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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On the other hand...

...at least I seem to have pulled out of the spiritual power dive I was undergoing.

Once again, I'm receiving the sacraments of the Catholic Church and bumbling along as well as pontificating here and there.

The kids are good--Madeleine is going to Africa in two months for a mission trip to Tanzania, Dale is moving up a rank in Trail Life (though he's going to put it on hold for a while, at least), Rachel is enjoying theatre, Louis is a brown belt and Tae Kwon Do and Lizzie has her orange belt, and Tommy runs the world and we just pay him rent.

Heather remains what she always is--an astonishingly-great mother and a wife I do not remotely deserve. Oh, and the book collection continues to be catalogued.

I have discovered Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" and urge you to discover it, too. A brilliantly-detailed look at a nightmare world, albeit a very unlikely one. Still, the horror has enough notes of contact with ours to make it a gut punch with every viewing. The production values are amazing, with much less CGI than you'd imagine. And Rufus Sewell deserves all the Emmys for his work as Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith.

I hope my occasional readers are doing well.

Remember "Goodbye, Good Men"?

It was a 2002 book with a stupid subtitle which nevertheless illustrated the screening out of priestly candidates with orthodox tendencies at American seminaries back in the first generation of Vatican Too Renewal™. While a far-from-flawless book, it does illustrate that many men deemed "rigid" and "pious/overly-devotional" were subjected to Soviet-style psychology and booted or harassed out of American seminaries.

But that was the bad ol' days, right? Actually, maybe not. In fact, we appear to be at the beginning of a nostalgia trip back to the Days of Purge. I mean , when there's a prominent high up from the same era using similar rhetoric and screening terminology, brace for impact.

And it's not offhand rhetoric: the Congregation of Clergy is officially doing it's part, too, ensuring that "presumed theological and disciplinary certainty" and "veneers of virtuous habits" will be beaten out of the alleged vocation and instead be reformed into, among other things, a "man of dialogue." See pages 21 and 22 of the PDF for a glimpse at the future Officiant of your five-parish-cluster. Apparently, your local Catholic schools, colleges and universities are such hotbeds of theological rigidity careful supervision and correction is necessary. 

Whereas apparently there are no such concerns about theological dissent, confusion or much less progressive or modernist heresies to worry about these days. Thank Heaven?

Nope--"ecological conversion" is what we're looking for from our priests (pg. 70). That and giving mandatory imprimaturs to the civilly-remarried to come up for the wafer--or else.


So, interestingly enough, a new report just came out regarding the trajectory of seminary and religious life. And, mirabile dictu, the numbers are down and going down further.

Two things: first, the numbers were going down somewhat after 2012 and before the current pontiff. Second, the new Vocation-Killing Mechanism outlined by the Congregation hasn't been installed yet, so you can't blame that, at least not yet.

But what is clear is that the numbers world-wide are going down, and in the U.S. as well. 

I suspect what we're seeing is self-selection away from the seminaries, with those uninterested in being berated by progressives from the pontiff on down to his handpicked overseer deciding not to bother. But rest assured, once the official mechanism kicks in, the numbers will really plummet. 

After all, that's what happened to the seminary in Buenos Aires during the tenure of one Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, S.J.

My fellow Americans: You want a look at your future priest (it will be very brief looks, given that the guy will be shuttling between five parishes)? He'll probably sound a lot like this fellow.