Bling bishop canned

On March 26 Pope Francis fired the “bling bishop’ Franz  Peter Tebartz-van Elst from his Limburg diocese in Germany. His $43 million dollar residence was the last straw for the new pontiff.

Francis has signaled that the era of “princes of the church” is over. Time to get back to Jesus.

The Irish priest Diarmuid Omuchu put it best:

We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure
Jesus of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life.

We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart
for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign.
The following of Jesus is not a respectable religion.

A decade ago in a magnificent rant,New York Irish Catholic Jimmy Breslin went after Bishop William Murphy who thought that he should have a residence commensurate with the size of his diocese, the 6th largest in the USA. that of Long Island entitled Rockville Centre, “where his efforts were devoted to his own comfort.”

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Breslin, in a series of columns, made Murphy the laughing stock of New York by dubbing him “Mansion” Murphy for booting some elderly nuns out of a building “which he then turned into a grand residence.” Breslin skewered the pompous Murphy for his “marble bathroom, $120,000 sub-zero freezer and temperature controlled wine cellar, and let the hapless bishop hang himself with his own words: “It is fitting that the bishop of the sixth largest diocese in the nation should live like a bishop.”
Breslin’s righteous anger was premature. Both popes John Paul ll kept looking for dogmatists to run their dioceses like kommandants, guard dogs who wee sniffing out any whiff of a different opinion than that which reigned in Rome. They were not worried about “bling” or bishops’ palaces, though JP ll did go berserk when he visited Haiti and found the papal legate living like a king high above slums.
The Bling bishop was one of hundreds who were chosen as enforcers which ruled in the 30 year old “ice age” of Catholicism under JPll and Ratzinger.
Gone were the invitational precepts of the great Council —persuasion rather than threats, invitations rather commands, conscience rather than coercion, serving rather than ruling, horizontal rather than vertical.

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In was the auto da fe, the burning at the stake, a new inquisition which sent a chill over the church and stopped creative theology in its tracks within Catholic institutions.
Now with a new pope a new message: Vatican ll is irreversible.

 

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5 Comments »

  1. 1

    You know, I found the post entertaining, but a theme has long since emerged on this blog. You have an obsession. A person’s obsession has a powerful hermeneutic influence. Your obsession shapes the narrative, determines what it is that stands out in your perception of the world and the Church. An obsession can be positive and harmless, such as an obsession with cars, or with art, or a certain period of history, etc. But an obsession can be negative and harmful. I understand that episcopal hypocrisy and pomposity can be very frustrating and maddening, but to be obsessed with it? To be obsessed with the sins of the hierarchy? To focus so much on that? I think it’s time to get past it. It’s not going to change. You find this throughout the history of the Church. Jesus spoke of scoundrels who get in via another way, ie over the wall. He chose Judas, knowing that he would betray him. Like, get over it. There will never be a golden age. The Church has been compared to Noah’s ark (by the Fathers of the Church). The ark must have stunk to high hell. It must have been filled with s**t. The Church is the ark, and the Church has had to put up with your s**t, and you have to put up with others. You need healing so that you can breath fresh air and start writing inspiring stuff, instead of negative crap highlighting the crap that covers the floors of the Church. Sin, blindness, stupidity, hypocrisy, egoism, greed, etc., is part of every person’s life, and ordination does not remove it. So move on, Ted. Let’s write some good stuff for a change.

    • 2
      wmgrace Says:

      The ostrich policy – keeping your head in the sand so that you do not see the failings of the institutional church – is an excellent self-preservation strategy, both for yourself and the church. It allows you to think and act as if there really isn’t anything wrong, in the same way that denial can serve to protect the functioning of the ego or the structure of an institution. By refusing to see the obvious, it also absolves you of personal responsibility and the need to take corrective action. If that strategy doesn’t work, then you can always resort to your bilious, troll-like, and vindictive personal rants against the writer – as if somehow that will change the message. (The evidence to support that assertion is clearly visible throughout this blog, and one might even call it a theme.)

      The issues discussed here, are not the problems which result from the minor imperfections of human nature. They are serious, and more often than not, involve the transgression of civil or criminal laws, by priests, bishops and other members of the Catholic hierarchy. There are countless examples close to home, of jailed executives who used corporate funds for their own personal benefit and clearly in the Bling’s case, the $43million embezzlement of funds from the people of God, would be considered in secular society, a case of serious malfeasance. The sex crimes committed (its hardly over) by the Catholic clergy are not examples of “episcopal hypocrisy and pomposity”, it goes – need we say it – much deeper than that. Lives and careers disrupted or destroyed on orders from the Vatican, or as a result of misogynistic, homophobic, or simply dysfunctional and anachronistic Catholic theology, are not events that Catholics “are going to get over because these things will never change”.

      You seem to be on the wrong side of history – your obsession with the past is preventing you from seeing clearly in the present, and moving forward in the future.

  2. 3

    WM Grace: You must be an ostrich. You just didn’t hear what 49francesco said. He’s not minimizing anything. He’s just saying: “Get your head out of the shit pile and preach Christ and inspire us for a change.” He didn’t say that the sex crimes of clergy are nothing more than hypocrisy. They are crimes, and merit prison time. You didn’t mention sex crimes either in your article, just the bling bishop.

