Non Datur Tertium?
One pastor took to the microphone to say he was "greatly disappointed in the archdiocese's weak and deplorable" defense of Cardinals John Krol and Anthony J. Bevilacqua.I doubt it was intentional, but it's one of those blessed ironies of history that the 90-minute meeting took place in the Romanesque splendor of St. Martin's Chapel, site of Philadelphia Catholicism's last great "Crossroads Moment."
The criticism was greeted with scattered applause, sources said.
Another priest - trained in moral theology - reportedly lectured the cardinal yesterday for defending Krol and Bevilacqua on grounds that they had never intended to hurt children.
"You seem to stress intention. You try to claim there was never a wrong intention," the priest reportedly told Rigali.
But from a Catholic moral perspective, he said, the "horrific" outcomes of Krol's and Bevilacqua's cover-up vastly outweigh their efforts to protect the archdiocese from scandal.
"The people are not interested in intentions," he told the cardinal.
A third priest reportedly asked Rigali if he could "shed light on the impression" that the archdiocese under Bevilacqua and Krol had "put too much reliance on legal wisdom, or the wisdom of the world, and not enough reliance on Jesus and the Gospel."
Rigali "really did not answer," said one priest who attended the meeting, which included prayer and readings from St. Paul and Timothy. He characterized Rigali's remarks as "diplomatic."
A fourth priest told the cardinal it was "the wrong time to defend the indefensible."
In the spring of 1964, the Conciliar wave of enthusiasm swept through St. Charles, as it did at most every American seminary. At one point, the frustrated students took matters into their own hands and walked out of classes en masse, going on to release a "White Paper" to The Bulletin -- then the paper of record here -- detailing their proposals for changes to the formation program in its academic, spiritual and human elements.
They were the six days that shook the Sem.
A week after the double-blow of the student protest and the media leak, then-Archbishop John Krol shocked the community by showing up to preside over Sunday Vespers in St. Martin's.
At the close of the rite, he addressed the students at length, dictating the course of the next four decades of his archdiocese's history in the process.
"You have the choice of staying and obeying, or leaving," Krol said. "Non datur tertium" -- "There is no third choice."
With those words, as practically every other See succumbed to the excesses of the Conciliar wave, John Krol drew his line and beat back the tide in his archdiocese.
Given these recent events and the newfound openness of the priests, is it safe to say that the tide averted for so long is back with a vengeance?
It seems we'll see. But suffice it to say that, under the same roof where the Boss once fumed, the boys listened and the words shaped a generation, this time it was the Boss listening and the men speaking their minds in words that might well shape a new generation.
It's official: The old order is no more in Philadelphia.