Wednesday, December 2, 2009

With tongue firmly planted in cheek ...

From Damian Thompson at Telegraph.co.uk ...

Happy 40th birthday, Novus Ordo!

It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead!

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

Read the rest here.

156 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The Church has the power to permit the novus ordo. That makes it valid. It doesn't make it good.

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Nerina said...

Oh, this debate gets so tiresome.

Anon @10:04,

What Damian Thompson (and Mike) are poking fun at is the absurdity of some of the NO celebrations. I don't believe, nor do the serious, faithful Catholics I know and associate with believe, that the NO is invalid or somehow "less Catholic" than the EF. If you want examples of the NO gone wrong, just go to You Tube and look them up. They are out there and easy to find. For goodness sake, our Holy Father celebrates the NO!

To deny the disintegration of the Liturgy over the past 40 years requires a certain type of blindness or stubbornness. All is not well in our churches as plummeting Mass attendance and abominable catechesis shows. Yes, the NO can be done reverently and with dignity, but this is too often not the case in our diocese (and, apparently, in many dioceses). The faithful can point out deficiencies without being a "cafeteria Catholic."

What other things does the Church not do well that you'd like to grouse about?

The Well Done Review said...

Dear Anons:

GET BLOGGER ACCOUNTS, IT TAKES FIVE MINUTES!

Also, @Anon7:12...

Depends what you grouse about. Grousing about doctrine and dogma will get you crozier-smacked. Grousing about matters of opinion, as long as they are well-founded grouses, are reasonable.

-Arialdus

Anonymous said...
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Mike said...

I turn my back for a day or so and look what happens: The Anons run amok!

People, this is your final warning. Keep it civil here! Don't post anything you wouldn't sign your full legal name to.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe, nor do the serious, faithful Catholics I know and associate with believe, that the NO is invalid or somehow "less Catholic" than the EF."

What about this guy?

"The Church has the power to permit the novus ordo. That makes it valid. It doesn't make it good."

"What other things does the Church not do well that you'd like to grouse about?"

Because you asked I'd like the Church to re-examine the ban on contraception. NFP doesn't work for all marriages. The vast majority of Catholics ignore this teaching and the Church isn't successfully convincing them not to. I also think the option of married priests should be explored. I know there would be new problems associated with it but I don't think we'll see an end to the priest shortage without it.

But I know there's nothing I can do about it. The Church is not a democracy.

Anonymous said...

"The vast majority of Catholics ignore this teaching"

LIKE YOU PERHAPS?

Anonymous said...

"The vast majority of Catholics ignore this teaching and the Church isn't successfully convincing them not to."

It's not a democracy, as you stated. Because people choose not to follow this teaching does not mean it should be changed. A lot of people steal and cheat on their wives, but that doesn't mean we should go change the Ten Commandments.

Nerina said...

Okay, Anon. I'll bite.

You claim the Church isn't successful in convincing people about the teaching of NFP. I'd say the subject is barely, if EVER, talked about. I only heard about NFP because I had a friend brave enough to broach the subject with me. I, in turn, have presented the teaching to several people and out of the 5 people I have mentioned it to, 3 have started using it. I'd say those are pretty good results.

Plus, even if 99% of Catholics think contraception is okay, it doesn't make it true. Before NFP I would have argued for contraception and "primacy of conscience" blah, blah, blah. It's all simple ignorance, selfishness and pride (at least, it was for me).

You say NFP doesn't work for everyone. I'm curious to know what you mean by that statement. Is it a hard teaching? Yep. Is it hard to abstain? You bet. But is it hard to comprehend the nuts and bolts of the teaching? Not really. If you can take a temperature and monitor a few bodily signs, you're set. Does it require trust and faith? Yes, it does. A huge amount of both. But frankly, even with all the sacrifice and struggle, it has enriched my marriage 100 fold. And I have three more children out of the deal then I would have had I stuck with contraception and doing it "my way."

I'm sure you are aware of all the supportive arguments for NFP. If people follow the rules and practice it faithfully, it is extremely effective. But the real benefit of NFP, in my opinion, is how it opens a couple's mind to truly being open to life. The teaching is not a big NO, it's actually a big YES. To your spouse, to your marriage and to God.

Anonymous said...

I personally know one marriage that was ruined by the old rhythm method when the mother for severe medical reasons could not undergo a fourth pregnancy. The father traveled frequently and was often home at the "wrong" times. The mother said it destroyed any spontaneity and intimacy between them and helped to drive them apart. Abstinence became permanent. I know another couple that would be in the same situation today even with improved NFP. They have chosen not to.

I know what's next. No method is foolproof. In that case they would pray.

The reason the subject is rarely talked about is because priests know that 90% of the people sitting in the pews reject it. For them it is a non-issue. If priests want to get tough on this they will only drive people away and their churches will close. Many personally agree with their flock. This may change with the more conservative priests coming in but they will achieve the same result.

Even if Catholics who reject the ban are dead wrong as the Church says they are, they are not going to change their behavior en masse because they are told to. They need to be convinced and so far they are not.

This wholesale rejection of Church teaching is one of its greatest problems. I assume we agree.

Another is the attempt by traditionalist Catholics to move the Church in a direction most regular Catholics don't want to and will not go.

Conservative Catholics need to seriously consider what a "smaller purer" Church would look like. Today's arguments about declining attendance and parish closings would be pointless in light of the purge and exodus that would occur.

Better for us all would be to follow Good Pope John’s advice to take people where they are and work from there.

God bless couples who are brought closer through NFP or accepting all the children God sends them. For others that would amount to martyrdom or divorce.

Anonymous said...

"If priests want to get tough on this they will only drive people away and their churches will close."

So that's your solution: don't preach the truth because people might get offended. Well you know what? The DoR has been doing that for almost 40 years. Tell me again how that's working... You also can present no proof that getting tough on Catholic teaching will drive people away. If I remember correctly, our churches were much fuller when priests actually defended and preached Catholic teaching authentically.

"They need to be convinced and so far they are not."

Maybe because priests are talking about it?

"I personally know one marriage that was ruined by the old rhythm method when the mother for severe medical reasons could not undergo a fourth pregnancy."

Let's pick out the 1 in a million case and base our entire argument on that.

"Conservative Catholics need to seriously consider what a "smaller purer" Church would look like. "

I know what a smaller, heterodox Church looks like; and that's the Diocese of Rochester.

"Today's arguments about declining attendance and parish closings would be pointless in light of the purge and exodus that would occur."

What "purge and exodus"? Where are you getting this from? Just because you say it will happen does not mean it will.

"Better for us all would be to follow Good Pope John’s advice to take people where they are and work from there."

But never mind what other Popes have to say?

"God bless couples who are brought closer through NFP or accepting all the children God sends them. For others that would amount to martyrdom or divorce."

How did people survive before contraception? Divorce is way higher since contraception came into being than it was before. You progressives can't stop thinking with your penis. That includes the married priests out there. It's not all about sex. The world is not going to end because a couple can't have sex five times a night. Control your dick for the love of all that is holy!

Anonymous said...

*correction
Maybe because priests AREN'T talking about it?

Nerina said...

@Anon 4:18

Actually, I have no problem "meeting people where they are." That's how I got converted. But we need to meet them and then bring them to a fuller understanding of the Truth. We don't leave them where they are if it is ultimately and eternally harmful to them. Do we? Again, your claims all go back to one fundamental question: is the Church who she says she is, or is she not? Does she have the authority to teach on faith and morals or does she not? If not, what is the point of being Catholic? It can't be for the identity, because let's face it, there isn't much identity left in the DOR.

P.S. Thanks for continuing to participate in this exchange :).

Mike said...

Anon. 12:13,

Enough with the personal attacks, already! If you can't argue your points without being insulting then go post on someone else's blog or start you own..

Anonymous said...

Personal attacks? Check out the ones issued at me on the "any parish" thread.

Priests didn’t talk about how we shouldn't invade Iraq or how execution should only be used to protect society from murderers when no prisons exist or that there isn't anything in Church teaching that says governments can’t tax them to help the poor. Why? For the same reason they don't talk about contraception. It would tick off those on the other side of the pews who don't accept it and affect their finances and the survival of their parish. If Catholics don't like what their pastor is saying they will take themselves and their money to another parish or out the door completely.

One is a million? I offered two examples of real couples and they're not in a million.

How did people survive before contraception? Many mothers didn't. Take a trip to the cemetery to see all the graves of mothers who died in childbirth. Often their babies are with them. Given a choice between the life of the mother and the child priests told doctors to save the baby while they prayed for the mother. Other women had all the children God gave them until menopause or just stopped having sex when they had enough. That was family planning then.

Five times a night? That's funny. How about any times a month? How about none at all for the business traveler, soldier, sailor or candlestick maker who comes home and leaves again at the wrong time? It seems like NFP is designed for couples where the husband works 9 to 5 and is home every night and the stay-at-home or part-time working wife who has time to monitor and chart every day. I know Catholic couples with fourteen kids and others with one. I'm not prepared to judge any of them.

What do I mean by purge and exodus? Conservative bishops and laity want other imperfect Catholics to refrain from Communion which most will either ignore or accept as an invitation to leave. There is a certain point at which average Catholics will reduce or stop their mass attendance or leave altogether. In my own birth family the abuse scandal and the ban on contraception are the primary reasons why I am the only one who has not left. The more “orthodox” the Church becomes the fewer its numbers will be. I'll still be here but I know many who aren’t.

What about other popes? Good question. Does the current one trump his predecessors? I’m not a Canon lawyer, but I’m guessing yes unless one of them was claiming infallibility. But if so what does that mean? The Holy Spirit is changing His mind or adapting to change? Or individual human beings are interpreting their personal views that way? Despite the claim that the Church doesn't change history proves that it does. I think it will change on things I would like to see and others I don't, but I don't think I have any power as an individual or with others to influence it one way or another. I would never add my name to a petition to Church leaders for anything. That would be denying reality and an exercise in frustration. I accept the Church is the one true Church established by Jesus Christ. I also accept that it is run by imperfect human beings like myself and will change slowly over time.

"P.S. Thanks for continuing to participate in this exchange :)."

Thank you. That was very unexpected.

Anonymous said...

This contraception issue is what's been wrong with the Church since Vatican 2. We have wholesale refusal of the clergy to preach about NFP and birth control. Not hell fire and brimstone but actual knowledge about this. After all, the Americal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a separate journal on NFP in 1990, (I have the journal), that came to the conclusion NFP was as equal to or more effective than birth control in preventing pregnancy and important for women who want to learn about their bodies.

When you talk to NFP teachers, there is a tremendous amount of common sense about practicing NFP. and women don't have to take high doses of hormines that actually inhibit the sexual drive, cause emotional episodes of mania and depression and all the other nasty side effects associated with the pill.

All our clergy had to do was to humbly learn about the method and then put the teachings into homilies but most are either afraid or aren't really on board.

So again, it's the laity who is leading the fight to help our clergy be more open to the method.

So you are correct saying that most Catholics ignore the teaching, but you must admit, they have NEVER been adequately taught about the method. Priests aren't responsible for our following their advice,(That's our job), but they ARE responsible for preaching the truth about NFP and they will have to answer to God for failing to do so.