    So he’s right. You are obsessed, on condition that you are Ted. As for dysfunctional and anachronistic Catholic theology that destroys lives, if that’s true, then you are in the wrong Church. The Catholic Church is lifeless and not where the Holy Spirit is, so why bother with it.

    But I don’t think Catholic theology is anachronistic, homophobic, misogynistic and simply dysfunctional. Only someone who has thoroughly bought into radical feminism, liberalism, and has embraced the homosexual agenda would see it that way. But I am a Catholic, I love homosexual persons, I love the very idea of being a woman (although I am not a woman), I like living in a world with women, real feminine ladies who don’t have an axe to grind, who love being women, who feel no need to be priests, I love the Eucharist, I love Confession, I love the lives of the saints, they are far more inspiring than bling bishops and other Judases. Christ rose; he conquered sin and death. You talk as if there is no hope. Christ is our hope. You cannot give people hope by focusing on these losers. It’s necessary to see them and do something about them, but to be obsessed with them? Yuk! I agree with him: move on.

  3. 4

    The ostrich policy – keeping your head in the sand so that you do not see the failings of the institutional church – is an excellent self-preservation strategy, both for yourself and the church.

    No, no, you are exaggerating now. You deliberately misread what I said, to avoid the challenge that you simply cannot meet. No one is saying that we should ignore the failings of the institutional Church. Not at all. Just don’t obsess over them. You obsess over them, just as some members of the hierarchy have, in the past, obsessed over the sexual failings of human beings. Obsessing is a kind of focusing, and ironically, it permits you to avoid other things that you do not want to face. For example, that some members of the hierarchy obsessed over sexual sins, i.e., reduced sin to the sexual, permitted them to avoid facing other sinful areas that needed to be addressed. It’s the same with you. By focussing on the sins of the hierarchy, you permit yourself to avoid other areas that are very important. That’s the problem with emotional obsessions: they incline us to focus and limit ourselves to very narrow points. There is nothing wrong with addressing very narrow issues, but to obsess over them, to limit ourselves to them, that’s disordered. For example, talking about Romero is great, he is such an inspiration, but notice that you cannot do that without shaming others, without comparing him to others, without an ideological rant in the mix. But Romero never did that. He preached Christ, he preached love, there’s no bitterness oozing out from his sermons. Can’t say that about you, Teddie.

    If that strategy doesn’t work, then you can always resort to your bilious, troll-like, and vindictive personal rants against the writer – as if somehow that will change the message. (The evidence to support that assertion is clearly visible throughout this blog, and one might even call it a theme.)

    This is really an amazing line. Bilious, troll-like, and vindictive rants? Can you not see that much of what you write is nothing more than vindictive rants? It’s astounding that you point a finger at me and forget that three fingers are pointing back at you. Psychologists call this projection. You see me as vindictive, but I see your rants against the Church as vindictive. Troll-like is an interesting metaphor. You see me as a troll. But I would suggest that this image fits you more than it fits me. I’m not the one ranting against the Church hierarchy. There is so much good that the hierarchy does, but you focus on the bad. Selection bias. That makes you a troll.

    The sex crimes committed (its hardly over) by the Catholic clergy are not examples of “episcopal hypocrisy and pomposity”, it goes – need we say it – much deeper than that. Lives and careers disrupted or destroyed on orders from the Vatican, or as a result of misogynistic, homophobic, or simply dysfunctional and anachronistic Catholic theology, are not events that Catholics “are going to get over because these things will never change”.

    Of course that’s true, but I did not suggest that they were. You say, however, that it goes much deeper than that. You imply that Catholic theology begets this. You need to study the philosophy of science, in particular, Karl Popper (the poverty of historicism). You commit a basic logical fallacy. You put forth a hypothesis, and then you seek out confirmation. Evidence that confirms a hypothesis does not prove a hypothesis. What a scientist looks for is disconfirmation. A million confirming pieces of evidence do not prove a hypothesis, but one disconfirming piece of evidence disproves it. So if less than 1% of clergy were involved in sex abuse crimes, and if someone like Mother Theresa was not a sex abuser, but a person totally devoted to the poorest of the poor, lived in complete poverty, began each day with the Eucharist, saw Christ in the poor, spoke out against abortion and contraception, named herself after the Little Flower, was a faithful and non dissenting Catholic, was obedient to the hierarchy, etc., etc., then your hypothesis has been disconfirmed. Many racists do the same thing you are doing. Black people are inferior, prone to crime, untrustworthy, etc. Evidence? First 48. Note how many of the criminals are black. Every news item of a black man involved in a shooting confirms his hypothesis. But the racist ignores the disconfirming evidence. It fails to dawn on him that this news item of a white guy invovled in drugs and extortion and rape, etc., disconfirms his hypothesis. It is not highlighted in his mind, because we have a tendency, a bias, to favor confirming pieces of evidence.

    Ted, you lack the basics of logic and philosophical reasoning. There was a deficiency in your education. It is so clear to anyone. I’m sorry if I sound like a troll, but you feel nothing holding you back in your criticisms of saintly people (i.e., John Paul II, Benedict XVI, etc), and I feel nothing holding me back from criticizing the logic of your criticisms.

  4. 5
    wmgrace Says:

    Tweedledum and Tweedledee…


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