Holy Church is NOT a CRUISE SHIP. Still….

Over at Rorate (they’ve done some good work lately) there is a sardonic call to have Commandant de Falco of the Italian Coast Guard at Livorno made a bishop.  You might have heard about the recorded phone call during which Commandant de Falco repeatedly instructs the captain of the damaged and sinking cruise ship to return to the ship, to go on board, and to help them while reporting the situation and their needs.  The captain of the cruise ship, Schettino, is – to put it mildly – reticent.

I understand that Schettino drove the ship on the rocks by going off course and towards the coast because he wanted to blow the ships horn to get a friend’s attention.

I think it worked.

Rorate draws an analogy using the image of the Barque of Peter, the trouble Holy Church is in, and the sort of leadership/shepherds we need: the De Falco model or the Schettino model.

Keeping in mind that Holy Church is NOT a CRUISE SHIP!

Watch this well-done video (which has some strong language, as you could imagine), in Italian with English subtitles, which is a recording of the phone call between De Falco of the Coast Guard and Schettino of the cruise ship.

Everybody sing!  ”Ask any mermaid, you happen to seeee….”

In a way, this who thing calls to mind my experience of the Church in Italy… Italy in general, actually.  The image of the ship on its side in the water, teetering on the edge of an underwater cliff, is apt.

I know quite a few Italians of the De Falco model, and wayyyyy too many of the Schettino type … and most of them wear Roman collars.

Finally, Holy Church is NOT a CRUISE SHIP, but the analogy is still pretty apt.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Global Killer Asteroid Questions, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Holy Church is NOT a CRUISE SHIP. Still….

  1. Mike Morrow says:

    The comments of this blog post reflect closely what I was thinking, having read the previous blog post.

    Fr. Z writes: “In a way, this whole thing calls to mind my experience of the Church in Italy…. The image of the ship on its side in the water, teetering on the edge of an underwater cliff, is apt.”

    Apt for analogy is what happened to Roman Catholicism under Lieutenant Bugnini. Bugnini was only the navigator, charting ship heading and speed, but his Captain and all other officers fled, ignored, or were faithless to their responsibilities before and after the Ship of Church foundered on Vatican II Rock. The results remain far uglier than the current real-life drama.

  2. Pelicanus says:

    Might we not draw the analogy between this and “The Barque of Peter”?

    Perhaps Schettino is the “daft disciple” and de Falco the “wise leader” following the descent of the Holy Spirit!

  3. albizzi says:

    Of course Schettino is an apalling and irresponsible coward.
    But everybody is forgetting that the ship was not so close to the shore as it is now on the pics, when she stroke the underwater rock. The captain knew immediately that he had made a huge mistake and he led his ship straight to the coast in order to run her aground on the shore. The move would have been successful and many lifes spared if the ship had not been so strongly listing when sinking.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    some modern architect is going to read this and draw up plans for a church that looks like a cruise ship on its side in the water

  5. Maltese says:

    As Limbaugh said yesterday, that Captain would make a great politician, saying he “slipped” into the lifeboat!

    But that ship certainly is like the Barque of Peter: it’s tilted and full of water, but not yet sunk. In the dead of night, would you rather be on that ship or in the cold waters?

    Neither situation is pretty; but, still, the only way to save yourself is still on that ship.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    But, Have Hope…..And, still, there are heroes, like Cardinal Burke and Bishop Bruskewitz and this priest, the one on the ship, who helped passengers and consumed the Hosts. Here is the article in the Catholic Herald: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/01/16/chaplain-helps-survivors-of-cruise-ship-disaster/

    Here is a quotation from the article: “Fr Giacomo told The Catholic Herald that he had heard from survivors about a hotel director who remained bravely until the very end. He was going to take the very last lifeboat when he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. He remained inside the ship floating in cold water for 36 hours before he was discovered.”

  7. Peggy R says:

    It seems a miracle that the death toll is as low as it is, given this contemptible malfeasance of the captain.

    Good analogy!

  8. NoTambourines says:

    Schettino almost sounds like he’s on something. Either that, or he’s trying that hard to play it cool because he has something to hide.

    As for a vehicular analogy for the Church, I’d propose the Pope as the parent driving a minivan around to pick up the kids not yet in the van and bring them home, staying the course while the kids already in the van are making faces and poking at each other, and rocking in their seats to try to make the van go where they want.

  9. As An Aside:
    It occurs to me that the centurion in Matthew Ch. 8 was probably a tough no-nonsense type just like Commandant de Falco.

  10. Might it be said in summary that Captain Schettino is taking all this heat for choosing not to exercise decisively the command to which he was appointed, attempting instead to lead by example and persuasion rather than by mandate or clearcut instruction.

    As I understand it, instead of specifying with explicit directions how people should conduct themselves, he simply provided in his own conduct an exemplary manner of abandoning ship. Presumably he expected that over a sufficient period of time–without his issuing actual orders for the correction of inaction or error–his way of doing it might gradually spread throughout the ship’s population.

