The following comes from an April 30 Liturgy Guy blog post:
So often these days we read of the ongoing collapse of Catholicism in the west. In diocese after diocese we see parishes and schools closing or consolidating, a decline in priests as older clergy pass away at rates higher than new ordinations, and a widespread loss of the next generation to either the secular left or the evangelical right.
We also read of various plans to counter these trends. Everyone seems to have a program to promote, a new strategy to increase vocations, to increase weekly Mass attendance, to keep teens from fleeing the faith…
However, what’s not as widely known is that we already have a blueprint for success: the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.
According to the Official Catholic Directory and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Lincoln, NE is the only diocese in the United States to place in the Top 20 for the ratio of ordinands to population in every survey conducted from 1993-2012.
Despite having a Catholic population of only 97,000, the Lincoln diocese ordained 22 men from 2010-2012. Only seven dioceses in the entire country ordained more. One of those, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (with a Catholic population over 4.2 million) ordained 34 men during those same three years. In other words, L.A. only ordained four more men per year on average despite having a population 44X greater than Lincoln.
The Lincoln blueprint can be narrowed down to a few foundational elements:
Against all odds and the prevailing winds of the post-conciliar Church, Lincoln has avoided the craziness and irreverence that has afflicted so many other dioceses. This has largely been achieved through the stability and orthodoxy provided over the last fifty years by three men: Bishop Glennon Flavin (1967-1992), Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (1992-2012), and Bishop James Conley (2012-present). They succeeded despite the occasional scorn of their brother bishops, and by making the Church’s perennial priorities their own.
The National Catholic Reporter (known as the Fishwrap to Fr. Z readers) once bemoaned that it was as if the “reforms” so prevalent in the aftermath of Vatican II had missed Lincoln altogether. Exactly.
The Male Only Sanctuary
To a large extent, Lincoln has preserved a male only sanctuary. In this area the diocese has simply given more weight to tradition and common sense instead of “modern sensibilities” that are more secular minded.
The diocese remains the only one in the country to maintain an altar serving policy of boys only.
Lincoln also utilizes installed acolytes and lectors for the Holy Mass. Since it is an instituted ministry, the role of an acolyte is only open to men. Both of these instituted ministries commenced during Bishop Flavin’s time during the 1970’s.
Those in Lincoln will speak of the lack of Catholic tribalism and the absence of the liturgical wars so prevalent in other dioceses. In large part this is due to the environment established by Lincoln’s bishops. Reverent Novus Ordo liturgies have served the faithful well, preventing the frustration that so many encounter in other dioceses.
However, Lincoln has also avoided the hostility toward tradition that so often defines the traditionalists experience elsewhere. Back in the 1990’s then Bishop Bruskewitz invited the newly established Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) to the diocese to establish a North American seminary, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton, NE. The Fraternity exclusively celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form and adheres to the liturgical books in use in 1962.
Presently there are about 7 or so diocesan priests who offer the Traditional Latin Mass; however, more are learning it. The rector at the diocesan seminary (St. Gregory the Great) offers it to the seminarians once a month.
This is probably one of the more interesting sides of Lincoln. The Latin Mass community is not very large in Lincoln. Because the diocese has historically been so conservative there has never been a great battle cry from traditionalists for the exclusive return of the Latin Mass. Many within the community can even be seen at various Novus Ordo parishes participating fully within the liturgy .
As stated previously, the Lincoln diocese has intentionally avoided the modern tendency to clericalize the laity by delegating liturgical roles to the faithful. Thanks to its use of acolytes and lectors, instead of the more common excessive use of readers and extraordinary ministers, the diocese has not blurred the lines between ministers and laity, or between sanctuary and nave. It’s obvious to see how this would reinforce the ministerial priesthood in Lincoln, as well as the continuity between both forms of the Roman Rite.
Proper liturgical orientation has been further reinforced through the manner in which many masses are offered in Lincoln: with the priest facing toward the liturgical east, or Ad Orientem.
A Catholic Education
While I have saved this for last, in many ways education is the primary ingredient to Lincoln’s recipe for success. Bishop Glennon Flavin’s vision for a diocese that allowed its children to go to Catholic school at an affordable cost and to be taught authentic Catholicism by religious sisters and priests is integral to the diocesan mission.
While Lincoln’s Catholic population is less than 100,000, they have provided the faithful with 27 elementary schools and 6 high schools to educate the next generation. More importantly, most diocesan schools have at least 1-2 habited sisters and all Catholic schools are staffed by at least one priest.
Unlike other dioceses which require school masses only once a week, or in some cases once a month, each grade school in the Diocese of Lincoln is required to offer daily mass for the entire school each day.
