The fifth column in the chancery

The fifth column in the chancery

A few days ago I mentioned that the director of the Boston archdiocese’s office for child protection, the man most responsible for Talking about Touching being foisted on parishes and schools, is an invited speaker at Voice of the Faithful’s New England conference next week. Well, he’s not alone.

Bill Dittrich, director of the Boston archdiocese Institute for Ministry, is also an invited speaker. He’s also a member of VOTF’s Structural Change Working Group. Now isn’t it strange that the archdiocesan official responsible for adult formation and education is a leader in a group that has been banned from forming new chapters on church property? (Although, old groups are allowed on church property; that’s an inconsistency that has to be dealt with one of these days.)

The Structural Change Working Group is especially problematic since it takes as its premise that the Church’s form�apostles/bishops, priests, laity�needs to be changed. In the early days, VOTF was quite upfront about its agenda of instituting elections of bishops and pastors and even setting up the Church under a constitutional government modeled on the US Constitution, but when the cries of heterodoxy crew too loud, they decided that they should be more discreet and hide the real agenda under a more generalized term of “structural change.”

So what should we do? For one thing we need to register our dismay about Dittrich’s and Rizzuto’s involvement with the archdiocese. We could send letters to the archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or we could call the chancery and let Archbishop Sean O’Malley know directly. It’s up to you.

  • As a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, I just received a copy of the minutes of the Presbyteral Council’s September and October meetings.  There really is a fifth column, and it’s not only in the chancery!

    The Presbyteral Council, which is elected as a consultative body to the Archbishop by the priests of the diocese, is FILLED with (dare I say it?) 60’s and 70’s era heterodox priests.  While there are a couple (and only a couple) who are members of the new Orthodoxy movement among priests (generally limited to priests over 70 and those ordained since 1990), there is a great majority who are “feel good” priests, whose approach to problems is to avoid confrontation at any cost, even to the point of giving up the Church’s patrimony.

    One of the issues being discussed in painful detail recently is the “direction” of the Seminary.  St. John’s has had a Dominican priest as rector, and he’s despised by those who are stuck in the problem.  He was “invited” to give a presentation to the PC, and the presentation (which I’ve read) was an eloquent defense of Orthodoxy.  However, because he IS pursuing the formation of men in the mold that Pope John Paul II has asked, he’s being labelled as divisive, dismissive, ideologically-driven, etc. etc.  You all know the labels the left gives us.

    Ironically, some of the complaints come from priests who were some of the most heterodox de-formers of priests.  One of them, who spouted protestant theology for over a decade as a professor of foundational theology and ecclesiology, is very miffed that the new rector’s emphasis on orthodoxy implies that he and others of the previous administration were UNorthodox.

    One thing that amuses me and frustrates them, too, is the fact that today’s seminarians are univocal in their support for the rector’s point of view.  They ARE supportive of the call to New Evangelization; they are supportive of the call to chastity; they are supportive of orthodox teaching.  Those who are now out in parishes are defying the predictions of the previous generation by becoming successful and beloved by their parishioners.

    We folks need to support the new rector and the new seminarians AND THE NEW ORTHODOXY.  Write a letter of support to the Archbishop, extolling the virtues of virtuous priests.  And pray for them—this is a hard road they’ve chosen, and the devil will definitely be on the attack.  But this is exactly what the Church (esp. here in Boston) needs right now.

  • Bill Dittrich, director of the Boston archdiocese Institute for Ministry, is also an invited speaker. Hed orthodox and lives a very simple life. In a way, I don’t see the Pope being much different in the way he governs the Church. It seems that he prays for conversion by trying to walk the walk and talk the talk instead of directly and plainly addressing heresy or even sometimes, sin. I’m thinking here of the scandal and his words “there is no place in the priesthood for those who would abuse children”—- well, ya, duh!!! I love JPII but I wish he was a little bit more direct and forceful about a lot of things.

  • Important thing is to keep ones eyes on Jesus and realize that the VOTF folks are folks whose gaze is off of Jesus and transfixed by their fantasy model of church.  We have to avoid the temptation to move our gaze from Jesus and onto them and all that we perceive wrong with them. 

    The question is not how to confront them and excise them from the church but how to get their eyes back onto Jesus. Same is true for the folks at parishes. Worse thing that orthodox folks can do is write off these folks. Instead keep your eyes on Jesus and preach the truth with an overabundance of charity and trust in God with all your heart. Of course, one must limit their ability to influence others (case of CCD instructors for example), but that doesn’t mean that we should give up hope on them. If we truly have faith, who knows what wonders God can do? We shouldn’t give up hope for them but at the same time we should not be discouraged and just continue evangelizing all that we can. Perhaps Archbishop O’Malley is not ready to give up them yet?

  • John
    I dunno but putting a Domincian in charge of the seminary seems to me to be anything but cowardly but rather boldly doing the good one can do.