Green Room

Next generation of Catholic clergy more conservative?

posted at 11:52 am on January 27, 2013 by

Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at the Catholic Association, says to expect the next generation of Catholic priests to be different from their recent predecessors.  After a long fight over abortion, and now the government intrusion of the HHS mandate, the seminaries are seeing an upswing in traditionalists and conservatives — perhaps more than anything seen since Vatican II:

The Great Catholic Awakening is a revival of Catholic orthodoxy among youth in the Catholic Church.

My generation of Catholics, men and women in their 20s and 30s, inherited a suffocating spiritual ennui inside the church and a culture of death, promiscuity, sadness, and fear outside her doors.

We were born into a world where millions of babies die of abortion annually, where countless more unborn babies are suspended silently in freezers, where we are told gender is random and marriage is amorphous and dissolvable.

We inherited hell on earth. …

Speaking of record growth at the Washington, D.C. based Dominican House of Studies, Rev. Thomas Joseph White says:

“Young men entering seminary today are coming out of a secular culture and have often made a counter-cultural choice to be Catholic. Our house is receiving more vocations than at any time since the 1960’s, and the men entering tend to be strongly supportive of the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI. They are interested in the recovery of more traditional forms of Christian belief and practice, but also in the evangelization of their peers.”

The trend toward conservatism is liturgical and cultural as well as political, and might have something to do with changing demographics:

The study found that younger nuns entered religious life with positive attitudes about the church and authority and chose orders based on their fidelity to the church. It’s not surprising then, as John Allen noted,that the liberal Leadership Conference of Women Religious has just one percent of female religious orders with more than ten sisters in formation versus 28 percent in the conservative Conference of Major Superiors of Women.

The National Catholic Reporter, a left-leaning Catholic publication admitted, “To put all this into a sound-bite, the next generation of religious will be more ethnically diverse and more traditional.”

This tends to jibe with what I’ve seen, too.  One acquaintance told me that his fellow seminarians were almost all conservative now, which surprised him.  I’m less surprised.  I think the past 40 years, and perhaps the past 12 months especially, have produced a change in perspective for Catholics in general, but specifically for those who feel the call of vocations.

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Oh, we’re also not eating meat on Fridays anymore. Because you’re not supposed to, as part of a weekly penance.

We didn’t know that about Fridays. We didn’t know that the USCCB got the US a special dispensation from that so long as Catholics did some sort of penance in place of the fast.

Of course, nobody in charge bothered to tell us about penance part either. And, of course, not eating meat is the easiest way to do that, but we figure the USCCB just wanted to get everybody a pass to be lazy.

We’re not annoyed with Rome, and we’re not crazy pre-Vatican II nuts. There’s some people who are swinging waaayyy too far the other direction, which is an understandable push back.

But I’d like somebody to actually bother to teach what the Vatican is doing. Not what the USCCB has yanked out of their own ass. I blame the USCCB for a lot of this. Including crap like supporting Obamacare and assuming that if you fed the gator you wouldn’t get eaten first.

If the USCCB wants to be left-leaning people and ignore true teachings of the Church, well, we can ignore them. And thanks to the internet we can easily find out what’s really coming out of Rome.

Spade on January 27, 2013 at 11:51 PM

I understand. You’re more than welcome to contact me at my blog if you feel like an honest exchange of views on the Faith.

Vatican Watcher on January 27, 2013 at 7:57 PM

This seems to be as good a place for you to do that as any. Big readership, as is obvious, and people who consider themselves strong in faith.

Heck, I was annoyed about the change in the language of the mass recently. Until a fellow Catholic online started talking about the reason behind it. And linked me to stuff about liturgical abuses.

So was I, but the reasons were stated in Our Sunday Visitor and a bunch of Catholic media outlets. They make sense — especially the theological attempt to make the prayers — including the Nicene Creed — more precise — not that they were not fairly precise already. The big problem was the choice of words, as I’ve commented elsewhere — where the normal person would say “became flesh by” the Creed uses “incarnate of”. The consolation I have is that this has been done all over the English speaking world, not just in the United States, thus maintaining the universality of the Order of Mass throughout the world. But the language, stilted as it is, forces us to think about what happened when the Son became the Son of Man (as Jesus humbly refered to Himself whilst he walked this earth).

