Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Sole Source of the Church of Our Savior's Present Ills: Pastoral Instability

Church of Our Savior, NYC

The stability of the Pastor is a canonical norm which is almost universally rejected with devastating consequences for priests and people as we see in the present iconoclasm of the new Pastor in one famous New York City Parish. The elephant in the room is priest term limits! The reward for a job well done is you get shuffled around. In the middle of the twentieth century Stalin's communists and America's Urban Renewal Project very well knew that stability is power, so they moved the masses around and thereby summarily destroyed the cities! Cf. E. Michael Jones, The Slaughter of the Cities.

I do get it. The bishop, who is often upward mobile (viz. temporary), needs to get control of his priests. So, he moves them around to control them, with little if any regard for the good of the parish and the people. It's all about the temporary bishop's needs. Solution: the Pope might make the bishops stay put, as the popes of yore! And thereby put an end to episcopal careerism, and to the ubiquitous abuse of temporary pastorates. The father of the family should be for life!

The real issue is not about the virtue of the two different pastoral liturgical preferences or modernity versus tradition. The real issue is term limits and temporary pastorates, without which there would not be a new Pastor at that midtown parish today and everything would be otherwise hunky-dory! Bishops please take a hint!

The Vatican II principle of subsidiarity would dictate that pastors should normally (aside from canonical crimes) be left permanently in their pastorates. The commitment should be for life. Diocesan priests did not sign up to be transient missionaries! That is the realm of the religious orders. Yet it is highly ironic that often the most stable parishes in dioceses are those of religious orders, which still, tragically, does not count for much!
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