01 November 2009

The Future In Clifton ...

I posted a few days ago about the forthcoming reorganisation of the parishes of the diocese of Clifton: the draft report is here.

What irks me (well, one of the things that irks me) is the assumption that the decline in vocations to the priesthood in their diocese is inevitable. Their "best case scenario" assumes that the number of priests will decline by 30% in the next fifteen years (the ridiculously implausible worst case shows a 75% decline, the "median case" - the management-speak is all-pervasive - shows a 40% decline). Do a search on the word "vocation" however, and nothing is found.

If you pentrate the opaque language, however, then some of what this is all about becomes clearer:

"Part of our preparation for the future was the diocesan-wide consultation process “Seeking the Face of Christ” during which a very strong sense emerged that, though we recognise an incredible richness in our past and present, there are aspects of how we operate as a diocese, especially with regard to how we are organised for evangelisation and pastoral care, that need to be reconsidered. This need to reconsider our structures was taken into account in our Diocesan Guidelines “Called to be a People of Hope”, where, tellingly, it has been included in the section ‘Church as Communion’. We are reminded that:

“The root of our understanding of Church as Communion is not ensuring efficient management but understanding what sort of Church God is calling us to be. Pope John Paul II in his letter to mark the beginning of the new millennium reminded us that when the structures of the Church reflect the self-giving love of the Trinity then this: “spirituality of communion supplies institutional reality with a soul”. (NMI 45)

We trust in God that he will give us all that we need to achieve the mission he entrusts to us."

"... what sort of Church God is calling us to be ...": in other words "We are Church".

Linz am Avon?


Anonymous said...

Couldn't find what I saw last week, a commentary (ignatiusinsight? Lifesitenews? on how many US dioceses are beefing up vocations a touch: prayer essential obviously but a good holy priest as a Diocesan vocations director seems to go a long way. Try just denver, google gives 489 hits, here's one example.
. http://www.austindiocese.org/dept/vocations/promote_oraciones.php

Cynical observation if there faithful arent being asked straightout to pray for good holy priests, is it because someone in clifton is afraid they might get them?
Soory to keep being anon, Id rather be ibid or trad

Michael said...

Some years ago, I had dinner with a bishop who believed in the priesthood of the laity and saw the death of the ordained priesthood as an objective. A position he espoused in a sermon at the anniversary Mass of the ordination of the priest who was my host at the said dinner. The good bishop had been rector of a major seminary. That viewpoint is widespread in some diocese - others merely giving-up-the-ghost!

Dorothy said...

A few points, in a hurry ...

No mention at all of some parishes, not even in the list of grouped parishes: for example, Painswick, Bourton-on-the-Water, Bishops Cleeve. Is this an oversight, or are they to be closed/mothballed?

Twice in recent years the numbers of Masses in my town (3 parishes) has been cut. For a while my local church was full again at Mass; then, once again, the gaps started to appear. Leaving aside what should be done to spread the Good News, the practical problem seems to be geography rather than ratio of priests to faithful. There are fewer and fewer of each.

I liked this bit:
"... the twentieth century was a time of great expansion for the Catholic Church ... The past 40 years has also been a time of renewal and change as we have assimilated the teaching of the Second Vatican Council."

MMartin said...

As regards Painswick, it is not and never has been a seperate R.C. parish, it is a seperate church within the parish of Stroud and is currently served from Stroud and until recently Woodchester. That said it has always viewed itself as somewhat seperate and was set up by a group of Catholics in the village who originaly retained their own priest, (those were the days), and has in the past been served jointly by Stroud and Prinknash Abbey. We are becoming increasingly concerned about the continuation of Mass each Sunday as the PP in Stroud also has to cover the chapel at Bisley. It is frustrating the the Bishop is so insistent on the 3 Masses only rule, he seems very strict on it. I always thought it was at the bishops descreetion. Thank you very much for finding the link to the document, God Bless.

Fr Longenecker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr Longenecker said...

I'm a former Anglican priest now ordained as a Catholic priest in the USA. I was turned down as an applicant for ordination in Clifton. I can name at least three others. I can also name another few who were refused because they were deemed 'too rigid' which means they were conservative. Does Clifton Diocese really want priests, or do they only want priests of a certain kind?