Chaput scolds American Catholics and the church

posted at 12:21 pm on March 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Archbishop Charles Chaput has become one of the most outspoken advocates for American Catholics in the last few years, but now he trains his rhetorical and teaching skills on the church itself and its members.  Chaput decries the state of Catholic education that has allowed people to fundamentally misunderstand their own faith, and scolds the church for allowing itself to become more concerned with membership than truth.  The consequences of the failure can be seen all around us, Chaput says:

Having been asked to examine what November 2008 and its aftermath can teach Catholics about American culture, the state of American Catholicism and the kind of Pauline discipleship necessary today, Archbishop Chaput said:

“November showed us that 40 years of American Catholic complacency and poor formation are bearing exactly the fruit we should have expected. Or to put it more discreetly, the November elections confirmed a trend, rather than created a new moment, in American culture.”

Noting that there was no question about President Barack Obama’s views on abortion “rights,” embryonic stem cell research and other “problematic issues,” he commented:

“Some Catholics in both political parties are deeply troubled by these issues. But too many Catholics just don’t really care. That’s the truth of it. If they cared, our political environment would be different. If 65 million Catholics really cared about their faith and cared about what it teaches, neither political party could ignore what we believe about justice for the poor, or the homeless, or immigrants, or the unborn child. If 65 million American Catholics really understood their faith, we wouldn’t need to waste each other’s time arguing about whether the legalized killing of an unborn child is somehow ‘balanced out’ or excused by three other good social policies.”

Offering a sober evaluation of the state of American Catholicism, he added:

“We need to stop over-counting our numbers, our influence, our institutions and our resources, because they’re not real. We can’t talk about following St. Paul and converting our culture until we sober up and get honest about what we’ve allowed ourselves to become. We need to stop lying to each other, to ourselves and to God by claiming to ‘personally oppose’ some homicidal evil — but then allowing it to be legal at the same time.”

Commenting on society’s attitude towards Catholic beliefs, Archbishop Chaput said, “we have to make ourselves stupid to believe some of the things American Catholics are now expected to accept.”

“There’s nothing more empty-headed in a pluralist democracy than telling citizens to keep quiet about their beliefs. A healthy democracy requires exactly the opposite.”

The leadership of the Catholic Church has abdicated its role in instruction and faith formation, which one can see in church life on a daily basis.  In part, they willingly surrendered both in exchange for broader appeal, and in significant part undermined it with the shameful role church leaders played in covering up for pedophiles within their ranks.  In order to have enough moral authority to instruct, the priests and bishops have to live their lives in a moral fashion.  One cannot lecture about protecting innocent life while keeping child molesters from justice and tacitly allowing them to continue preying on the innocents in the parishes.  Even if the percentage of priests molesting children was very small, the acts of church leaders in decades past to shuffle them around to keep them from accountability destroyed their credibility to lead the flock.

Now that we have moved past that (with the probable exception of Roger Cardinal Mahoney in Los Angeles), the church needs to start teaching the faith.  Chaput nails this; the church literally “made itself stupid” by not teaching what it means to be Catholic, our values, our doctrine, and our identity.  The Catechism’s ubiquity may have convinced church leaders that teaching was no longer necessary, but the wide ranging misunderstandings of the faith even within the lay ministries disprove that beyond all doubt.  Even in my own parish, one RCIA instructor told the class that all souls will eventually go to heaven, an ancient heresy long opposed by the Catholic Church as well as most Christian denominations.  Is it any wonder that American Catholics can conclude after that instruction that they can “balance out” social justice issues as Chaput describes, if the weak level of instruction offered at a parish includes such heresies?

Would better instruction in faith reduce the numbers in the parishes?  Probably, but the mission of the Catholic Church (or any other Christian sect) is not to win beauty contests.  It’s to teach timeless truths in a manner that merits confidence, demonstrates wisdom and moral clarity, and lift the souls of those who believe into eternal life.  Chaput rightly puts the failure of the American Catholic church on church leadership itself.  Hopefully, he can inspire the laity to demand better of church leaders, and inspire better leaders from within the ranks of the priesthood.  (via The Anchoress)

Addendum: In another example of the laity pressing for better consistency from the leaders, Creative Minority Report has an interview with a pro-life leader at the University of Notre Dame, who has started a movement to demand that ND withdraw its invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at its law-school commencement:

In an exclusive interview with CMR, Mary K. Daly, the President of Notre Dame’s Right to Life group, said that the school administration’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver the Commencement Address is a “slap in the face” to many Catholics and has many students questioning whether they can “in good conscience” attend their own college graduation.” …

CMR: Do you folks have any plans to protest?

Notre Dame Right to Life as a student group, though we do not at this time have concrete plans of response, I can assure you that there will be a response. The leadership committee of Right to Life, together with the leadership from all of the other conservative, Catholic-minded campus groups, will be meeting this Tuesday to discuss an organized response.