We had to delay our gratificationls when we went to college, ie, study, instead of partying, but this was only temporary. And abstaining is hard but another example of delaying our gratification. Just because we get married does not mean we fufill every desire immediately. Life is not like that. We will be delaying our gratification on a whole list of big and small issues until we die.

But the winning argument is the divorce rate: 60% among those who use birth control and 3% for those who use NFP.

Let's pay for our priests to teach the information and forus to become open to using it.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I mean, let's pray for our priests to teach the information.

Nerina said...

@Anon 1:18,

I don't think Mike was referring to you (he was actually talking to the "Anon" poster at 12:13) when he mentioned personal attacks.

Also, I want to be sure that you aren't attributing comments to me that I have not made. Please note that I have not insulted you, or called you names, or made crude remarks. I do try to maintain some civility in combox discussions.

As to your observation about no one preaching against the war, you need to come to my church. They have no problem preaching about that or any other "social justice" issue (save abortion).

We are actually in agreement on some issues :). And you are correct in pointing out that NFP is a cross, even under ideal conditions. I would be a big fat liar if I didn't admit that a condom would come in handy once in a while (sorry, Mike, if that crosses the line of impropriety). Honestly, it is only through the grace of God that my husband can stick with it at all. And sometimes we fail. Thank God, again, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

Nerina said...

That last post should read:

"...that my husband AND I can stick with it at all."

Anonymous said...

"...and women don't have to take high doses of hormines that actually inhibit the sexual drive."

Am I not correct that the infertile "safe" period in a woman's cycle is the time when her sexual drive is often the lowest? Yet this is when obedient Catholic wives practicing NFP are free and expected to make love with their husbands.

Your argument for NFP that it doesn't add artificial hormones to a woman's body is valid, but the part about inhibiting her sexual drive is lacking.

It seems we agree that the laity need to be convinced about NFP, not commanded. Like it or not that is a big change from years ago. It is also true that both spouses need to be convinced. If one decides to use NFP and the other doesn't that's a recipe for marital strife.

Perhaps one reason priests don't talk about it is that many realize that they can't really understand what it is like to be married as the married can never understand what it is like to be a celibate priest. They can both imagine but it is impossible to walk in each others' shoes. Priests are also human and sinners and know that all humans fail. Considering how the abuse scandal has affected priests good and bad it is not surprising that many are not eager to talk about sex.

I've read other divorce statistics but assuming yours are correct it is important to note that the sample number for NFP users is much smaller. They are also less likely to divorce overall because of their religious belief. When they do divorce it is often a double shock because many expected that their faith would prevent it. To those especially the prohibition on remarriage without an annulment, which they may or may receive, seems particularly unjust.

The fact is that in the past when couples decided for whatever reason that they could not have more children they often just stopped having sex. There are many sexless marriages today but that is no longer a common reason. As St. Paul said it is not good for a husband and wife to avoid each other except by mutual consent for a short period. That is still true though things have changed good and bad since his time.

NFP is a valid family planning method that may work for many couples but it does not work for all. For those who find it successful both spouses must be convinced of its necessity.

Anonymous said...

Nerina,

I don't keep track of people's names but I didn't mean to say you attacked me. Others have. It doesn't bother me.

I attend what many here would consider a fairly middle-of-the road parish on the "orthodox" - "progressive" scale. I never heard anything about the pope saying we shouldn't invade Iraq or execute criminals when we have prisons to hold them. I have heard about our duty to help the poor but only in a vague general way that leaves much to interpretation. It only becomes specific when there is a special collection. The only thing I have ever heard about sexual teachings is vague references to purity when talking about youth group programs.

One question for those who want priests preaching about NFP at mass. What about children? I don't think I'd want my young daughter or sons when they were young hearing it.

Perhaps that's another reason priests skirt around some subjects. Children are listening.

I'm glad I don't have their job. I have a lot of respect for them and can't stand to hear the Liturgy Police on EWTN calling in to tattle on their priests about doing this or that incorrectly or not at mass. It really burns my Irish when the radio "expert" tells them to report it to their bishop and if that doesn't work to find another parish.

That's the key here, isn't it? Since we're no longer required to attend our local parish and most of us have cars Catholics can pick and choose whatever parish suits their style and taste. I belong to the one closest to my house. Perhaps it would be better if we all did and remembered the Stones song, "You can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need". The Mass is what we need. In every Catholic church in the world it's still the Mass. That's what Catholic means.

And no, I'm not advocating Stones songs at Mass, though I agree that most of the c**p we're forced to listen to is awful.

Anonymous said...

"Personal attacks? Check out the ones issued at me on the "any parish" thread. "

How childish, point at others when you yourself are the guilty one.

Anonymous said...

"I've read other divorce statistics but assuming yours are correct "

You've tossed around enough statistics yourself, should we assume that yours are wrong?

Anonymous said...

Attacks, Ashmacks. I haven't accused anyone of wearing sleeveless t-shirts.

On stats, well, what can we agree on? Various estimates are that 80-90 plus percent of Catholics ignore the Church teaching on contraception.

Apart from the issue of contraception itself this shows that a huge majority of Catholics knowingly disobey a key teaching of the Church and still feel in good conscience that they are worthy of receiving Communion. They are not ignorant of the teaching, they have decided for themselves that it doesn't make sense for them and they will not follow it. Catholics are no longer "simple" and obedient as the pope and others nostalgically remember them. Like my kids they will not obey just because you tell them too. They need a reason. That comes down to the carrot and the stick. With Catholics the carrot would be convincing them that the teaching is not only correct but good for them. The stick is far less effective than it was. You can tell Catholics in mass that they're going to hell if they use contraception (or vote for Obama) but you will only succeed in ticking them off. They won't believe it. You can threaten to deny them Communion but unless they stand up and say, "I USE CONTRACEPTION" or you follow them into the bedroom there’s no way to tell. You can't know by counting their kids (hey, what's up with Pat Buchanan?)and they're not going to confess it if they've decided for themselves it's not a sin.

So you have 80-90% of mass attending Catholics knowingly doing something they know the Church condemns. How does this relate? Because it is proof that simply by teaching and enforcing the rules you will not gain more Catholics. You will likely lose more so-so Catholics than you will gain converts or solidified "orthodox" ones. Those remaining can have the largest families possible but it would take decades if not centuries to replace those who left. In the meantime church buildings would close at a rate that would make today seem like the good old days.

Those who favor the "smaller purer" theory are gambling that in the long run this would pay off producing an "orthodox" obedient flock. That's a large bet I wouldn't take. Those who think it would increase attendance in the short run are deluding themselves in my opinion.

So where's the proof? In the pews and in the bedrooms.

For the Church to thrive it needs all Catholics, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, of which I include myself.

Nerina said...

So I guess my question is this, Anon: What do we do? Do we give up on Truth? Do we just accept the status quo and hope for the best? I think our real battle should be against the culture, not each other. Because the culture is what is "educating" our people and I think we all have "itching ears."

Anonymous said...

"Like my kids they will not obey just because you tell them too. They need a reason. "

Here is the reason: You are interfering with the reproductive process when you use birth control. It's no different anymore than gay sexual acts, it's all about pleasure, and not about reproduction.

Anonymous said...

"Because it is proof that simply by teaching and enforcing the rules you will not gain more Catholics. You will likely lose more so-so Catholics than you will gain converts or solidified "orthodox" ones."

Who are you to decide what the Church should enforce and what it shouldn't enforce? Why not just enforce everything? I guess we should allow Mary Ramerman to pretend to be a priest, because we're going to lose people if we don't.

I'm sorry, it's stupid logic. The Church doesn't just give in because it will keep people from leaving. The Church is the protector of truth.

Mike said...

Anon. 1:08 (or is it Anon. 12:13, or Anon. 6:08, or Anon. 6:14 or Anon. 8:03? - do you begin to see why it's a good idea to get an ID, even if it isn't your real name?):

"What do I mean by purge and exodus? Conservative bishops and laity want other imperfect Catholics to refrain from Communion which most will either ignore or accept as an invitation to leave."

There is a major difference between one who tries to follow Church teaching and occasionally fails and one who rejects Church teaching for whatever reason. Both are imperfect people, but the latter is willfully so.

Not only that, but the latter person is also refusing to believe Jesus when he says, "he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me," (Mat. 10:38) or, on a more positive note, Paul, when he says, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it," (1 Cor. 10:13) and "I can do all things in him who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13).

God always provides us with the strength (grace) to follow his commands if we but sincerely ask for it. Rejection of Church teachings because they are "hard sayings" is really a refusal to take him at his word.

"There is a certain point at which average Catholics will reduce or stop their mass attendance or leave altogether. In my own birth family the abuse scandal and the ban on contraception are the primary reasons why I am the only one who has not left. The more 'orthodox' the Church becomes the fewer its numbers will be. I'll still be here but I know many who aren’t."

The clergy responsible for the abuse scandal were clearly wrong and there's no defending their actions. That said, the abuse scandal (or any other failing of any other Catholic) is no excuse for leaving the Church. One only ends up abandoning Jesus because of Judas. (Of course, if one is really just looking for a rationalization to leave the Church, then the abuse scandal is probably as good as any other.)

"Despite the claim that the Church doesn't change history proves that it does."

Really? Please cite one instance where an infallible dogma or doctrine has changed. You cannot do it because it has not happened, and it has not happened because Jesus promised it will not happen: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," (Mat. 16:18-19) and "I am with you always, to the close of the age," (Mat. 28:20) and "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13).

Saying that dogmas or doctrines have changed or even that they can change is really the same thing as calling Jesus a liar.

Anonymous said...

Jesus lived a life of celibacy. Oh but wait, some progressives think he had children with Mary Magdalen.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people commit infidelity in marriage, so I guess that shouldn't be a sin anymore.

Anonymous said...

AAs I've said many times I have no illusion that I can change anything about the Church so I am defiantly not the one to dictate what the Church should and shouldn't enforce. I am only stating what I consider objective fact about its ability to enforce rules on 80-90% of Catholics that refuse to follow them. Yes, Mike, everyone fails, but as I said and I think we agree, I am not referring to Catholics who try and fail to follow the teaching on contraception; I am talking about people who know what the teaching is and have determined for themselves that it's wrong and they will not obey it. These people would agree that infidelity, stealing, etc is wrong but they don't think it's wrong to use contraception. My question is what to do about them? I maintain that re-informing them of the teaching and following it with threats of consequences if they disobey will not work. For one thing it is not a public sin so there is no way to objectively identify it as there is with politicians who vote against Church teaching. Its significance, aside from the good or evil of the act itself, is a wholesale willingness by the majority of the flock to decide for themselves which teachings they will or will not obey. I agree that this is a problem for the Church and I don't think She should just say anything goes, but I think a mistake was made in 1968 by continuing a total ban. As a Cardinal Pope Paul's successor Pope John Paul the First was in favor of loosening the ban. As pope he did not go against his predecessor's encyciclical but he did say that in marriages where the choice might be between following the teaching or divorce the Church should show understanding and consider contraception the lesser evil. If he had survived he probably would have expanded on this. And yes, he was a pope. As far as evidence of change on infallible decisions I'm not a Church historian but the principle of infallibility is a fairly recent one. I was referring to other changes before and since that were not labeled infallible. I personally don't understand infallibility unless God Himself actually speaks to a pope but again, it's not for me to decide. It is to decide what to do with tons of Catholics who decide for themselves. I maintain the the Church needs to work with them, not eject them.