However, there may be no better example of Lincoln’s commitment to the future than the fact that its diocesan schools have some of the lowest tuition costs in the entire country. As an example, St. Teresa’s Catholic School in town has an annual tuition cost of only $100 per student, and yet it is a thriving school with a habited sister as principal.
Lincoln is a rural diocese. It’s exceptionally high number of religious sisters help to reduce tuition costs for schools. The relatively small size of the Catholic population creates an insulated environment unlike that found in such diverse and populous areas as Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York.
No doubt many bishops, priests, and lay faithful would rather forgo a boom in vocations if it means having to reestablish clear divisions between the nave and the sanctuary, or ending such post-conciliar innovations as altar girls or Extraordinary Ministers. The secular push for egalitarianism has been enthusiastically embraced by most bishops these past few decades. It would seem that either pride, or fear, or an agenda that is not exclusively focused on saving souls, is keeping many from reversing course. Or maybe some dioceses simply don’t want orthodox Catholicism.
We can only hope and pray that more of those within the Church hierarchy humbly and attentively look to Lincoln for some answers. There is a blueprint for rebuilding a vibrant Church, an authentic and thriving Catholicism.
Terrific article about an extraordinary diocese. Of course the N.O. world is prideful and resists any change to their mass; the last man down will please turn off the lights. You need to live and teach the True Faith, not the dopey, watered down pablum of the German bishops that so attracts our Latin American Pope. It is likely that many German bishops are more Lutheran than Catholic anyway. And, certainly, the great number of American bishops are, at best, Protestant in nature and understanding of Christ. But, the truth is within the Catholic Church; no where else. Time to embrace the True Mass and worship like the saints did.
Well, I know one thing this native Californian would like to live in such an environment If I could as my native state is just getting nuttier and nuttier with most of our politicians, including supposedly Catholic ones, putting in downright evil legislation. I could even stand the cold weather because the truth taught there would warm the heart, mind and soul — a place where the men are not afraid to be men, and the women like being women, and are not trying to be something they are not and can never be.
If I can say it in a more Protestant way, “Give me that old time religion”.
Does anyone know how many of those ordained in Lincoln were actually born there? How many moved their in order to go to a conservative seminary?
What difference does it make? It is the orthodoxy that attracts these men and if they can build up the Body of Christ from Nebraska, God bless them. Perhaps they will be able to send a few of them to San Francisco so that you “YFC” may be encouraged by their zeal.
A guy can’t even ask a question around here without being clobbered with snark?
Sorry about that less than charitable answer to a good question. I tried to find an answer, but all I can find is that English speaking candidates from anywhere in the world are accepted. Apparently men have come from all over the world.
I do find the very existence of this seminary to be so very encouraging when the news we see from all over the world is just depressing. Keep praying!
Well you have been pretty snarky with her on other articles, YFC.
Okay, I should have keep “my nose out of it” and let Kristin answer for herself. On the other hand, Catherine, below at 3:02 pm today, May 3, might be right, and that was my first impression,
Hmm! Why is Ruth answering Kristin’s post?
Catherine is wrong as she often is.
And I think I might have forgotten to attach a moniker to my thanks to Ruth comment – it was me
“Does anyone know how many of those ordained in Lincoln were actually born there? How many moved their in order to go to a conservative seminary?” = Paid troll gathering tactical information.
Yes. The overwhelming majority are home grown. In fact the Bishops of Lincoln encourage ‘foreign’ candidates for the priesthood to seek ordination and reform in their respective dioceses.
I would love to move to a Diocese like this one! I knew of several retired married couples years ago, who moved away to this particular Diocese, because it had good, orthodox bishops– and the FSSP, in Denton! Also, a good Carmelite Monastery of nuns, with the old Latin Mass, too!
Traditional Catholic men are often rejected from diocesan seminaries, and must look elsewhere to serve as priests. Lincoln is wise to receive these men. Their people then receive the truth of doctrine, reverent liturgy, good spiritual formation, guidance in the faith. We priests in San Diego have been shut out of the formation process for seminarians. Men have been rejected or dismissed without reference to their pastors, which may change with Bishop McElroy.
That’s is simply not true. If any thing the men being ordained from the formation program for San Diego are healthy, orthodox (if you need to use that word) men. Simply because a man a pastor has identified and encouraged to pursue a possible vocation does not mean that that particular man will indeed continue to ordination. The reasons a candidate does not continue in a formation program or are dismissed are often multifaceted and confidential. Therefore, pastors do not have privilege to that information. If a former participant in a formation program wishes to share the reasons provided to him then he is certainly free to do so. No one has been “shut out”. Some pastors just believe that they know better than the bishop and his…
That’s simply the revelation that the cat is long since out of the bag.
