Thursday, May 28, 2015

WHAT TO DO WHEN CATHOLIC CHURCHES CLOSE

I realize that it is impossible to keep inner-city Catholic Churches all open when most Catholics have moved to the suburbs and many no longer practice the faith. They have to be closed.

But what do you do with these buildings, some of which have not only historical worth, but more importantly spiritual worth?

What is the best solution? Tear it down? Convert it to a secular use such as a cultural center, restaurant, bar or apartments?

This is Saint Joseph Church in Indiana. I don't have pictures of what it was like prior to the brewery converting it. But I saw some that showed the long-closed church in total disrepair and desperation.

But this was the church in its heyday: 
Now, completely renovated as a brewery:


AN IRISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER FROM THE NORTH DOESN'T MINCE HIS WORDS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: SHE IS THE WHORE OF BABYLON!

Well, I'm glad that ecumenism is alive and well.
Here is a Presbyterian's take on the Catholic Church. He sounds like some former Presbyterians who comment here--those, that is, still hang on to their Protestant antipathy toward the Church based upon this minister's outlook:

This is from a Northern Ireland newspaper the  Fermanagh Herald, which you can read HERE: 

Firebrand pastor blames Catholic church abuse for same sex referendum result - See more at: http://fermanaghherald.com/2015/05/firebrand-pastor-blames-catholic-church-abuse-for-same-sex-referendum-result/#sthash.g7wApvWk.dpuf
LOCAL firebrand preacher Ivan Foster has launched a scathing attack on Irish Catholicism after the South’s landslide yes vote to legalising gay marriage saying the historic vote was a direct result of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals.

Speaking after 62 per cent of people in the South voted in favour of changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couple to marry, the former minister of Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church went on to brand it as a “false religion” which has “cursed” Ireland.

In a statement sent to the Fermanagh Herald, the fundamentalist accused the South of defying God and “embracing sodomy”.

“This has been done in defiance of God’s Word. That, of course, is hardly surprising since the people of the land have been under the heel of Romanism for centuries and have thereby been taught to pay scant heed to what the Bible says, irrespective of the allegiance to the Word of God that the Church of Rome professes.

“Romanism is a false religion which masquerades as the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has indoctrinated the Irish people in its falsehoods for centuries. What a curse its dark shadow has been to Ireland.

“But Ireland has not only had to bear the burden of false doctrine instigated by Rome, but the Irish people have been plagued by the licentious vileness of her ‘bachelor’ priests, many of whom used their position to molest and violate hundreds of children within this generation and countless multitudes in the centuries of her past dominance.

“In reaction to that and as a direct result of it, the majority in the Irish Republic have supported the legalising of sodomite marriage.”

Referring to a picture of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams celebrating the yes vote with Ireland’s best known drag queen who is called Panti Bliss, he said: “The painted ‘female’ in the middle is Rory O’Neill, who performs as a ‘drag queen’.

“There you have it. The man who heads up Sinn Fein, the armed wing of which mounted a 30 year terror campaign in Northern Ireland, which resulted in hundreds of people, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, murdered and in thousands terrorised, robbed, injured, kidnapped and taken away and murdered and secretly buried, is at the heart of this “yes” vote.

“What an unholy caucus”

He appealed for prayer for the “Bible-believing minority” who he said would feel more isolated by the South’s decision to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

He added: “Pray that many saddened, alarmed and troubled souls will seek out God’s Word and those who preach it and embrace the Truth of God in these evil times.”

Rev Ivan Foster is set to preach on the result of the Irish referendum at Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church this Sunday, 31, at 7pm.

CARDINAL WUERL HAS AN EXCELLENT PASTORAL LETTER ON CATHOLIC IDENTITY AND HOW IT WAS LOST IN THE 1970'S! HE SEEMS NOT TO REALIZE THOUGH THAT THE 1970'S IS HERE AGAIN AS THE CHURCH GOES BACKWARDS!

When it comes to the loss of Catholic identity from the 1970's this isn't the problem:
This is the problem!

I wish I had copied it, but I saw a photo of a man and woman in some kind of print commercial and the man was wearing a Nero jacket just like the one I had when I worked for Macy's in the early 1970's!!!!! The 1970's or nostalgia for it is back!!!! It is reemerging also with aging Cardinals whose heyday was in the 1970's. Cardinal Kasper is but one  case in point. It is like he has had a rebirth of influence bringing us backwards not forwards!

But this is a very good diagnosis and excerpt from Cardinal Wuerl's Pentecost Letter which you can read in full HERE:

"Why it is so crucial that we reassert and strengthen our Catholic identity, and that our freedom to do so be respected in society and in law.” 

