Monday, August 25, 2008

Where have you gone, Joe Calasanz?

Today the Church gives us the option of celebrating the feast day of St. Joseph Calasanz, founder of the Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools.  Whew, that's a mouthful; no wonder they shortened it to be known simply as the Piarists.  Calasanz was a Spaniard by birth, but founded his order and worked most of his life in Rome.  In fact, if you're in the Piazza Navona in Rome, you're just a hop, skip, & jump from venerating his relics at the Chiesa di S. Pantaleo e S. Giuseppe Calasanzio.  You can even see the rooms in which he lived (and died) if you make an appointment.

Calasanz is credited with creating the first free public schools in Europe, and he did it whilst working on educating young children.

Did you just let out a gasp?  I'll say it again: he spent his time ministering to the young.  If you did gasp, cough, or gagged so that your coffee came out of your nose a little, you're probably not alone.

How different a world we live in today.  A world that would probably never allow a St. Joseph Calasanz to function in this capacity.  Picture it:  It's 2008, and a Priest who came from another country visits with the bishop of a diocese, explains how he sees a need to start educating the young, and seeking permission to do so on church property.  How many bishops would have diocesan lawyers screaming at them, warning them what a liability such a place could possibly become?  How many benefactors would be reluctant to have their names associated with such a school, just in case something scandalous might theoretically happen down the road?   How many times would vocations to such an order be fingerprinted, background checked, probably even having DNA samples collected from them?  How many priests today shy away from being anywhere in proximity to young people because of the awareness that it would only take one accusation (true or not) from one of them to essentially end his priestly ministry?  How many teens have been so conditioned by the media that they fear any contact with clergy or religious?

Calasanz, Bosco, even Mother Seton.  Would Sainthood even be possible for them in 2008?

1 comment:

Smiley said...

Stupid world we live in where human laws are followed and laws of God are ignored.
The Catholic Church and her priests have done yeoman work in educating the young for centuries. The people who sue the church bite the very hand that has given them the power to do so.
Western media will pay for this in the eternal fires.