the negativity of the dissenters, The Wisconsin State Journal newspaper positively profiled some of these new seminarians—including Dr. Clint Olson of Madison, age 36, a current seminarian who is a family physician switching to the priesthood. He told a reporter that he believes God will find applications for his medical expertise because both priests and physicians provide compassion to people during their most difficult moments.
The success in Madison and elsewhere shows that faithfulness and orthodoxy are compelling and attractive. Meanwhile, progressivism relies on a tired and sterile rebelliousness. Cardinal Francis George, the longtime leader of the Chicago archdiocese, once gave a homily that startled the faithful by pronouncing liberal Catholicism “an exhausted project . . . parasitical on a substance that no longer exists.” Declaring that Catholics are at a “turning point” in the life of the church in this country, the cardinal concluded that the bishops must stand as a “reality check for the apostolic faith.” Bishop Morlino knows this.I have to say I find it hugely encouraging that we do have some Bishops with the courage, vision and faith to be strong pastors and lead their people in the faith.
I am continually shocked and dismayed that the faithful are so abandoned by much (not all) of the hierarchy today, penalised for courageously standing up for the faith in the face of adversity. It makes you feel like giving up hope sometimes, certainly you don't feel like you are getting anywhere!
I guess being a bishop is a really hard job, but it comes with great responsibility that must be focused on developing the family of faith you have been commissioned to care for.
Please pray for continued success in Madison Diocese and for more bishops like Robert Morlino!