Friday, May 27, 2005

Some Jesuits just make me so MAD!

OK, so I got the new "America" magazine today. Yes. I know. Who reads that? There is an atricle in it called "Liittle Gray Cells" written by a Jesuit named James J. Di Giacomo, who , of course, does not go By Fr. Di GIacomo, but by James.

So I was reading it and I was getting really mad. He calles the younger clergy "careerists and climbers...who are moved not just by ambition but by a disturbing collectivism that narrows options for service and styles of leadership." I'll try to put a link to the article here, but I'm not sure you'll be able to read it if you're not a subscriber. I'll happily email it to anyone who wants to read his ranting themselves.

Here is my rebuttal. I'm going to have my pastor read it before I send it, since I say I am a religious educator and my name and town will be at the bottom of the lett. Assuming, of course they dare to print it.

Fr. Di Giacomo and I can agree on a two points in his article entitled “Little Gray Cells:” convents, rectories, and churches are half-full and that the Church is at a crossroads. We differ on every other point he makes.

Fr. Di Giacomo says, “Catholics are suffering from a loss of nerve.” I say that the church suffers from an overabundance of it. Fr. Di Giacomo accuses the hierarchy of silencing “adventurous theologians” and intellectually “circling the wagons.” If that is at all true, it is necessary since the average Catholic under the age of 75 doesn’t seem to know what exactly the Church teaches.

As religious educators, Fr. Di Giacomo and I have seen that the generation of Catholics coming of age immediately after Vatican II are poorly catechized and confused. This is what makes Fr. Di Giacomo’s homilial musings so dangerous. I work with the parents of children who have heard from priests in homilies and in stimulating talks in parish halls that attending Mass on Sunday is optional, receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is acceptable and that sacramental confession is superfluous. The Baby Boomer Generation of Catholics has embraced an “if it feels good, do it; if it feels bad, don’t do it” way of living the faith that has given us priests who eschew their collar and refuse to be called “Father,” nuns who won’t wear a habit, but do wear makeup and jewelry, lax liturgies, and low Mass attendance.

People around the age of 30, such as myself, and the priests Fr. Di Giacomo characterizes as overly ambitious and collectivist have witnessed the relativism, selfishness, and pride that our parents’ generation has foisted on Holy Mother Church. We have used our little gray cells to recognize that there is a difference between the truth and whatever others’ little gray cells think the truth ought to be.

It is ridiculous to think that our rectories and convents would overflow if all of a sudden the Church began to ordain women and married men. Consider the boom of vocations in countries where life is more difficult than in the USA and hence people make it a priority to develop relationships with Christ. Consider the fact that traditional, orthodox orders of nuns in full habit, such as the contemplative Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter are have more women and men come to them than they can handle. No, the problem is not with the Church or who is permitted to become a priest. Rather, the problem is the lack of humility or the lack of preparation of those who are called by Christ to serve Him.

Yes, the Church is at a crossroads. Where will we go? It seems that the direction from the Holy Spirit with the election of Pope Benedict XVI is clear. Will we be humble enough to follow?

1 comment:

Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Hey, Amy!

I think this is the first time I've read this. I wonder how I missed it, or maybe we hadn't connected yet back then?

Jim DiGiacomo is a friend of mine. And a wonderful Jesuit! I actually think you would really like him. And he makes some pretty good points in this article! Not everything is "on the money," so to speak. Yes, it's only one picture of things, but worth thinking about.

He wrote another article recently which I think is better: "A Glass Half Empty."

It's in the September 20, 2004 issue of America.