“When I was a young priest in the 1960s and 1970s, there was much experimentation and confusion in the Church,” he recalled. “Teachers and clergy were encouraged by some to communicate an experience of God’s love, but to do it without reference to the Creed, the sacraments, or Church tradition. It did not work very well. Catholics grew up with the impression that their heritage was little more than warm, vaguely positive feelings about God.” 

“Those years of experimentation left many Catholics weak, spiritually and intellectually, and unable to withstand the tsunami of secularism that came in recent decades,” he continued. “We lost many people because we failed to teach them about right and wrong, about the common good, about the nature of the human person. This left many no longer able to admit that we are sinners who need Jesus because many no longer know what sin is. This lived experience of people not being fully or correctly presented the truth of the faith illustrates why we are called to the New Evangelization.” 

My thoughts: However, the Tsunami of secularism is not just coming from a loss of Catholic identity amongst lay Catholics it is coming from the highest echelons of the Church and particularly from cardinals in Germany, France and Switzerland. Someone, meaning all the bishops and in particular the Bishop of Rome needs to address this scandal and immediately. The laity have had to put up with too much scandal already. They don't need more to erode what little Catholic identity they have left. The 1970's should have remained buried!


Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Reporter tells the very sad, scary and heretical, schismatic story which you can read in full HERE about 1970's church building but the following is an excerpt (1970's anyone, Cardinal Wuerl will you call your brother cardinals out on this:
A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.
Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus B├╝chel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.
One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church.
Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.”
One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?”
Marco Ansaldo, a reporter for the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, who was present at the meeting, said the words seemed “revolutionary, uttered by clergymen.”
French Biblicist and Ratzinger Prize-winner Anne-Marie Pelletier praised the dialogue that took place between theologians and bishops as a “real sign of the times.”
According to La Stampa, another Italian daily newspaper, Pelletier said the Church needs to enter into “a dynamic of mutual listening,” in which the magisterium continues to guide consciences, but she believes it can only effectively do so if it “echoes the words of the baptized.”
The meeting took the “risk of the new, in fidelity with Christ,” she claimed. The article also quoted a participant as saying the synod would be a “failure” if it simply continued to affirm what the Church has always taught.
Then there is this good article from the New Liturgical Movement that hits the nail on the head on confusion in the Liturgy from the same period of time that Cardinal Wuerl speaks of 1970's confusion and its deleterious effect on Catholic identity when it comes to the Mass, other liturgies and the Sacraments. You can read the full article HERE but the following is an excerpt:

Before this period, Catholics around the world were known for their widespread attendance at Mass, and it seems that a great many people were trying to be devout, or at least respectful, at Mass. Families attending low Mass together, praying the rosary or reading devotional books, may not have been the pinnacle of participatio actuosa in the Mass, but then again, as the Liturgical Movement pointed out, many places had never implemented what St. Pius X had called for—namely, that Mass be sung, that the people sing the chants and dialogues of the Mass Ordinary, and that they become familiar with the actual prayers of the liturgy. Still, there was a distinctively Catholic thing that Catholics did every Sunday (and the more pious, more often than that); they knew that this was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that Jesus was really and truly present in the Eucharist, and that you couldn’t receive Him if you were in a state of mortal sin.

Mass attendance was already decreasing in the mid- to late sixties, for social and cultural reasons known to all, but after the liturgical rupture embodied in the Pauline Missal, attendance fell precipitously. The situation we have on our hands today, with only a small percentage of the baptized still going to church at all, has its birth in this period of unprecedented liturgical insolence, experimentation, disruption, and confusion. A decline had already set in, to be sure, but it was the outrageous shock of substituting a new rite of worship for an age-old bearer and transmitter of Catholic identity that confirmed definitively the modernizing madness of the institutional church. This was the death knell. To paraphrase Joseph Ratzinger, if this is how the Church treated her most valued possession, her mystical treasures, what other betrayals could be expected from her? Would anything remain stably in place? Could doctrine itself survive the onslaught?


This is why some, rightly in my opinion, consider the Synods on the Family (last year’s and the forthcoming) to be the logical continuation and completion of the conciliar reforms. The years during and after the Council were preoccupied with changing ritual and discipline as widely as possible, while doctrine seemed to be left untouched, but all along the modernists have been preparing as well as they could for an opportunity to “renovate” the doctrine as well. Given the freedom to do so, there is almost nothing in the faith that they would not falsify or modify, in the same way that almost nothing in the Mass was left intact.

My final comments: Cardinal Wuerl hits the nail on the head about the past, but I fear it doesn't see the same thing happening today and once again spearheaded by confusion in the Magisterium and his brother cardinals in very, very high places. It is no wonder the laity have lost their Catholic identity and continue to do so.


