Bill Cork just won’t let it go. A couple of days ago I opined about the lauding of quick Masses as a timesaver. And Bill took me to task for my “snide remarks.” So I responded by saying that my problem with some, but not all, quickie Masses was the irreverence in saying the prayers as quickly as possible as well as placing the value on speed over quality of worship of God.
So today, Bill takes my words out of context to chastise me once again. He quotes me in the following passage:
Someone recently suggested that it is “Better to say a Rosary in your car during your commute than rattle off a quick Mass.” I cannot agree.
Of course, that’s not what I said, since Bill chops off the last half of my sentence:
Better to say a Rosary in your car during your commute than rattle off a quick Mass that has no more reverence than CNNhat is based on dialogue.”
Wrong. Unity in the Church is not based on good feelings and friendship, but on the authority of God in the Holy Spirit to guides and animates the Church and Jesus Christ who is her head. The bishop stands in the authority of Christ, who handed that authority on to the apostles, who themselves it on to their successors.
The priestly office does not exist independently from the bishop’s office. Originally, priests were ordained to serve as bishops’ assistants. In the early days, all Christians in an area gathered together with the bishop each Sunday for Mass, but as the Church grew it became impossible for everyone to gather in one place. So priests were sent out under the subsidiary authority of the bishop to carry out some of his ministry. Even today, a priest cannot have a public ministry in a diocese without first securing permission from the local bishop.
The fact is that no one wants all priests to act and think like their bishop on every little thing. “In what is essential, unity. In what is not essential, diversity. In all things, charity.” What some of these priests don’t understand is that they’re not free to publicly dissent from the Church’s teachings or undermine the bishop’s authority and call that diversity.
On the other hand, I would like to see Bishop Lennon follow up on this statement. He has provided fair warning. For those who refuse to clean up their acts, there should be consequences. If there aren’t, if he’s simply a paper tiger, those who flout the authority of the Church will be emboldened to do so again.
I heard a story about the new bishop of Lexington, Kentucky. At his installation Mass he spoke in his homily about the symbolism of the bishop’s crosier as a shepherd’s staff. At the end, he added: “But make no mistake about it,” and he banged it on the floor, “this could also be used as a weapon! The Holy Father has told me to uphold Church teaching and that I shall do!” I think if more crosiers were used as “corrective aids” we’d see fewer problems.
Correction: In the original version of this post I mistakenly said Stephen Pope was not Catholic. I had conflated Pope with another BC theology professor who was supposed to become chairman of the department, but did not when a controversy erupted over the fact the other professor is an atheist Unitarian. Pope became chairman in his stead. As far as I know (the) Pope is Catholic. You can read all about that controversy here.