Anonymous said...

"If he had survived he probably would have expanded on this."

Now we're playing guess what the dead pope would have done. We know what his feelings were on the topic, but we do not know whether he would or would not have made any changes. Never a dull moment with you...

Mike said...

Anon. 11:20,

You raise two points I want to respond to but my time is limited at the moment so I'll take the shorter one now and try to get to the longer one later tonight.

"As far as evidence of change on infallible decisions I'm not a Church historian but the principle of infallibility is a fairly recent one. I was referring to other changes before and since that were not labeled infallible."

It is not the principle of infallibility that is fairly recent, but only its formal declaration (in 1870). The Church regards papal infallibility as part of the Deposit of Faith given by Jesus to the Apostles. Everything in the Deposit of Faith as been there from the very early days of the Church, whether or not particular elements were fully understood of fully developed in those early days.

For instance, the doctrine that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine (true God and true man) was not fully and formally defined until the Council of Chalcedon in 451, although the majority of Christians held this belief from the earliest days.

Papal infallibility was also recognized in practice since the earliest times. At the same Council of Chalcedon Pope Leo I (who was not present) sent a letter known as the Tome of Leo. "After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo!’" (ibid., session 2). (Source here.)

Another early example comes from St. Augustine (~415): "In a sermon to his flock, Augustine informed them that the pope had ratified the condemnations of the Pelagian heresy pronounced at the councils of Milevi and Carthage. He said 'The two councils sent their decrees to the Apostolic See and the decrees quickly came back. The cause is finished; would that the error were as quickly finished (Sermon 131:10).' This has developed over the centuries into the commonly known formula" [i.e., "Rome has spoken, the case is closed"]. (Source here.)

Finally, over its long history the Church has only found it necessary to formally define doctrines or dogmas when they were coming under attack.

Papal infallibility had never been seriously questioned until the 19th century, so there was no need to formally define it until then.

Nerina said...

Mike,

Re: your discussion of infallibility - BRAVO.

I once had a secretary at my church say there "are only two infallible teachings - The Immaculate Conception and the Assumption." "Really?" I asked her. "What about the teaching on the Trinity? Or the divinity of Christ?" She was confusing, teachings via an "ex cathedra" pronouncement and those taught via the ordinary magisterium of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mike for the history, seriously. I've read some of it but not all.

From what I understand Humanae Vitae is not an infallible document. Pope Paul was not making an "ex cathedra" pronouncement when he wrote it. He was reinforcing established Church teaching.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, it would be theoretically possible to change, right? If not then why did Pope John and Pope Paul after him bother to have a commission look into the issue?

As far as my comment about Pope John Paul the First, yes; I shouldn't suppose what he might have done had he lived. But as stated we know what he thought about it in life. Again, if it was a settled issue not subject to change how could he have formed these opinions?

The fact is that the vast majority of Catholics flatly reject this teaching. From what some here and elsewhere say, to be Catholic one must believe and agree to obey every single teaching of the Church. Otherwise one is not Catholic but a Protestant not in communion with the Church. If dissidents don't like it, goes the thread, no one's forcing them to stay, there's the door.

Again, here's the question. If the Church down to the parish level starts getting tough on this and disobedient Catholics still disobey do you really want them to leave? Or would it be better to keep them in the fold in order to keep the numbers up and their children Catholic? If the answer is no, they're more trouble than they're worth, then who will replace them? Remember we're talking about 80-90% of present Catholics.

I just don't see how getting more "orthodox" especially with this controversial teaching will fill the pews as many here say it will.

I think it would take something like a plague to get most Catholic couples who now use contraception to stop. Otherwise I don't see it happening.

Again, do you want these Catholics or not?

Anonymous said...

I am saying 80-90% to be generous and polite. Many estimates are 95% or higher.

LarryD said...

As a Catholic husband who desires to use NFP while my wife wants nothing to do with it, I can tell you that the strife is very real and very difficult.

So I try my best by the grace of God. Would my life be easier and less stressful if I just said "to the heck with Church teaching" for the sake of some temporary peace? You don't know how many times I nearly said that. I don't even know.

But for the sake of my soul, I soldier on. And for the sake of my wife's soul too. For as Scripture says, the righteousness of one spouse may cover the unrighteousness of the other (I'm not saying I'm 100% righteous by any means. I'm just referring to Scripture here).

So to answer one of the Anon's (whichever one it was) about the 80-90% of Catholics who would leave the Church if the teachings against AC were more regularly preached...in my opinion, they've already left. But you discount the # of Catholics who would change and stay.

Don't underestimate God's ability to do more with less. Look what He started with 12 guys, after all.

Anonymous said...

My sympathy to you and your wife. As discussed I have read what Pope John Paul the First thought about this. I don't know what the current pope would tell you. I assume you have spoken to your priest. God bless you and your wife. Marriage isn't easy. I'll pray for you.

LarryD said...

Anon - well, we'll never know what John Paul I would have said, but if he was considering making exceptions, perhaps his death was timely.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

That statement was truly detestable. If you speak for "orthodox" Catholics God help us. And you.

Nerina said...

Anon @8:55AM,

I don't think Larry's comment was intended to be as offensive as you took it (but I'll let Larry speak for himself). Personally, I don't think Pope John Paul I would have said what YOU think he would have said since I believe the Church is truly protected from teaching error. And I think teaching contraception as being morally acceptable is an error. The fall-out of the "contraceptive mentality" is immense.

I've heard others say that Humanae Vitae is not an infallible document because it was not proclaimed "ex cathedra." Again, my understanding of "infallible" considers teachings that have been traditionally held, taught and proclaimed by the ordinary magisterium. Not every infallible teaching has been declared "ex cathedra."

I'm curious if you've read the encyclical in its entirety. If not, you should. I reread it every year or so. It's encouraging and affirming and also addresses many of the points you have raised in this thread.

I think there are distinctions to be made with Catholics who truly believe in the Church and Her teachings, but may fail in adhering to these teachings and those who insist on the Catholic identity while protesting the Church's teachings. Where is the line? Does a Catholic ever lose the right to be called "Catholic?" Can you reject 10% of the teachings? 20%? How about 50%? Honest, my priest gave a homily that said, "you can believe only 10% of the Church's teachings and still be Catholic." (In fairness to my priest, when questioned about this statement he was horrified to think that people took his statement literally - what he was trying to convey, if I understood him correctly, is that we retain an underlying Catholic identity because of our baptism). And that's part of the question you ask? Is baptism enough to mark us as "Catholic" (big "C" v. little "c")? This is the discussion Bishop Tobin is having with Patrick Kennedy.

I am Catholic for many reasons. But ultimately I am Catholic because the Church was established by Christ himself and I take Christ at His word when He says "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

LarryD said...

Anon - I apologize if my comment offended you, but that was not my intent (Nernia, your perception was correct - thanks!). I'm merely saying that everything happens for a reason and according to God's will, whether it's permitted or ordained.

If Pope John Paul I was going to relax Church teaching on contraception, as you seemed to imply he might have, then his death was timely because he never had the chance to do so. But we'll never know, so speculation is rather moot.

Needless to say, this is getting off-topic from Mike's post, so I'm stepping back from any thread hijacking here.

Anonymous said...

Did I not warn everyone here before that Irondequoit Catholic (the one behind all the aggressive, dissidence-promoting posts) is attempting to set you up for a trap so he can sink his fangs into you? Better to ignore him than to feed the beast.

Anonymous said...

Noted, but how would you take it if I reached the same conclusion in the next few years? If I did I'd never say it publicly.

I only brought up the whole NFP thing to illustrate what I think is a legitimate point, that in my opinion to crack down and become more "orthodox" will not have the desirous effect most of you think it will.

I'm Catholic because I was born to an Irish Catholic family, baptized and confirmed. My Catholicism is part of my ethnic heritage. That goes a long way with me.

Unfortunately it was not enough for my mother and siblings and an increasingly large number of Catholics here and in Ireland. I still can hardly get my head around the fact that scores of native Irish are leaving the Church they put up with centuries of oppression to defend. But there you have it, they're leaving in droves. The staggering abuse that is becoming public only confirms what many Catholics knew all along and shut up about. In Ireland it is a double betrayal by their Church and their government which unlike here has no separation between them in schools and other public institutions involving children. The Church ran them all. That in itself was a betrayal to all the Protestant patriots who fought for a true Irish Republic that would put no church above another.

The abuse scandal for so many, including my family, was the tipping point. Horrible as it was it was not the only reason they left. It was the final slap from leaders they had obediently followed for so long. It said to them, "They're no different from us and many are worse." The abuse was so systemic and widespread in Ireland that it was impossible to blame it on just a few bad priests, nuns, brothers and bishops. It was endemic. It destroyed the credibility of the clergy and the perceived obligation of the laity to obey them on matters that affected their personal lives, including their marriages.

My family members left the Church before the U.S. abuse scandal became public and directly after. The news from Ireland just confirmed their decision. When the U.S. bishops say the scandal is in the past and dealt with and that they still must be obeyed my family members say they're so glad they don't have to listen to them anymore. They think I'm crazy to stay.

But I'm still here. I know most here wish I'd just go away, but do you want my family back? Do you want the thousands and thousands who have left with them?

Or do you want to tell them good riddance and encourage others to leave by rapping them over the knuckles and telling them "Obey!" Because that is what you will do. They will not return or grow closer to the Church through reprimand or laying down the law. That might have worked generations ago but it will absolutely not work now.

So what's it gonna be "orthodox"ers, are you willing to put up with unruly Catholics with one or both feet out the door or do you want the "smaller purer" Church we keep hearing about?

I'm for the big tent. I'm not going anywhere, but I hate to see this civil war that is happening in our Church. I know you people are sincere, but I think you are flat wrong that a new "kick ass" DOR bishop (poster's words, not mine) and a return to heavy-handed commands of obedience will do anything good for the Church.

Nerina said...

I just don't know what else to say. To have the Church comprised of members, as you have described them, Anon, seems pointless. What would the Church stand for? And for the record, I have not, not once in this discussion, said we have to pound people into submission. But many Catholic leaders have abandoned their duty to teach the faith. And that is why people are leaving in droves (I can't speak to the Irish-Catholic situation and can only imagine the pain and disillusionment felt by our Catholic brothers and sisters in that country. My prayers are with them). Just look at the stats. Where orthodoxy is present, the numbers are growing. Where it is absent, the churches are emptying.

I'm done.

I won't post on this thread again since we seem to be talking past each other.

Anonymous said...

Irondequouit Catholic --

The dioceses where there have been the greatest impact felt by the abuse scandal in this country are the ones lead by the least orthodox bishops. I.e- Weakland's diocese, a couple California ones, and there have been a number in Rochester as well. I don't know about Ireland, as I do not live in that country, have never been there, and it is not my concern.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Boston. Cardinal Law had a well known reputation as a kick-ass "orthodox" bishop. The bishops in Ireland were and are very, very “orthodox”. Ireland is or was the most observant Catholic country in Europe if not the world. What the English couldn't do in 576 years the Irish clergy did themselves. So please don't say the abuse only happened in "progressive" dioceses or even since Vatican II. It went on and on probably back to the earliest days of the Church and there was plenty of blame from the top on down. The revelations of the past decade only confirmed what many knew already.

