There remains a serious disconnect between Pope Benedict XVI and the US Bishops, especially their bureaucracies, despite the smiles and ring-kissing of the past week.
For evidence, consider this story from the Catholic News Service, the official news service of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Theology students extol pope’s pastoral gifts but say change unlikely.
Where did the reporter go to discover what theology students are thinking? Catholic University of America? Fordham? Boston College? Notre Dame? University of St. Thomas? Steubenville? The Mount?
No, they didn’t go to any of those, or to any other Catholic university or seminary.
They went to Union Theological Seminary, one of the most liberal Protestant schools of theology in the country. Two fringe theologians are on its faculty: Roger Haight and Paul Knitter, whose universalism and relativism has drawn the attention of the Vatican. One of the students interviewed said,
the student view of Pope Benedict at Union is colored in large part by the pope’s relationship with them, with figures like Father Sobrino and by Pope Benedict’s past criticism of liberation theology.
The article also notes,
Catholic women at Union share a commissioning service as a tribute to their work and also as a formal recognition that they cannot be ordained as clergy within their church.
Harris said she would like to be ordained if she could be, though she doubts that her ineligibility will change in her lifetime. Still, she added, “We never thought we’d see altar girls and now we do have altar girls.”
These are the kind of things that chancery bureaucrats around the country, and at the USCCB headquarters in DC, would cheer at. I’ve mentioned before the death wishes I heard uttered by some of my colleagues on that day three years ago when Benedict stepped out on the balcony. I don’t think those attitudes have changed.
Update: Christopher Blosser notes:
Catholic News Service identifies itself as “the primary source of national and world news that appears in the U.S. Catholic press,” however with the disclaimer that “while created in 1920 by the bishops of the United States, is editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
I wonder if “editorially and financially independent” is to the USCCB what “plausible deniability” for the President when the CIA does a black operation. Honestly, I would have normally expected this backstabbing tripe from the likes of the National Catholic Reporter.