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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Vocations: Charismatics vs. Traditionalists

Two very small towns in Michigan have produced dozens of Catholics religious and priests. Each town has produced 22 priests (44 priests between them), and have together produced over 80 religious:
Westphalia (population 938) has produced 37 Catholic nuns over the decades, according to diocesan data, while Fowler claims 43. Marita Wohlfert, who is 20, is in the running to make it 44
What accounts for this success? Well, Most Holy Trinity Parish, in Fowler, MI (population 1,224) celebrated the following in its Activities and News for June 19, 2014:
Meanwhile, St. Mary Church in Westphalia, MI has an entire page devoted to the Steubenville Youth Conference. 

Two "Catholic ghettoes"... towns full to overflowing with charismatic Catholics who sure do seem to create a lot of vocations. Can any traditionalist parish boast this kind of religious vocation response? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? 

UPDATE
I made this remark below in response to a reader's comment, but it deserves to be in the main body of the article:
I know many, many traditionalists who bear a striking distaste for the charismatic movement, accusing it of all manner of schism and heresy. The FSSP has had a quarter century to produce the kind of tight-knit communities described in this article, and - if it truly represented the traditions of the Catholic Faith - it would be building on the vast substrate of traditions that existed for two millennia, a substrate that suffered only a 25-year interregnum after VCII.

One would think the FSSP, were it truly as organic an outgrowth of the Catholic Faith as it claims to be, would be much, much more successful than the charismatic renewal in producing this kind of vocation boom. Yet quite the opposite seems to be the case.

7 comments:

CDNowak said...

Why are you hell-bent on sowing division between those Catholics attached to tradition and those attached to the Charismatic movement?
While I don't know, off the top of my head, any individual parish that matches the two in Lansing diocese, I do know that in several dioceses, including my own the tradition-friendly parish(es) regularly produce more vocations than those without a defined identity.
Orthodoxy seems to be the uniting factor. Ut Unim Sint!

Doug Pearson said...

This is truly wonderful that these communities are having this impact for the Kingdom of God. This may be the epicenter for Charismatics. The "traditionalists" seem to be spread out in smaller pockets although if it is framed as a contest you need to factor in all the ordinations for the FSSP for the same period that you are using for these communities. I have a feeling that the FSSP has at least matched them in ordinations.

But I think that framing it as a contest is unnecessary as I doubt that either group would see it in that light. Giving both communities the benefit of the doubt, I would say that they would be less concerned with a competition than they are about trying to conform their lives to the will of God as they understand it.

Thanks for bringing this vibrant community of Catholics to our attention!

Doug

Steve Kellmeyer said...

According to the FSSP's own website, the entire US branch of the FSSP has produced only 244 priests total since 1988.

As for why I write these articles, I know many, many traditionalists who bear a striking distaste for the charismatic movement, accusing it of all manner of schism and heresy. The FSSP has had a quarter century to produce the kind of tight-knit communities described in this article, and - if it truly represented the traditions of the Catholic Faith - it would be building on the vast substrate of traditions that existed for two millennia, a substrate that suffered only a 25-year interregnum after VCII.

One would think the FSSP, were it truly as organic an outgrowth of the Catholic Faith as it claims to be, would be much, much more successful than the charismatic renewal in producing this kind of vocation boom. Yet quite the opposite seems to be the case.

It makes one go "hmmmm....."

Jim Dorchak said...

Steve
I consider myself a Charismatic Traditionalist. I attend a Charismatic Catholic Church here in Chile (which has not had a vocation in 10 years) but I love the old Mass as well.

I have never thought of this as being a competition before till you brought it up.

As far as the FSSP goes; I know many good priests there who I find to be very Charismatic.

As far as Charismatics go; I know many Charismatic priests here who are traditional! I knew one priest in SC who spoke in tongues and said the old mass as well. This man was a saint if there ever was one, but I believe he has passed away. This man lead me to tradition through Charismatic understanding.

I will say that there are not many FSSP diocesan parishes out there but there are many Charismatic diocesan parishes.

I do not see the issue here. I feel that it is all in Gods plan and his will. All I can do is pray my sons will chose his will too.

CDNowak said...

Steve, you aren't using comparable data. Two parishes bearing incredible fruit is wonderful, but an anomaly.

If you wan to show that the FSSP (a religious order that is in union with Rome) is failing to bear fruit you might look at the fact that while they have an approximately diocesan sized presence in North America (~55 parishes) they only are averaging 12 ordinations a year (1 from every 4 or 5 parishes).

Of course the US average per diocese is 2.5, so that's a poor data point.

"Tu quoque" is a fallacy and a poisonous manner of discussion. By all means, exalt and examine these parishes for what they are obviously doing right. You don't need to attack anyone in doing so.

Both tradition friendly and charismatic friendly parishes seem to foster vocations. Isn't the better question "What do they have in common?"

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Adoration is one thing emphasized by both, as is Marian devotion. I'm in Michigan, am in a traditional parish, yet I know many charismatics and I have long pointed out that what I see as common. There are other things, but Eucharistic and Marian devotion is at the top. In many non-traditional/non-charismatic parishes I visit, I don't see the same kind of emphasis on those two things, which bring graces. There are exceptions, and from those parishes, I see vocations.

Aquinas Dad said...

Ah. Mr. Kellmeyer has gone from being smarter than Aquinas and most popes ('usury isn't a sin') to now thinking that 244 priests in 26 years is a mark of shame.
Of course until 1999 all FSSP vocations from the US had to attend seminary in Germany *and speak German and Latin fluently* in order to attend. Once the English/Latin language seminary opened in the US vocations from the scattered, small parishes and missions exploded.
In the end, Mr. Kellmeyer is trying to paint a Catholic community that is growing and producing good priests as somehow failing all merely because he doesn't like them.
Tell, me, sir - is it worth it to generate more traffic for your blog?