Over at American Catholic my friend The Motley Monk saved me some time and effort by providing a good look at the increasingly irrelevant and yet always disappointing Richard McBrien, dissenter and retired ailing prof at Notre Dame.
McBrien, who still writes – quousque tandem? – for the National catholic Fishwrap, recently raised his elderly whine to his aging-hippy readers about the menacing ultra-conservatives John Paul II and Benedict XVI have appointed as bishops.
Even though McBrien, who has a predilection for lists, has provided names, I have never met any actually ultra-conservative bishops in the US. How odd! Then again, McBrien is so far off the reservation that to him even a tepid centrist would seem like Robert Bellarmine.
Let’s have a look at a bit of the Monk’s motley:
What these ideological progressives have always feared most is any conservative bishop—not just an ultra-conservative—having the audacity to challenge the their magisterium on what they have made their home turf.
That said, Fr. McBrien’s article in the National Catholic Reporter may provide an indication of a far more profound change: The pendulum is changing directions, potentially threatening the protections afforded Fr. McBrien and those ideological progressives for nearly five decades.
Yes, those new conservative prelates are emphasizing fidelity to Church teaching. That alone seems to be scaring the bejeezus out of Fr. McBrien and ideological progressives.
A formerly compliant national hierarchy—whose members generally allowed those progressives free reign to redefine Church teaching in their image and likeness—is becoming increasingly less compliant. Its members may even possess sufficient backbone at some point in the near future to extend their long arm into those institutions and hold the ideological progressives—like Fr. McBrien—accountable for their doctrinal errors…in exactly the same way the nuns are now being held accountable for their doctrinal errors.
Of course, Fr. McBrien’s hope is that Benedict XVI’s successor will adopt McBrien’s progressive vision for the Church and will undo the “terrible backlash” visited on the U.S. Church by those ultra-conservative appointees who “overemphasize the abortion issue” over “social justice.”
Short of that, what’s next? “Ideologically progressive professors at Catholic universities and colleges on the bus?”
The “signs of the times” indicate that something more may be transpiring than just the pendulum shifting direction: Communio with the Bishop of Rome is in.
I wrote about Archbishop Viganò HERE.
McBrien and the Fishwrapers are watching the destruction of everything they built and controlled for decades.