Redemptoris Sacramentum — On Certain Matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

Number 7 is one which should be read by Mssrs. Biden and Pelosi in particular, as well as certain elements commenting here. As for the other liturgical abuses, I have never observed them in any Mass I’ve attended — I guess the priests of my parish are conservative in that respect. The closest would have been an instance of [74] in which, at a Mass, a person who had been abused by a priest spoke during the homily about how the incidents changed his life and why the changes were being instituted in how priests and volunteers would deal with children, and the screenings which would henceforth be required prior to such works of faith.


Ecclesia de Eucharistia

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM

By way of a nitpicking; I believe it’s Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, as opposed to “Conference of Major Superiors of Women”.

whatcat on January 28, 2013 at 12:46 AM

Oh, we’re also not eating meat on Fridays anymore. Because you’re not supposed to, as part of a weekly penance.

I still eat my “Catholic food” every Friday. And when people ask why I’ve chosen not to eat meat, I tell them the reason Catholics used to not eat meat on Friday. And it’s not entirely for penance that I choose to eat fish and bread — it’s to remind me personally of the Feeding of the Multitude.

There are a lot of Catholics like me — not just a few.

As for what you claim is an aberration of the USCCB, it isn’t. See Paenitemini in which ascetism (not eating meat, fasting) are linked to prayer and charity, and is made obligatory in developed countries for those considered adult and in good health. Hence the proclamation by the UCCB instituting this — an extension of the requirement to fast from the age of 20 to 60 down to the age of 18. Of course, even as a child I did not eat meat on Fridays — as my parents could only afford one meal and fish it was to be.

I agree — the Bishops relied upon Obama’s promise not to interfere with the religious observances of Catholics — and yet that’s exactly what he’s done. Although the Bishops were motivated by social justice — that a government has an obligation to care for the poorest it rules — such care has always been a geas upon the private person in the forms of almsgiving. Indeed, a tax extracted from a faithful person in no way can be viewed as almsgiving — especially when it can be diverted into things like grants to Planned Parenthood….

They’ve learned their lesson and shown exacly how, as individuals, they are human. Now we are seeing lawsuits; I doubt Sotomayor’s quashing of Hobby Lobby’s plea will stop things for very long.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 12:56 AM

JimLennon on January 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Name a bad modern pope. Just one, so I can see where you are going.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 1:17 AM

I’d like to write more about it, but want to do so with respect for the readers who may not care for those kinds of discussions — especially when it attracts people who are irrationally hostile to faith and Catholicism.
Ed Morrissey on January 27, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Perhaps then as a guest editorial at the site where the Missus writes?

And some people will get POed no matter what you write about, as I suspect you’ve learned over the years!

whatcat on January 28, 2013 at 2:09 AM

Does this mean that we can hope that in the future the national bishop’s counsels won’t be funneling millions (entrusted to them for the benefit of the poor), to anti-life, anti-God, anti-family, anti-constitution entities, such as ACORN, to help elect anti-all of the former, culture of death people, like Obama, to the presidency?
Does this mean that we can hope that more than a mere handful of the strangely silent bishops will actually respond publically to the attemted destruction of Catholic (and all Christian) conscience?
Does this mean that in the future we can hope that our shepherds actually fight the war against such and not merely “declare” it?
Does this mean that politicians who claim Catholicism as their faith will no longer be able to openly treat it as an enemy of truth and goodness?
Does this mean that the mission of God’s church will return to one of salvation and stop seeking paradise here on earth through the relativistic/Marixt concept of Social Justice?

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 6:34 AM

I’d like to write more about it, but want to do so with respect for the readers who may not care for those kinds of discussions — especially when it attracts people who are irrationally hostile to faith and Catholicism.
Ed Morrissey on January 27, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Gosh, Ed, that seems more like accomodating the removal of God from the public arena just because some folks are not going to want to hear the truth. Perhaps a reminder-”Did you think that I came to bring peace?” or on another plane, isn’t it just helping the “Give us barabbas” crowd?
We need, more than ever, to fight the good fight” remembering that it is still in recent memory that the same anti-Catholic folks chastized God’s Church for not publically fighting political evil in the nation of Germany. Now it is Amrerica’s turn to chose to hide what is truth and goodness, or cower.

