Friday, February 11, 2011

Saint-making in America is Bankrupt

A couple of years ago I travelled with my father and son to a parish 3 hours away from our home in order to attend Mass and listen to a priest from Medugorje.  His name was Fr. Jozo.  Now I have a bit of a history with this guy--but that is for another post or story or maybe a book.
Following Mass, he stood in front of the altar and addressed the people.  At one point he looked out at the congregation and said;  "You don't have enough saints from this country."

I have to say that I got a little torqued.
"Come on man--don't get down on us--our culture is different--we aren't oppressed and last I checked there are no crusades so the saint making opportunities are few."
He's right though...we do need more saints.

Saint-making in America is bankrupt.
It certainly seems bankrupt in the Church.
How many diocesan priests have been canonized?  (one--St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney)
Now, I have to be careful here because I have been accused of being dis-respectful towards the clergy on this blog--so the following may upset some people.
My experience has been that the old clergy tend to eat the young.  If a man comes out of seminary with particular devotions he is branded as out of touch with the world of parish ministry. He must adapt and then eventually he becomes what he once despised.
Imagine if a young priest was stationed with the Cure' de Ars--what would he have seen?
A priest hearing confessions, a priest doing the battle against satan, a priest preaching without compromise.
Yeh--saint-making at its' finest.

Saint-making in America is bankrupt in the home
Granted some saints are made in an instant, at the stake and through martyrdom, but other saints are simply raised, nurtured and encouraged.
I've had conversations in the past with parents that went something like this:
 "Johnny never received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and I was wondering when he could get it."
"Okay, how about you teach him?  Let's do it this way,  you take him with you to confession this week and talk with him about why you go."
I continue, "Then call me and let me know how it went.."
They never called back.

Okay, so maybe I'm not the guy who should be on the front line of your parish's faith formation or for that matter even talking to clergy.

None-the-less saint-making in America is bankrupt, not because of the lack of opportunity, but because of the lack of will.