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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

AMU Exposed

Angel Queen has just posted an Investigative Report: The story behind the story of Father Fessio's firing from Ave Maria University - A good priest in a bad environment by Mr. John Grasmeier. Quote:

Those familiar with the situation are nearly unanimous in concluding that the ultimate reason behind the unfortunate turn of events, was a long running power struggle between Nick Healy and Father Fessio that finally had come to a head. At the heart of that struggle is the spiritual and liturgical direction of the fledgling university. Many who spoke with Angelqueen.org (AQ) referred to the struggle in terms “war” or “warfare.” As one source put it “the administration has been extremely hostile towards Father Fessio and tradition.” The source said that there exists an atmosphere where traditional and orthodox elements, particularly in regard to the liturgy, are “shunned,” while more liberal “glory and praise” and charismatic influences are given precedence.

It examines all the variouis issues surrounding AMU (with the exception of the AMSOL aspect). Well done Mr. Grasmeier. However this quote is unfortunate and misinformed:

If the mantra of the 60s was “if it feels good do it”, then the mantra of the Charismatic movement that has its roots in that turbulent era would be, “if it feels good, it must be the Holy Spirit.” The Charismatic “renewal” sprang out of nowhere after it was literally fabricated on American college campuses in the 1960s. It more closely resembles “happy-clappy” Pentecostal Protestantism than anything traditionally Catholic. Compared to their traditional or orthodox counterparts, charismatics tend to be far more accepting of novelty in matters such liturgy and music. They are more inclined toward innovation and less inclined toward tradition and established dogma. Their spiritual orientation would tend to be more horizontal and less vertical in nature and their faith more emotional than cerebral. A higher degree of emphasis is placed on what is perceived as personal spiritual gratification, rather than liturgical reverence and catechetical development. Charismatic liturgies have been notorious breeding grounds for some of the worst liturgical abuses on record. While charismatics can range anywhere on the ideological spectrum from heretically liberal to politically conservative, there is no denying that the movement itself is wholly modernistic and newfangled. They would likely protest the labels, but in light of 2,000 years of tradition, the charismatic movement is entirely new to Catholicism or “neo-Catholic,” it’s adherents by extension “neo-Catholics.” There is no such animal as a traditional charismatic.

This is not the post to engage the misconceptions embedded in this paragraph, but enough to say that the Investigative Report is hurt by this conclusory statement.

UPDATE: Spirit Daily has a headline link to the Angel Queen story today. The story is framed as: The blogs: anti-charismatics lash out at Father Fessio firing. Did Spirit Daily frame this story as "Anti-Charismatic" due to Fumare's brief commentary on this aspect of the Investigative Report? Perhaps.

There is a tendency among Traditionalists to denigrate as inferior anything that doesn't comport to their interpretation of the "law." This can lead to cynicism and an "us against the world" mentality where the "us" becomes an increasingly narrow group of who are the true faithful. Reading through the article, signs of this mentality pop up. (e.g., the confrontations described in the Report always seem to between "two students" and the administration). This is not to take away from the overall gist of the Report, but it does raise questions as to the interpretation of the various persecutions of students and how widespread they actually are.