Apart from the recovery of the 1970's silly season amongst bishops and cardinals, the liturgy and its diminishment since the 1970's is a big culprit too. Pope Benedict XVI knew this but I fear his successor doesn't as his successor may have nostalgia for the 1970's too. Although with Pope Francis, we are learning that he did not bring a wider world view to the papacy but a very provincial South American view and that he doesn't read widely, didn't  travel widely and hasn't watched televsion since 1990 or used the internet. While this is laudable for someone in religious life, it is not laudable for secular priests and bishops who live in the world.  We can't go backwards or remain stuck in the 1970's.

The sense of the faithful "sensuum fideli" is based upon the faith and belief of orthodox Catholics not heterodox lay Catholics. Heterodoxy that leads to heresy is not faithfulness. It isn't the sensuum fideli!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WELL THIS SOUNDS PRETTY STRONG COMING FROM THE VATICAN

And while the Secretary of State would not use such strong words without Pope Francis' awareness and approval, yes, I agree, it would be better heard coming from the Pontiff:

Ireland Gay Marriage Vote Is A 'Defeat For Humanity,' Vatican Official Says

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican's secretary of state has called the Irish vote to legalize gay marriage a "defeat for humanity."

Cardinal Pietro Parolin said he personally was saddened by the landslide decision, in which more than 62 percent of voters in the Roman Catholic country voted "yes," despite church teaching that marriage is only between a man and woman.

In comments to reporters Tuesday evening, Parolin referred to remarks by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, that results showed the church needed to do a "reality check." Parolin said the church needs to acknowledge the reality "but in the sense of reinforcing its commitment to evangelization."

He said: "I don't think you can speak only about a defeat for Christian principles but a defeat for humanity."

THOSE WHO LEAVE THE CHURCH OR STAY AND TRY TO CHANGE HER FROM WITHIN ALWAYS HAVE GOOD REASONS FOR THEIR DIVISIVENESS

The Jews had a very good reasons for this golden calf and their gifts they offered to it!
It wasn't completely the fault of the Eastern Church that led to the Great Schism. The Western Church often provoked it. But nonetheless the Eastern Church went into schism. They thought they were right and on some things they were. But was schism necessary? Evidently they thought so and thus disobeyed the Lord in His great farewell speech in John's Gospel. Fortunately not all the Churches of the east went into schism (a fact the orthodox fail to acknowledge) as well many of those Churches that did go into schism repented and returned to the full Communion of the Catholic Church with the pope as the Supreme Pontiff. The Western Church bent over backwards to make this happen.

There there was the Protestant revolt what is called the Reformation. Martin Luther and the others he inspired to break with Rome were not completely at fault. Politics and religions were inextricably tied together and secular rulers and kings used Martin Luther to break from the political shackles of the remnant of the Roman Empire now headed by the pope in Rome. It didn't help that corruption had entered the Church's clergy, liturgy and simony as it concerned the sacraments and indulgences exacerbated the reformers.

After Vatican I when papal infallibility was defined and dogmatized (it had always been a doctrine), the Old Catholics went into schism over it. They thought they knew better. I am sure at the beginning they thought they were carrying on the true traditions of the Church.

Then in the last century, I think, someone correct me, some of the Polish Catholics in the USA were not too happy with the primarily Irish Church in America. There may have been other reasons but they went into schism and formed the Polish National Catholic Church, not in union with Rome but with valid sacraments and priesthood.

After the Second Vatican Council a similar schismatic act occurred under Archbishop Lefebrve. He thought he knew better than Rome and in defiance of Pope John Paul II ordained bishops without papal approval. Thus he was excommunicated and the FSSXP soon evolved as a reform movement within the Church (as they  claim) but clearly censured by the Church's magisterium first with excommunications of all the bishops (not the priests and laity) which Pope Benedict lifted. But the priests and bishops had and have a serious censure that of suspension a divinas. This is serious stuff.

The FSSXP have experienced division too and other groups have spun off from them claiming the same legitimacy as the FSSXP in terms of being in full communion with the true Church.  It sounds like what Martin Luther wrought. Initially he simply saw himself upholding what Christ wanted for his Church but still as a Roman Catholic but all that cascaded into a full blown breach that then led other reformers as proud or more proud than Martin Luther to put forward even more sterile reforms and a hatred for Rome.

I suspect in 100 years the FSSXP will be just like the Old Catholics after Vatican I, insignificant and completely something different than what they at first intended to be.

As for me, I remain a papist even if I question this, that or the other. I just thank God I'm not the pope or a bishop. It's hard enough just being a plain old priest! In the end, it will all come out in the wash and we'll know which popes are in hell, which popes are saints (the currently unproclaimed ones) and where the Church took detours.