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Fair points, but as you can see, I haven’t stopped writing about it. Also, while I have considerable editorial freedom here, it’s still not “my” site to do with entirely as I please. I do want to keep in mind that readers primarily come here for political discussions. It’s a matter of respect, and if I demand it, I should offer it as well.

Ed Morrissey on January 28, 2013 at 7:10 AM

Fair enough. But, “respect” and “truth” are often the weapon of the Godless (Witness the diabolically created PC with tolerance, sensitivity as weapons against truth)
I often think of Christ not allowing Satan equal time on the Sermon at the Mount for a darned good reason. Speaking the truth is the best respect one can give a fellow human (always in a respectful manner)

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Name a bad modern pope. Just one, so I can see where you are going.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 1:17 AM

I’m not meaning to cast dispersions on any particular pope. With this line–“Unfortunately, we can’t just vote out bad priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes every few years like we do politicians.”–I am pointing out to non-Catholics that changing the liberal culture of the Church is a very long process.

I seriously thought about stopping that list at “bishops”, since the bishop level would seem to be where most of the problems lie; but I decided to go for the full hierarchy just to cover my bases.

Believe me, no offense toward Benedict XVI or John Paul II intended. I just honestly don’t know enough about earlier recent popes (Paul VI, John XXIII, etc.) to make a fair comment.

JimLennon on January 28, 2013 at 8:20 AM

JimLennon on January 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Name a bad modern pope. Just one, so I can see where you are going.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 1:17 AM

Paul (Giovanni Montini) VI would be the most obvious candidate.

Montini was not a *bad man* per se, but he proved to be something of a disaster as pope. Certainly he was the most liberal pope the Church has ever had.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Hello Ed,

This tends to jibe with what I’ve seen, too. One acquaintance told me that his fellow seminarians were almost all conservative now, which surprised him.

I know a fair number of seminarians or priests ordained in the last few years – call it 15-20 – and every single one of them is highly orthodox. More stunning, to pick a more specific indicator: Almost every single one is interested in celebrating the traditional mass. 10 or 20 years ago, that would have been unthinkable – absolutely unthinkable.

The priests coming in now are a world away from those being ordained back in the 80′s or early 90′s.

When you will really see the change unfold is in the 2020′s, when these men start becoming rectors and bishops. If you think recent appointments of bishops have been more conservative, you haven’t seen anything yet.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Does this mean that we can hope that in the future the national bishop’s counsels won’t be funneling millions (entrusted to them for the benefit of the poor), to anti-life, anti-God, anti-family, anti-constitution entities, such as ACORN, to help elect anti-all of the former, culture of death people, like Obama, to the presidency?
Does this mean that we can hope that more than a mere handful of the strangely silent bishops will actually respond publically to the attemted destruction of Catholic (and all Christian) conscience?
Does this mean that in the future we can hope that our shepherds actually fight the war against such and not merely “declare” it?
Does this mean that politicians who claim Catholicism as their faith will no longer be able to openly treat it as an enemy of truth and goodness?
Does this mean that the mission of God’s church will return to one of salvation and stop seeking paradise here on earth through the relativistic/Marixt concept of Social Justice?

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 6:34 AM

Actually, Don, yes – I really think it will.

But we do need the last of the Baby Boomer bishops to retire, and more of the Gen Y and younger Gen X bishops to start taking over.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM

That said, I’ve passed on the local “traditionalist Catholic” meeting hall while here in Aurora in favor of a church more obviously in union with Rome — and which conducts its Masses in English. The traditionalists put great store in the language used in the Mass, the exact form of Baptism, and what one wears whilst attending Mass — and not so much store on union with Rome.

unclesmrgol on January 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM

I assume you’re talking about the SSPX or a sedevacantist chapel…

What you need is an authorized, licit Traditional Latin Mass (under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum). Fortunately, there are more and more of those coming into being.