Nernia, I wasn't saying you were in favor of pounding Catholics into submission but that's certainly the gist of many here. After all whose ass would a kick-ass bishop kick?

With all due respect I disagree with you about members and their numbers. If the number of Catholics ever dropped to the point where the Church was no longer the largest Christian church in the world that would be terrible.

Cultural and nominal Catholics still show up at mass from time to time and may show up more if they're inspired by the Gospel or a good homily. So-so Catholic parents usually join a parish so their kids can attend CCD and receive the sacraments. They also pay real money to keep the church open. Is this perfect? No, but nothing in this world is. If Jesus had waited for more perfectly formed followers he would not have accomplished his mission. And neither will the Church.

The "smaller purer" theory won't work. The Church needs to stay big worldwide and to do that it needs good, bad and in-between Catholics. Kicking their ass won’t do it.

Anonymous said...

"It went on and on probably back to the earliest days of the Church and there was plenty of blame from the top on down. "

There's the "probably" again. You offer more guesses than actual evidence when you make your assertions.

LarryD said...

Christ never promised that the Church would continue to exist in America and Europe. To put things in perspective, there are 1 billion Catholics in the world, and 67+ million are in the US. That's 6.7% of total Catholics. Let's not over-exaggerate the importance of American Catholics to the whole of the Roman Catholic Church.

Rather - let's concentrate on being the most faithful Catholics we can be in order to be light to those around us. I don't worry about the thousands and thousands of Catholics that leave the Church in a personal intimate way - I first make sure I'm not straying so that others around me can see the path I'm walking.

Anonymous said...

My Fellow Anon,

"There's the "probably" again. You offer more guesses than actual evidence when you make your assertions."

Is the word "probably" forbidden here? Can I do a word search?

How about it went on at least back to the 1940's long before Vatican II and "progressive" changes?

Larry,

It sounds like you're not particularly concerned with U.S. parishes going under or Catholics all around the world leaving the church of their birth as long as others can see the path you're walking. Did I get that right?

Then may I assume you are not one of those here who are really, really angry about Bishop Clark closing poorly attended and poorly funded parishes?

I respect the monastic path you have chosen but I don't think you should volunteer as parish treasurer. U.S. Catholics send a ton of money to other Catholics throughout the world. That money funds Catholic missions who increasingly find themselves trying to hold on to existing Catholics being siphoned away by Mormons, Evangelicals, Seventh Day Adventists etc. These groups are making huge inroads in formerly solid Catholic countries. Yes, most Catholics live outside the U.S. and Europe but they are being targeted everywhere by other churches. Many are just leaving as they are doing here and in Europe. So let's not "over-exaggerate" the stability of the Church beyond the U.S. and Europe. We're all facing the same challenges.

I can't believe anyone would think it's acceptable to just let U.S. and European Catholics go, yet many conservatives including you seem to hold that view.

God bless converts and cradle Catholics who come home but most who lose their Catholic identity are gone for good. I think it's a good idea not to lose them in the first place. I think one way to keep them is to make them feel welcome, not to issue ultimatums and point to the door.

Anonymous said...

"I can't believe anyone would think it's acceptable to just let U.S. and European Catholics go, yet many conservatives including you seem to hold that view."

Did he refer to himself as conservative, or did you decide he is one?

LarryD said...

Nernia - I mean no offense, nor do I cavalierly shrug off the closing of parishes nor mismanagement of dioceses by wayward bishops.

I'm familiar with the DOR having grown up there and by staying in touch with family members. I've never implied that righteous anger is inappropriate. We were members of Sacred Heart, and we all attended the school there - so I know how things used to be, and the extent to how bad things have gotten is indescribably awful.

My comment referred to "smaller and purer" comments, and the exodus of thousands and thousands of Catholics here and in Europe - Ireland specifically.

I don't find it acceptable to just let Catholics "go" - but when they leave when the Church holds fast to tough teachings, like contraception, because they find them hard to accept, then away they will go. It's happened to several of my family members, and it is painful and disappointing. So I pray for their conversion and hope that by my example, they may be moved to come back. No one is ever argued back into the Church. Even Christ had most of his followers leave when they struggled with His claims of eating His flesh. So it shouldn't surprise us when it happens in our families and amongst our friends. So you and I are in agreement - people tend to leave in bunches when orthodox teaching is the norm. Paradoxically, it also attracts a fair number of people, fewer than those who leave, but still attracts them nonetheless.

But if Catholics leave when their bishops and priests are proven to be merely human, and sin in most despicable ways - when they leave because they feel betrayed by mere people, then that is a different issue. They are leaving because they have failed to understand the true nature of the Church. That's a sadder reason.

I pray that those who leave for either reason respond to the Holy Spirit and return to the Church. And I pray that those who fight for orthodoxy and defend the Church's teachings be strengthened by God to wage that battle day in and day out.

Now - there are many catholics who are trying to change the Church because they disagree with & undermine certain teachings. The best solution is for them to have a profound conversion. However, for the sake of others, the second best thing for them to do is leave, so as to not sow confusion and scandal. I would not be unhappy to see such CINO's go for that very reason.

I'm not over-exaggerating the state of the Church outside of the US and Europe. It's possibly as tenuous now as it's ever been. I'm saying let's not over-exaggerate our own importance as American Catholics. I gave those statistics to provide some perspective. There are those who think that the Roman Catholic Church ought to revolve around America, and that's a type of exceptionalism unbecoming to a Catholic. We belong to a universal Church - and should the Church become oppressed in the US as it has in other countries, it ought not take us unawares.

I can't believe anyone would think it's acceptable to just let U.S. and European Catholics go, yet many conservatives including you seem to hold that view.

Then you haven't read my blog as of late. I'm conservative as an American, but orthodox as a Catholic (small 'o', not big 'O'). I'm as concerned as you about how Catholic communities are being preyed upon throughout the world. I don't lose sleep over it, however. I pray and do what I can. And one thing I can do is be a good Catholic role model to those God has put in my path. It's not monastic in any way, shape of form.

You wrote "U.S. Catholics send a ton of money to other Catholics throughout the world., and I'm one of them. I'm just not sure the point of your comment.

"God bless converts and cradle Catholics who come home but most who lose their Catholic identity are gone for good. I think it's a good idea not to lose them in the first place." I agree.

Nerina said...

Hi folks,

For the record, my name is spelled
NERINA, not Nernia (I've been called "Hernia" in the past :).

LarryD,

You've attributed comments to me that I did not make. My last post is up thread several posts above yours. I just want to be clear. The person taking issue with you is one of the several, faceless, nameless "Anons." I have read your blog in the past and I know where you are coming from. I think we share many similar views.

Have fun talking with Anon.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

So you're a social and political conservative and a small "o" orthodox Catholic. I think I got that right.

I'm one Catholic who is not leaving because "priests are proven to be merely human, and sin in most despicable ways" but it is disingenuous to suggest that the abuse scandal is disconnected from the credibility and authority of the Church hierarchy.

In Ireland today the first of several bishops is resigning over their abysmal handling and cover up of abuse by priests under their administration. Bishops and belatedly the Vatican have said they are ashamed. One bishop has pleaded with Irish youth not to leave the Church.

As awful as the scandal in Ireland is the Church there is doing the right thing. Bishops are turning in their resignations, taking blame and humbly pleading with the flock to not leave over their failures. They realize that they have done the one thing hundreds of years of outside oppression could not do; they have horribly damaged the Catholic Church in the most devout Catholic country in the world.

None of that happened here. Aside from Cardinal Law, who slipped out of the country for a cushy job in Rome, American bishops who covered up for child abusers and allowed them to continue to ruin the lives and faith of countless youth have not resigned or been fired. Instead they stand as a group and tell us its done, WE fixed it, get over it, and don't get any ideas in your head that we are not still in charge.

In any other organization these men would be gone. Yet here and elsewhere I read no call for their termination, only pleas for Bishop Clark to quit, be fired, or (not here) go to his reward for perceived wishy-washiness on worship styles in Rochester. How in the world could the pope fire Bishop Clark and not have the heads of bishops who concealed criminals? It's not going to happen.

The bishops who are cracking down and exerting their authority are doing so in part because they feel if they don't do it now they will lose it forever. But as in their effort to conceal the abuse scandal to preserve their jobs, finances and the reputation of the Church their efforts will have exactly the response they wish to avoid. They will end up looking arrogant, hypocritical and ultimately insignificant.

This is exactly the wrong time for the bishops to start getting tough with the laity and telling them who does and who doesn't get to receive Communion. It is the right time for many of them to quit and others to humbly beg forgiveness then shepherd with a gentle hand.

The Church is eternal but it is governed on earth by men. If the laity sees those men as unholy it is understandable how they may question the Church as a whole. The abuse scandal and to a lesser but significant degree the wholesale rejection of the ban on contraception has done tremendous damage to the Church by reducing its credibility and authority.

Now is the time for quiet comfort, not the steel edged ruler.

Anonymous said...

Catholics aren't leaving the CHurch because of contraception. For someone to leave over this, it must be preached from the pulpit and we all know the silence of the shepheards for 40 years on this issue.

If you preach the truth, you can't get overly concerned over people leaving. After all, they walked away from Jesus. What's better is a smaller church with people on board with all that is preached.

But since there is such a dicotomy among bishops in America, we will only see separate dioceses who adhere to the truth.

But, in dioceses like Lincoln Nebraska and Denver, the number of vocations is adequate. This says something about preaching the truth.

Anonymous said...

"Now is the time for quiet comfort, not the steel edged ruler."

The quieter your comfort, the more the disobedience and the laxity of the laity, the less people come to church. Remind me again how good 40 years of quiet comfort have been?

LarryD said...

Nerina - my apologies on attributing those comments in error, and on butchering your name. Mea culpa!

I'm giving up on Anonymous - the entire amalgamation of them - and giving Mike his combox back.

Anonymous said...

"Now - there are many catholics who are trying to change the Church because they disagree with & undermine certain teachings. The best solution is for them to have a profound conversion. However, for the sake of others, the second best thing for them to do is leave, so as to not sow confusion and scandal. I would not be unhappy to see such CINO's go for that very reason."

Finally an answer, thank you.

I understand the derivation of "CINO". It's from "RINO", "Republican In Name Only". I know you're a political Conservative, Larry. Maybe you're right that the Church can get smaller and purer and come out stronger in time. Neither of us will live to see if that happens or not.

But I can't understand why Republicans think they can prosper by kicking out Republicans who are deemed not conservative enough. The proposed Loyalty Oath elected Republicans are supposed to sign is the latest example of this. The Church is eternal but our system of government requires winning elections. That means persuading the largest number of voters per state to support your platform and candidates.

I hope you're not confusing partisan politics with the governing of the Church and vice versa. In both cases I don't see how smaller is better. But as I said it's not up to me and I won't live to see how it turns out.

