VINCENT C. writes:
The nine-state, 2,700 mile bus tour of the “sisters religious” of Network, a Catholic organization seeking additional funding for the poor, which began in Des Moines, Iowa, and ended in our nation’s capital in early July, has ended, but the ongoing melodrama of dissent in the Catholic Church in the area has not.
The Diocese of Arlington, Virginia now must deal with a very small number of recalcitrant teachers who have refused to sign a statement presented by Bishop Paul Loverde in which they agree to instruct their charges in the principles contained in the Magisterium, the foundational basis of all Catholic doctrinal instruction.
The Secretary for Religious Education for the Diocese, Rev. Paul deLadurantaye, insists that this is not “an oath,” but a “profession of faith.” But several teachers have gone so far as to resign from teaching Sunday school classes, for to them, the words of Bishop Loverde’s May 10 letter, which includes that teachers “…adhere with religious submission of will and intellect” is tantamount to taking an oath.
Among those few who have resigned was Kathleen Riley who, as The Washington Post (gleefully?) reported, knows that her views on an all male clergy and contraception, “…put her at odds with the leaders of her church.” Of course, one could question why such a person, albeit in this case a “five generations Catholic,” was ever considered for such a position, but despite what the Post article claims, the Arlington diocese is “not among the most conservative in the country.” If it had been, this problem would not have arisen.
During the short period of Bishop Keating’s tenure in Arlington nearly two decades ago, the practice of using altar girls was stopped in accordance with a directive from the late pope, John Paul II, but was soon reinstituted. The current Ordinary, Bishop Paul Loverde, is no friend of Traditional Catholics, a point that he has made repeatedly by sidetracking the current pontiff’s desire for the Tridentine Mass to be part of every diocese.
It has become fashionable for far too many Catholic teachers, including priests, to defy their religious superiors. As the case of Sister Simone Campbell of Network illustrates, the willingness to accept “religious submission of will and intellect” appears to be foreign to her thinking, and she is not alone by a long shot.
The cases of Kathleen Riley, Simone Campbell and Charles Curran, the Catholic priest who famously refused to teach Catholic doctrine at Catholic University, all stem from the same source – the loss of faith that has become rampant in far too many Catholic institutions, and its progressively destructive force on the Church leadership. It should be noted that the late pope, John Paul II, in a papal instruction sent to Catholic colleges and universities twenty years ago also required that authentic Catholic doctrine be taught at Catholic universities. That requirement was filed, never to be seen or heard again. The failure of nerve by the Catholic hierarchy to act forcefully as shepherds of their flocks cannot but count as a major departure from Catholic teaching in the past.
When the late pope John XXIII called for the Second Vatican Council, he was motivated by “opening Church windows to the world.” What was to follow was a radical departure from the old and tried ways in which the Church had been organized. As an Italian, Pope John XXIII should have been aware of an Italian proverb: He who forsakes the past for the present, knows what he is losing, but not what he will find.