“A Hit For Vocations” – Priest Softball Game on Friday

Mark Haas

For cars driving on Federal Blvd. in Broomfield last Friday afternoon, they may have noticed a group of men having a softball practice at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Pretty much just your everyday adult rec-league softball team, except this team, is made up entirely of Catholic priests.

“I love playing sports, I grew up playing sports,” said Fr. Joe McLagan, chaplain from Holy Family High School. “All of us are brother priests and one thing we have in common is we enjoy sports, so we get on the field and have a good time.”

Fr. Joe McLagan / Holy Family

The priests are all from the Archdiocese of Denver, and they are preparing to take on a team of priests from the Colorado Springs and Pueblo dioceses on Friday, July 13 at the Sky Sox minor league baseball stadium in Colorado Springs.

“I think it will be fun, and maybe even more fun for people to watch,” said Fr. Jason Wunsch of St. Gianna Beretta Molla in Denver. “Fun for them to see their priests having a good time playing softball and see that they are human.”

Fr. Jason Wunsch / St. Gianna Beretta Molla

The game is being put on by the Catholic Radio Network and was inspired by a similar game in Kansas City.

“It as all about FUN, FAMILIES & VOCATIONS,” said Doug Moberg, Director of Catholic Radio in Colorado, in an email to the Denver Catholic. “You’re going to laugh, you’re going to smile and you’re going to see a lot of priests try to do things they don’t do every day, which is a lot of fun!”

Fr. Mike Rapp

Tickets are just $10 and proceeds support vocational departments in Colorado, and the hope is maybe the Holy Spirit will move someone to think about the priesthood in a new way.

“I think it is to see that priests are normal, that to have a vocation doesn’t mean that you end up locked away,” said Fr. Joseph Toledo from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Ft. Collins, and coach for the ArchDen team. “We play sports, we play golf, we play baseball and we are part of the community.”

Fr. Chris Uhl / Holy Ghost

“I think younger kids watching us priests play might say ‘I like sports, and they like sports, and they are priests, which means I can be myself and also still be a priest,” said Fr. Jason. “They are having a fun life, doing fun things, they have good brotherhood’…I think that could be more attractive to the younger kids.”

EVENT INFO
-Colorado Priests Softball Game
-7 pm – Friday, July 13
-Security Service (Sky Sox) Field
4385 Tutt Boulevard, Colorado Springs, CO
-Tickets: $10 General Admission (Kids under 3 Free)
https://priestsoftballgame.ticketspice.com/priest-softball-game

COMING UP: Nothing about us without us

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The slogan “Nothing about us without us” was used by Solidarity in the 1980s in Poland, borrowing a royal motto from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the mid-second millennium. Then, it was expressed in Latin: Nihil de nobis sine nobis. Later, it appeared in Polish on the banners of 19th-century Poles fighting their country’s partition by Russia, Prussia, and Austria: Nic o Nas bez Nas. Today, it’s often used by disability activists asserting their claim to be fully participant in society.

“Nothing about us without us” also applies to the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, which will meet in Rome in October.

That Synod will involve seven bishops’ conferences from nine Latin American countries who will consider their pastoral situation under the theme, “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology.” As is usually the case in these meetings, the bishops at the Synod will work with materials drafted in Rome. Early indicators from the Synod’s preparatory document suggest that the Amazonian Synod will be longer on environmentalism than on theology. International media attention will doubtless focus on the Synod’s discussion of climate change and its relationship to Amazonian deforestation.

Recent synodal history suggests, however, that more will be afoot at the Amazonian Synod than what its announced theme suggests.

The 2014 and 2015 Synods were called to consider the crisis of marriage and the family throughout the world. Yet they became the occasion for powerful churchmen to try to deconstruct Catholic moral theology and sacramental discipline, according to the tried-and-failed theologies and pastoral practices of the 1970s. The 2018 Synod, summoned to discuss youth ministry and vocational discernment, began with an effort by the Synod general secretariat to enshrine the world’s language of sexual plasticity (and the lame understandings of happiness that underwrite that language) into an official Church document. When that failed, Synod-2018 became the occasion for the Synod general secretariat to promote an ill-defined notion of “synodality” that struck more than a few bishops present as a prescription for local-option, choose-your-own-doctrine Catholicism on the model of the (imploding) Anglican Communion.

This pattern seems likely to continue at the Amazonian Synod. There, the deeper agenda will be the ordination of mature married men — viri probati — to the priesthood. Proponents will argue that this dramatic change in the Church’s longstanding tradition of a celibate priesthood (which, contrary to much misinformation, antedates the early Middle Ages by hundreds of years) is necessary because Amazonia is a Catholic area deprived of the Eucharist by a lack of priests. One hopes that the counterclaims — that Amazonia is mission territory requiring wholesale evangelization, and that Amazonia’s lack of priests reflects racial and class divisions in Latin American Catholicism that discourage priests of European pedigree from working with indigenous peoples — get a serious hearing.

Proponents of ordaining viri probati in Amazonia, including retired Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM, have insisted that any such concession there would have no implications for the universal Church. That cannot be, however. Should the Amazonian Synod request the Pope to grant a dispensation from the discipline of celibacy for that region, and should he grant it, it will be just a matter of time before bishops conferences elsewhere — Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria come immediately to mind — make similar requests, citing pressing pastoral needs. On what ground would those requests be denied?

In a year-end interview with Vatican News, the Synod’s general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, insisted that the Amazonian Synod would not discuss environmental issues only, but would also confront “ecclesial themes” — and would do so in a way that Amazonia could be “a model for the whole world.”

We can be grateful to the cardinal for his candor in, however unintentionally, letting the celibacy cat out of the synodal bag. Any decision to ordain viri probati in Amazonia would inevitably have major consequences for the entire Church. A decision of this magnitude cannot be taken by an unrepresentative segment of the Church and then turned into a “model” for everyone else.

That is why the principle of “Nothing about us without us” must apply here. Whatever else “synodality” may mean, it surely must mean that decisions bearing on everyone should involve as broad a consultation and as global a reflection as possible. Bishops who agree should make their concerns known now, not after the Amazonian synod meets.

Featured image by Vatican Media | CNA