We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The land of Lincoln... the Diocese of Lincoln, that is,... versus Vancouver Island.

The Catholic Diocese of Victoria, BC, is roughly the same size as the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, some 99,400 souls (13.5%) of a 737,000 total population, compared to the 97,552 souls of the Catholic population of Lincoln (16.4% of the total population).

Victoria
2014 stats
Diocesan Priests: 32
Religious Priests: 14
Permanent Deacons: formation program has several men enrolled.
Parishes: 30
Parishioners per priest: 2160
Male Religious: 18
Female Religious: 59
Seminarians: 1 (2 on hiatus).
By contrast, the Diocese of Lincoln:
Diocesan Priests: 141
Religious Priests: 10
Deacons: 2 permanent
Parishes: 134
Parishioners per priest: 646
Seminarians: 49 (4 ordained in May, 2016)
Male Religious: 86
Female Religious: 148
Excepting, of course, the Extraordinary Form Mass and the Ordinariate Mass where there is a constant striving to match the beauty of the earthly Liturgy to the heavenly Liturgy, the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Diocese of Victoria (BC) might be characterized as routinely haphazard with an almost palpable disdain for authentic beauty, sacred music and the liturgical norms. To speak of the nuances associated with a refined ars celebrandi is to invite ridicule and condescension from know-better (c)atholics whose primary interest is making sure the congregation is busy attempting to sing unsingable songs that have little or no place in the Liturgy due to their shoddy composition and shabby texts.

Do recall, our Diocese is the (is)land that once upon a time was the frequent locus of those big puppet Masses and pagan rituals replete with incense bowl bearing nymphettes dressed in diaphanous gowns parading in front of parish altars. Those were the days, my friends, when the Diocese was piloted by Remi J. De Roo, the earthly embodiment of the Spirit of Vatican II. In the 1980s, any tradition-minded young person interested in religious life or young man interested in Holy Orders was turned away by the Spirit of Vatican De Roo.

Bishop De Roo was the one who shut down our Catholic schools for a time. When he had realized his mistake—the coffers emptied in protest—he abruptly changed course and schools were reopened. His decision was based on nothing more than an ideological dream to save money and shift teaching and learning solely to parishes. Yeah, that worked in the 1970s. Parishes, being the hotbeds of lukewarm Christianity and every vain attempt to introduce the Spirit of Vatican II by angry adults with mommy and daddy issues, were sadly ill equipped to resist the cultural upheaval often lauded in parish catechetical programs. Victoria fared badly because its bishop—De Roo—was one of the leading exponents of the damnable Winnipeg Statement which contributed to the widespread abandonment of Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

While the more rambunctious days in our Diocese faded—Deo gratias!—under successive bishops, a tour of local parishes will reveal that highly improvised or awkward opening and closing rites and dancing offertory processions à la a 1970s ethos still pervade parishes and the thinking of liturgical committees, music directors and most priests who organize or allow the goofiness. It should be noted that three or four priests of the Diocese who understand what the Mass should be do suffer significantly through the machinations of oppressive and/or ignorant music directors and liturgy committees.

In the Diocese of Lincoln, ably led by Bishop Conley and before him other faithful bishops (e.g., the FSSP friendly Bruskewitz and the indomitable Olmsted), vocations are booming. Could that be due to liturgical integrity and beauty? orthodox homilies? the faithful handing on of Tradition, i.e., effective catechesis? Lincoln most likely has its issues of concern, but liturgical and theological absurdities are probably minimal or absent among them.

In Victorialand, many in the hierarchy and among the laity have forgotten (never been taught...) that God blesses those who are faithful to His word. That word, by-the-way, is Tradition! If an abundant harvest is any indication, then Lincoln knows how to listen to and act on God's word!

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