If you mean Aurora, CO, your best bets would be Holy Family in Denver, or Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton. But I don’t know how far you’re willing to drive.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM

But we do need the last of the Baby Boomer bishops to retire, and more of the Gen Y and younger Gen X bishops to start taking over.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Good news, if you’re correct. My concern is that historically we’ve lost a lot of souls, and softening God’s message (we’re all going to Heaven etc.) is a potent, if diabolical weapon. We are assured by God that His Church will prevail, but that word prevail also could well mean that we first lose a heck of a lot of souls in our confused “American” church.
I watch a couple of my grandchildren who went to Madrid and joined the March for Life, almost unnoticed in DC, and I have great hope but then, I have others whom I fear preferred to follow the wrong shepherds, or never heard their voices…. In this, I’m one of many older Catholics for whom the progressive Church has been a spear in their side.

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM

This seems to be as good a place for you to do that as any. Big readership, as is obvious, and people who consider themselves strong in faith.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Sure, but Ed himself stated in reply to my original query that he wasn’t inclined to go into his views a great deal due to the non-Catholic nature of Hot Air. Since I’m only interested in what Ed thinks, that’s why I made the offer.

I consider myself a ‘traditional’ Catholic who has over time moved away from big-C Conservatism towards a more authentic Catholic way of thinking following the lead of Brent Bozell, Jr. as found in his writings. I’m interested in Ed’s thinking on reconciling Conservatism and Catholicism in the areas where they do not necessarily mesh well.

Vatican Watcher on January 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Persecution always forces people to reassess their beliefs and to get back to the real grain of truth. If it costs something to be a Christian, there will be fewer and better Christians.

The shock is being brought to the fleshing floor now.

JoseQuinones on January 28, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Paul (Giovanni Montini) VI would be the most obvious candidate.

Montini was not a *bad man* per se, but he proved to be something of a disaster as pope. Certainly he was the most liberal pope the Church has ever had.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Not all liberal. His encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was rejected by all liberals, became one of the most prophetic documents of all time.

neuquenguy on January 28, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Ed Morrissey on January 27, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Huzzah!

Heh. Well, I’m not in love with swinging a banhammer, but I’m getting pretty tired of the trolling that goes on while the vast majority of commenters want to stay on topic and have fruitful discussions of faith. I’m going to be a lot less patient with that kind of trolling going forward.

Ed Morrissey on January 27, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Huzzah!

Just FYI: I’m keeping an eye on this thread. If commenters want to continue debating on off-topic comments made upthread, especially in a personal and nasty way, they simply won’t be commenting here much longer. I’m tired of having every thread in which the Catholic Church is mentioned devolving into a morass of ad hominem attacks, off-topic sniping, and factually deficient accusations. If that means we start weeding out more than a few longstanding problem commenters here, well, fine by me.

Ed Morrissey on January 27, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Hip hip hooray!

:)

cptacek on January 28, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Most of the old “mainline” denominations received an influx because it was a haven from the draft. As these men gained seniority, they tried to make doctrine conform to their cowardly and self indulgent characters. The church suffered as they succeeded. We are in a time of reckoning. Triumphal restoration is coming.

TBinSTL on January 27, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Though Ed disagrees with you, I think this has merit.

cptacek on January 28, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I’m not even really disagreeing, but think that there were larger forces at work in the Catholic Church worldwide driving that trend. Interesting theory, and probably significant in the US in general.

Ed Morrissey on January 28, 2013 at 1:08 PM

I’m convinced this is true, based on what I see in my own parish (in New Brighton, MN). We usually get a young priest straight out of ordination as our assistant pastor (parochial vicar) and they are here for about 2 years, before they move on to their own parish. Over the past few years, they’ve all been conservative and increasingly so.

I also suspect that the next pope will be a real game-changer for the Church. I see Benedict as a transitional figure and that the next pope will be the one who really starts to carry out the vision of JPII.

Mr. D on January 28, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Paul (Giovanni Montini) VI would be the most obvious candidate.

Montini was not a *bad man* per se, but he proved to be something of a disaster as pope. Certainly he was the most liberal pope the Church has ever had.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Not all liberal. His encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was rejected by all liberals, became one of the most prophetic documents of all time.