The Magisterium will be judged as will rank and file laity. Ireland and every local Church from the time of Christ to His second coming will be judged and the sheep and goats separated.

It will be a day of reckoning similar to what Moses would do on coming down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments only to find the Chosen People in a state of idolatry worshiping a golden calf. 

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AS AN INSIGNIFICANT MUSTARD SEED

The Catholic Church is getting smaller. Fewer births, more departures and confusion reigns on what is essential to believe and what isn't. The cafeteria isn't quite closed.

One thing is for sure, we can't force Catholics to have more children, to stop leaving, to end the confusion and to close the cafeteria. We can't control Catholics. This is hard for control freaks to understand.

I've lived in Georgia for 58 or my 61 years. I've always experienced the Catholic Church as small minority. We never had power.

But as a small minority, we did and do have a spiritual impact in our Georgia communities.

Souls are being saved while some choose the way of damnation.

Good works are being accomplished on an institutional level within parishes and by individual Catholics in the public square.

Maybe this will have to do. It will have to do whether we like it or not. We can't control things.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

EQUIVALENT AND LITERAL TRANSLATIONS OF LANGUAGES INTO ENGLISH: OBVIOUSLY WE SHOULD ALL PREFER THE EQUIVLANT VERSIONS!

John Nolan quotes Archbishop Annibale Bugnini as saying:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

But Former Father PI states that John Nolan's version of the translation is prejudiced. In reality, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini said the following:

"And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."

I suspect that Former PI is giving us the literal translation of what Archbishop Bugnini wrote. Therefore if this is true we should all despise it as those who despise the new and glorious literal translation of the English Roman Missal.

I suspect too, that what John Nolan presents is an equivalent translation of the Italian original. If so we should all love it as equivalency is so touted by those who hate literal translations.

I am grateful to form PI for pointing out the obvious and that we should all love the equivalent version.

I saw this comment at another internet site that captures very well the essence or equivalent of what I am saying:


Hehe. So Archbishop Bugnini's defenders are objecting to the fact that the quote attributed to him all these years appears to have been translated into English by someone from the 70's era of the ICEL.

And they're mad as heck that the translation isn't remotely precise. Oh the irony!

Ironic too that his critics used a sloppy dynamic equivalence for all these years. You can't make this stuff up!

IS A SMALLER BUT NOT PURER CHURCH SIMPLY THE WAY IT WILL BE? YES, WE WILL BE SMALLER BUT NOT PURER AS CATHOLICS, ALL OF US, ARE SINNERS. PLUS THE IRISH INDEPENDENT COMMENTARY SLAMS THE OUT OF DATE CATHOLIC CHURCH--OH WELL! YOU WIN SOME AND YOU LOSE SOME!

Jesus was not successful in the eyes of the world. He was murdered after all. The  early Church wasn't successful either, it was martyred. And her mission thus far hasn't been too successful, lots of Catholics are destined for hell. This also implies Jesus' cross and resurrection wasn't too successful either in this regard.

Thus we have to take the following commentary from the Irish independent with a grain of salt. But I have to say, having grown up in a period of un-ecumenical anti-Catholicism in the south, this commentary sounds like religious bigotry toward the Church, not Christian, non-Catholic bigotry, but secular bigotry that almost rivals the infamous "Chic" publications.

The Church is not going to get people to come back to her by watering down the Faith. These people have joined a new religion and they are quite content. The Catholic Church has never been pure, we have always been sinners, big sinners. So we might be a smaller Church because some of us sinners have left for a new religion but we will never be a purer Church, ever!

I do believe we have to have a better apologetic about how we call out sinners. Calling people by the sins they commit isn't a good hermeneutic at all and it is off-putting. Someone may commit sodomy and this isn't a sin just of homosexuals, by the way, but is it necessary to call them sodomites?

Someone may commit masturbation, but do we have to call them masturbatorites? These two epitaphs go to a specific aspect of their sin and is descriptive of the sin and sinner. Whereas when we call someone a thief or adulterer or fornicator, we don't name the specific sin in the name calling but generally indicate that they have broken the moral law by stealing (we don't know if it is an armed robbery or simply taking a paper clip from work, the same with adulterer and fornicator, we don't name the specific sin just the general category).  So we don't call heterosexuals who commit fornication by the type of sin of fornication they commit, like coitusites or, heavy-pettingites or whatever the sex act might be.

So we need to be more gentle in our language. But lets face it, we can't keep everyone in the Church if they simply don't love the Church, respect her or believe what she teaches. How can we? That would undermine the gift of free will that God has given them that is a great gift with great responsibilities and consequences.

Here is the Irish Commentary  from the Irish Independent. This commentary tells us what we are up against.