…some pastors just know (not believe they know) the candidate better – which they do- and can therefore cut through the nonsense rhetoric of many a bishop who prefers “forming” a certain kind of individual. I won’t say man. (Perhaps your reticence to use the term orthodox is rooted in a dislike and/or misunderstanding of the term?)
But multifaceted and confidential is the word. Especially the latter as real reasons for dismissal, especially those based on personal bias and a love for modernity and ambiguity, wouldn’t be very flattering if laid at the feet of those with a mind to change the Church.
My reluctance to use the term orthodoxy is because most of the people who use that term don’t use it correctly and usually mean by it those who espouse their agenda. The other reason is that it too often is used to imply that priests or others in ministry are somehow against the catholic faith.
As for bishops wanting to form a certain kind of individual isn’t that what you are also suggesting by the mistrust and lack of faith in the leader whom the Holy Spirit has chosen for the Church?
Actually, your response is typical of the Zombie-Liberal agenda populating the Catholic world today. First, the literature is overwhelming that bishop selection is increasingly subject to the Kitchen Curia of Pope Francis; conservative Cardinal Ouelett is largely ignored.
Second, again much literature here, seminary “gatekeepers” in many areas, often serve to keep out the young orthodox, heterosexual, devoted to family types. This is particularly a well known problem in NY and much of CA. The Holy Ghost does not “chose” any bishop or priest; it is obligatory for concerned laity to protest the mis-formation going on in many seminaries.
The Holy Spirit is not the one doing the choosing, Phredup. Please, stop perpetuating the myth that anything the Bishop does or does not do is the active will of God.
Again, the cat’s out of the bag.
You also may want to check your understanding of orthodoxy and similarly your chastisement of St. Christopher. Or perhaps you may want to preach/teach by example and review your post to Fr. Perozich. Especially while posting under a pseudonym.
We are admonished to beware blind guides – not necessary if everything done by clerics is God’s choice.
Phredup, try reading a good book on the subject– “Goodbye, Good Men,” by Michael Rose— it will make you SICK!! Yes, sadly- many good, healthy, stable, devout, morally-excellent, orthodox Catholic young men, have been discouraged or rejected from the Priesthood since the Vatican II Council! And we cannot trust, since Vatican II– that many of our priests and prelates, are truly, honestly Catholic, and support Christ’s holy teachings, either! Plus, many devout laymen have likewise endured persecutions from their Church, too— since Vatican II! A Catholic GENOCIDE!!
St. Christopher’s post, above, is 100% correct! And I have witnessed this, too— with my own two eyes! I also recall several sad cases, in which a couple of famous, orthodox seminary professors, were persecuted and even prohibited from teaching, in several very famous seminaries! Made me CRY!!
Phredu-up = TIME TO GROW UP & WAKE UP! The Holy Ghost does not select perversion to lead, anywhere, or at any time, period! Notice the comment below about prolific fundraisers. It explains much!
Taken from Wikipedia
Marcial Maciel Degollado (March 10, 1920 – January 30, 2008) was a Mexican-born Catholic priest who founded the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement. He was respected throughout his career as “the greatest fundraiser of the modern Roman Catholic church” and as a prolific recruiter of new seminarians.
continued for phredup.
“Maciel was ordered “to conduct a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public ministry.” On March 25, 2010, a communiqué on the Legion’s website acknowledged as factual the “reprehensible actions” by Maciel, including sexual abuse of minor seminarians.”
This is interesting. I have just found Fr. Chad Ripperger’s YouTube seminars and homilies. They are great. He is professor of Theology of the FSSP in Denton, NB. He is also an exorcist. They are worth checking out.
I have also recently discovered Fr. Ripperger’s wonderful YouTube videos, and I agree that they contain some greatly needed teaching.
Thanks to the emails of both Kristin and Ruth– I look forward to seeing these videos, of the FSSP priest, Fr. Ripperger, from their Denton, NB seminary! LOVE the FSSP!!
Traditional Catholic men in the Diocese of Orange, Ca. have been told to Not mention where they attend Mass. One young man was asked by the vocation director to get a written recommendation letter from his pastor. When the young man asked the pastor, the pastor responded, ” Ohhhh, just write something up about yourself and I’LL sign it.” A few years ago, there was a similar article. praising Nebraska for their vocations. A priest at Marywood involved in vocations sent out an email regarding the beautiful article to another priest at Marywood that read, “I am so sick of reading this kind of – – – -, about their numbers. The priest didn’t realize that he clicked forward to all. That message was forwarded out as a mass email.
