Saturday, May 31, 2014

Being Catholic is ALWAYS Fun

Five years ago, I would have been afraid of saying anything like what the pope said in his [recent] interview,” the Rev. Tom Reese told Sally Quin . “I’m ecstatic. I haven’t been this hopeful about the church in decades....”  “It’s fun to be a religion reporter again. For a while it felt like being on the crime beat. It’s fun to be Catholic again.” George Weigel has raised the question of whether or not Fr. Tom has been paying attention throughout the last quarter of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st. Among his findings on the legacies of Pope Francis' predecessors:
Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J.

  • millions of adults have been baptized as or entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.
  • new forms of campus ministry in the mold of JPII's "New Evangelization" have developed across the United States.
  •  Catholic-studies programs have bloomed on genuinely Catholic campuses across the U.S.
  •  the Church has produced the most compelling televisual tool for the New Evangelization available in the world: Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism series.
  •  Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation (Nashville) built a new novitiate to house candidates for their growing community of religious sisters.
  • The Pontifical North American College, the U.S. Church’s seminary in Rome, has more students than at any time since the mid-1960s.
  • Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., is full; Mundelein Seminary in Chicago is now increasing, due to the leadership of the Father Barron, and is founding new models of training in evangelization and defense of the Faith.
  • the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious has been formed to help support the work of the orders of religious sisters that are actually attracting young women.
  •  Bishops of the United States are challenging the United States government’s efforts to chip away at religious freedom — to the benefit of all Americans, and these U.S. bishops are increasingly about to “put out into the deep” of the New Evangelization of Pope St. John Paul II.
  • The liturgical inane season has nearly ended, as the reform of the reform of the liturgy according to the Second Vatican Council has been accelerated, though much remains to be done.
  • Catholic-sponsored crisis-pregnancies centers have served tens of thousands of women in crisis pregnancies and their children.
  • And so on....
 For dear Fr. Tom to say that he is “ecstatic” and more “hopeful” about the Church than he has been “in decades” because of Pope Francis' America interview is tantamount in my view to being guilty of inattention to what has been happening in the Catholic Church in the United States. Perhaps Fr. has accepted the stereotyping of Catholics that is one of the last acceptable prejudices in America, supposedly triggered by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Certainly in his time as editor of the Jesuit magazine America Fr. Tom has given no evidence of being a happy warrior in the culture wars, preferring to ape a Chamberlainesque negotiation with the culture, ceding territory repeatedly.  Possessing these attitudes would hardly make for genuine happiness….