Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Splinter Catholic Church Launched"

So I was checking out the news yesterday and found an article with the title that I gave this post. It was about a priest in Africa who associated himself with an excommunicated bishop and, voilá!, created a new “Catholic Church.” I actually wasted my time and read the article. Nevertheless, what struck me in the article was this line:

Archbishop [sic] Mbewe who is also the apostolic administrator of the new church said over the years most priests had laboured quietly and prudently to advocate for the restoration of married priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

They labored to change the Church from the inside. But, of course, they no longer could stand the fact that progress wasn't being made. They couldn't change the Church, wouldn't change themselves, and so finally,

"We feel duty bound now to found our own Catholic church, an independent Catholic church where we can truly enjoy the freedom enjoyed by children of God. It should surprise no one to hear of yet another Catholic church," [the newly ordained bishop] said.

First, yes, that is quite sad: hearing of yet another group of people trying to refound Jesus' Church on their own initiative doesn't have the shock-value that it should. Second, ignoring the fact that the new bishop—if actually validly ordained by the excommunicated bishop—would have excommunicated himself by attempting ordination without the pope's permission, these statements remind me of story about Napoleon (it is mentioned in this article). Supposedly, as Napoleon was going about his attempted conquest of Europe, etc..., he told some Catholic prelates, “I will destroy your church!” The response to him was pretty much, “Please! In 1800 years we haven't been able to destroy it ourselves! I doubt you can.” How true. Despite all the sinfulness of the members of the Church and all the attacks against it, the Church perdures—God has bound Himself inalienably and inextricably to the Catholic Church, guided and shepherded by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him, and thanks be to God for that.

As an aside, being a Theology III man, ordination to diaconate and the promise of celibacy loom in the shadows of the end of this academic year. When I think about the fact that I will God-willing be ordained, that same sentiment about the permanency of the Church is quite reassuring and comforting. No matter how unworthy and incapable I am, somehow, God will not let His Church be destroyed by my feeble attempts, and likely, my mistakes. Deo gratias.

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