Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bishoping: What it was and what it shall be....

The Martyrdom of Thomas Beckett. A national discussion was held concerning assault swords thereafter.
 I sometimes ponder on what makes a "good bishop". Thomas Beckett, the saint of today, was quoted in the Office of the Readings today:
There are a great many bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecration, and still make profession of being. The harvest is good and one reaper or even several would not suffice to gather all of it into the granary of the Lord. Yet the Roman Church remains the head of all the churches and the source of Catholic teaching. Of this there can be no doubt. Everyone knows that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to Peter. Upon his faith and teaching the whole fabric of the Church will continue to be built until we all reach full maturity in Christ and attain to unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
Zealous teachers and pastors. Seems that even Beckett had a problem with finding those qualities in his day.

Zeal is a four-letter word in some circles. Apathy, fatigue, derision all seem to be the attitude that is de rigueur for ordinaries today. To be enthusiastic would somehow give lie to the fact that you enjoy being a bishop or Catholic! And it's supposed to be AWESOME!

As a Gen-X priest among the mass of Baby Boomer clergy, I constantly hear dark apologies for being a priest. It can be the pseudo-self-effacement of a priest saying, "We priests are like Pharisees and so unlike Jesus who fought THE SYSTEM!" Then they shake their head, pick up their shiny Callaway and hit a 280 yarder on a golf course they don't pay memberships for. A burden, for sure.

Or it can be the out-and-out fist shaking at ROME for enforcing rules on clergy that no one understands. "WHY AM I CELIBATE WHEN I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE????" Usually priests who scream about the celibacy doctrine aren't really practicing the celibacy doctrine. Yeah, I typed that out loud.

Being a  Catholic priest, and bishop, should have it's origin in zeal and pastoring. As our diocese closes out the pastor-model of priests to introduce sacramental ministers, it's hard to imagine Catholic Churches without zealous teachers and pastors. A priest and a bishop should FIGHT with zeal to keep the teaching and pastoring alive.

Sadly, more of us opt to get Phd's in somethingsomethingsocialscience or take our 32nd trip to a resort school for Spanish to minister to the emerging Hispanic population or just go about and do granny work like teach reading and deliver baskets to hospitals.
A group of ministers has a Eucharistic service at their blessing table. Oh wait...
 It's like we're ordained to be retired women.

I typed that out loud, too. 

We need to be coached. We need to be kicked into action. We need zeal!


This was brought to my attention the other day and this is what I'm talking about! Lou that's a respected name in college football and sports coverage as well as a Catholic. He says stuff in a matter of seconds that a good number of clergy wouldn't be able to say in 10 years.

Put me in, Coach!

Beckett would be proud of this. We need more coaches in the pulpit and in the big seats!