Excellent point, though somehow, I wish it were that he hadn’t allowed the possible question to be so publicly “investigated” since it has been teachings for a long time. It merely allowed the dissident theologians to claim foul and reject the teaching.

It was Montini that woke up to the perils of his having listened to the Jesuits and Franciscan progressives, that eventually caused him to say, “The smoke of Satan has entered the tabernacle.”

Don L on January 28, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Hey Ed, whatever happened to Monica’s Saturday morning columns you used to link to? I get up real early on Saturday’s to browse the web, check out Hot Air and get a couple of cups of coffee in me before heading out to 6:00 A.M. men’s prayer meeting. I always enjoyed Monica’s column very much as a great way to start the day and get in a spiritual state of mind for Church. Then the links to them just disappeared.

tommyboy on January 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM

tommyboy on January 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Marcia really struggled to write those, and decided to forego them for a while in order to figure out what she wanted to do. She may return to Patheos soon in another format.

Ed Morrissey on January 28, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Bishop Sheen once said,”Man is inclined toward heresy”. See Joseph Smith,John Calvin, Martin Luther etal.Do you think Jesus would have waited 15 hundred years to establish His Church?

celtic warrior on January 28, 2013 at 3:03 PM

I think the mainline protestant churches were already losing their way and the Vietnam war had little impact whatsoever on them. As their leadership strove to be more mainline they quickly began to stand for nothing. And I think we all realize that if you stand for nothing, eventually no one will pay attention to you. And it seems to me a pretty good realization of what happened. I was a confirmed Lutheran in a church that still believed in consubstantiation of the host – essentially the host is both bread and Jesus as opposed to transubstantion as the catholics believe. At that time – over 30 years ago – there were several mainline Lutheran “sects” that had already moving away from that to the bland “it represents” statements. My sect I don’t think even exists anymore.

I have been in the Catholic Church since then but never was confirmed – I doubt I could find a Lutheran Church anymore that was what I went to as a child.

What has always concerned me about the church, is the often times preference for form over function. I hope as the CHurch is guided by the more traditional they manage to miss all the ugliness of the old days and keep their eyes on Christ. If the kids aren’t in catholic schools that isn’t a problem, that how one takes communion isn’t really an issue (mouth or hands), that certain ceremonies and traditions are just that – and have little to do with faith or reverence for Christ. The opening is there as people are hungering for something to believe in. I think the harvest is heavy but the workers few.

To the catholics of the thread, don’t make it too hard to harvest. You may think I say this as some sort of disgruntled person – I don’t. But the church drove one of my children away and left one ambivilent. The other two are very devout and more accepting of “rules”. Be a church, and not a rule book who worries about what clothes you wear, if you kneel deep enough, if your kids are in catholic school or what language the mass is in.

Please – the chance is now.

Zomcon JEM on January 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

To the catholics of the thread, don’t make it too hard to harvest. You may think I say this as some sort of disgruntled person – I don’t. But the church drove one of my children away and left one ambivilent. The other two are very devout and more accepting of “rules”. Be a church, and not a rule book who worries about what clothes you wear, if you kneel deep enough, if your kids are in catholic school or what language the mass is in.

Please – the chance is now.

Zomcon JEM on January 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Powerful. Thanks for the comment; much to chew on there.

Ed Morrissey on January 28, 2013 at 6:06 PM

And I don’t mean to suggest that it is a free for all. Otherwise you become the failing protestant churches we all know about. I have never joined the Church (still officially a confirmed Lutheran) though I have attended for over 30 years as my wife is catholic and our children were raised as such. I have never once even tried to take communion – that is a rule that seems to make sense. I have donated and attended regularly, and have always made parishoners surprised when they discover I’m not catholic since they say I sure act like one. If joining were more private without 6 months of RCIA I would probably get about to converting, but I understand the Church wanting to make sure they teach what they are all about. I need an alternate process! Ha!

In the end there is too much Luther in this American of German descent who is troubled by conformity and seems to be outside the mainstream. I guess that is my problem – but I do miss communion. But I also know that Jesus isn’t going to look at me as a lost soul just because of that. He knows what is in our hearts and I am trying to live and believe in a way that I think is what He hopes. I guess I can find out in another 40 years if I’m correct.

