When patching together my little post on Archbishop Tom Collins, I briefly mentioned that a friend of mine, while in the seminary, had good things to say of him. I didn't go on any further, because the 'good things' are to some 'bad things', and the 'good things' have something to do with rectifying problems brought about by a certain school's questionable theology program.
But after having a brief conversation with a fellow Catholic (who lives in Alberta), I feel compelled to tell the whole story. So here it is.
When my friend was studying in an Alberta seminary, a group of students from Newman Theological College decided their church was in need to modernization. In what form? Well the church was following the very old and tired idea of having the tabernacle at the front centre of the church. To the NTC students, this was an obvious distraction to the congregation. How could they pray durings Mass with something like that around? These intrepid students then made plans to take the tabernacle out of the church (yes, out) and put it in an adjoining chapel, without consulting the local bishop. The seminarians were justifiably outraged, and informed the bishop. The seminary was divided. After a few days, the local bishop came in, reprimanded the NTC students, and made sure the Tabernacle stayed were it was. Who was this bishop?
Thomas Collins, the new Archbishop of Toronto.
This whole event brings another issue to my mind. What happens when the laity cannot appeal to their bishop in a situation like this? What if their bishop is the one fomenting dissent and division?
There are two things one can do:
(1) I would advise anyone living in a parish like that to write to their local archbishop and the Canadian Papal Nuncio. Most archbishops and nuncios are completely unaware of many of the abuses the laity suffer at the hands of their priests and bishops. Sometimes things can be sorted out quickly, other times (and most usually) it takes some time for action to be taken.
(2) Pray, pray, pray. I believe it was St. Cyril who said that the roads of Hell are paved with the skulls of bishops. These men are under intense spiritual attack, and as we know from our own personal experiences, most Western Catholics born within the last 50 years received pathetic catechesis, and many of our priests and bishops received inadequate preparation and training in the seminaries to boot. Even if it is just one, small prayer dropped into the Divine Economy, every little bit helps. God answers all those who ask, dontchano.