Sunday, 9 March 2008
It's a rant...please ignore it if you're not in the mood...
My Priests by ~KellyDawn on deviantART
Fr Mildew reports that Dom Aidan of Downside has suggested we should reduce the amount of England and Wales dioceses by half to about ten or eleven....
Fewer dioceses ????
Is he absolutely crazy ???
It's not the size of dioceses that's the problem - it's the shapes - it's their off-centre cathedra , the anachronistic, recalcitrant refusal to allocate administrations in centres of catholic populations or in modular equidistant locales, the reprehensible negligence of the Deanery system.
Look at the ridiculous length of the Birmingham archdiocese , ditto plymouth and middlesborough dioceses.
There's also a historical antipathy with acknowledging the catholic concentrations in the north east, the west midlands and most significantly merseyside; and an abject neglect of anywhere east of the M1 [east anglia , nottingham - who acknowledges their existence ? they're already cast to the wolves - make them any bigger and they'd disappear into oblivion overnight - hundreds of tiny parishes already abandoned :consigned to a pop-in cleric who neither knows of nor cares for the concerns of the communities - imagine how much worse this situation would be if the dioceses were made even larger and more diffident ?
The cosmos already seems to revolve round the westminster/ecclestone square axis - imagine how impotent and voiceless the average parishioner in the inner city or out in the sticks would become in this 'big-business'- administrative model ?
I think also Dom Aidan refuses to acknowledge simply how lazy, indifferent and negligent a significant amount of priests have become....[admittedly a lot of it is caused by regrettably poor priestly training and an inexcusable dearth of support]
Plus Dom Aidan may be an avid historian; but I'm afraid he hasn't learnt very much from it - fewer larger dioceses would mean three or four times the size of administration [more inane programmes/directives/initiatives and even further centralization]; nor is he very understanding of human nature and original sin....think about the two major flaws prevalent in the contemporary priesthood :
a] obsession with administrative/authoritative/procedural power - think of the interfering committee-led paper shufflers who spend more time 'interfacing' with each other than ever having anything to do with the faithful. forever harping on about education and pastoral ministry - without ever educating or ministering in a pastoral way....we know this type of 'professional' cleric and we need more of these like a cranial aperture - reducing the amount of dioceses would at least treble the 'necessary' admin, rather than reducing it.
b] obsession with autonomy - almost a form of agoraphobia - antipathy with anything external to the tiny pond in which the cleric is the big fish - he desires no interference whatsoever from any external source - he wishes to be 'master of his own domain' - either as lazy or as despotic or as manipulative or as indifferent or cliquey or as obsessive or narcissistically self-indulgent or as isolationist or grand design 'masterplan' [laitista incorporated] - or maybe the cleric just wishes to work a few hours saturday evening/sunday morning and spend the rest of the week with the tv remote control in one hand, a glass of chardonnay in the other, with a full fridge which could feed the waltons for a month... a fortress keeping the rest of the world out ???? Sure the majority of priests aren't like this ; but the temptations ; especially with mid-life looming don't need to be compounded with an even more distant impersonal administrative regime.
...and please don't get me started on diocesan offices or bishops' palaces ??? and this proposal wishes to make them even more powerful ????
I'm sorry but I have reiterate Ottaviani when he heard the announcement of Vatican II
" E Pazz ! " [he's crazy!]