An out-of-touch church must address its obsession with 'sexual morality'





Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result Open Gallery 2
Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is right that the Catholic Church needs a "reality check" in the wake of the landslide marriage equality referendum result, but the State also needs a reality check when it comes to its reliance on the church for the provision of education.

The notion that it took the decisive result of the marriage equality referendum for senior members of the church to grasp that it is no longer relevant in the lives of young people is a sad indictment of its remoteness from the lives of the people it purports to represent.

In truth, alarm bells should have been ringing for the church as far back as 1973, when the Supreme Court found married couples had a right to use contraceptives - even if the church and the State, which were then virtually indistinguishable, disagreed.

Instead, it has opted to ignore the massive societal changes that have occurred in Ireland in the intervening four decades, leading it to its current sorry impasse of irrelevance and decay.
 
Throughout the referendum campaign none of its members made any reference to their fundamental religious opposition to the proposal, preferring to frame their argument in dubious sociological terms.

Why? Because they knew reminding people that the Catholic faith considers gay sex immoral, and same-sex marriage a perversion of the institution, would not win over many voters.

This strategy was diverted from only once, when Breda O'Brien told the 'Sunday Independent' she believes gay people "should abstain from sex - like all unmarried couples".

Of course, seeing as she doesn't believe in same-sex marriage, what she was prescribing for gay people was a lifetime devoid of sexual intimacy. The benefits of living a celibate life would be, she said, "knowing that you are loved by God and that you are valued" - seeming to imply gay people in sexual relationships are neither loved by God nor valued.

This kind of dogmatism is something that a majority of Irish people, no matter what their religious persuasion, are no longer willing to countenance. The Catholic Church may believe that homosexuality is a moral disorder but people don't see their gay friends or family members as in any way deviant or their relationships as in any way disordered.

Therein lies the problem for the Catholic Church. It is peddling 19th century teachings about sexual ethics in a 21st century world and an increasing number of people are no longer willing to listen to disparaging descriptions of gay people as being somehow sexually sick.

This is particularly the case when those lectures are coming from an institution that facilitated and covered up the rape and abuse of children over many decades, leaving it with no moral authority when it comes to preaching about sexuality.

What the church is really facing is an existential crisis with itself - between its bipolar liberal and conservative wings, the former pleading for change and the latter opposed to any variation in its stance. Between people like former President Mary McAleese, who doesn't see any discord between her faith and her support of same-sex marriage, and the Iona Institute's John Murray, who believes Catholics who voted Yes have effectively renounced their faith.

However, even Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, pilloried by the religious right as a liberal dilettante in thrall to the media, doesn't seem to fully grasp the enormity of the challenge the church faces.

Speaking in the wake of the Yes campaign victory, he said, "the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people" - but the language is not the problem, it is the message.

While Pope Francis has recently softened the language the church uses to discuss gay people, the underlying teaching, that homosexuality is a disorder, remains the same and there is no indication that it is likely to change any time soon.

But the church has changed its stance on moral issues before, as prominent Catholic intellectual John T Noonan documented in his book, 'A Church That Can and Cannot Change'.

In it, he describes the volte face the church has done on a number of issues - like its former acceptance of slavery as part of the natural order of things or its view of religious intolerance as a moral imperative - and argues that the impetus for change back then came from prominent Catholic thinkers and leaders.

It is time for those kinds of leaders to again challenge the status quo position and question whether the church's obsession with issues of sexual morality are really a fundamental core of its ideology or merely a relic of a prurient past.
As the church embarks on some soul searching, it is also time for the State to evaluate whether it can continue to defend its wholesale delegation of the provision of primary education to the church - particularly when church teaching on a range of different social issues is so divorced from majority public opinion.

The Catholic Church currently controls 92pc of primary schools, in which an integrated curriculum that states "a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school" operates. This means that children who do not share the religious denomination of the school cannot escape its ethos, even if they're excused from religion classes, because it pervades the whole school day.

In a modern State which seeks to defend the principle of freedom of religion, how can the State continue to effectively be complicit in the attempted indoctrination of children who are forced to attend religious-run schools because there is no non-denominational option?

This does not mean that religious schools should be abolished, it simply means that the State must provide a real choice to parents so that they no longer feel that they have to get their children baptised in order to secure them a school place.

The Catholic Church does not have any special preferred position in the Constitution, compared to other religious faiths, so the State's continued attitude of deference to the church when it comes to the provision of education is an anachronism that has to be addressed.

Irish Independent

ECUMENISM AND THE MASS

Catholic or Lutheran?
Was the Mass redesigned to appeal to Protestants? I would say yes given my seminary education in the 1970's. In fact John Nolan proves this to be the case by quoting the primary architect of the revised Mass:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

Annibale Bugnini, L'Osservatore Romano, 19 March 1965.


