Jesuit Thomas Reese, who was sacked from his post as editor of Amerika Magazine by the directive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has a piece today at the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) in which he reprimands the US Bishops even while they are meeting in their annual plenary session.
BTW… since the Bishops are meeting (and many of them are reading this on their smart phones as they meet… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, strip the NCR of the word “Catholic” from their title.
Reese’s comments at Fishwrap, riddled through with tisking and finger-wagging that is simultaneously smarmy and condescending, accuse the US bishops of not conforming enough to how he imagines Pope Francis thinks.
Reese points to the list of issues that the US Bishops approved for their focus. To wit:
Family and marriage
Human life and dignity
Vocations and ongoing formation
He contrasts the US Bishops’ points with a list from Francis (that he cooked up in his head). To wit:
A poor church for the poor
The church as a field hospital, a church of mercy and compassion
The practice of synodality at all levels of the church
The end of clericalism and the empowerment of the laity
The promotion of justice and peace and the protection of the environment
Reese pits Francis against the US Bishops.
Reese thinks that the activities of the US bishops should depend on a central point of reference (i.e, the list Reese imagines that Pope Francis might make).
Funny…. I don’t recall Reese getting all excited about Pope Benedict’s priorities as an agenda for the US Bishops.
On the other hand, I now bring to the attention of the readership Francis’ own written thoughts about bishop conferences gleaned from Francis’ own Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium.
16. … It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound “decentralization”.
I hope you got that.
Pope Francis thinks that bishops can determine for themselves what issues they need to focus on. Apparently the Pope trusts the bishops more than Reese.
32. … The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”. Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.
For Reese, when you change Popes you change theologies.
Either you are a centrist and you want the Pope to run bishops conferences, or you are not and you don’t.
It is beyond dispute that a goal for Pope Francis is decentralization.
Ironically, that doesn’t always set well with liberals, who will use anything they can to brow beat the US Bishops into conforming to their will.
What Reese did at Fishwrap reminds me of what the US nuns did during the debates about ObamaCare. They wanted to impose their own magisterium – The Magisterium of Nuns – over and against the Bishops.
Behold the Magisterium of Reese.
At any given time the combox over at the Fishwrap is a fever swamp of hatred and invective. But it is amazing how much the readers over there hate the US bishops.
Dear readers, think before posting and use the Internet Prayer. A little venting is one thing, the bile you see at Fishwrap is another.