15 July, 2012

The Catholic Church is Now Pissing Off the People Who Actually Like Them

This has got to be one of the dumbest ideas a bishop ever came up with. It's the very antithesis of what it means to be 'Catholic' to be building walls to determine whose 'in' from whose 'out'. I would not ever implement such a silly practice in a parish I served. 

I really hope that this does not turn into a trend that spreads beyond the USA. Thankfully, most of these American initiatives don't tend to spread over on to this side of the border.

The Catholic Church is Now Pissing Off the People Who Actually Like Them

8 comments:

  1. Fr. Tim - I wouldn't blame you if you thought that the of the opponents of the Church had infiltrated the ranks and were sending out letters like this.

    Your statement that you would never send this out in your parish hits the nail on the head. Because The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde never has been a pastor.

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  2. You would disagree?

    I *want* people to sign this.

    We've completely lost the idea that adhering to Church teaching is part of the core elements of Catholicism. It should be routine for those who teach the faith to sign on.

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  3. Suzanne: I too would want that every Catholic would want to sign such an oath. I want that Catholics would apprehend to themselves these core elements by learning what they mean so that they could make a full and free assent to the faith.

    BUT...

    We are far from that right now. People do not understand the teachings of the Church because they haven't been taught them! 50+ years of pablum has resulted in most people possessing a pale comprehension of what the Church teaches and why it does so. If you start drawing lines now demarcating 'true' from 'flawed' believers, you will be expelling FAR TOO MANY good people.

    The task is to teach, form, and convince Catholics till they reach a point where they would sign such an oath out of a deep desire to fully embrace and live their Catholic faith. That will take a generation or two before anything approximating a majority of Catholics would be able to digest the solid food that is the corpus of magistarial teaching.

    If I learned one things from Fr. RJN, it's this: If we are going to be authentically 'Catholic', then it is not the right path to follow to expel the weak among us. Protestants draw lines around their communions to delineate whose who are 'in' from whose who are 'out'. We should not follow their example.

    Remember, JPII always preached that the faith must be embraced freely and never imposed. Forcing people to sign fidelity oaths (which I freely did at the time of my ordination) does not respect his example because it is forcing someone to believe - perhaps so imperfectly as to doom their own soul by failing through ignorance or mistaken belief. I understand why its important for clergy to take such an oath - but we do so after a minimum of 5 years of study and formation. Catechists and other lay ministries are not in the same league.

    So, I agree with your sentiment, but respectfully suggest that you might be wrong for practical, pastoral reasons.

    Fr. Tim

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  4. Anonymous15 July, 2012

    The Church sees N American Catholics heading the way of Europe, something they desperately want to stop from happening. The problem is not. IMHO, that improper teaching was done. I may be a little older than you, Tim and all my age mates got the full pre Vatican II education and inculcation. It didn't work, few remain the kind of Catholics the Church wants and many are not Catholic at all.

    The challenge for the church is to make Christianity attractive and more than this, something they can be proud of. It's not basic Christian ideals that turn people off. It's something else. I think we both know what is repelling the laity. The question is can the church remove that aspect of it's being. I frankly doubt it.

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  5. Fr. Moyle, the problem is that the people who teach the faith aren't knowledgeable, and that's why we need these things: to make sure the people who teach are knowledgeable.

    I am the victim of the post-Vatican II know-nothing generation. And it's precisely because nobody REQUIRED orthodoxy-- ever-- that orthodoxy was never expected.

    I get that you don't want to kick everybody out, but we have to start requiring orthodoxy somewhere. People grow up Catholic thinking that accepting doctrine is optional because we allow it to be optional.

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    Replies
    1. Suzanne: We are not in disagreement, at least not significantly. Yes, orthodoxy is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT when we are dealing with what is taught. Catechists and priests must know and faithfully teach what the Church believes. Orthodoxy is NOT an option.

      But how is making someone sign a fidelity oath going to achieve this? Every priest and deacon must sign the same oath as a condition of ordination. You admit though that this has not stopped them from teaching false or heterodox positions. In almost all of those cases though, I would suspect that they still believe that they are respecting that oath. How can I say this? It's because most likely they have either been poorly taught or stopped studying and learning what the Church ACTUALLY is saying in true.

      It's similar to John Pacheo's position on the Winnipeg Statement on 'informed conscience'. Many priests still offer a 1970's interpretation of that teaching that effectively permits people to believe that they are within their rights to do whatever they think is right or moral. Confessors who still hold to this erroneous teaching do so because they haven't picked up a theology book since they left the seminary - not because they are purposely impugning Church teaching. They never read that JPII clarified this issue explaining that any presumption of benefit from an interpretation of such a moral issue must fall towards the greater goods pursued by the Church. Thus, life should win over artificial contraception; that the procreative element of the sex act should not be artificially suppressed to simply increase the number of infertile days within a woman's cycle. But if a priest hasn't read anything published in the past 30+ years, he wouldn't know that the teaching had developed to the point that it has today.

      The problem then is not going to be cured by a fidelity oath. It's going to require evangelization and education; religious formation and catechesis. Demanding someone sign a fidelity oath is not the right tactic to bring about the change that we both agree is needed.

      I hope this clears up any doubts or concern you might hold about my position on the essential challenge of embracing 'the wonderful challenge of orthodoxy' (to quote my old buddy, Fr. RJN).

      Fr. Tim

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    2. Anonymous17 July, 2012

      Would still teach to doubt your faith is a mortal sin?
      Would describe the Catholic God as a entity that would commit a infant to LIMBO ?
      Would you instruct even year olds re: impure thoughts and 'you can't go to communion, until you go to confeesion as a result?
      Would start with knowledge of the ten commandments before the wonder of God's creation?
      Would you still insist on crazy-making exclusive doctrine?
      I consider God the creator and that's basically it - all human ideas about him are suspect
      The church had me as a child - nothing to offer me now except an enormous apology

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    3. Anon: Let me answer each of your questions.

      1. Would still teach to doubt your faith is a mortal sin? No. That is not what the Church teaches.

      2. Would describe the Catholic God as a entity that would commit a infant to LIMBO? No. That is not what the Church teaches.

      3. Would you instruct even (?) year olds re: impure thoughts and 'you can't go to communion, until you go to confession as a result? I wouldn't put it that way. Most 'impure thoughts' are absolved through the participation in the penitential rite of the mass. With the exception of cases where such thoughts become a fixation - a Catholic in an otherwise state of grace can receive communion without fear.

      4. Would start with knowledge of the ten commandments before the wonder of God's creation? No. Helping a person see God's fingerprints in creation is just as instructive as teaching about the 10 commandments. They should be taught at the same time or as part of a comprehensive program of religious catechesis.

      5. Would you still insist on crazy-making exclusive doctrine? Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about.

      Hope this helps you understand what I am saying.

      Fr. Tim

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