Personally, I don't think this is entirely a wrong approach although it did lead to a deformation of the Mass as celebrated in rank and file parishes to this day. This fact is a result of not reading the black and doing the red but instead of being sloppy, banal and careless with the Mass especially when it comes to music and indiscriminate selections of lay ministries for the Mass with little or no real training. 

I can remember when I first got to the seminary having a heated discussion with another seminarian who thought we should not call ourselves Catholic anymore as it was too divisive when it came to reuniting Christianity. We should simply call ourselves Christian or the Christian Church.

Inter-communion became the norm and individual priests often made the decision to be magnanimous in inviting our separated brethren to the table of the Lord. In my previous parish I gave permission to a neighboring parochial vicar to celebrate the wedding Mass of one of his parishioners at my ornate downtown church. I just happened to be in the sacristy at the time of Holy Communion to hear him state to the congregation that anyone was free to come to Holy Communion at this joyous ecumenical event. Of course he even gave Holy Communion to the non-Catholic spouse. To say the least, he was not given permission by me to celebrate any more weddings or funerals at my parish church.

But I have to admit that the English Mass does make weddings and funerals more intelligible for non-Catholics. In fact in my southern parishes there are usually more Protestants in attendance at our weddings and funerals than there are Catholics. In fact I have had funeral Masses where the deceased and altar servers were the  only Catholics present at the Mass and the Church was full.

The English Mass was at least understandable to them in language even if the Protestants don't really get the mystical aspect of the Mass. But let's keep in mind that prior to the Council Protestant were converting to the Catholic Church in great numbers and appreciated the more complicated Latin Mass of that period. It was not a stumbling block to converts although to those who had no desire to become Catholic it didn't matter what language or how stripped down the Mass could be, they weren't becoming Catholic period!

Pope Francis is very suspicious of theologians and regularly denigrates them. He thinks ecumenism will come about at the grass roots. I thinks so too, but not in worship necessarily, but how Catholics relate to Protestants in the world.

On the institutional level ecumenism is best carried out in helping the poor through cooperative ministries. It is not occurring in worship, doctrine or morals. In fact we are further apart today than we were in the 1960's prior to the Council in these areas. And the reason for this is that Protestants have moved away from us even as we tried to move closer to them.

The ecumenism of tea and crumpets of the officials of the Church is a miserable failure. Annual conventions and workshops that these so-called ecumenists attend at diocesan expense have accomplished nada, nothing but good manners in social settings and a heady exchange if ideas and speeches not to mention some educational opportunities. I'm with the pope of this one, what uselessness!

Monday, May 25, 2015

REFLECTIONS ON THE DIFFERING VARIETIES OF POST-CATHOLICISM AND ITS CAUSES


It seems that there are two pastoral aspects of the Second Vatican Council that have not served rank and file Catholicism well, not so much because the idea is dated and flawed, maybe, maybe not, but because rank and file Catholics did not understand that one has to be truly committed Catholicism with deeply committed beliefs in what the Church teaches, how the Church prays and what the Church's worldview is to participate and dialogue properly with these two pastoral aspects of Vatican II.

What are these two pastoral aspects of VII?

1. Ecumenism and interfaith dialogue
2. Dialogue with the world

It did not have to happen, but these two pastoral aspects of Vatican II led many Catholic, maybe a majority to view the called for dialogue as a capitulation to the world and to protestantism as well as an egalitarian approach to other religions, a sort of recovery of the heresy of universalism.

For my purposes, I will speak of Catholics becoming secularists, the logical outcome of an uncritical dialogue with the world and Catholics who either become Protestant or Orthodox out of a false sense that these two schisms were justified and that Protestantism and Orthodoxy preserve elements of the Church lost by Catholicism. However, I will focus more on protestant capitulation rather than  Catholics swimming eastward.

The unbridled ecumenism of the 1960's saw the birth of the Pentecostal Protestant movement in the Catholic Church, what is known as Catholic charismatics. At its core it is Protestant focused on Scripture and personal emotional experiences of God. It is non-sacramental in other words.

It had an immense impact in the USA. More virulent forms of Pentecostalism has nearly destroyed true Catholic identity in South America where the Catholic Church caters to pentecostal sensibilities in worship and manner of being Church.

We see Protestant converts only partially converting but still harboring great suspicion towards the clergy and hierarchy of the Church especially the pope. Many of these types comment here. Their conversion was only partial.

The unbridled dialogue with the world has led to the more insidious deformation of Catholicism as made horribly clear in Ireland. It is secularism embraced by Catholics who still have a veneer of Catholicism but a very thin veneer. It is worse than the protestantization of Catholicism as it is a step toward, if not a complete capitulation to godless secularism born of agnosticism or atheism.