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Here they are protesting the minutemen chracters. “Feel the Love” from these poor undocumented immigrants?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeM6K3tjuL0

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Good to see Chaput finally turning around.
*
For years he was part of the problem, doing exactly what he is accusing Catholics of doing now. He regularly published mind-bending columns in the Denver Catholic Register, a weekly newspaper for the Denver area Catholics. His logic was often contorted, but his Democratic leanings were always glaringly clear.
*
He fully bought into the propaganda that the right were greedy and uncaring, and that only the left truly tended to the downtrodden and poor. He routinely conflated immigrants with illegal immigrants, and one had to wonder if he were more interested in increasing church membership than following the laws of our land.
*
It pulled his focus from other items on the left agenda, such as all-out abortion policies and embryonic stem cell research. Items which weren’t as obvious to the casual observer before Obama’s reign, and could be conveniently forgotten on the back burner.
*
Whether this is a sincere change of heart or this is a calculated political move, I don’t know. But it does finally provide some leadership in the pro-life arena.
*
The Catholic Church is what it is. Leaders should teach what it stands for and let the chips fall where they may. They should stop trying to market for membership by diluting the message, which doesn’t appear to be working anyway.

the_moll on March 23, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Here they are protesting the minutemen chracters. “Feel the Love” from these poor undocumented immigrants?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeM6K3tjuL0

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Again, some undocumented immigrants have joined our services and died for our country. They are patriots in a fashion you, sitting on your whoopie cushion in front of your keyboard and mouse, will never ever be. For every example of doofus behavior you can rustle up, I can rustle up a counter example of correct behavior.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 2:55 AM

You eventually revealed yourself for what you are. Play your race card all you want.

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Know Nothing, it’s not my race card. You haven’t come close to making a disparaging remark about my race, because you might think you know what it is but you don’t. I’m not the one making jokes about skin color and ethnic identity, It’s one thing to call me on my religion, another to say that an entire class of immigrants ought not to be here because of theirs. It’s yet another to use a racially disparaging epithet and then say gee, you’ve got to have thought that one funny…

No, I don’t think it funny, and at least one other person on this board doesn’t either.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 11:01 AM

He’s not doing it merely as an American citizen. He is identifying votes for particular candidates as sinful and requiring penance. Some Catholics don’t see their religious leaders as particularly qualified to decide how the country should be governed.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 9:44 AM

dedalus, I have always appreciated the fact that your comments most of the time show consistent and well formed thought and logical integrity. But this is a little sloppy. Impartial observation of the bishops’ statements regarding elections would reveal that they do not “identify votes for particular candidates as sinful” but instead seek to clarify how a Catholic must exercise their judgment in a way that is consistent with their catholic principles and beliefs.
Bishops are teachers and pastors and are charged with the souls of the faithful. It is their duty to clarify moral teaching where there is confusion and to confront scandal when they see it creating confusion.
It is a grave sin to co-operate in an intrinsic evil like abortion. Some forms of this co-operation result in automatic excommunication. The bishops must do their best to informs Catholics’ consciences, that does not mean they are telling people “how the country must be governed”, you must admit that saying so is a stretch of logic.

neuquenguy on March 23, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Maybe none of them are true, but it’s illogical to believe that 2 or more religions which believe opposite things can all be true. While I do believe that we need to respect each other no matter what faith we follow, this idea that “all religions are true” is just another meaningless platitude of our hyper PC modern culture.

frank63 on March 23, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Not necessarily! If one follows a belief system that espouses reincarnation, not in the traditional Eastern beliefs, but in the aspect that each person is experiencing a “spiritual evolutionary process” that spans many lifetimes, then those religions espousing reincarnation make a great deal of sense.

Think in terms of lifetimes of learning. How many different people in this world are there, and how many different levels of learning and understanding are they experiencing individually? You and I are completely different, and my life is ending with a terminal illness that is horrendously painful. What is it that I’m to be learning, the pearls of wisdom of which I’ll be taking into the next lifetime and using to build the foundations for learning experiences in that next lifetime? Why are some people born with a compassionate and giving nature, while others, especially the criminal sorts, are bereft of even basic human compassion? If each experience a different type and set of levels of learning, that would explain why we are born so vastly different with gifts, talents, cultures, races, and degrees of wealth or poverty, with the varying combination of those aspects providing even more complex differences in our individual experiences.

It’s sort of like going to school, from Pre-K all the way through university. Each lifetime represents a grade in school, and each lifetime completed graduates to the next grade, with the ultimate graduation being the achievement of a spiritual awareness that brings us to heaven and the level of the archangels.

In that context, then each person is ‘walking’ their ‘spiritual path’ that is necessary for whatever level of spiritual awareness and learning they’ve achieved so far, and in keeping with that level of learning, a religious affiliation would provide learning experiences consistent with the lessons that person is being challenged with in their current lifetime. Hence, different classes of people, e.g. rich vs. poor, and different levels of spiritual awareness, from Native American cultures to Far Eastern religions, to Christianity, and so on.

It makes perfect sense that we cannot learn everything there is to learn spiritually in one lifetime as we can only experience one lifetime and one set of experiences at a time. We could not study being excellent doctors while at the same time learning to be excellent structural engineers, could we? It takes a huge chunk of years just to successfully master any one given profession, and there are so many professions….so multiple lifetimes is the only logical answer for experiencing everything there is to experience in the spiritual evolutionary process.

I’m afraid it was this entire concept that hung me up for years, making it impossible for me to reconcile life’s experiences with Christian teachings. Only when I’d matured to where I am today, and was able to look and think outside the box, did I achieve the wisdom and insight to reconcile it all, and then only after I’d become disabled and had to “retire” from my career. That gave me lots of time to do even more extensive research and think things through quite more rationally and logically without the distraction of a career or hobbies.

