Joined: Apr. 10, 2012
I am a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Providence, RI. I graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1996, attended St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA from 1997-2001, and was ordained in 2001. Currently, I am the Diocesan Vocation Director and Chaplain at La Salle Academy; in July, I will begin as Spiritual Director at Our Lady of Providence Seminary while continuing as chaplain at La Salle.
Apr. 13 at 5:49pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Apr. 14 at 8:17am
In Christian spirituality we often refer to growth in the "interior life." The more I ponder this gift of the interior life, the more I am amazed by the very mystery of human interiority. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the human heart is "the place of encounter." It is in our very interiority that we encounter the living God. Because we possess interiority, we are able to be conscious of God, to communicate with God, to know...
Apr. 12 at 5:26pm | see this comment in context
You say of course, but in fact, the covenant communities of the 80s and the Legion were full of coercion and manipulation, though every member would have said he or she was there voluntarily. Every day people volunteer for dysfunctional relations.
But if you think of my work here as a critique of covenant communities, you're missing the point. My point is rather to to consider and help articulate principles for sound interpersonal relations.
One way of doing that is the "via negativa", i.e. by looking at bad examples in our collective moral experience, in order to learn what went wrong and why.
The pursuit of health involves the study of the nature and sources of disease.
What I find worrying and maddening is how uninterested so many otherwise good Catholics are in examining wrong as a means both for setting things right and for establishing good.
They seem to think it virtuous to ignore injustice and just "move on"—thinking only happy thoughts. "My personal experience was positive, therefore, I don't need to hear about problems."
Need I say that this, too, is a recipe for dysfunction?
Aug. 1 at 11:53am | See in context
Has this website become a prolonged critique of covenant community? It seems to be a running theme...
Aug. 1 at 11:35am | See in context
Another essential principle of sound "intentional communities": they must be voluntary and free of coercion and manipulation of all kinds.
Aug. 1 at 11:15am | See in context
Let me also say that my participation in community is purely voluntary, and I have freely chosen it. It is not for everyone, and I'm not a spokesman, an employee, an ideologist or anyone who benefits from community other than I think it to be an authentic way for human persons to live out their lives together in relationship with Christ and his Church.
Aug. 1 at 11:08am | See in context
Not just maturation, but reform. The bishops intervened and insisted on reforms. And there wasn't just just reform, but a lot of dissolution. Many, many people (I think the majority of members) left the communities, taking their injuries with them. Grievous harm was done in countless lives.
Nor do I think there has ever been a full accounting. I still see worrying amounts of denial, and much too little in the way of public remorse and amends for damage done.
Aug. 1 at 11:06am | See in context
JPII's address is dated 1994. I don't know what CVCOMM's of the 80's means. A lot of maturation has happened since then, and I am well aware of many abuses that occurred in those days, especially against women
Aug. 1 at 10:59am | See in context
I'll be looking forward to that list.
Also to getting a better idea of what you mean by impersonal criteria. Certainly patriarchal and cultish seem to me very much problems for personalism.
Aug. 1 at 10:59am | See in context
I too am working on a balanced list of sound and unsound aspects of community for a post that I trust will be acceptable to personalistic criteria.
I've been involved in different forms of covenant community for nearly ten years, I've seen both good and bad: many critique it as Protestant, Modernistic, Sensationalistic, out of harmony with Bishops, too patriarchal and cultish, etc. But these are IMPERSONAL criteria.
Aug. 1 at 10:54am | See in context
JPII sums it up nicely:"There is so much need today for mature Christian personalities, conscious of their baptismal identity, of their vocation and mission in the Church and in the world! There is great need for living Christian communities! And here are the movements and the new ecclesial communities: they are the response, given by the Holy Spirit, to this critical challenge at the end of the millennium. You are this providential response." (ibid)
I agree with every word of JP II here. (That I see a need for Christian communities should be evident from the substance of my post.) But this cannot be construed as an endorsement of covenant communities, much less the covenant communties of the '80s.
To say, "we need communities" is in no way the same as saying "all communities are perfectly sound and commendable".
Similarly, to say that the family is the foundational unit of the civilization of love is not to deny that some families are deeply dysfunctional.
Aug. 1 at 10:46am | See in context
I forgot to add that the fact that lots of people (such as Fr. Bob!) had "positive experiences" in community doesn't mean those communities are perfectly sound. It only means they're not thoroughly bad.
Lots of Prostants become holy. But Protestantism as such lacks the fullness of truth and involves serious errors that do harm.
Aug. 1 at 10:19am | See in context
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