    Though perhaps he should have known this might take so long that some passengers on the huge ship would perish before the unfortunate result of disastrous prior decision and/or inattention had been salvaged.

  11. New Sister says:

    The article doesn’t reveal whether or not Father gave general absolution to those going down with the ship. The majority of people onboard were likely Baptized Catholics.

  12. No no no. The only leadership by example being done by Schettino was clearly of the “I don’t care about the boat or the passengers, I do what I feel like, so you do the same” example being given. Probably every day on that ship, that was the example he gave. If he’d given an example of paying attention and doing the job right, he’d never have driven the ship aground in the first place.

  13. New Sister says:

    I should have qualifed: the “Catholic Herald” article.

  14. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Rorate is brilliant, and hilarious at the same time!

  15. Johnno says:

    Well the Church, once, was an Ark… and if the Ark was not built strongly according to God’s instructions I’ll bet some animals would’ve balked at the idea of going on board such a disreputable vessel, and Noah would’ve had a lot of leaks and a lot of problems to take care of while trusting in God to steer. So it’s best that the crew and engineers follow the books instructions of what is up with all this, the reasons where the hull should be properly situated and what to say and do as outlined and where every passenger is instructed together in harmony and does the same thing in the same order where necessary for a safe boarding and departure and reception and proper handling of goods and to follow the right emergency prcedures in a time of crisis; rather than thinking they know better and feeling the need to abandon the rules, hop off the Ark and into the frigid waters to discourse with the sharks, who after all, are the very inclusive sort…

  16. mamajen says:

    Commandant de Falco for President!

  17. Elizabeth D says:

    Oh wow. Wow.

    Obviously it is not a perfect ship=Church analogy; we are not supposed to evacuate from Holy Church.

    Henry Edwards’ comment is to the point! The comment at Rorate is indeed funny. If the captain=Bugnini then maybe he would make a good nuncio to Iran.

  18. tcreek says:

    We rightly complain about the captain of this cruise ship.
    Is it out of bounds to question the leadership of the past captain of our SHIP when it was being sunk internally? Seems so.

  19. APX says:

    @New Sister
    I was thinking the same thing about general absolution given how must emphasis was placed on how diligent he was to look after people’s valuables in the safe.

    I don’t think it’s fair to cite the cause of this incident as “human error”. Human error is more for accidentally making a mistake. I think “Captain Stupidity” is more appropriate. Surely to goodness had he used a teensy bit of prudence prior to going off course for such a ridiculous reason, this would not have happened.

  20. Hmmm. The captain reminds me of the old story about the advertisement in a used weapons catalog. For sale: 25 Italian tanks. Four speeds: neutral and reverse 1, reverse 2, and reverse 3.

  21. kolbe1019 says:

    Is the Church a battle ship?

    Is the Church a battle ship with members who are day dreaming and think that it is a cruise ship?

  22. albinus1 says:

    Holy Church is NOT a CRUISE SHIP

    And yet there are so many priests who celebrate Mass as if they think that their job is to be the Cruise Director and entertain the congregation.

    Instead of “Love is patient, Love is kind …” we have “Love, exciting and new …”

  23. Centristian says:

    Henry Edwards:

    Wow. You are soooooo gonna get it for that one. You’re one brave sailor, my man.

    ;^)

  24. pm125 says:

    Into blood hungry shark-infested waters -
    “where every passenger is instructed together in harmony and does the same thing in the same order where necessary for a safe boarding and departure and reception and proper handling of goods and to follow the right emergency prcedures in a time of crisis; rather than thinking they know better and feeling the need to abandon the rules, hop off the Ark and into the frigid waters to discourse with the sharks, who after all, are the very inclusive sort…”

  25. lgreen515 says:

    Cowardice is an ugly thing.

  26. LOL – Check out this graphic used to depict that exchange between Schettino and De Falco by an Italian source. They used Gunny Ermey – ROFL

    http://videopazzeschi.blogosfere.it/2012/01/costa-concordia-la-parodia-della-telefonata-schettino-de-falco.html

  27. James Joseph says:

    If nothing else I will head to my grave knowing that almost nine-years ago I grabbed my vest, a fully-automatic M4 carbine, shoved a fully automatic Glock-17 in my front right pocket, and a satchel full of ammunition without even needing to be told once nevermind twice.

    When people need help, you help them. There is plenty of time to rest when your dead.

    I can understand the instinct of self-preservation. I also under the instinct to perserve the lives of others.

  28. pm125 says:

    Commandant de Falco gets my vote for giving sermons, teaching catechism, his job performance, and as a role model for silly jokers in authority.

  29. AnnAsher says:

    Bishop de Falco … Works for me!

  30. Stephen D says:

    The Captain seems to have liked the uniform and the positive attention that his position provided but showed himself to be the wrong man for the job when the risks inescapably associated with his position became manifest. Hmmmm……… a good job that there are no bishops like that.