It's interesting that no one has a single word to say about how the abuse scandal has impacted the credibility of the clergy. Many of the abused were taught that Father was someone who could be trusted absolutely, that he was somehow above suspicion, above reproach, above normal people. No one thinks that anymore. No one should.

The abuse scandal is not over. There will be another wave of revelations as victims from 20 years ago reach adulthood and come forward.

The scandal is connected to the teaching on contraception because it contributes to the laity's lack of trust in the hierarchy and their willingness to see them as moral authorities.

The leaders of the Church need to earn back that trust and they will not do it by kicking ass.

There's no way to know if I'm right. It's just a hunch.

LarryD said...

It's interesting that no one has a single word to say about how the abuse scandal has impacted the credibility of the clergy.

For the same reason adultery doesn't impact the credibility of married persons. For the same reason that the sexual abuse of students by public school teachers (and that happens much more often than is being reported) hasn't impacted the credibility of all teachers and principals. Its the individual committing the crime/sin who has lost credibility, as well as any person responsible in any cover-up. You seem eager to paint with a broad brush, thus impugning the character and reputation of the innocent.

The scandal has been terrible, no doubt about it. And its effects may be felt for years to come. It doesn't change the fact that truth is truth, and objective evils are still objective evils. The perpetrators of the abuse scandal aren't the ones who have developed the truths of the faith - they're responsible for passing it on, because it was handed on to them from the bishops, down from the apostles.

But I suppose you don't give the apostles much credibility either, because with the exception of John, they either betrayed Christ, abandoned Him, or denied Him. I doubt you believe that - so for those who have left the Church because they felt betrayed - well, all I have to say is, it wasn't the Church who betrayed them. Men betrayed their trust - which is why it's better to have faith in Christ and His Church rather than faith in priests and bishops.

And yes, I do separate my political positions from my religious ones. I'm not confusing partisan politics with Church governance. I owe no allegiance to a party - only to Jesus Christ.

I have no idea if the Church will be smaller and purer in my lifetime, but it will be nonetheless. Scripture declares that it will be - that many will apostatize in the last days. Christ says that the days of the Antichrist will be shortened for the sake of the elect. Christ laments that He might not find faith on the Earth upon His return. Many are called, but few are chosen.

You should read Judges 6-7, where Gideon raises an army to do battle. He starts with 32,000 men, and by God's command, he pares down the army to 300. And with God leading them, they won their battles. That story has always remained with me, that no matter how great the odds, if one relies on God and His power, it doesn't matter how many people there are. With God, less is always more.

Anonymous said...

First, Very well said Larry.

Next...
"But I can't understand why Republicans think they can prosper by kicking out Republicans who are deemed not conservative enough."

Those not conservative enough will not get the conservative vote (which is sizable), and not win elections. Take a look at the NY 23 election. There was a Republican candidate who supported abortion, and the candidate was behind in the polls, even to the 3rd party conservative candidate. Ultimately it didn't work out well for either, but the conservative candidate fared better than the liberal Republican.

Anonymous said...

"For the same reason adultery doesn't impact the credibility of married persons. For the same reason that the sexual abuse of students by public school teachers (and that happens much more often than is being reported) hasn't impacted the credibility of all teachers and principals. It’s the individual committing the crime/sin who has lost credibility, as well as any person responsible in any cover-up. You seem eager to paint with a broad brush, thus impugning the character and reputation of the innocent."

My Irish grandmother used to say a thing should look right as well as be right. It's not right and it doesn't look right when a plurality of U.S. bishops screwed up and covered up an abuse crisis under their administration. If that many school principals did the same for abusing teachers people would have the same outrage in general for principals. A huge difference is that the principals would be fired, sued and possibly (can I say possibly?) charged with obstructing justice. U.S. bishops have only been sued. The adultery comparison doesn't make sense Larry. We're talking about bishops who had a spiritual as well as managerial responsibility over their flock and failed to protect the least among them while protecting those who preyed on them. We're not talking about the individual sins of individual priests; we're talking about the systemic cover up of their crimes by their bosses, the bishops. You're a smart guy; can you tell me why other than Law no U.S. bishop has lost his job over the abuse scandal while Irish ones are handing in their resignations? Can you tell me why no U.S. bishop has called his brother bishops to task to do the right thing as has happened in Ireland? It's grasping at straws but at least aside from one or two holdouts the Irish have bypassed the b.s. and admitted their guilt. The U.S. bishops have not and now they want to play tough with the laity. Do they think we're stupid? Do they think people don't read the news or think what happened in Ireland has nothing to do with what happened here? I don't think I'm tarnishing the reputation of the innocent when I say that the management team of the USCCB has not fully accounted for the monumental neglect of duty by many of their members.

I agree with most of what else you say and I'll have to read that passage, but I don't think you should get too romantic about the 300 against a thousand or lifeboat survival theory. From this and your "look what Jesus did with twelve" comment you seem to like the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven scenario. Well those were movies and even the Church says that some of the stuff in the Old Testament might be metaphorical. I maintain that it's important to have a big boat so that even if it hits a rock enough of its passengers can swim to shore. Just think of Edward G. Robinson's character in The Ten Commandments. What an a&&#@!e. But God and Moses kept him in the caravan until they reached The Promised Land. Some of his kids might have grown up to be pretty good priests. Who knows. Truth be told he was a lot more entertaining than Charlton Heston.

My lifeboat theory is everybody grab an oak and keep rowing. And that golden calf looks like $#!+..

Anonymous said...

"Those not conservative enough will not get the conservative vote (which is sizable), and not win elections. Take a look at the NY 23 election. There was a Republican candidate who supported abortion, and the candidate was behind in the polls, even to the 3rd party conservative candidate. Ultimately it didn't work out well for either, but the conservative candidate fared better than the liberal Republican."

But the Democrat won. How does that help conservatives? There's no second prize. You win or you lose. The third party candidate who wasn't from the area and admitted he didn't know anything about it helped the Democrat win. For that to happen Republicans who never voted Democratic had to vote for the Democrat. Why would they do that? Because even in a solidly Republican district the third party ultra-conservative candidate was too far off the fringe for them.

I know this is part of some long term plan but like the "smaller purer" model for the Church I don't think it will work.

Anonymous said...

"Because even in a solidly Republican district the third party ultra-conservative candidate was too far off the fringe for them."

The Republican pro-abortion candidate was despised by many, including many in the Republican party. The Republican would have been destroyed. The Conservative, who should have been the Republican candidate to begin with, gained far more votes than the Republican. Sure, a loss is a loss is a loss, but this disproves your point that the Democrat won because the Conservative was "too far off the fringe." Had the Republican's name not even been on the ballot, the Conservative could have won. The margin of difference between the Democrat and Conservative was less than the percentage of the vote that the Republican candidate received. Basically, the Republican pulled a Nader to give the Democrat the win.

Anonymous said...

Putting a pro-choice Republican in that district was blunder by the GOP but the Conservative was still from the fringe. He was an outsider in a real sense. The Democrat would have had a good chance beating him in a head on race.

Conservatives goofed on trying to make this a beachhead for a more conservative GOP. Following this strategy will only cause them to lose as the "smaller purer" theory for the Church will do the same.

Nader is a jerk.

LarryD said...

Anon 11:00 PM

...but I don't think you should get too romantic about the 300 against a thousand or lifeboat survival theory. From this and your "look what Jesus did with twelve" comment you seem to like the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven scenario. Well those were movies and even the Church says that some of the stuff in the Old Testament might be metaphorical.

And yet you can't deny that the Church was started with 12 apostles. I think that's miraculous, and nothing 'romantic' about it. With the exception of John, they were all brutally martyred. I find that inspirational, not romantic. And I've never seen the Magnificent 7, so I can't comment on that. I don't get my theology from Hollywood.

Since its beginning, the Church has been persecuted. I suppose you ascribe to the belief, for example, that the underground Church in China is undergoing self-persecution because it goes against the state-sanctioned church. Which one would you be a member of - the one with the big boat full of compromise, or the small boat being persecuted? You seem to hold to the "can't we all just get along" philosophy, which indicates to me you'd rather compromise on following Church teaching to stay friendly with the world. I'm glad Jesus didn't do that. He didn't turn anyone away, but He didn't force anyone to stay, either. Refresh your memory by reading John 6 again. It's not metaphorical.

And perhaps rather than deciding what is or isn't metaphorical in the OT, you should accept that the OT is still divinely inspired. AFAIK, the Edward G Robinson character isn't even scriptural, and yet you found him entertaining. Interesting.

The Church is not going to hit a rock and fall apart - it IS the rock that other people smash against, and then provides a safe haven for them if they choose to do so. The Church is the sure thing to cling to.

As far as to why haven't the US bishops called for an accounting of their brothers, I don't have an answer. I'm not invited to their meetings. One saint remarked that the roads in Hell are paved with the skulls of bishops. That's why I follow the Church and her teachings, not the example of wayward bishops neglecting their flock. Christ said of the Pharisees "Do as they tell you, but do not do as they do", and that applies to the bishops too. And when they speak authoritatively and correctly on morals and faith, you better listen. They've been given authority to do so by Christ Himself. The fact that bishops have screwed up in their personal example does not in any way detract from the truths the Church teaches. You seem to have difficulty separating the two.

You're a smart guy;

Don't patronize me. It doesn't help your argument. And it serves to end the discussion

Anonymous said...

"Conservatives goofed on trying to make this a beachhead for a more conservative GOP. Following this strategy will only cause them to lose as the "smaller purer" theory for the Church will do the same."

Wrong, the Republicans goofed by throwing a pro-abortion politician on the ballot as a Republican. Smaller and purer will indeed work.

By the way, Obama's approval is the lowest for any President, EVER, at this point in a presidency. Just thought you might be interested.

Billy Bob said...

What do ANY of these comments have to do with Mike's post? This is getting out of hand.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

You won't meet anyone who is more against the Chinese government than me. They are evil. I would be with the real Church, not the state one.

Sorry about the "smart guy". No offense intended.

Edward G.'s character wasn't scriptural, but didn't God bring an awful lot of thick-headed people to the Holy Land? He could have kept the good ones and let the others starve in the desert but he didn't. Robinson's character was representative of those people. Robinson was a better actor than Heston in my opinion and the bad guy is usually more entertaining in movies than the hero. I don't think that's a sin.

You said previously that Catholics who want to change the Church would be better off leaving. I know that the perception of those here is that you are trying to bring the Church back to where it was and should be again, but it could be argued that you are trying to change things that were set in place by popes and other leaders of the Church. For that matter you could say that JPII and B16 are trying to change things their predecessors began. "The reform of the reform" is a nice phrase but to a lot of people it means that the viewpoint of conservatives who were against the reforms of Vatican II in the first place now have the floor. And yes I know B16 was an original advocate of VII.

As far as the Twelve, you're right, they were and are saints, but they were not totally alone. Jesus had other followers who also abandoned him and (probably) came back when they heard the Twelve's testimony. And let's not forget the women who didn't abandon Christ. From the time of the Apostle’s evangelization onward the Church has been growing, not shrinking. I think that’s a good direction to follow. Again, I’m not advocating the Church say “anything goes”; I’m just wishing its leaders would shepherd more gently in these troubled times. One thing I am not trying to do is change the Church. I don’t think for one second I have that power. I jumped in here not to advocate for things I would like to see; that was a question asked of me, but to defend Catholics who I perceive being attacked here.

