Saturday, December 17, 2005

MAPA General Meeting September 29, 2005

Our local priests' union had its annual membership meeting September 29, 2005. About half the members attended. There were some initial reports, including
Since our last meeting our alliance has been very present in the response to the CSI Protocols.

"Being present" reminds me of how "The Delta House has a long tradition of existence to its members and the community at large." Another report says they will be meeting with Fr. Donald Cozzens when he comes to town.

Dr. David Mannelli gave a presentation on "communication with our church especially in our Archdiocese". He begins by explaining conflict between the interest of an individual and that of an organization as conflict between the internal development and the external functioning of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Thus saying "What were they thinking?" becomes more literal than figurative. So if you have been wondering why differing interests lead to conflicts, now you have an analysis.

Symptoms: hopelessness, resignation, passive aggressiveness, impulsiveness, cynicism.

Symptoms of depressed MAPA priests? The minutes put it this way.
The church is depressed. This depression is overflowing to others in the pews.

Seems to say the priests are the Church, and their depression is depressing the laity.
He suggests: we need to work through our own personal issues first. We must be able to answer the question: do I matter.

How hard it must be for them to not have Archbishop Weakland providing regular doses of this hand-wringing overanalysis.
External: engage this conversation externally in our prophetic role. We can be a great source of creativity for the world. Shown in confidence, assertiveness, "a voice", humility. See ourselves as a font of the Holy Spirit.

They could have Mac Davis sing it: Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble, when you're a prophetic creative confident assertive font of the Holy Spirit.
Priests need to find a place in our theological setting to have a home.

A home that's unlike a rectory, no doubt, but like what?
This would give us a place to get our executive conversation in the external realm; from there it will be able to communicate with the laity, episcopacy, theologians.

Sort of an Internal Forum with a webcam?
A space where truth won't need to be proven but will be allowed to emerge.

Like mushrooms!
From this home there can be publications so that pieces of truth and hope can get wider distribution.

The Church being where the Xerox machines are. I hope there's an online edition.

After Dr. Manelli's presentation, the priests held a couple of Open Space sessions which raised five issues.

Witch hunt for Gay men in Seminary and priesthood.

Presumably not meaning witch hunt in the Salem sense of finding what's not there.
Clergy office staff sufficient to visit every priest every year.

How about the priests first figure out how to have enough parish staff to visit every parishioner every year. And not to ask for money!
General penance and absolution; need to recognize sin and deal with it

Sounds like a good way to recognize sin in general, as opposed to yours or mine, and not deal with it.
The disproportionate power of fringe groups in the church.

Regular readers of Fr. Richard McBrien's column in the Catholic Herald will recall he puts the bishops in this category, while the center is more or less everyone else on the Church payroll.
Institutional support for laicized priests

Our parish already has had a laicized priest serving as a lector and leading the Childrens' Liturgy of the Word, if that's what MAPA means. Or they might be thinking more of financial support.

The minutes then report on all of the above.

Priest's rights [committee] handed in a written report

No details provided.
Generational issues of priests: came up with characatures [sic] with some descriptions. Some ways to bridge this: have a conversation about lumen gentium, do some mutual lampooning, clergy assignments can help search for some balance.

And here I thought the MAPA minutes already served as a caricature and lampoon of Lumen Gentium 28. Generational issues seem to be that the older active priests' example drew few like-minded younger men to the seminary. Since the alternative would be to examine why that's so, they instead have to try to warp the younger priests' minds.
General absolution group submitted an action plan.

No details provided.
Witch hunt: action step: get three members of the presbyterate to write a document of quality and then pass it by the alliance membership.

Another great moment in committee-writing might be in the works.
David Manelli group spoke about a lack of energy and don't have enough energy to enter into a dialogue.

Maybe they're tired from too many meetings.
How can we draw tired priests out.

I still say an all-you-can-eat buffet would draw a lot of them.
The energetic priests can engage Archbishop Dolan.

There's a backhanded compliment to him.
Should write a letter to Bishop Sklba thanking him for making a statement.

Those who are thankful when he doesn't make a statement probably don't write.
Could do better if we engage the Archbishop on the pastoral level where we might find a more friendly starting point.

The Archbishop could respond that priests would probably be less tired if they were more efficient and effective. As an example, pastoral efficiency and effectiveness would be enhanced if a priest could answer a question about the parish liturgy by merely pointing to the rubrics, as opposed to the greater energy expended in explaining why he doesn't, or the even greater energy expended in avoiding answering the question.


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