As an aside, I’m very much aware that we could carry this discussion and debate on and on quite extensively, and I don’t think it would be appropriate to do so here at Hot Air. It would be tantamount to an abuse of the privilege provided by Michelle and AllahPundit and Ed in letting us voice our opinions in an “on topic” nature for each of the articles they post.

So if anyone knows of a forum where we can adjourn to in order to continue this discussion, I’m open and willing to the move should others care to continue it as well.

Otherwise, this will be my last post here in this thread, so that the thread doesn’t explode with a new round of discussions on religious matters that are off topic, and I’ll let others have the “last word” on it. :)

KendraWilder on March 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM

The bishops must do their best to informs Catholics’ consciences, that does not mean they are telling people “how the country must be governed”, you must admit that saying so is a stretch of logic.

neuquenguy on March 23, 2009 at 11:33 AM

During the 2004 election, Chaput spoke specifically of John Kerry and the danger of committing sin by voting for a candidate like him.

In an interview in his residence here, Archbishop Chaput said a vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Communion.

“If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?” he asked. “And if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes.”

The problem with Presidential elections is that they come down to two individuals, each with an imperfect mix of positions. Voters would be directly affected by the potential policies of either candidate and have to weigh financial, law & order, and national security issues along with the basic competence of both men.

A voter may understand the abortion positions of both candidates but feel that there are national security concerns that have a more immediate impact on the nation’s well-being. The voter may be making this assessment based on knowledge in a field that the Cardinal is not expert in.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Not necessarily! If one follows a belief system that espouses reincarnation, not in the traditional Eastern beliefs, but in the aspect that each person is experiencing a “spiritual evolutionary process” that spans many lifetimes, then those religions espousing reincarnation make a great deal of sense.

KendraWilder I think you missed my point. I wasn’t trying to start a discussion about whether reincarnation is true or not. You seem to believe in it and I completely respect that. However, the Catholic church (as well as most of the Protesant church) rejects reincarnation. It teaches that we have one life, then heaven, hell or in the case of Catholicism, purgatory. By espousing reincarnation, you are by definition saying that the Catholic religion is wrong about the afterlife. You’re doing the same thing you accused the Catholic church of doing…calling other religions wrong. You may not be stating that explicity, but you are saying it implicitly. Again, my point is that 2 religions that make opposite truth claims can’t both be true, unless you water them down into some sort of diluted mush. That’s what’s really going on today and I really don’t think I’m going off topic here. I think that’s the essence of the issue regarding Chaput’s scold. There is an aversion in our modern society toward claiming any absolute truth and this mentality has seeped into the church. Leaders are too timid to stand up and say certain things are right or wrong for fear of being labeled fanatical or intolerant. We’ve lost the true meaning of tolerance. It once meant treating with respect those who we disagreed with and hence believed were wrong. Now it means you’re not allowed to believe anyone or anything else is wrong, and if you do believe it you’re certainly not allowed to say so publicly.

frank63 on March 23, 2009 at 12:42 PM

A voter may understand the abortion positions of both candidates but feel that there are national security concerns that have a more immediate impact on the nation’s well-being. The voter may be making this assessment based on knowledge in a field that the Cardinal is not expert in.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM

True, but it does not change the fact that it is the right and duty of a bishop to explain to the faithful the consequences of their actions. If there is a reasonable expectation that voting for a specific candidate will amount to co-operation with an intrinsic evil (which is evil regardless of the circumstances, like abortion) then that issue has much more weight on the catholic’s conscience than for example national security issues (in which there can be valid differences of opinion).
It is debatable which issue has more consequence to the well being of the country. But it is not debatable (in Catholic dogma) that the issue of co-operation with intrinsic evil has far more weight on the conscience and judgment of an individual catholic. Therefore, the bishop is right in calling this fact to the attention of the faithful. He has authority to speak on matters of faith and morals, he does not have the authority to speak on matters of national security. The catholic voters will make their own decisions and live with the consequences.

neuquenguy on March 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

He has authority to speak on matters of faith and morals, he does not have the authority to speak on matters of national security. The catholic voters will make their own decisions and live with the consequences.

neuquenguy on March 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

I agree that he should be out there forcefully making the positions of each candidate clear on moral issues. It is up to individual Catholics to draw their own conclusions based on expertise they may possess beyond the capacity of the Bishop.

There are debates on national security questions, but one position is usually more right than the other and the consequences are high.

Intrinsic evil covers a lot of issues, with artificial contraception being one of them. While it may be intrinsically evil for Catholics to use most contraception, they don’t take it into consideration when voting for public officials.

I see how the moral consequences of abortion rises to the level of requiring public action, but some Catholic groups in this past election cycle lumped gay marriage into the same mix with cloning, stem cells and other questions. Whatever one’s opinion is of gay marriage, I can’t see how it is remotely as consequential as abortion.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 1:08 PM

The whole debate is ridiculous from a Catholic standpoint. The USCCB (US bishops are as bad or worse than any one)is so political and leftist that they have confused the whole issue. I think they fear alienating their money sources but if they taught the truth they would actually not only gain souls, they would gain cash. You can’t have social justice for the dead. Abortion is the first issue. Murder trumps living wage. As far as the constant reminder from some about priest abuse, the John Jay study found that the “abuse” (still not excusable but far less incendiary)was 85+% between homosexual priests and homosexual 16+ teenage boys. Once those statistics were revealed the media dropped the topic like a hot potato. It became less of a man/child scandal than a homosexual scandal. Pope Benedict wants more screening to avoid homosexual priests while the USCCB (wonder why?) continues to obfuscate on the subject. Amazing how every issue comes down to money, power, sex.