I get the impression that most of you are political as well as social and religious conservatives. Am I off base there? Is there one political "progressive" among you? I doubt it. I think that influences your perspective on the Church. Or vice versa. But what do I know?

We agree about the skulls.

Anonymous said...

"I’m just wishing its leaders would shepherd more gently in these troubled times."

Again, we already have witnessed the fruits of this; empty churches and apathy.

LarryD said...

Anon 4:01 PM

Apology accepted.

Anonymous said...

'I’m just wishing its leaders would shepherd more gently in these troubled times.'

"Again, we already have witnessed the fruits of this; empty churches and apathy."

From your point of view wishy-washy "too gentle" shepherding is the heart of the problem and the opposite will fix it. I disagree. Even if you are 100% right about how the Church should be I still don't see how you can think that two-fisted wrangling of the laity back to "orthodox" ways will succeed. It's like you think they will sit up and say, "Yes, Sir" when they're told in no uncertain terms to obey. It's not going to happen, at least not that way. You're counting on Catholics either getting in line or getting out, right? I think more of them would get out than in line with a get tough approach. The "don't ask don't tell" truce on HV isn't perfect but it's kept a ton of Catholics from leaving completely. One more push and they're gone.

Does anyone here think this would be the right time for the Irish bishops to get tough with the Irish on orthodoxy? That would be suicidal. They are doing the opposite, they are apologizing and begging forgiveness, they are pleading for Catholics not to leave the Church. And what do we have here? Bishops telling people who can and can't receive communion, who is and who isn't Catholic. At least 2/3 of them did exactly what the Irish bishops did, covered up for child rapists, and aside from Law not one has lost his job because of it. Does anyone see the complete injustice and of that and the absurdity of these same men telling the flock to kneel down and obey - NOW? Please tell me why they still have their jobs and they still feel they have the moral authority to start playing tough guy with the flock. If it's because their authority comes from Rome, from the Church, then tell me why the pope who had such a well deserved reputation for kicking liberal clergy's butts hasn't FIRED others who aided and abetted child molesters? I'm a whole lot more concerned with kids being flogged and raped than I am about cr**py music and hand-holding at Mass. And please don't give me the "sins of a few" line. I'm not talking about the individual priests and other religious who did these unspeakably evil things; I'm talking about their bosses the bishops who protected them instead of their victims.

If the conservative wing of the U.S. clergy thinks it can muscle Catholics back in line through force it is crazy. I don't think they're crazy. I think like Larry they really don't care if they leave, they buy this "smaller and purer" stuff and are implementing it. To those who think that's the solution for what ails the Church I can only say I disagree completely, not just from a moral, philosophical or religious perspective, but from a practical one. I just don't think it will work at all. I think it would be a disaster for the Church and the world.

Anonymous said...

"Even if you are 100% right about how the Church should be I still don't see how you can think that two-fisted wrangling of the laity back to "orthodox" ways will succeed."

It will succeed, but it will take time. When people grow up without discipline, they are difficult to control. We won't really see the fruits of orthodoxy until the current generation has passed on. The young are future of the Church (Under 40 yrs).

And for the love of God, enough already with Ireland. We don't live in Ireland, I don't care. Those bishops are probably going to Hell for what they did, but that's for God to judge, not us. So stop with them. My goodness, go move to Ireland if you want to bitch about them so much.

Anonymous said...

Irondequoit Catholic - You really are a true progressive Catholic, as its evident you subscribe the theology of the genitals. So many of your qualms with the Church that you have listed are about sex and gender.

Why don't you read your Bible once again to see what St. Paul says about sex. Or is your conscience the ultimate authority rather than the Bible or Christ's Church?

Nerina said...

But, Anon, you fail to answer the question (and I can't believe I am sucked back into this conversation): what DO we do? Do we take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach with all Church teaching? Isn't there room for a both/and approach (i.e. meet people where they are and then continue to witness to them)?

You seem to suggest that we just let everyone in with no reservation. Okay. I know people in my church who receive Holy Communion and don't believe in the teaching of the Real Presence. I also know people who claim to believe in the Real Presence, but clearly reject almost everything else the church teaches.

Instead of telling us endorsing or promoting orthodoxy won't work, tell us what will. What will give us a Church with believing members who love Christ and are willing to obey His Church (EVEN on the hard teachings)?

Nerina said...

And for the record, the situation in Ireland is deplorable and I agree that the Bishops have lost an enormous amount of credibility. Even so, that doesn't mean the teachings are wrong. The Bishops failed in their duty. Period.

Anonymous said...

BLAMMO

Mike said...

Anon., Larry and Nerina,

We have had a death in my extended family and so for the last few days I really haven't had much time to be anything more than a lurker on my own blog.

This situation will probably last a couple days more.

In the meantime I like to draw your attention to what seems to be a pertinent post on Vivificat!.

Anonymous said...

"Instead of telling us endorsing or promoting orthodoxy won't work, tell us what will."

Get rid of every bishop who protected child abusers. Replace them with new bishops who were not involved in the scandal. That would remove them from the stain and loss of credibility the guilty bishops will never get rid of. Make sure their replacements have excellent communication and management skills. Make sure they really like people. Have them gently begin to do what you want them to, teach the laity what the Church teaches and why it does. Persuade them gently why this is the best way for all people to behave because Jesus and the Holy Spirit say so. Make Mass a welcoming place with some of the changes you want, but not all at once and not all you hope for. I'm not clergy so it's not for me to say, but I think denying communion should be very rarely done. A Catholic who is denied communion is not likely to attend Mass without it as he or she is advised. They are more likely to leave for good. I think the ban on contraception should be re-examined but I don't think I'll live to see that happen. I think if the ban is strictly enforced it will lead to far fewer Catholics worldwide for a very long time. I don't think the Church would recover those numbers in a few generations or perhaps ever. I think it would be awful for the Church to lose that many of its flock. I don't think there are enough new "orthodox" Catholics coming up to prove that they would be enough to re-grow the lost numbers.

“you subscribe the theology of the genitals. So many of your qualms with the Church that you have listed are about sex and gender.”

With aprox. 95% of Catholics rejecting the ban on contraception it is a huge problem no matter how you look at it. That’s a staggering super majority who simply don’t believe what the Church teaches. Losing them all seems unthinkable. Better would be persuading them that the teaching is not only correct but good for them. If they still disagree keep trying or keep saying, “This is the teaching” without kicking them out. I have no say in it. I’m only saying this because I was asked. Humans are sexual beings. St. Paul realized that not everyone could be like him. As far as gender goes, I don’t think I’ve brought up the women priest issue at all.

“And for the love of God, enough already with Ireland. We don't live in Ireland, I don't care.”

Ireland has everything to do with the abuse scandal here. The U.S. Church was built by the Irish and most of the bishops and priests involved with the scandal are Irish-Americans. I don’t know how you can ignore what is happening in Ireland and say it doesn’t matter. It’s part of the Church and the part that is most similar to what happened here.

So, replace the guilty bishops with new ones then gently guide the flock to the teachings of the Church with a steady positive hand. Make it something they want. Don't turn the weak and stray ones away. Keep them in and keep trying to make them better. Bring dignity back to the liturgy, but don't expect everyone to go back to Latin and facing East. Re-enforce the idea that the Church is universal and we are all Catholic. Most of all, do what Larry suggests, walk the walk.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your trouble Mike.

IC

Anonymous said...

"What will give us a Church with believing members who love Christ and are willing to obey His Church (EVEN on the hard teachings)?"

Nerina,

Thinking about it I concede that that the only thing that will produce in the short run a laity as obedient as it was in the past is a dramatic shrinking of their numbers. I think this would be bad for the Church but I don't see any quick way to get Catholics who disobey the ban on contraception especially to change their behavior. I guess I am suggesting what I assume most here will reject, that a good deal of disobedience be accepted as fact while the Church tries to persuade the disobedient to follow its teachings for reasons they will accept. Otherwise, yes, the dissenting Catholics have to go. But if that happened I strongly doubt the numbers of "orthodox" Catholics would grow as quickly as those here claim. I think you and the Church would have to accept the numbers of Catholics worldwide to drop by half or more and perhaps remain there. I think that would hurt the Church long term. Folks here think it would make it stronger. That's where we disagree.

Saying the abuse in Ireland doesn't matter, that we don't live there and shouldn't care sounds like American Exceptionalism, which is OK I guess if you want to subscribe to that view on a secular political level. But surely those here don't hold that the Church here is disconnected from the universal Church. That would be putting you in company with the "progressive" Catholics who want to split from Rome and form an American Church. What happened in Ireland is what happened here on an even larger scale. A big part of it is the pedestal the bishops and clergy have been put upon by themselves and the laity. That presented them as above suspicion, answerable to no one outside the Church, and allowed the abuse to continue in secret.

From what I've read the "young fogie" more "orthodox" priests coming out of the seminaries now favor the old vestments even when not celebrating Mass and expect the deference, autocratic power and unquestioning obedience of the past. The vast majority of the laity will not buy it. If "smaller purer" is the goal this return-to-the-past attitude will succeed in weeding out disobedient Catholics. If not it will backfire.

But again, if you want in the near future a laity that is as accepting and obedient of Church teaching as you are I accept that a much smaller flock is unavoidable.

LarryD said...

Mike - sorry to hear about your loss. You have my prayers.

Anon -

The Church survived the Aryan heresy, the Protestant Reformation, and every other attack throughout its history, and it will survive this too. Christ promised it.

Anonymous said...

"Get rid of every bishop who protected child abusers."

Including Clark?

Nerina said...

Mike,

I am sorry for your unexpected family loss, especially at this time of year. My prayers are with you and your family and your loved one.


Anon,

I would say the Church already tolerates the 95% of people who don't abide by the teaching on contraception. Not in doctrine, but I have yet to see anyone refused Communion for their use of contraception.

On a personal note, when I first learned the full teaching on contraception, I did not instantly accept it and rejoice. In fact, I mourned. Because the teaching made sense and I didn't want to give up anything. Well, I withdrew from receiving Communion while still attending Mass and I prayed. I asked God to convict my heart. And, of course, He did. I also asked Him for the grace to accept not only the Church's teaching on contraception, but on other issues as well. While I was still a novice Catholic, I quickly learned that it would be completely hypocritical of me to take Communion while blatantly ignoring fundamental Church teaching. And keep in mind, I wasn't raised in the Faith - I learned most of this on my own. But even to me, a newbie, it was obvious that consuming the Blessed Sacrament required my obedience and assent. Otherwise, I was a liar when I consumed the Host.

Nerina said...

Mike,

Thanks for the link to Vivificat! Beautiful blog and you're right about the pertinence of the post.

Anonymous said...

"Get rid of every bishop who protected child abusers."

Including Clark?

I was expecting that. If that can be proven, yes, including Clark, absolutely.

But not for the stuff you guys want him canned for. There's no comparison.

Anonymous said...

"The Church survived the Aryan heresy, the Protestant Reformation, and every other attack throughout its history, and it will survive this too. Christ promised it."