I do think the Church is our best last chance to remain true to the ideals of what the West means – and how it laid the foundation for the most miraculous expansion of good in man’s history. If it can remember that they should not abdicate their duty to Caesar – for he is jealous and greedy and not very damn good at it – it will lay the foundation for renewal of our country and reverse the decay that is modern day secularism and liberal statism.

Thanks for being so thoughtful about keeping the crazies off this thread – I have enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts.

Zomcon JEM on January 28, 2013 at 6:37 PM

In the end there is too much Luther in this American of German descent who is troubled by conformity and seems to be outside the mainstream. I guess that is my problem – but I do miss communion.

If you feel as you do, then perhaps you should consider occasionally going down to your local Lutheran church.

I’m a devout Catholic who is married to a non-Catholic, and she sure acts Catholic (or, should I say, Christian) but the last thing she seems to want is to be a Catholic — she was raised Baptist and that sticks. I’ve often said to her that if she really doesn’t want to go to Mass — if she doesn’t feel religion in the Church — then maybe she should find it elsewhere. But she still gets out of bed early to go with me to Mass, so there it sits.

You went through the whole marriage preparation thing, and you know for a fact that you were not required to convert nor to hew to any Catholic rule other than to not stand in the way of your wife’s effort to raise your (plural) children as good Catholics.

What you have done is way above and beyond, but if you choose not to participate fully in Catholic life, again — consider at least some participation in Lutheran life. Your faith may well be the better for it.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Be a church, and not a rule book who worries about what clothes you wear, if you kneel deep enough, if your kids are in catholic school or what language the mass is in.
Please – the chance is now.
Zomcon JEM on January 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

In other words, become Unitarian Universalist, because if you throw out the “rules” then no one will have anything to be upset about. And we can’t risk offending anyone these days, y’know!

“Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?”
“He said, “For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.”
At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
(Gospel Of John, chapter 6)

whatcat on January 28, 2013 at 9:30 PM

If you mean Aurora, CO, your best bets would be Holy Family in Denver, or Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton. But I don’t know how far you’re willing to drive.

The_Jacobite on January 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I went over to St. Pius X and participated in their English Mass. As I mentioned in a previous comment, three of the Prayers of the Faithful pertained to ending abortion. The homily (by the pastor, Rev. Adams) definitely covered the three readings well. In the homily, the pastor tied the readings to the present — that every time those passages are read, even today, God is announcing to us the fulfilment of His promise. He also announced that one of the deacons has terminal cancer, and that deacon had commented to him that in that situation, everything takes on an immediacy which was previously lacking — every act must be done now because there might not be time tomorrow. The pastor further tied that thought into the readings by pointing out that our response to God’s promise must be immediate too — for what is happening to the deacon will, in one form or another, happen to all of us in the end, and in a manner over which we have no control.

A vital faith community. I do not view the Mass in Latin as essential to my faith — for Latin was once the vernacular across much of Europe, just as English is the vernacular in the USA today — which means that the words of, and actions performed in, the Mass are just as powerful in English as they are in Latin. That said, as a Latin major in college, I enjoy listening to and reading Latin — even ecclesiastical Latin.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Be a church, and not a rule book who worries about what clothes you wear, if you kneel deep enough, if your kids are in catholic school or what language the mass is in.
Please – the chance is now.
Zomcon JEM on January 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

In other words, become Unitarian Universalist, because if you throw out the “rules” then no one will have anything to be upset about. And we can’t risk offending anyone these days, y’know!

whatcat on January 28, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Whatcat,

I think you do not understand what is truly important in Catholicism. Imagine for a moment that you had no arms or legs — could not kneel, could not dress yourself in proper fashion for church. Can you still participate in Mass? The answer is, of course, YES — you can imagine yourself making the sign of the cross, or kneeling, and it will be as if you did it.