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

The Catholic Church is what it is. Leaders should teach what it stands for and let the chips fall where they may. They should stop trying to market for membership by diluting the message, which doesn’t appear to be working anyway.
the_moll on March 23, 2009 at 10:34 AM

I was off-thread last night, but your post today brought to mind Tom Lehrer. My folks had his classic album, That Was the Year That Was, which included the following tune. I thought it was very appropriate to this thread and might bring a few chuckles, especially amongst my fellow Catholics.

The following text was Tom’s lead-in on his album:

Another big news story of the year concerned the ecumenical council in Rome, known as Vatican II. Among the things they did, in an attempt to make the church more…commercial, was to introduce the vernacular into portions of the Mass to replace Latin, and to widen somewhat the range of music permissible in the liturgy. But I feel that if they really want to sell the product in this secular age, what they ought to do is to redo some of
the liturgical music in popular song forms.
I have a modest example here; it’s called “The Vatican Rag”!

Tom Lehrer’s The Vatican Rag

When I was 9, my parents moved us to a town known for its “progressive” approach to religion (we had interfaith centers instead of churches and synagogues, the latter were thought to be too divisive). Of course, the Catholic parish featured liturgical dancers and rock music, including the Lord’s Prayer set to a Rolling Stones tune…

Y-not on March 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Lord’s Prayer set to a Rolling Stones tune…

Y-not on March 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

“I know….it’s only transubstantiation, but I like it…”

Just couldn’t help myself.

But on topic, Chaput is dead right.

connertown on March 23, 2009 at 1:22 PM

It became less of a man/child scandal than a homosexual scandal. Pope Benedict wants more screening to avoid homosexual priests while the USCCB (wonder why?) continues to obfuscate on the subject. Amazing how every issue comes down to money, power, sex.

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

The organizational cover-ups and shuffling of abusive priests around is troubling. It doesn’t detract from the multitude of good that the Church does, but the Church should be vigilant in preventing a recurrence and continue to punish those who used their administrative positions to cover it up.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 1:24 PM

When I was 9, my parents moved us to a town known for its “progressive” approach to religion (we had interfaith centers instead of churches and synagogues, the latter were thought to be too divisive). Of course, the Catholic parish featured liturgical dancers and rock music, including the Lord’s Prayer set to a Rolling Stones tune…

My own current Church was almost put under interdict by the bishop but was allowed to be the local nut church for many years. It was finally cleaned up after the charismatic priest was found to be having a heterosexual affair. They not only had liturgical dancing, lay control of every aspect of the parish and other liturgical improprieties they also hosted “act up” and raised money for the Sandinistas. In effect, it was really the local democrat precinct house complete with fund raising. Jesus was never seen crucified only “risen” and the real presense was regulated to a side room. Voting and fundraising democrat and watering down the faith go hand in hand.

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Jvette on March 22, 2009 at 8:06 PM

I will pray for you and your husband. Never give up praying for him. I have heard of several husbands who converted after decades of prayer by their wives. Some at the very end of their lives. Like the prayers of a righteous parent for their children (like St. Monica and St. Augustine), God hears the prayers of a loving spouse.

Elisa on March 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM

frank63 on March 23, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Excellent. Thank you.
God bless you

Elisa on March 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM

My own current Church was almost put under interdict by the bishop but was allowed to be the local nut church for many years. It was finally cleaned up after the charismatic priest was found to be having a heterosexual affair. They not only had liturgical dancing, lay control of every aspect of the parish and other liturgical improprieties they also hosted “act up” and raised money for the Sandinistas.
Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 1:26 PM

I wonder if we’re talking about the same parish. Mine was in Columbia, MD.

We had nuns and priests run off together, sermons about migrant workers and Vietnam from the pulpit, and catechism classes that were so far off doctrine that my folks pulled us out of them. On several occasions my parents marched us out of mass in solidarity with the Vietnam vets’ families.

It was a terrible parish but my dad kept going to keep an eye on them. (Personally, I wish we had gone to church a normal parish.)

Y-not on March 23, 2009 at 1:31 PM

The organizational cover-ups and shuffling of abusive priests around is troubling. It doesn’t detract from the multitude of good that the Church does, but the Church should be vigilant in preventing a recurrence and continue to punish those who used their administrative positions to cover it up.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Absolutely there was tremendous wrong. However, the idea of a 16 year old homosexual teenager and a 30 year old homosexual priest isn’t quite as horrifing as the idea of a 10 year old boy or girl and some old pedophile priest. I have heterosexual teenage boys and there is NO CHANCE they would get diddled by anybody. The liberals in the Church and the “pink palace” seminaries were the root of the problem and the old bishops who tried to make things nice were working on the assumption that these guys were reformable, responsible, and prayerful. The lavendar mafia still exists in the Church and is said to be one of the pieces that Benedict wants cleaned up and that’s one of the main reasons he is so reviled by the media and the liberals.

