Wednesday, January 26, 2005


John Paul II's Bishops Battle in the United States

The February 2005 issue of First Things has hit the newsstands and the mailboxes of its subscribers. Richard John Neuhaus' short article on "The Bishops and Reform Delayed" does, at least, show that there may be light at the end of the tunnel for those in America who see "John Paul II as an exemplar to emulate rather than an aberration to be endured. They see this pontificate as the source of authentic renewal and reform rather than as an authoritarian imposition to be resisted."

Alas, I do not live in a dicoese that views Rome this way. Rather, the powers that be in Los Angeles seem to be a part of the old Bernardin machine that was able to throw a monkey wrench into the plans of those who uphold tradition and the supremacy of Rome during the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by getting Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, PA elected as the head of the liturgy committee. Said committee can be seen as promoting terrible translations of the Latin Vulgate and the Novus Ordo that I had to suffer through for the first time this past Sunday when the readings from the pulpit were drastically different (and dumbed-down) than the ones in the Missalette provided in the pews (I was not at my parish church for Mass this past Sunday, so don't leap to any conclusions). Trautman is one of those gender-inclusive language proponents who, ironically, does not find it funny when others refer to him as Bishop Trautperson. Trautman's selection (through a very little used rule of the Conference that came as a sucker punch to conservatives) has been seen as "a direct slap in the face of Arinze" (according to one arch-bishop) namely, Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, "who has upset what is commonly described as the network of liturgical terrorists that is responsible for the banalization of Catholic worship over the last several decades."

So, where is the light at the end of the tunnel? If normal procedure is followed, the liberal Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, WA, will be replaced in three years by the Rome-friendly Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, IL. As one bishop told Fr. Neuhas, "Time and age of the newer bishops are not on their (the Bernardin liberals') side. Give us a few more years. The springtime of reform that the Holy Father talks about may not come until after his death, but it will come."

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