True Catholicism is lost in the process. This loss started with Vatican II but was fueled by the rupture in Catholic identity that the wrong interpretation and implementation of a pastoral council wrought on the Church beginning as soon as the documents of Vatican II were released beginning withthe one on the liturgy and then perverted in the implementation of the Council, not in continuity with the Church's great heritage but in a complete rupture striving to design a different Catholicism from that which had preceded the council.





A LOSS OF CATHOLIC FAITH IN IRELAND: TWO PERSPECTIVES

What Ireland did on Friday in showing the world that a popular vote landslide could lead to the approval of same sex marriage tells us in some ways what is wrong with the post-Vatican II Church today. There has been an over correction in tactics of leadership from authoritarianism (not to be confused with authoritativeness) to a wishy-washy Catholicism that lacks it edginess, authority or even convinceability.

However, there are two good commentaries on the Irish Church's decline and near fall. The first is built on the authoritarianism of the Irish Church enshrined in government that usually leads to anti-clericalism when politics and religion are too intertwined and viewed as limiting the freedom of the populace that doesn't believe everything the Catholic Church teaches. Civil law supports Church law and this causes resentment. It would be like Sharia Law imposed upon Americans who aren't Muslim and even the Muslims might not appreciate it being a part of secular law.

I know that my Italian mother thought it was a good thing when Italy finally allowed civil divorce which the Church had successfully defeated until a popular voters' uprising. My mom said that many good-for-nothing Italian men had left their wives and families and were living with their significant other and got away with it legally. In other words abandonment was allowed in the law and the offending party didn't have to offer support to his family.

This also caused a serious anti-clericalism in Italy when the Church involved herself too much in Italian politics like the Muslims do in their own Muslim countries.

The other commentary points to a loss of Catholic Faith and the vacuum filled not by evangelical Protestantantism as in South America, but by godless secularism.

Here are the two commentaries:

'We're next' says Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

Positive reaction to overturning of Catholic church's hold on Ireland may have knock-on effect elsewhere




























People march during the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Turin, on June 28, 2014
LGBT Pride Parade in Turin in 2014. Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. Photo: AFP/Getty
Ireland's historic vote in favour of same sex marriage reverberated across Italy on Sunday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's lieutenants came out in force to call for fast-track passage of a stymied civil partnership law.
Socially conservative Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. But that the Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62 per cent "Yes" vote in such a deeply Catholic country rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.
Several editorials on Sunday suggested that such a referendum in Italy would have a similar outcome, recalling the divorce referendum in 1974, when 60 percent of Italian voters went against the wishes of the Catholic church on a major social issue.
La Repubblica reported Mr Renzi confided privately that in the wake of the Ireland vote the question of civil unions in Italy can no longer be put off. Many of his key cabinet members and key party allies spoke out in favor of swift passage of the proposed legislation.

Roberto Speranza said it was now Italy's turn (AFP/Getty)
"What joy," said Roberto Speranza, leader of Mr Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party of the result. "Now it is Italy's turn." "The moment has arrived, finally, to approve this before the summer's end," said Democratic Senator Andrea Marcucci.
"Ireland is giving us a lesson in civility," said gay Italian politician Nichi Vendola, president of the Apulia region since 2005.
Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, said Ireland was giving Italy a much-needed push forward. "It is time that Italy has a civil unions law," Ms. Boldrini said on Twitter. "To be European means to recognize rights."
• Ireland's love for its gay children won out over fears for 'family'

The crowd in Dublin celebrates the referendum result on Saturday (EPA)
Ireland is the 13th EU country to recognize gay marriage. Many countries, such as Germany, allow civil partnerships but are yet to allow marriage, while Cyprus, Greece and most of Eastern Europe do not recognize any form of same sex union.
The vote in Ireland crowned a dramatic shift in public attitudes towards homosexuality and a wide range of other social issues as the Roman Catholic church's once-firm grip on the country weakens.
There was soul-searching in churches across the country after the vote in favour of changing the 1937 constitution specifically to allow same-sex marriage was declared passed, with a vote of 62.1 per cent in favour, on Saturday.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says there's a "growing gap between Irish young people and the Church" (AFP/Getty)
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, described the vote against church teaching on gay marriage as "overwhelming" and said Catholic leaders needed "urgently" to find a new way to speak to the country's young.
"It's a social revolution," he said. "The church needs to do a reality check right across the board."
He said that some church figures who argued in the "No" camp came across as "harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention".
"Have we drifted completely away from young people?" he said. "Most of those people who voted 'yes' are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years."