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Intrinsic evil covers a lot of issues, with artificial contraception being one of them. While it may be intrinsically evil for Catholics to use most contraception, they don’t take it into consideration when voting for public officials.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 1:08 PM

That is because it is not usually an issue. If a candidate promised for example to make contraception or sterilization compulsory after someone has 2 children it probably would become an issue.
As we have seen with the various Obama executive orders in his short 2 months in office, the fear that electing him president would set back the rights of the unborn were well funded. Any reasonably well formed catholic should have been able to foresee that these would be the consequences and therefore could not in good conscience vote for him. As Catholics we have the responsibility to oppose the greater evil, and the bishops were truthful to the understanding of the church when they pointed out that abortion was indisputably the greater evil on the table in this election cycle.
Please understand that my focus is on the bishop’s right and responsibility to educate the faithful in these issues in regards to how this pertains to their individual souls, not on their right to direct the government of the united states. It is perfectly permissible for the church or any other group to attempt to influence public policy, but that is a different discussion altogether.

neuquenguy on March 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM

KendraWilder on March 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I am very sorry to hear about your illness and I will keep you in my prayers.

All the world’s leading religions should be treated with respect, but they are certainly not all true (although they each have some truth in them – the truths that conforms with Jesus Christ’s truths, given by the Holy Spirit, some written on the hearts of men). Not all religions are equal because they are not all true. We must search for truth. The fullness of truth. And that comes only through Christ, His Church and His Holy Word.

I agree with Frank. Listen to what he is saying to you. (And if I may be so presumptuous, if the moment ever comes, even at the end, when you sense God is speaking His full truth to you about Christianity and telling you that what you have come to believe about reincarnation is wrong, please, do not cling to your present beliefs because of all the many years of study you have had. I understand you are already a Christian, but some of your beliefs are not. Changing your beliefs at the end does not mean that your lifetime of study and seeking was a waste. It is only His grace and His truth and His salvation that matter. I hope you forgive my presumptuousness and take this in the spirit in which it is given. Go with an open heart and do not rely so much on your mind. Not that we are to dismiss our minds.)

The leap of faith for a truth we do not comprehend fully, will lead to an understanding by the mind later, with the grace of God. But the understanding does not always come before we accept it in our hearts. Just trust in God, He will answer your prayers for truth.

Proverbs 3:5:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not;”

Something cannot be true for one person and not true for someone else. Truth is objective, not subjective. We subjectively believe something to be true, but that doesn’t make it true. So we must pray and search for the objective truth, that we may be graced by God to believe that alone.

And reincarnation cannot conform to true Christianity. Yes, our individual lives are spiritual journeys and no two people have the same journey or gifts or experiences. But we do not need more than one lifetime to know the truth.

All we have to do is know Christ and His Holy Word. And that requires only one lifetime.

Hebrew 9:27 “It is appointed for men to die ONCE, and after this the judgment.”

And all Christians (of all 3 major branches of Christianity) believe in the resurrection of the body. Jesus said it in the Gospels, the rest of the Bible talks about the resurrection of the body numerous times and the first Christians believed in it, as per the writings of the early fathers.

Reincarnation does not square with this. Because then we would each have a bunch of resurrected bodies at the end of the world after the Second Coming. What would our soul do? Hop around from body to body and leave some of our bodies without souls? At the end of time we will each have one glorified resurrected body.

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a11.htm

You said, “Why are some people born with a compassionate and giving nature, while others, especially the criminal sorts, are bereft of even basic human compassion? If each experience a different type and set of levels of learning, that would explain why we are born so vastly different with gifts . . .”

It’s a good question.

The explanation is not many lifetimes. The explanation is the grace of God. It is only by His grace that we have faith and the gifts He gave to us individually. We did not earn them and we do not deserve them. For some it takes many years before God gives them the gift of faith, for some it is given as a young child, for some, not until their deathbed. No one but God knows what and when He calls each man to. Only He can read the hearts of men. Christ can appear to any man between the moments of life and death and offer His truth and salvation. God is outside of time and space and a second can be like a thousand years to God.

But in the end, it is the gift itself that matters, not when it is given.

Why are the gifts different? We do not know all the whys. Because we cannot fully understand the mind of God. So we trust in God alone and His Holy Word.

Isaiah 55:8-12:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats,
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back.”

In His peace may you be brought back to Him after this life is ended.

God bless you always. And God bless everyone here. Have a good day.

Elisa

Elisa on March 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Please understand that my focus is on the bishop’s right and responsibility to educate the faithful in these issues in regards to how this pertains to their individual souls, not on their right to direct the government of the united states. It is perfectly permissible for the church or any other group to attempt to influence public policy, but that is a different discussion altogether.

neuquenguy on March 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM

I understand your point and we probably aren’t too far apart in our opinions. My concern is that the election of a U.S. President is consequential beyond the moral issues that the Church is keyed in on. Many Catholics who supported McCain would have continued to do so even if the Church’s calculus had come out differently.

dedalus on March 23, 2009 at 1:54 PM

I wonder if we’re talking about the same parish. Mine was in Columbia, MD.

Head south about 30 miles. The DC area nuts are amost as bad as the CA nuts and not as tanned.

