Sunday, June 14, 2015


Our dear bishops in the U.S. concluded their semi-annual meeting two days ago and I'm sure we're all elated that they had the courage to tackle some really challenging topics during that meeting. 

Their first vote addressed that vexing problem plaguing so many American Catholics...what to do about the canticles used in the Liturgy of the Hours.  Well, friends, sleep peacefully tonight.  They voted to use a new English translation of those canticles - "in a style similar to the Revised Grail Psalms, with emphasis on sprung rhythms and faithful translation."  Whew!  Glad they got that sorted out!  It's easy to see why they voted on this first, and quite frankly, a bit surprising that they didn't handle this pressing issue at an earlier date by calling a special meeting or something.

Their second vote pertained to priest formation / seminary training.    If you love the "bells and smells," non-pastoral, uber-orthodoxy with a heaping helping of spiritual and emotional immaturity emerging from seminaries of late, you are in luck because they decided to continue existing priest formation norms without any changes whatsoever for the next five years.  As Mass participation plummets and young folks flee the church, at a vote of 179 "yes", 1 "no" and 1 abstention, they overwhelmingly decided to pat themselves on the back and continue current course and speed.  Can we conclude that further reduced Mass participation is their desired outcome since they voted to continue a formation program that seems to contribute significantly to laypeople's disgust with and departure from the Church? 

Their third and final vote approved the working draft of their strategic priorities for 2017 - 2020.  Those priorities are:
  1. Family and marriage - a topic where they have minimal to no expertise and instead rely upon sexist stereotypes and unrealistic fairytale-caliber romanticized notions which reinforce sexist stereotypes
  2. Evangelization - their euphemism for spreading the "good news" of how infallibly right they are
  3. Religious freedom - their program for obstructing the religious freedom of others, controlling women, promoting sexism, and discriminating against gays
  4. Human life and dignity - which lately has had a focus confined almost exclusively to in utero life
  5. Vocations and ongoing formation - which by their previous vote seems to be a strategic priority to do nothing for the next five years
In my company, domestic trips average about $1,500 per person but we have very frugal travel expense policies.  We might surmise that a group of guys who live in mansions do not so let's round up their average to $2,000 per person.  With 181 bishops in attendance, an assumed one lackey per bishop, and adding in venue costs that likely comes out to about $750,000 - $1,000,000 invested (squandered?) on gathering in person to make these decisions.  They will again meet in November and again incur this magnitude of expense.  Might I suggest using Skype and Survey Monkey in the future?  The expenses then might better align with the value of their discussions and decisions.

I've read several articles bemoaning that these priorities do not reflect those of Pope Francis.  How much do they reflect Jesus' priorities?