After being honoured with the Tipperary International Peace Award on Sunday, Ban Ki-moon said the landmark referendum giving equal rights to same-sex couples was a truly historic moment (PA)
 
The vote is likely to have a knock-on effect elsewhere, particularly in Catholic-majority countries. It was also welcomed by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general.

"This is a truly historic moment: Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve marriage equality in a nationwide referendum," he said.

"The result sends an important message to the world: All people are entitled to enjoy their human rights no matter who they are or whom they love."

Italy's proposed civil partnership law – based on the German model - gives same sex couples many of the same rights as married couples, as well as the option of stepchild adoption, which allows a partner the possibility of adopting the biological child of the other partner. But the law is stuck in a Senate committee, where it has been bombarded with 4,320 amendments and is currently being rewritten with careful language that does not mention marriage.

Many of the roadblocks to the law have been thrown up by the far-right Northern League and the New Centre Right party of Angelino Alfano, which remain steadfast in their opposition to the adoption of children by same sex couples, the right for same sex partners to each other's pensions or a union that resembles marriage. "In our country we need to identify a path for civil unions that at the same time is not the same as marriage," said NCR's Fabrizio Cicchitto.

Pope Francis remained silent on the Irish vote during his Pentecost Sunday address (SIPA/Shutterstock/ Rex Features)
 
How the Vatican will respond to the social shift underway is as yet unclear. Pope Francis remained silent on the Irish vote during his Pentecost Sunday address, while comments by some senior Catholic clergy suggested the Church was reeling from the result.

"Many times the Catholic Church in Italy has said it is one thing to respect legitimate rights of every person, but it is another to speak of gay marriage," said Sicilian Archbishop Michele Pennisi in La Repubblica. But at least one senior Catholic cleric in Ireland now disagrees, saying the outcome of the vote was a message that the Church needs a "reality check. "

"I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day," said Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin. "That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live I think it is a social revolution."

While Pope Francis has in the past stressed that the Church continues to regard marriage as being a union between a man and a woman, he has also asked senior Church leaders to study the reasons why many countries continue to legalise same sex marriages.

Father Timothy Radcliffe is an outspoken proponent of gay rights (Nick Cornish)

In Latin America, where Catholic traditions and conservative governments tend to be anti-gay, Brazil, Uruguay, the Pope's native Argentina and the Federal District of Mexico City have passed laws allowing same sex marriages. Last week, the Pope appointed a liberal Dominican priest, Father Timothy Radcliffe, as consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Englishman is an outspoken proponent of gay rights – another sign, some say, that Pope Francis is showing willingness to take a more inclusive stance on the issue.

And here is the commentary concerning the loss of Christian Faith altogether:

Secularism has filled the vacuum left by the decline of Irish Catholicism
Saturday’s vote for same-sex marriage in Ireland is one for the history books. It’s the first time a country has legalised gay marriage by popular vote.

The question on everyone’s lips is: what changed Catholic Ireland into a post-religious country where gay marriage has been enshrined in law by the will of the majority of people?

The vastly diminished role of the Church has left an elephantine emptiness in Irish life. One very important factor is how ashamed many Irish people feel about the sexual abuse crisis. Perhaps the people who ought to feel that shame are the guilty priests and nuns. But Benedict XVI was right, in his book-long interview with Peter Seewald, when he pointed out that most Irish families had a member who had a vocation either as a priest or a nun. Therefore most Irish people felt very deeply the disgrace caused by the revelations of clerical sexual abuse. This was the case even if the priest or nun in a family was totally innocent.

Growing up in Ireland, I saw this first-hand, when a friend or acquaintance who had a brother who was a blameless priest, they would feel embarrassed to say that their sibling was a good priest, for fear that people would think they were “covering up”.

Humiliation and regret have gone hand in hand, and increasingly in the past few decades, the Irish, who have, by an average margin of two to one, legalised gay marriage, convinced themselves that if the Church was wrong, then the opposite of the Church’s teaching must be right.

When the Church lost power and influence in Irish life, that same power and influence was inherited by the forces of secularism. Have no doubt: the vacuum was filled by secularism: The Irish did not turn to another religion such as Pentecostal Christianity. When tens of thousands of people stopped practising as Catholics, they did not en masse convert to any other Christian denomination.

Jon Anderson hit the nail on head when he recently wrote: “Many Irish believe in Jesus in the same way that Hindus believe in Gandhi, an interesting historical figure.”

It’s not as simple as saying that the Irish have rejected the Catholic Church. It goes much deeper: the truth is that the majority have abandoned traditional Christianity and will not let it guide their choices and their way of life.

It’s a strange irony that the Irish constitution, dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, will now enshrine same-sex marriage. An austere portrayal that even the most formally Catholic legal charters for a formally Catholic country can be usurped by secularism.