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 2:05 PM

It probably won’t do any good but here is the link to the petition to stop the scandal of Obama propagandizing at Notre Dame:

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 2:20 PM

http://www.notredamescandal.com/

Sorry, I couldn’t use the link function

Haunches on March 23, 2009 at 2:20 PM

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 11:01 AM

I agree that there are some hard working illegals who want to be legal. This is why I think we should make it easier to be legal
1. speak English
2. Swear allegiance to America only…that is America’s interests trumps your homeland’s interest
3. Be a good citizen…ie one that is productive instead of destructive ( destructive as in drug dealer etc )

I disagree with the notion that housing illegals is akin to the underground railroad, or keeping Jews safe from the Nazi SS. The Catholic Church is quite powerful in latin America, and it could use its power to make Mexico, etc better. Where Freedom reigns, the average persons lifestyle improves.

Conservative Voice on March 23, 2009 at 3:52 PM

KendraWilder on March 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I would love to have such a conversation – please include me if there is another forum for this. I think you made some interesting points I would like to comments on.

Queen0fCups on March 23, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Elisa on March 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Well, since you jumped in, I will make some comments as well. Give me some time to really consider what has been said – probably later tonight.

Queen0fCups on March 23, 2009 at 5:55 PM

As far as the constant reminder from some about priest abuse, the John Jay study found that the “abuse” (still not excusable but far less incendiary)was 85+% between homosexual priests and homosexual 16+ teenage boys.

Odd, even a curosry look at the Executive Summary from the John Jay Report shows this claim of yours to be false:

The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17, 16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7. Overall, 81% of victims were male and 19% female. Male victims tended to be older than female victims. Over 40% of all victims were males between the ages of 11 and 14.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2004_02_27_JohnJay/index.html#exec

JohnAGJ on March 23, 2009 at 6:46 PM

The Church and the police working together? What does Chaput say about the following video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBHs0sETasY

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 7:55 PM

RoastBeefer???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UidZjiEzYY&feature=related

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 8:06 PM

KendraWilder

It makes perfect sense that we cannot learn everything there is to learn spiritually in one lifetime as we can only experience one lifetime and one set of experiences at a time. We could not study being excellent doctors while at the same time learning to be excellent structural engineers, could we? It takes a huge chunk of years just to successfully master any one given profession, and there are so many professions….so multiple lifetimes is the only logical answer for experiencing everything there is to experience in the spiritual evolutionary process.

I don’t think we come back to this earth – BUT it is an interesting prospect given that right now there are more souls on the earth than have existed throughout all of history.So, perhaps we all are here now for the final phase of earth/human existence. A fun thought to play with, but not one I think is true.

We come to the human experience as spirits in the material world for specific teachings individual to the needs of our particular soul that can only be learned in the human existence (subject to vanity) and the limitations of the material world. Why do some babies die during birth or die in an abortion, or die of horrible physical abuse? Some souls only need the briefest of human experience, some experience a life of relative comfort, some of terrible privation. I don’t believe this life is all there is, but neither do I believe in eternal heaven and hell. I think this is just one part of our processing as we reconcile with God. I’m sure there are other planes of existence that will further perfect our soul in the furnace of affliction (like gold). I don’t pretend to know what this all means – I know there are plenty of religions that do have doctrines concerning those questions.

I also reject the duality of Satan and God. I believe God controls the interplay of good and evil. His thoughts are above our thoughts and his ways above our ways – and at the same time, he knows each of us from before we were in the womb, and once we are here he knows every thought, word and deed.

I respect everyone else’s faith or lack thereof. One can only walk in the light they are given – do you blame the deaf for not hearing the birds singing, or the blind for not seeing color? Some people do not perceive spirituality. One also cannot live on a borrowed revelation. Each person has their relationship with God (or not) and we are in no position to judge. Jacob I have loved, Esau I hated, not for anything he had done. The potter creates some vessels for honor and some for dishonor and the pot cannot turn to the potter and say “Why did you make me this way?” The one thing we can know is that all the vessels will be broken on the Rock.

I choose to be a believer in Christ. Simply put, I like the story of a God who knows all the inherent weakness of man on this earth, and made provision for his redemption by becoming man himself and dying for every imperfection (sin)ever even thought of. And did this from the foundation of the earth – it is part of the process of God becoming All in All. In no other religious motif does the god have so much compassion and understanding for his creation. Every other one is a do-it-yourself project. In Christianity, it is just the opposite. Our works – attempts at polishing up the flesh are but filthy rags. It is only a personal relationship with God – being friends with God – reconciliation – that he honors as justification. But even if one makes their bed in hell, his arms are not too short to reach. I also don’t beleive that one must acknowledge Christ for his salvation to be in effect, for every knee shall bend and every tongue shall swear Christ is lord. And it won’t be at the blade of a sword, but because he will be revealed. For it is lack of knowledge that keeps man from God, and since God controls spiritual understanding – it is a gift, how can one who doesn’t know god be held accountable?

Salvation is instantaneous (when it is recognized), eternal (it was never not there) and a process (always increasing in knowledge of God) all at once.

Queen0fCups on March 23, 2009 at 8:14 PM

I agree with Chaput on much of what he says here. The Catholic Church needs to get more serious about an expectation of conformance to doctrine in order to be Catholic. I have a feeling it won’t happen because they fear that too many would stop being Catholic.

Maybe what they do not consider is that there are many of us that are counted as Catholic, but do not participate in the communion of the Church because we feel it has lost its calling. I am one such person. I feel the Catholic Church has lost its way and compromised its integrity in an effort to avoid offending those that donate. If Catholicism returned to actually being a faith and not a political prop, I would return to the Church.

