The Catholic Church in the United States is in many ways now a foreign country.
First, it is now composed largely of new immigrants, mainly Hispanic, Asian or Filipino. Back in 1991, close to nine in 10 Catholics in the United States were white-European. Today, that number is down to 55 percent—and that percentage will continue to drop. A majority of Catholics under thirty — 52 percent — are Hispanic; whether from Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Central and South America, Spanish is nearly as consonant with Catholicism as Latin. Loom at the prominence of Guadalupe! Put another way, forty-two percent of Catholic were foreign born or have at least one parent who was.
Its priesthood is increasingly foreign. There are now more than 6,500 Catholic priests from other nations in the United States – a fourth of the total number of clergy, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA.) Many problems created by papal communication stem from the Pope’s non -European way of expression.
It is a Church foreign to our culture: where our liberals promote abortion and contraception, the Church stands against those things; where our conservatives focus on money, the Church teaches against materialism; where our media- educational structures are humanistic, the Church comes precisely against secular humanism; where our commentators use harsh criticality, the Church handles matters firmly but gently, teaching love as Jesus taught it — the direct opposite of current American culture, and therefore foreign to it.
As reported: “Over the last 50 years, U.S. Catholics increased from 46.3 million to 66.6 million, while the number of priests dropped by a third – from 58,632 to 38,275. Meanwhile in Africa, the number of priests more than doubled. So the United States started recruiting its clergy.”
In the U.S., we also see many priests from the India, Poland, and the Philippines.
Thank God for Manila (and Nigeria). And for sure: the holiness of those Indian seminarians!
In our own parish, two of the three priests are foreign born. (A splendid, holy Filipino priest celebrated our daughter’s wedding Mass; an Italian-born priest concelebrated.)
These priests tend to be strong clerics with traditional heterosexual values and an appreciation for the mystical dimension — sadly lacking in too many native-born priests.
So this is good, as long as we adjust the circumstance such that we can understand many of the foreign priests, who often speak with such an accent that one struggles to understand them. A suggestion here: that every diocese both welcome foreign priests and at the same time assign someone proficient in linguistics to assist and instruct them in more clearly verbalizing. In some parishes and dioceses, this has become an issue. It is easily rectifiable.
Our bishop is very good and humble and was born in Cuba. A great prelate, and very clearly spoken. An example of how foreigner priests can greatly succeed in this country.
Is it not ironic that America is once more a land in need of Missionaries?
And Ireland — once the source of missionaries — also?
.- Despite the recent inclusion of Pope Francis’ 2016 letter to the Buenos Aires bishops on Amoris laetitia in the Holy See’s official text of record, neither the Church’s discipline nor its doctrine have changed.
The move is the latest in the debate over the admission of the divorced-and-remarried to Communion. The Second Vatican Council, St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI – as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts under them – all firmly opposed proposals to admit to eucharistic communion the divorced-and-remarried who do not observe continence.
The debate has received renewed impetus under Pope Francis. His 2016 apostolic exhortation on love in the family, Amoris laetitia, has been met with varied reception and interpretation within the Church. Its eighth chapter, entitled “Accompanying, Discerning, and Integrating Weakness,” deals with, among other things, the pastoral care of the divorced-and-remarried, those who may not be admitted to Communion unless they have committed to living in continence, eschewing the acts proper to married couples.
The Lord’s prayer is spoken by the majority of the world’s 2.2billion Christians, and is cited by the bible as the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray.
However Pope Francis has argued the Italian – and indeed the English translation – go against the teachings of the church.
In the much-recited prayer, followers of the faith call on God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”.
Speaking to Italian broadcasters, the Pope argued this was incorrect.
He said: “It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation”
He added Christians in France had adapted the prayer to get around the issue.
Pope Francis said: “The French have modified the prayer to ‘do not let me fall into temptation’, because it is me who falls, not the Lord who tempts me to then see how I fall”.
