As with many of the structures erected in the wake of Vatican II and whose founders promised to open the windows of the Catholic Church in the United States to the fresh air of the modern world, the Woodstock Theological Center (WTC) at Georgetown University—an “ecumenically open” institute since 1973 which has “carried out theological and ethical reflection on the most pressing human issues of the day”—has shut its doors.
Last February, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) chronicled WTC’s closure. According to WTC’s Director, Fr. Gasper LoBiondo, SJ, WTC’s demise was a natural consequence of “ongoing strategic reflection” on the part of the Jesuits’ New England, New York, and Maryland provinces. Fr. LoBiondo noted, however, that the reflection itself was directly attributable to “the diminishing number of Jesuits.”
Writing at WTC’s website, Fr. LoBiondo was upbeat about the closure last June, writing:
All who have been associated with Woodstock Theological Center over its 40 years of service can be proud of what they have accomplished, and should be encouraged by the knowledge that the work they have done will not come to an end, because the value of such work will be embraced by other institutions in new forms.
Perhaps the work completed at WTC’s will be “embraced by other institutions” and continue “in new forms.” However, those who labored at WTC have now turned the page and moved on.
Come to think of it, WTC’s closure is similar to the late-1960s when liturgical liberals rejoiced that maniples were done away with. The “rest of the story,” as it is said with frequency, “is history,” meaning “get over it.”
So, let’s be pragmatic.
As the age of the post-Vatican II generation who founded institutes such as WTC increases and their numbers decline and, then, with fewer young men who are prepared theologically to shoulder the mantle of leading these institutes, the likelihood that these “cutting-edge institutes” will continue for another generation or two decreases dramatically.
What is ageless—the Church—will continue.
In the political world, it’s called “term limits.” In the Church, it’s the simple reality of “sic transit gloria mundi.” This is how God purifies the Church of that which is time bound so His creatures will focus upon the timeless.
To read about the closure of WTC, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s blog, click on the following link:
The Motley Monk’s Omnibus