Hawthorne on March 23, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Conservative Voice on March 23, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Fair on (2) and (3); I fail to understand why the US allows dual allegience. But (1) has to happen at the immigrant’s pace. When I was a kid in Buffalo, New York, there was a Polish neighborhood nearby and an Italian neighborhood — and in those places, the storefronts had the immigrant languages. In the Polish neighborhood, in fact, there were two languages — Yiddish and Polish. The stamp shop I would go to (as in philately) was run by an old Jew who spoke only Yiddish. The guy who didn’t know much English, but he sure knew his US Postage stamps, and he was willing to spend 30 minutes or an hour with me, a 10 year old kid, where I might spend a maximum of $3.00. Somewhere he had guys willing to spend thousands on a plate block, because he had some of those, and was proud to show them to me.

40 years on, those neighborhoods are gone.

My wife hails from Chinatown here in LA. All those Chinese stores in “New Chinatown” (built in the 1930′s after “Old Chinatown” was replaced by the Union Pacific Station) are being converted to art galleries, because the kids (Fongs, Louies, etc.) have moved on, away from the things their parents were restricted to all those years ago.

Assimilation is always slow for those who arrive not knowing the language, and even slower for those who suffered discrimination in hiring and housing. Assimilation is going to happen for the illegals too — their kids speak English, eat hamburgers, and are moving into our society. It just won’t happen necessarily at the speed and the way RealDemocrat wants it to happen — where they become good white Protestants. America stopped being WASP many years ago, and we get to embrace an America that’s looking more and more like Bobby Jindal. I can do that, because I married into the family, so to speak.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 9:28 PM

If Catholicism returned to actually being a faith and not a political prop, I would return to the Church.

Hawthorne on March 23, 2009 at 9:18 PM

It still is a faith. As for the politics, which particular stances don’t you like? Is the Church going against the Bible or Tradition in holding those stances? If it is, you have a legitimate gripe. If it isn’t, you have to find the error in yourself.

You cannot divorce politics from faith in Catholicism, because faith in Catholicism embodies, among other things, works. If you read my description of how my sister who left the Faith thinks, her idea of faith is completely divorced from works, to the point where her Christianity is suspect.

The fundamentalists have a phrase for works — WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). That question informs every Christian when they act in the political sphere.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 9:41 PM

unclesmrgol:

No, I just looked at your post bemoaning all those dirty spanish speaking catholics trying to take over your otherwise healthy USA and drew the obvious conclusion.

I bemoaned the agenda of the American Roman Catholic hierarchy’s agenda of instant legalization for the huge number (read: millions) of illegal Hispanics already in this country in order to: 1) swell the ranks of the US Roman Catholic Church; and 2) to move this country towards being a majority Roman Catholic country. I didn’t call anyone dirty: For you to put that word in my mouth is less than noble. By the way, we have all seen the masses of illegal Hispanics demonstrating a few years back waving Mexican flags and carrying signs saying things along the lines of “We are the real Americans.” Anyone with common sense knows that these folks are not planning on assimilating. To be frank: I am not eager to live in a Mexico-like country. If I were, I could swim across the Rio Grande and join the real Mexican culture. As Michael Savage says so often: It is all about “Language, Borders, Culture.” In the past, immigration has been deliberately controlled in order to facilitate the assimilation of the newcomers: For us to legalize tens of millions of illegals at once is to subvert that very process of encouraged assimilation. If they come in by the tens of millions, where is the incentive for them to assimilate? You are less than honest if you do not admit that there are already significant enclaves of Spanish-only speakers in California, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. This is not a quaint phenomenon like your Jewish stamp dealer: This is an ominous trend: We are losing our culture. Your boasting that you are married to a non-white strikes me as shallow and immature: I know non-whites, whether native American or having come here legally who do not favor the wholesale legalization of illegals, as — once again — sadly does the US Roman Catholic hierarchy for what I believe are less than noble motives. In short, they are implicitly encouraging disregard for the law. If you insist on hurling the term bigot in my direction, you continue to demonstrate your need to resort to ad hominem due to your shortage of solid arguments on the merits. Yes: Some illegals have served nobly in our armed forces and have thereby earned their citizenship nobly: A good deal many more prowl our streets as members of predator gangs such as MS13. Illegals rape, murder, and kill while driving drunk DAILY in this country. But, hey, you apparently don’t mind, because — fanfare, please! — you aren’t a bigot. For Mr Smrgol, not being a bigot apparently means being free of the constraints of common logic and morality.

sanantonian on March 23, 2009 at 10:51 PM

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 9:28 PM

Us pochos can’t stand RoastBeefers like you…

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 11:17 PM

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 9:28 PM

English is a requirement for me. First it is telling when someone learns a language that they don’t know…that they are wanting to assimilate. Second, it helps with the assimilation, and will help them be successful. I’m not saying they have to pass a rigorous English test…heck most Americans couldn’t pass that test, but I digress…but they should be able to communicate at a 2nd grade level.
I recognize that it is hard…and I’m not saying that they are forbidden to speak their language, I just grow tired that we have to bend over backwards to accommodate them, and many playing the game that they don’t know English when they do.