If you are poor, and cannot afford good clothes, only the meanest church would turn you away — one which is more concerned about the trappings of faith than in the faith itself. When Jesus proclaimed the parable of the wedding banquet — in which one garbed inappropriately was thrown out, he did not mean that to be taken literally — the clothing of the man bound hand and foot were the words and deeds which ill-fitted him for the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are, on the other hand, articles of faith — things you cannot take a pass on. We know how to handle these as well, for Matthew has told us how to judge and admonish those who stray from the path of rightfulness — as the Bishops seem to do every time Ms Pelosi opens her mouth, or Ms. Sotomayor refuses to acknowledge freedom of conscience as an innate right. With regard to appearances, we have John to remind us that external appearance is moot — that the interior light is judged more important.

We Catholics put great emphasis upon Tradition — but Tradition is an aid to understanding what we believe in, not a substitute for belief (faith) itself. Dispensation is often given for those who CANNOT perform an act of Tradition — the starving person who requires meat to regain health will not be obligated to fast or abstain from eating meat during Lent, for example.

I think that Mr. Zomcom is saying that over-emphasis by authorities — parents — on things not important to the core of faith — such as the language in which one prays — are harmful to the formation of faith.

unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 11:50 PM

I think that Mr. Zomcom is saying that over-emphasis by authorities — parents — on things not important to the core of faith — such as the language in which one prays — are harmful to the formation of faith.
unclesmrgol on January 28, 2013 at 11:50 PM

I understand your point, unclesmrgol – and not being Roman Catholic I really don’t have a dog in this particular race.

But my point has more to do with addressing the core issue. There will always be those who just walk away (as in Jesus’ day) and try to justify their action.

I agree there would be very few churches of any denominational stripe that would throw someone out for not being fashionable or disabled. However we are talking about those who, of their own free will, choose to walk out.

There are, on the other hand, articles of faith — things you cannot take a pass on.

I wouldn’t make a distinction too quickly:
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Jesus,Luke 16:10).

whatcat on January 29, 2013 at 2:08 AM

Well – I was working on a response which just got wiped out.

Uncle – the Lutheran Church of my youth is gone – what remains is a shell that increasingly stands for not very much. My beliefs may be stuck in somewhat of a time warp but I believe they are more catholic than modern day Lutheranism. I am perhaps stuck in my own version of purgatory (another one of those things I don’t quite see) between the two faiths. I am just trying to move forward and decide how I want to continue to try and walk with Christ. For many Lutherans that has meant coming back to the Catholic church.

whatcat – I was not trying to say no rules. Then you become what the Lutherans have become – a shell. If you don’t stand for anything who will join or stay with you? Based upon the numbers the Lutherans are dying.

However, Luther, who was the first function over form advocate, and who tacked those observations on the door, was vindicated over the centuries on many of his points. The Church came to see a great deal of wisdom in them.

But when a church youth minister tells a kid that they cannot be a good Catholic if they go to public school and sets up the environment for the other students to pile on I would like you to find me the bible verse that says that is what Jesus believes. And this happens in so many ways. I get that the Catholics are not alone in this missing the forest for the trees, but for all the religious, now is the time to remember the most important rule – to love one another. The 11th commandment given to us by Christ. The pushing of rules and procedures seem to go along way towards giving us excuse to forget that command.

Zomcon JEM on January 29, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I’m not suggesting we abdicate those things of importance. The church’s teaching on life, the sacraments, human sexuality and the gospel will make more impact if we don’t get caught up in procedures R us.

Zomcon JEM on January 29, 2013 at 8:50 AM

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Jesus,Luke 16:10).

whatcat on January 29, 2013 at 2:08 AM

Ah, but the crux of the matter is what the “things” Jesus was talking about are.

My son wanted to leave Mass early — before the priest said “The Mass is ended, go in peace.” I told him he couldn’t. That little thing nearly drove him in our respective obstainancy from the Church. Now, was I right in cooercing him to stay when he wanted to leave? Was I right in cooercing religion from him when, at that point in his life, attending Mass without complaint — up to a point — was a major concession to me? It wasn’t until months later that I finally apologized to my son, and do you know what he told me? Let’s go to confession, Dad…

I do understand the points Zomcom was making, but I was trying to point out that there are little things that do not matter in faith.

unclesmrgol on January 30, 2013 at 12:28 PM

However, Luther, who was the first function over form advocate, and who tacked those observations on the door, was vindicated over the centuries on many of his points. The Church came to see a great deal of wisdom in them.