I'm sure it will. I never said the Catholic Church wouldn't survive. It's just a question of in what numbers. I think the "smaller purer" track will lead to much smaller numbers for a very long time. Will it work out for the best? That's out of my league but you guys seem to think so. What I absolutely disagree with you on is how long that will take. You seem to think that a swift return to more "orthodox" enforcement will lead to filling the pews in time for the hoped for kick-ass successor to Bishop Clark not having to close more churches. I think it would mean he would have to close even more. I think the "smaller purer" thing is a long shot but I'm willing to pass on it's long term success. But I think it's pure fantasy to imagine that a fast turnaround to what you folks think "orthodox" tradition would look like would have the immediate pew-filling effect you think is a slam dunk. Maybe if a ton more parishes close there will be so fewer pews that you can fill them, but I don't believe you can fill up the pews that are still open by getting tougher and more traditional. Please tell me how you think this is possible here and now in Rochester remembering that we are not Lincoln Nebraska.

On the long term survival of the Church, of course, we are in agreement.

Anonymous said...

"I would say the Church already tolerates the 95% of people who don't abide by the teaching on contraception. Not in doctrine, but I have yet to see anyone refused Communion for their use of contraception."

How much of this is because the priests don't know? How much is because many of them don't want to know and if they did would be understanding? If one of the new young more "orthodox" priests coming up somehow knew a Catholic was using contraception and refused to repent and stop would he refuse communion to the sinner? Would you want him to?

The significance of the contraception issue goes beyond contraception itself. It is a spotlight on a fundamental change in Catholics, that they no longer feel obligated to obey Church teaching just because they are told to. They are no longer afraid of going to hell for not doing what their priest, bishop or even the pope tells them to. I'm not saying this is a good thing necessarily. I am saying that it is an objective fact that needs to be considered when figuring out how to get Catholics to be more serious about being Catholic. The old ways, threats of going to hell etc. won't work. It's a poor comparison but I think the absolute ban on contraception can be compared to Prohibition in the U.S. If everyone stopped drinking it would have had real positive benefits and in fact drinking overall and alcohol related illnesses went down during Prohibition. The bad that outdid the good was creating a public that by huge numbers felt justified to disobey the law. This led to increased lawlessness and the growth of Organized Crime. Of course this doesn't compute if contraception is as the Church proclaims an absolute evil. But the comparison is useful if only to show another example of a population that in great numbers disobeys a law because they have determined it is wrong. The percentage of Catholics who use contraception is much, much higher than that of Americans who disobeyed the Volstead Amendment. The Church can't change its teaching just because people won't obey it, but as you say, what' to be done? If you want to keep these Catholics and try to change them you need to use different tactics than ones that worked in the past. If you don't want to keep them or don't want to keep them if they won't behave when they're told to then it doesn't matter. Is it possible to discuss what is practical and what isn't? Many saints and leaders of the Church were more successful than their peers because they had more talent and developed better methods of teaching the same truth.

I've given my poor suggestions Nerina. What are yours? You seem like a much nicer person than me.

Anonymous said...

“...as an organization operating within society, it seems to the commission that the church ought to have some regard to secular requirements in its choice of leader. The archbishop is the manager of the archdiocese as well, of course, as being its spiritual leader . . . Appointments to positions as archbishops and bishops seem to have been made primarily on the basis of doctrinal orthodoxy. Management ability does not seem to have been a relevant criterion.”

From the Murphy Report on abuse in Ireland.

Agree or disagree?

Should this enter into any of the pope's considerations for Bishop Clark's successor?

Indications are that the pope may institute an overhaul of the organization of the Irish Church. Hopefully he will seek advice from those who have more experience outside the Vatican than him. By most accounts he is used to doing things more by himself than PJPII. He eats alone and seems to consult a tighter rather than wider group. He is a highly intelligent man, perhaps one of the most scholarly that has held his seat. I am hoping that the crisis in Ireland will sharpen for him the necessity for Church leaders to be experienced in the ways of this world as well as the next. Orthodoxy should not be the only or primary qualification.

Anonymous said...

"You seem to think that a swift return to more "orthodox" enforcement will lead to filling the pews in time for the hoped for kick-ass successor to Bishop Clark not having to close more churches."

Huh? It's not going to happen overnight at all. There is an entire generation that grew up with the culture of dissent. There is going to be a lot of work over the next few decades. We may not see the fruits of these labors for several years. Remember, people didn't all leave after the Council in one year. It took a couple decades for the people to stop going to Mass. If damage can be done that quick, so too can repair.

"It is a spotlight on a fundamental change in Catholics, that they no longer feel obligated to obey Church teaching just because they are told to."

How about because God says so? Did you take my suggestion to read the Bible? Reading the epistles of St. Paul. He makes clear the sinfulness of sex for pleasure alone.

"The old ways, threats of going to hell etc. won't work."

Really, and how would we know that? The priests today don't even mention the word Hell in their homilies! Some don't even believe it exists. That's not helping matters.

Anonymous said...

"I was expecting that. If that can be proven, yes, including Clark, absolutely. "

http://web.archive.org/web/20021104042952/http://www.dor.org/commun/news.htm

"Office of Communications
May 2, 2002
Three Active Priests Resign from Ministry in Catholic Diocese
Review, revision in diocesan policy brings resignations of three area pastors.

Bishop Matthew H. Clark, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, today announced that he has asked for and received the resignations of pastors of three area parishes as a result of a preliminary revision in the diocesan policy on priest sexual misconduct. Bishop Clark has decided that any priest against whom credible allegations of sexual misconduct are made cannot continue in any form of ministry. The three priests who have resigned and been placed on indefinite administrative leave are Rev. Thomas Burr, pastor of St. Mary our Mother Church, in Horseheads; Rev. Foster Rogers, pastor of St. Pius X Church, Chili; and Rev. David Simon, pastor of St. Paul Church in Webster.

Following a thorough review of diocesan files over the past two months, officials discovered that allegations of sexual abuse had been made against all three men. The allegations relate to incidents that took place more than 20 years ago, and all involved inappropriate behavior with teens. Officials at the diocese at that time relied on the prevailing contemporary literature and wisdom of the psychiatric community in determining whether the men were able to continue in ministry.

However, having directed changes to be made to current diocesan policy, which was last revised in 1993, and with additional information from the victims themselves, Bishop Clark decided that none of the three could continue in any form of ministry within the diocese. All three have had their faculties as priests removed, will not be permitted to wear clerical clothing, and will no longer reside in any parish or diocesan dwelling."


AND

"New allegations of inappropriate behavior have been made against O’Neill, who resigned as pastor of St. Christopher Church in North Chili last June due to health concerns. "

AND

"Bishop Clark, following the investigation of allegations against Lum and Corbett of sexual misconduct during the 1990’s, had already relieved both of their faculties as priests, and placed them on administrative leave. At that time they were given non-ministerial assignments at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. New diocesan policy does not allow for them to continue in their current roles. Lum, Corbett and O’Neill will not be allowed to wear clerical clothing or reside in any parish or diocesan dwelling.

The diocese is continuing its investigation of allegations forwarded in March against two other priests, related to incidents that allegedly occurred more than a decade ago."


Before you slam Fr. L. J. Callan for "protecting pedophiles", first insert a foot in your mouth and take a look at what the bishop has done in the past. It's all there in recorded history on the Diocese Web site. Pedophile priests were shuffled to administrative jobs, and those with previous abuses were even allowed to continue in ministry! Wake up, Irondequoit Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Re: 8:50 PM post on Ireland-

Once again, Ireland is not my concern. They have their problems to worry about, and we have our own. The report also pertains to the years 1975-2004. Pope Benedict was appointed in 2005, so don't even try to pin this on him or his pursuit of restoring orthodoxy. The pedophile protectors were the loosey goosey (possibly homosexual) bishops of the Jadot era.

Lee Strong said...

Wow. This is one of the reasons I took a hiatus from blogging - and why I now moderate comments!

Anonymous said...

"Before you slam Fr. L. J. Callan for "protecting pedophiles", first insert a foot in your mouth and take a look at what the bishop has done in the past. It's all there in recorded history on the Diocese Web site. Pedophile priests were shuffled to administrative jobs, and those with previous abuses were even allowed to continue in ministry! Wake up, Irondequoit Catholic."

If he's guilty of protecting child abusers I'm for getting rid of him. Are you for firing "orthodox" bishops who did the same?

Anonymous said...

"Once again, Ireland is not my concern."

It should be. This is a thunderbolt you will have to deal with.

Anonymous said...

"If he's guilty of protecting child abusers I'm for getting rid of him. Are you for firing "orthodox" bishops who did the same?"

Really, you have no response at all to the proof about Bishop Clark? This is what you come back with? Your bishop is no better than the person you continually slam.

"It should be. This is a thunderbolt you will have to deal with."

It's only an issue to those who wish to see the Church fail, like yourself. You want married priests and women priests, and you progressives have been pouncing at this abuse scandal for years now, taking advantage of the suffering of these children to try and make your points. "Oh, these priests are sexually frustrated, they should be able to marry and have sex and not use condoms"

Anonymous said...

"Huh? It's not going to happen overnight at all. There is an entire generation that grew up with the culture of dissent. There is going to be a lot of work over the next few decades. We may not see the fruits of these labors for several years."

So how do you think all the parish churches will stay open in the meantime? This what I don't get. Folks here seem to be OK with losing a lot of so-so Catholics while the "smaller purer" plan works itself out, but they freak out when churches close. How can you keep these buildings open with fewer but better Catholics attending them? You can't just keep them for that day in the future when you think they will be filled with new improved Catholics. Are you willing to accept their closing as long as it's an unavoidable consequence of the "smaller purer" plan? Would it be acceptable if a future "orthodox" bishop like Bishop Martino with better people skills did it for this reason? My guess is you would be blaming Bishop Clark for it for decades instead of the new kick-ass bishop. But do you agree that "smaller purer" would mean even more churches closing?

Anonymous said...

Make that USE condoms. You progressives love your birth control. After all, what the Church says doesn't matter to you, but only what your own conscience tells you, however malformed it may be. And if the priest's wife/girlfriend/mistress gets pregnant and he's too busy with his ministry to take care of the child, they should be able to get abortions too, right?

Anonymous said...

"but they freak out when churches close. "

I don't. It's happening all across the country in orthodoxy and heterodox dioceses.

Can you go one post without defending bishop Clark? You still didn't bother to read the proof I offered you, did you? Stop bowing down before your golden calf.

Anonymous said...

"But do you agree that "smaller purer" would mean even more churches closing?"

No, I absolutely disagree. I have no reason to believe that orthodoxy is going to necessarily make the Church significantly smaller. Mass attendance continues to plummet in the DoR, and we've been spoon-feeding heterodoxy for years. We need to try something new.

When George W. Bush's policies were failing, did you think we needed more of the same, or we needed change? Same situation here. We don't need more of the same; we need to try something different. And since heterodoxy has been the law of the land in Rochester, the alternative is orthodoxy and tradition.

Karim Abdul Jabar said...

I'm sensing some frustration from Anon 12:30 PM.

Are you constipated?

Anonymous said...

"Really, you have no response at all to the proof about Bishop Clark? This is what you come back with? Your bishop is no better than the person you continually slam."

