Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Calling All Prophets!

The following article points out a reality that is challenging. Some would suggest that the Cardinal is stating the obvious while others would say he has gotten it all wrong! Read the brief article and decide for yourself:

Rome, Feb. 15, 2008 ( - The prefect of the Congregation for Religious has lamented that many Catholic priests are neglecting their duties under the pressure of conforming to secular culture.

In a February 14 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Cardinal Franc Rode said that priests today tend to be less obedient to the Church and more responsive to the world. He cited reluctance to wear clerical dress as a symptom of this trend.

“A drift towards bourgeois values and moral relativism are the two great dangers that weaken religious life," said the Slovenian cardinal. "The biggest problem today is the climate of secularization-- present not only in Western society but also within the Church itself.”

Cardinal Rode said that young people continue to hear God's call to a vocation in the priesthood or religious life. But he suggested that a lax model of priestly or religious life is not likely to encourage vocations. As evidence the cardinal pointed to the young Catholics who are attracted to contemplative life in highly disciplined religious orders. "They are attracted because it is a radical life choice," he said.

While many remain focused and devout, there are many religious and clergy who have forgotten the essentials. If we are honest with ourselves then we know that all of us are influenced by the values of the world. The secularization is so thorough that often we are unaware of it. This might be true regarding the way we dress, worship, or by way we generally carry ourselves as consecrated religious or as priests. Yet, we are called to be signs of contradiction. We are called continuously to point others toward Christ! This is a daunting challenge in a world that can seem tone deaf to the call of Christ. Let's pray that we ourselves have not become tone deaf to that call.

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