But when a church youth minister tells a kid that they cannot be a good Catholic if they go to public school and sets up the environment for the other students to pile on I would like you to find me the bible verse that says that is what Jesus believes. And this happens in so many ways. I get that the Catholics are not alone in this missing the forest for the trees, but for all the religious, now is the time to remember the most important rule – to love one another. The 11th commandment given to us by Christ. The pushing of rules and procedures seem to go along way towards giving us excuse to forget that command.

Zomcon JEM on January 29, 2013 at 8:45 AM

If you look at Luther’s Small and Great Catechisms, you see amazing similarities in content to the Catechism of the Catholic Church of the time. The Church puts greater emphasis on form — but that’s because form induces function in this case. When I make the Sign of the Cross, I am making a public commitment to Jesus. I pray over every meal, public or private, in an identical way, whether it’s me alone in the room or a table filled with strangers. And, every once in a while, the act leads to a meaningful discussion about Christianity.

As for consubstantiation vs. transsubstantiation, the important thing is that JESUS IS THERE in the bread and in the wine. There are Christians who don’t think any “substantiation” happens at all, that the “Lord’s Supper” merely is a repetition (a form, if you will) done in commemoration of Jesus’ supper. Well, that’s far weaker tea than what Catholics or Lutherans think happen during the Eucharistic meal, but…

As for your Lutheran Church being gone, I can understand the sentiment, for that Church as a whole has taken the position (wholly consistent with Luthor’s ideas about personal worship) that taking a position on political matters is not the responsibility of the Church as a whole, but an individual one. That means that the person in the pew next to you can be a perfect Lutheran even though they are pro-choice.

Here is a standard Lutheran position as put forth in http://www.bethlehembayridge.org/Lutheranism.html

Abortion: Human beings have intrinsic value and dignity. We live in community, with responsibility and accountability to God, self, and others. Women, faced with unintended pregnancies, are called to be good stewards of life by making responsible decisions in light of these relationships. Women and men share equally in the responsibility and accountability for procreation, although it is women who are most intimately affected by decisions about abortion. The number of induced abortions is a source of deep concern to the church and we mourn the loss of life that God has created. The strong Christian presumption is to preserve and protect life. Abortion ought to be an option only of last resort. Therefore, as a church we seek to reduce the need to turn to abortion as the answer to unintended pregnancies.

Very weak tea when compared to the Catholic position that there is no circumstance which justifies an abortion — in fact, the Mormons have a slightly stronger statement on their site — they expect the abortion decision to be made with the input of church elders — as we discovered during the Romney campaign.

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=63c139b439c98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions may lose their membership in the Church.

Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.

The reason I mention the above is that you can see that Catholicism has the ultimate rule and procedure with regard to abortion, and those denominations which do not often show that inclusiveness in ways which run completely counter to Jesus’ teachings.

There are articles of faith — and, for Catholics, tradition. I can see why a youth minister might take a hard line toward public education — my kids, who attended public school, both had a history teacher who hated Catholicism, and she actually brought that hatred forward during class discussions — that pedophilia and suppression of a woman’s right to choose are both Catholic norms and Catholic crimes. For my daughter, who is rather a weak person faith wise, this was nearly catastrophic — for when faced with a bunch of peers who believe absolutely every word the teacher says, she was not strong enough to face their wrath by saying “no, that teacher is wrong”.

We Catholics, with our history of pedophile priests and opposition to abortion, are not well loved by many in the secular world.

It’s a cross to bear.

unclesmrgol on January 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I didn’t even know this thread existed, until Dire’ mentioned it on QOTD.

Zomcon JEM on January 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

What Zomcon ‘ said was right-on and speaks to ALL persons claiming to be Christian believers, no matter the denomination.
.

I wouldn’t make a distinction too quickly:
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Jesus,Luke 16:10).

whatcat on January 29, 2013 at 2:08 AM

There’s no reason a believer shouldn’t be able to discern what are the Commandments of God, and what are the “traditions of men.”
.
Some famous historic figure made the following quote:

“The traditions of men make the Word Of God of no effect.”

I’m pretty sure the “historic figure” is someone of great importance.

listens2glenn on January 31, 2013 at 12:37 AM

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