Last week, Chancellor John Straub sent this email off to all employees at the Pastoral Center to inform them about the
indoctrination, er, training process for implementing the new Pastoral Plan. When you read the message, pull out a piece of paper and tally all of the mentions of why this is happening. Count the number of times you see references to an end goal that resembles helping bring people closer to God and the Catholic Church or to advancing the mission of saving souls. Additional BCI commentary follows the message.
On January 16, 2013, we will be beginning Stage One of Training for the Pastoral Plan. Stage One training is for the Pastoral Center. In it we will learn some of the same leadership, management, and evangelization skills that will be taught in the collaboratives in their very extensive training program.
We will learn the same vocabulary, the same structures, and the same vision that they will learn. Appropriately, we will lead the way in the training effort.
For each of us, the training will take eight days, spread out over seven weeks. Each day of training begins at 9:00AM, and ends at 3:00PM.
There are five modules of the training program.
The Evangelization module, led by Bishop Kennedy and Michael Lavigne, lasts for two days. You can choose [Wednesday, January 16 and Monday, February 4] or [Monday, February 25 and Tuesday, March 5]
The first of the Leadership modules, led by the Catholic Leadership Institute (and therefore called CLI One), will last for two days. You can choose [Monday/Tuesday, January 28/29] or [Monday/Tuesday, February 11/12].
The second of the Leadership modules, CLI Two, will last for two days. You can choose [Wednesday/Thursday, January 30/31] or [Thursday/Friday, February 14/15].
You need to complete CLI One before you attend CLI Two, so you cannot do CLI One in February and CLI Two in January.
The first of the General Topics modules will last for one day. You can choose Thursday, January 17 or Tuesday, February 26.
The second of the General Topics modules will last for one day. You can choose Tuesday, February 5 or Wednesday, March 6.
We ask you to please go to the following link to sign up for training as soon as possible:
– a confirming email will be sent when you have successfully registered. If you have any questions, please contact Father Paul in the Office of Pastoral Planning (x5867, Paul_Soper@rcab.org).
How many references to God did you find, or to carrying out the saving ministry of Jesus Christ? That is really just one concern BCI has–it goes much deeper than this email.
Though we respect Bishop Kennedy and are sure he will do a great job talking about evangelization, that is about all we have some measure of confidence in right now.
Do most of the “new generation” of high-paid Pastoral Center employees and execs brought in under the McDonough/Hehir reign (e.g. Carol Gustavson, Terry Donilon, Mark Dunderdale, John Straub, Mary Grassa O’Neill, etc)–who replaced the people who worked for the Church for lower pay because they loved Jesus Christ and wanted to advance the mission of the Catholic Church–even have the basics of Catholicism down? Are they bought into the mission of saving souls and that this is a vocation? Or is this just a good job for a sizable paycheck?
The reality, as recently shared by a BCI colleague is this: the ones with the power do NOT demonstrate that they care about the souls, and the ones who care about the souls are treated shabbily. Many of those who care about the souls have left or been pushed out, and those who remain that care are treated poorly.
How can you advance a pastoral plan in the face of this reality? Does the archdiocese even have the right people on the ship in key roles? Just in Pastoral Planning, we have a head of the office who allowed a Voice of the Faithful Chapter in his parish, and the newest addition to the office is from the same religious order as the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which the Vatican has criticized for a multitude of doctrinal problems. How can faithful Catholics trust in the plan, when there are obvious reasons to not trust the people in key leadership roles? Almost across the board, it feels like the people in the organization are woefully mismatched to the mission.
Does the archdiocese have the right fundamental structure–civil/legal, organizational and canonical–for pulling off this ambitious program? No.
In the face of that, consider the following. Is it BCI, or does the tone of the Chancellor email and communication sounds strikingly similar to aspects of what Vladimir Lenin delivered in his 1920 Speech At The Third All-Russia Congress of The Russian Young Communist League.
… the youth will be faced with the actual task of creating a communist society. For it is clear that the generation of working people brought up in capitalist society can, at best, accomplish the task of destroying the foundations of the old, the capitalist way of life, which was built on exploitation. At best it will be able to accomplish the tasks of creating a social system that will help the proletariat and the working classes retain power and lay a firm foundation, which can be built on only by a generation that is starting to work under the new conditions, in a situation in which relations based on the exploitation of man by man no longer exist.
And so, in dealing from this angle with the tasks confronting the youth, I must say that the tasks of the youth in general, and of the Young Communist Leagues and all other organisations in particular, might be summed up in a single word: learn.
Of course, this is only a “single word”. It does not reply to the principal and most essential questions: what to learn, and how to learn? And the whole point here is that, with the transformation of the old, capitalist society, the upbringing, training and education of the new generations that will create the communist society cannot be conducted on the old lines…Only by radically remoulding the teaching, organisation and training of the youth shall we be able to ensure that the efforts of the younger generation will result in the creation of a society that will be unlike the old society, i.e., in the creation of a communist society. That is why we must deal in detail with the question of what we should teach the youth and how the youth should learn if it really wants to justify the name of communist youth, and how it should be trained so as to be able to complete and consummate what we have started.
I must say that the first and most natural reply would seem to be that the Youth League, and the youth in general, who want to advance to communism, should learn communism.
BCI really wants to see the Boston Archdiocese succeed with a new pastoral plan and get on the right path to saving souls via stronger parishes. But, the fundamentals still feel way off to us. Maybe it is just BCI. Other than the minor matters mentioned above, what do you think of the plans?