Wednesday, April 7, 2010

US Catholic Survey and the People of Los Angeles

Happy Wednesday of the Octave of Easter to you all.

April showers have taken hold here in the Chicago area, but there are lots of spring flowers and trees blooming. Each year I am struck by this miracle we call Spring. From the gray and seemingly lifeless comes forth new life - just wonderful.

US Catholic has an article by Bishop Trautman on the new translation of the Missale Romanum, There is a brief survey at the end of the article. I took the survey this morning. Try your hand at it. Here's the link.

Biggest news in the Catholic Church here in the United States was the appointment this week of Archbishop Jose Gomez as the coadjutor bishop of Los Angeles. Check out his brief remarks at his press conference here. There has been lots of buzz about the fact that Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest in the Opus Dei prelature. I read a few articles that said that the Archbishop "resigned his membership" when he became auxiliary bishop of Denver several years ago. I am taking a cautious approach to this appointment. I spoke with some friends in Texas yesterday who spoke fondly of Archbishop Gomez. Other friends have called me with deep concerns about this man's affiliation with Opus Dei. Let's watch how this all unfolds.

Los Angeles is perhaps the most culturally diverse diocese in the United States, with a large Hispanic population. The fact that the Archbishop is Hispanic is a huge factor in this appointment. Many argue that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is one of the most "liberal" in the United States. Frankly, I wonder what this means. Each time I have attended the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (which every Catholic should attend at least once in one's lifetime!), I have never had the sense that the Catholics in Los Angeles are any more liberal than anywhere else. As a matter of fact, there is no place that I have been, save Vatican City State, where I have seen more religious sisters and brothers in full habits than I have seen in Los Angeles. When you go there, you will find large groups of habited religious gathering in outdoor areas to pray the Divine Office. Sure, they may use glass vessels at the celebration of the Eucharist (Cardinal Mahony allows this as the chief liturgist of the Archdiocese), and some people might take offense at liturgical dancing, but the care with which the liturgies at Congress are prepared and prayed is so evident. Lectors proclaim with conviction. Celebrants preside with life and care for the liturgy. The musicians are committed to lifting the congregation's song. The Catholic faith in Los Angeles is alive and well, and Cardinal Roger Mahony is largely responsible for having nurtured that faith over the last several decades. I will be praying for the people of the Archdiocese and for Archbishop Gomez.

Here are a few more photos from my parish, St. James, taken during the Triduum.

I hope you have a good Easter day.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Labs said...

I don't see why there should be any buzz at all about His Excellency's membership in Opus Dei. The men I have met from that organization are some of the finest I know and are deeply committed to their lives as Christians and as ministers to God's people.

Scelata said...

"There has been lots of buzz about the fact that Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest in the Opus Dei prelature. ... I am taking a cautious approach to this appointment. ... friends have called me with deep concerns about this man's affiliation with Opus Dei."

What is your or their fear of Opus Dei?
(I know no one affiliated with the group, but other than in pot boiler fiction I've never read any serious criticism, so I'm asking.)

Save the Liturgy, Save the World

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Hello Scelata. I think there are people out there who have a sense that Opus Dei is some kind of secret society whose intention is to undermine the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. I have had no direct connection with the prelature myself, save for a visit to an Opus Dei parish here in Chicago for some time of adoration before the Holy Eucharist. I went there out of fascination around some news stories I had read about the place being filled to capacity every Thursday during their adoration time—I was the only one there when I went on a Thursday.

The media have painted a strange picture of the group. I try to be as open-minded as possible about all of this. I think that people slamming the door on the possibility of sound pastoral leadership is simply not fair. And, my approach with most things Catholic these days is a cautious approach - part of my nature.

Alan Hommerding said...

The people of my acquaintance who have concerns about Opus Dei clergy (concerns that don't originate in the DaVinci Code) have more to do with them being a papal prelature; one more way for the Vatican to circumvent the place of the local ordinary and the national conferences of bishops. Another step in the process of making bishops "middle management" in the Roman rite global corporation.
Part of what is viewed as secrecy on the part of the society, I think, is that on the surface they function in a manner similar to many diocesan/parish institutions, but in terms of accountability and communication they are not responsible at all on the local level, in terms of participating in deanery or vicariate structures, etc. Likewise their lay members and, to some extent, other parishioners.