It was intriguing, informative, and instructional to us how Cardinal Gerhard Müller of Germany recently castigated those who are creating division in the Church.
Cardinal Müller is famous as a conservative in the style of Benedict XVI (who appointed him to a high Vatican position). Thought he was dismissed from that post — prefect of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — by Pope Francis in what was seen (including by the cardinal) as unceremonial style, and differs with the Pope on certain nuances of theology (and some things that are a bit larger than nuances, such as Amoris Laetitia), said:
The Catholic News Agency, a partner with the TV network, EWTN, recently noted: “Those who think Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation changed the Church’s discipline on Holy Communion for the divorced-and-remarried are reading him wrong, according to the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office. Cardinal Gerhard Müller emphasized in a May 4 speech that the Pope wanted to offer “hope for the family” in Amoris laetitia, through the Church’s promotion of “the culture of the family” and the “culture of the bond”, based “first of all in the indissoluble love of a man and a woman open to the transmission and upbringing of life.” “We discover here the great mission and challenge of the Church for the family … the family needs to live within the Church, where it is reminded of the great vocation that it has received, and the love that enlivens and sustains it is commemorated.”
We have our opwn issues with certain verbiage out of Rome. And we understand those who are uneasy. We’ll continue to be vigilant. We’re conservatives, here.
But we also are interested when a cardinal who should be at great odds at the Pope for dismissing him (as another arch-conservative, Cardinal Burke, was also dismissed).
Cardinal Müller told the Italian television that “a possible fraternal correction of the Pope seems very remote at this time because it does not concern a danger for the faith,” which is the situation St Thomas Aquinas described for fraternal correction. “It harms the Church” for cardinals to so publicly challenge the Pope, he said.
“There is a front of traditionalist groups, just as there is with the progressivists, that would like to see me as head of a movement against the Pope. But I will never do this… However, those who are complaining should be heard.”
“The only way to get out of this situation is a clear and candid dialogue. Instead, I have the impression that in the ‘magic circle’ of the Pope there are some who are focused primarily on being spies against presumed adversaries, thus impeding an open and balanced discussion. Classifying all Catholics according to the categories of ‘friend’ or ‘enemy’ of the Pope is the worst harm that they cause to the Church.”
Digest all this, and let it assimilate into your consciousness not through raw emotion but the filter of prayer.
There I was lying in bed recovering from the tiredness resulting from my therapy, when my eyes caught the headline: “Cardinal Burke says that perhaps we have arrived at the endtimes.” On Thursday, in an exclusive interview published the Catholic Herald Cardinal Burke, again diagnosed the state of the world and the Church as “apocalyptic.” He urges Catholics to hold fast to “faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ” amid the turmoil. This headline sent my mind back to 14 years ago, when over the period 2004 through 2006, I had a series of dreams in which I attended the Mass. These dreams were unusually vivid but I never got to receive the Holy Eucharist in these dreams. The last ‘Mass dream’ was different; the Church was filled to the brim but it was chaotic and people were fighting each other. The priest was not at the altar but was darting from one trouble spot to another. Beneath the altar some shadowy dwarves were frantically burrowing underneath, and the altar was tilting precariously. Gradually the congregation dispersed. Somehow I sensed that I would not be back again. At the exit, I turned for one last look, and then saw something amazing. The entire Church has been renovated. The central aisle was no longer there; even the pillars had been removed. The walls and the ceiling were painted in stripes of garish colors of the rainbow. People were sitting in different groups; each group presided over by different persons. As I walked down the road, I noticed a commotion around a parked combo and people were jostling for something. I peeped in and there was the former priest of the Church busily selling something. In a few subsequent dreams, I could not find my way back to that Church, I always got lost in the crowd, and the dreams stopped. Eleven years after the last dream, and considering the turmoil and crisis that are besetting both the world and the Church, I am beginning to believe that the series of dream may have a prophetic significance regarding the proximate future. Let us pray for one another, for the Church and our spiritual leaders. Hail Mary…