Conservative Voice on March 23, 2009 at 11:23 PM

And when they marched here the second time, the Catholic Church in L.A. put white t-shirts on their backs and an american flag in their hand. Complicit in criminal behavior…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqk6IP-1Z0c&NR=1

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 11:44 PM

sanantonian on March 23, 2009 at 10:51 PM

You are welcome to try to get them out. Do we have the person-power to do it? If you think so, all the more power to you, but if we did, it would have been done long ago.

You are welcome to deny them benefits, to hound them, to deny them access to their families. Will it work? It didn’t for the Chinese, but it delayed their assimilation for a whole generation.

So you can go live in your America where those dirty brown Catholics shouldn’t exist, and I’ll go live in my America where they should and do. Which of us, in the end will be living reality?

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 11:57 PM

Conservative Voice on March 23, 2009 at 11:23 PM

English is a requirement for interaction with the government for me too, in most circumstances. However, should you be required appear in court, as either a defendant or a witness, you are entitled to a translator.

That said, they should be allowed to own and operate stores with signs in their native languages, publish newspapers in their native languages, speak their native languages…

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:02 AM

And when they marched here the second time, the Catholic Church in L.A. put white t-shirts on their backs and an american flag in their hand. Complicit in criminal behavior…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqk6IP-1Z0c&NR=1

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 11:44 PM

Good deed by the Catholic Church. It’s nice to know that we can distribute both clothing and icons at the same time. Would you have preferred red t-shirts and Mexican flags?

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:12 AM

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2009 at 9:28 PM

Us pochos can’t stand RoastBeefers like you…

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 11:17 PM

You a pocho? As is said elsewhere, ROTFL!

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:14 AM

The Church and the police working together? What does Chaput say about the following video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBHs0sETasY

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 7:55 PM

Makes me proud of my Church — ministering to the poorest of the poor. The telling statement:

In all likelihood, you have the products of their labor in your house right now.

I bet you do.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:22 AM

RoastBeefer???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UidZjiEzYY&feature=related

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 8:06 PM

You win one. The kid is a total dope.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:23 AM

The Church and the police working together? What does Chaput say about the following video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBHs0sETasY

RealDemocrat on March 23, 2009 at 7:55 PM
Makes me proud of my Church — ministering to the poorest of the poor. The telling statement:

In all likelihood, you have the products of their labor in your house right now.
I bet you do.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:22 AM

Must make you really proud when your church brings in those 14-year-old girls to be screwed by those 30-year-old guys huh? Ministering to the poor eh?

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 12:37 AM

In all likelihood, you have the products of their labor in your house right now.
I bet you do.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 12:22 AM

Uh….no. What I do get from those folks are overcrowded schools, clownhouses, congested highways, closed emergency rooms, overcrowded jails, a 51% dropout rate in my L.A. schools, barnyard animals roaming the streets, gangster drug dealers, murdered Americans on our highways, a lower standard of living, murdered Americans in their homes, lawless sanctuary cities, lawless sanctuary states, shall I go on?

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 12:59 AM

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 12:59 AM

Didn’t you at least watch what you posted? Or are you one of those people who don’t eat their fruits and vegetables?

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 1:34 AM

Must make you really proud when your church brings in those 14-year-old girls to be screwed by those 30-year-old guys huh? Ministering to the poor eh?

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 12:37 AM

Where in the video you posted was even the faintest indication that the Church was responsible for the prostitution in that camp? I saw a priest offering Mass in that video, which is hardly a sign of procuring, except in your personal universe.

Yup, an anti-Catholic bigot.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 1:39 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGjXmmV9JYY&feature=PlayList&p=330B9A68B957DC6A&index=8

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 1:34 AM

I don’t agree with her for the same reason that I don’t agree with you. You are merely her reflection.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 1:43 AM

Yup, an anti-Catholic bigot.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 1:39 AM

In total denial I see. Nothing left but name-calling. Couldn’t expect any more from someone so morally bankrupt…

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 1:55 AM

In total denial I see. Nothing left but name-calling. Couldn’t expect any more from someone so morally bankrupt…

RealDemocrat on March 24, 2009 at 1:55 AM

Three fingers point back.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 10:32 AM

And we’re back to the sure-loss “no shamnesty!” issue. Tell me, how did that work for all of those anti-immigration candidates back in the 2006 elections?

There is a heavy price to be paid for the last forty years of Protestantization and collapse of discipline — I have colleagues who are whining about having to eat a Filet o’Fish on Fridays in Lent. Let’s hope the horse isn’t out of the gate, because if it is, Roman Catholicism is doomed to become yet another no-Christianity Protestant group.

This is what you get when you implement “pick and choose” Christianity.

rightwingprof on March 24, 2009 at 10:47 AM

So…someone is saying the Catholic Church should be in charge of America?…I’m pretty sure we can think what we like, and not have to tell anyone what we think, by maybe this would be a good idea…no secret ballot, in fact no secrets at all, and a state governed be unelected holy men. Oh, wait, we already have that…It’s called Iran.

Observation on March 24, 2009 at 1:49 PM

So…someone is saying the Catholic Church should be in charge of America?

Who said that?

aengus on March 24, 2009 at 3:05 PM

I have colleagues who are whining about having to eat a Filet o’Fish on Fridays in Lent.

rightwingprof on March 24, 2009 at 10:47 AM

They are palatable only if you scrape off the “tata sauce”.

And a few Catholics always whine about Lenten obligations in public — it’s part of the tassels and phylacteries thing — whatever that is….

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2009 at 4:29 PM

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