The National Catholic Reporter has provided a link to all the talks the Preacher of the Papal Household Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa gave at the recent retreat he offered for American bishops at the invitation of Pope Francis.
Texts of the 11 talks delivered to the U.S. bishops who gathered for a week’s retreat at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago show a heavy emphasis on traditional themes, a robust defense of celibacy, a severe criticism of attachment to money and an endorsement of new lay movements as a replacement for declining numbers of clerics.
I hope to set aside some time to read these talks. Interestingly, I would say most of the Catholics I know personally have a great affection and respect for Fr. Cantalamessa. He is especially beloved among charismatic Catholics.
Among traditionalists, however, there are reservations. Some have to do with his participating in ecumenical charismatic events like the one in 2006 in Buenos Aires, where then-Cardinal Bergoglio received a blessing from Protestant pastors. I used to be all for this kind of thing. Now, I am having reservations about these ecumenical events because it’s always the Catholic side that seems to be yielding ground, never the Protestant coming to an greater understanding of the Church, but I still think Fr. Cantalamessa is well–worth heeding.
Here’s what I would wish—that those of us who love tradition in the Church would also work extra hard to reflect the heart of the Gospel. If we have all the truths of the faith and a liturgy helps us to worship God rightly, then we must be the most loving and holiest of all, shouldn’t we? It saddens me to see so much division, so much critical spirit, so much rancor, and basically lack of love out there among those who purport to hold the right beliefs, especially those who have public ministries.
That does not mean one cannot criticize, correct, or make important distinctions. Nor does it mean having the right intellectual faith is unimportant. It is of crucial importance. But the divisiveness, disputes over tactics, the unwillingness to give a benefit of a doubt . . . what a counter-witness.
My oh my, some who are so brilliant and knowledgeable fail to put into practice even the most elementary Christianity 101 when it comes to not judging (note I am not saying one must not discern—but judging with the rancor and moral superiority that goes along with it—no! Don’t do that!).
I also see such criticism of some other ministries in the Catholic Church that may be more basic, more geared to seekers, when maybe all of us need a return to basics from time to time, such as how forgiveness is an imperative. Alpha, for example, often gets panned, because it is not Catholic enough, but people do have to start somewhere.
Catholics should be exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in their daily lives: love, joy, peace, patience and so on. Especially love. And yes, sometimes love must offer correction. But let’s make sure we do so in such a way that we are not in need of correction ourselves.
If one is not experiencing these fruits and instead is feeling depressed, discouraged, angry, hard-done-by because other Catholics don’t believe or say or act the right way, it’s time for an examination of conscience, a trip to the Confessional and a renunciation of the various spirits of division, criticism, rash judgment and so on, so as to be free.
Then, by all means, uphold Tradition, defend right doctrine, make distinctions, discern the difference between truth and error.
Be a happy warrior.