God, is richly blessing, the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska!
Matthew 7: 4] Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock,  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.
St Christopher. The “gate keepers” must have missed me. Because I am a young, “orthodox” family type. I pray that your working closely with a spiritual director because it appears your pride in believing you know better than the chosen leadership of the Church and your disrespect to the Holy Father and his office could be a significant spiritual issue.
So orthodox, it appears, that you dismiss Fr. Perozich’s observations, Phred. Perhaps you should pray to obtain better spiritual guidance for yourself before attempting, like a first year med student, to diagnose another.
Lack of discernment and experience in exercising what abilities one does have quite often causes grave spiritual issues – for ourselves and others. That’s rather the point of being particular about who is choosing candidates for the priesthood and what exactly their agenda is when “forming” them.
If you don’t know that already, you will learn.
This “first year med student” has over 20 years of priestly ministry. I didn’t dismiss Fr Perozich observations. He made a statement regarding the presbyterate of San Diego and their participation in the vocations process. I simply gave my observation regarding that same issue. If our bishops are not the ones making the final decision based on candidates to the presbyterate then who should be? Should the church just ask for a show of hands duung mass to make these decisions?
Then perhaps its time you shed your naivete, Phredup, or the appearance thereof. And, yes, you did dismiss Fr. Perozich’s observations. Perhaps you should review your own posts and spiritual health for bias, Father. Using a moniker that would indicate your priesthood would also be helpful. The one you have coveys a flip attitude that was rather mirrored in your post.
Your emotional devolution into a “show of hands” being tantamount to involving the pastor of candidates to the seminary- a reasonable suggestion – is a dead giveaway of you having been caught out as guilty of what you charge others with.
” it appears your pride in believing you know better than the chosen leadership of the Church” Anyone with half a brain and knowledge of history know better than most of the hierarchy. I give past corrupt men like Bernandin, Mahony, Weakland, Law and the current crop like Kaspar, Cupsich, Forte, Blair, and of course Francis…I do not trust any of this men to lead the Church in any capacity. Its not pride its fact open your eyes
I accept the words of “Canisius,” dear “Phredup.” We are in a true political revolution within the Church today, likely worse than with the Arian Heresy. The Pope and his “kitchen irregulars” are trying to remake everything in the Church. One way to do this is to appoint similar minded young men as bishops (notwithstanding very different recommendations by C. Ouelett, whose job it is to make such recommendations). The Holy Ghost certainly makes His guidance known to the Pope and the Church, but men who do not wish to hear, will not. Not pride, but no longer willing to see our Faith soiled by these tawdry clerics is the reason to speak out (and to withhold and otherwise direct our spending within the Church).
It must be very painful for you to believe that somehow the Church has failed you. May the healing gifts of the Holy Spirit be made manifest to you.
Says, “This “first year med student” has over 20 years of priestly ministry”
Then goes on to say, in another comment, “the leader whom the Holy Spirit has chosen for the Church?”
20 years of ministry leads you to say the Holy Spirit chooses the Pope?
The Church is good, but the people in it are still human.
What sort of ministry did you attend?
God will not be mocked. The Church Militant is “phred”-up up with the disgraceful treatment of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Church Militant is “phred”- up with the disgraceful costumed devils distributing Holy Communion with Barney or Lupe being used as healing or blessing tools during the Mass. The Church Militant is “phred”-up with shepherds who look the other way because Barney is a prolific fundraiser.
Halloween Mass 3 – The Barney Blessing – YouTube
What is painful is engaging with churchmen who are still in denial about the pain and fallout they are still causing by ignoring the problem and pretending that the Holy Ghost will override free will.
The gifts of the Holy Ghost include Wisdom. Time to take the gift and use it, not take a back seat and pretend that there is no requisite to drive.
Pray is always wonderful, and I thank you for it. The Church has not failed me, or any other Catholic. It is the Church’ s institutional nature that has failed us all. Yet, Jesus knew that Man was fallible, but elected the sinful and weak Peter to start us off. Now, the Church leadership is, in the main, theologically corrupt, and open to embracing modernity, as Faith no longer serves to motivate them. Christ is likely not happy with how things are turning out, but He thrives on chaos and confusion. Ironically, Francis is correct when he suggests that God is a “God of surprises”: looking forward to some big ones soon.
Anonymous. I have to laugh that you chastised me about using a pseudonym.
That actually was me, Father. Cleared cookies on the computer and forgot to fill back in the details prior to posting.
What you’re actually getting chastised about is your dismissing Fr. Perozich’s reality check and choosing to chuckle away while the flock flees from you with good reason.