I'm willing to accept it's probably true and if it is he should have resigned along with all the other bishops who kept child abuse secret and put child abusers back in contact with children. I don't care if it was Church policy at the time or if bishops thought they were doing the right thing. They should all go because what they did was wrong and it caused them to lose their credibility. What people just can't understand is why the Church felt some special exemption from reporting crimes to the police. I like Bishop Clark, but I am saying that all of them who covered up abuse should have resigned en masse. You have yet to answer if you agree with that.

"It's only an issue to those who wish to see the Church fail, like yourself. You want married priests and women priests, and you progressives have been pouncing at this abuse scandal for years now, taking advantage of the suffering of these children to try and make your points."

I have never said I want women priests. I personally wouldn't like it. Call me a chauvinist but I think there is a lot of truth to the theory that with more women than men in the pews, choir etc men feel more and more out of place at Mass. Aside from the cr**py music this is one reason why most men don't sing at Mass. It seems a girl's choir.

I have no strong feeling about married priests. If they can truly manage celibacy it is a whole lot less complicated to employ them than if they had wives and children. I get that. But I do think if some of them were married they would be able to understand the married laity better. It's impossible for me to really understand what it's like to be a priest. I don't see how they can possibly understand what it is like to be a married man. I say man because I think it's impossible for men to understand women and vice versa.

Believe what you want but I do not want to see the Church fail. It is my Church as well as yours. All I've been talking about is how I think the "smaller purer" "reform of the reform" "orthodox" vs. "progressive" civil war that is going on is bad for the Church as a whole.

I'll try not to sound insulting but your "progressives have been pouncing at this abuse scandal" comment sounds like others I have heard from "orthodox" Catholics who downplay the abuse scandal and try to make the clergy the victims, attributing reporting and outrage as anti-Catholic attacks on the Church. This just feeds into people's justified disgust that some Catholics will bend over backwards to rationalize and excuse anything that might indicate the Church actually did something wrong. They would rather protect the reputation of the Church than the victims of abuse so they say it's overblown, it was a few bad apples, it's no worse than anywhere else etc. This just increases the harm to the Church and the victims. It makes us look like lawyers who will say anything to protect and defend their client. It makes people not believe anything Catholics or the Church says. It's a worn out record that should be broken.

"Oh, these priests are sexually frustrated, they should be able to marry and have sex and not use condoms"

The last part of that escapes me. Can you explain?

Anonymous said...

"After all, what the Church says doesn't matter to you, but only what your own conscience tells you, however malformed it may be."

What's your opinion on the death penalty, the Iraq invasion, universal health care?

Many conservatives make up their own minds about these things according to their own conscience in opposition to what the Church says.

I never said I thought abortion was OK. You should retract that. You think I am your idea of a typical "progressive". If it makes you feel better go ahead, but don't say I am pro-abortion. I'm not.

Anonymous said...

"You have yet to answer if you agree with that. "

I agree, if a priest or bishop protected abusers they should resign. This is especially true if they put the abusing priest back in parish ministry.

"I'll try not to sound insulting but your "progressives have been pouncing at this abuse scandal" comment sounds like others I have heard from "orthodox" Catholics who downplay the abuse scandal and try to make the clergy the victims"

Not at all, the reason is that this has been the #1 thing brought up by progressive Catholics and others who wish to see the hierarchy attacked for one motive or another (be it the anti-Catholic, or the anti-Hierarchy liberal).

""Oh, these priests are sexually frustrated, they should be able to marry and have sex and not use condoms"

The last part of that escapes me. Can you explain?"

It's an argument I have heard used to justify an end to the celibate priesthood. People have said priests need a sexual release.

Anonymous said...

death penalty- Against. The Church did support it though in the past.
the Iraq invasion- Against.
universal health care- Depends on what we're talking about here. The Obama bill? No way, not with abortion coverage. I also think this is more of an ideal than something we will achieve successfully in this country. What we'll end up with will probably be incredibly expensive and have minimal results.

Anonymous said...

We have more in common than you had assumed. As they say, when you assume...

I favor a single payer health insurance system but that isn't really what this forum is about, right? It can't have abortion coverage, it would be wrong and it will never fly. I agree that what we will probably end up with is a duct taped Rube Goldberg machine because the country isn't ready to toss the private insurance industry. I think when enough people lose their employer based health insurance we will eventually get something as close to universal government health insurance as this country will go for. I think eventually "socialized" medicine will be no more controversial than socialized roads, police and fire departments, etc. Nothing about that would violate Church teaching. Having millions of people go uninsured does. In the meantime we will get band aids.

I disagree that moving quickly to a more "orthodox" style of worship in Rochester would increase rather than decrease mass attendance but there's no way to prove I'm right so that seems like a rhetorical dead end. I do wish we could take the heat out of this holy war of "orthodox" vs. "progressive". For one thing it makes us look like a squabbling family people would seek to avoid.

Mike said...

Now that I finally have a few hours to myself I'd like to weigh in on the conversation. It's been fascinating to follow and I want to thank all of you for keeping it civil, at least to the point that I didn't feel it necessary to delete any comments. As I'm sure we all know, rants and name calling are a waste of time and bandwidth as they never convince anyone of anything.

I do not believe it an exaggeration to assert that DOR is dying. Comprehensive data from 2000 through 2008 (the most recent data available) show that our weekend Mass attendance has been falling by about 3.6% per year. Put another way, DOR has lost over one-quarter of its Mass attendees in a mere 8 years. Put still another way, we are losing Mass attendees nine times faster than people have been leaving the state, so official DOR claims that our losses are due to New Yorkers moving to the Sun Belt are just that much hot air.

Other data are equally disturbing. For instance, from 1977 through 1994 DOR was baptizing about 19 infants per year per 1,000 Catholics. That number has now fallen to a shade over 10. 20 years ago 14.8 Catholics out of every 1,000 were getting married in the Church every year. That number is now 6.6. 20 years ago 207 out of every 1,000 Catholics were either in Catholic schools or religious ed programs. Today that number is 104. Taken together, these data portend a bleak future for Catholicism in DOR.

So what is the answer? Irondequoit Catholic seems to be saying that we dare not rock the boat by suddenly going back to orthodox teaching and preaching. In other words, he seems to be saying, we need to keep on doing what we have been doing, lest substantial numbers of so-so Catholics jump ship and make matters worse.

My read of the data, however, is that things are going to get worse anyway. The only question seems to be whether we try to do something about the situation or just sit back and watch the death spiral run its course.

Comments?

Lee Strong said...

Mike - I just read about your loss. So sorry.

Mike said...

Thanks, Lee (and Nerina, LarryD and Anon.).

The deceased was my ex-wife's second husband and my (and his) grandchildren are the most affected.

I have had and will continue to have house guests until the funeral Monday, so posting will be hit-and-miss for another couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to about your loss Mike.

I'm not exactly saying DOR should keep doing what it's doing. I agree with most of you that bland masses with cr*py music and lightweight homilies need an overhaul.

I am saying that a sudden shift to a more formal "orthodox" style combined with fire and brimstone homilies could make for even further declines in attendance.

I think sprucing up the style of masses will help but I also think there needs to be room for various differences for different parishes as long as they are valid.

What will not work in my opinion is to start excluding people or to make them feel excluded. I think we need to be in concept like The Open Door Mission and welcome all wherever they are on their journey. I think that's what Jesus would want.

I don't think publicly attacking a bishop over this stuff is helpful. Attacking bishops over child abuse is justified but otherwise I think it just sews discord. Remember that you will probably get a bishop more to your liking eventually. I'm guessing you wouldn't enjoy blogs aimed at him.

One good thing I guess is that for such an "orthodox" bunch we both seem to share the opinion that the laity should be able to speak their minds on Church matters. That is a change from the old days that will not go away.

Anonymous said...

"I am saying that a sudden shift to a more formal "orthodox" style combined with fire and brimstone homilies could make for even further declines in attendance."

Maybe to an extent, but not significantly. Most people these days are apathetic, and will go no matter what the priest preaches. We have to right this ship at some point. Better to get the damage out of the way now when there aren't many people going to church to begin with.

"I don't think publicly attacking a bishop over this stuff is helpful. Attacking bishops over child abuse is justified but otherwise I think it just sews discord."

Who are you to judge what's important what is not? I think the loss of eternal souls to damnation is a greater problem than a priest touching a 15 year old's hoo-hoo, though neither are good in any way.

"Remember that you will probably get a bishop more to your liking eventually. I'm guessing you wouldn't enjoy blogs aimed at him."

Meh. It's gonna happen, we all know that. The NCR is going to be on our next bishop's ass when he removes the dissident Nancy DeRycke and company from running parishes, so the blogs will probably be the least of his problems.

Anonymous said...

"Who are you to judge what's important what is not?"

Who are you?

"I think the loss of eternal souls to damnation is a greater problem than a priest touching a 15 year old's hoo-hoo, though neither are good in any way."

I'm speechless.

"Most people these days are apathetic, and will go no matter what the priest preaches."

Go where? To mass? If they're like me, yes, but at what parish?

Certainly there are those here who have chosen one parish over the other based on how it fits them on the "orthodox" - "progressive" scale. An important ingredient is what they hear in the homily. Since we are free to belong to and attend any parish we choose more conservative "orthodox" Catholics can choose more conservative "orthodox" style ones and less conservative Catholics can choose less conservative ones. When we invaded Iraq Conservatives probably wouldn’t have wanted to hear from their pastor how the pope said we shouldn’t. They probably also wouldn’t want to hear that the Church says the death penalty as punishment is wrong in the modern world, that health care and the insurance to provide it is a right, not a privilege, that workers have the right to organize in unions, and other Church social teachings that don’t sync up with their political world view. Likewise married Catholic couples who use contraception won’t want to hear that they are violating Church teaching and should not receive communion because they are in a state of sin. Catholics on the right and left will bristle if they are “guided” how to vote if it doesn’t already correspond to their choice. I have heard this personally at mass in other dioceses in not so subtle tones. In one the priest skated right up to the edge of saying Catholics should vote Republican then said he only watches FOX news and we should too. I told my wife that if I ever hear again anything the even smells like that again I will leave the pew in the middle of the homily, genuflect and walk out. Count on it. I’ll also never attend that parish again.

Unless a future “orthodox” bishop is successful at regulating the content of every homily in the diocese less conservative Catholics will seek parishes where they are less likely to hear what they don’t want to hear as conservatives now seek ones where they don’t have listen to peace and love sermons they consider un-“orthodox”.

If a conservative bishop can actually make every pastor in the diocese deliver homilies that tick off “progressives”, liberals and other not-“orthodox”-enough Catholics then assuming they “will go no matter what the priest preaches” is a bet I wouldn’t take. After exhausting a search for a parish they would feel more comfortable in many would probably stop attending mass on a regular basis.

Which gets back to my point, you can’t force people to attend mass and you can’t force them to attend it in any individual parish. If they parish hop or stop going altogether they take themselves, their kids and their money with them.

Rochester and Upstate is more conservative in general than Downstate, but it is less conservative than some of the cities where the much heralded “orthodox” dioceses exist. As I’ve said, we are not Lincoln Nebraska. Most if not all here are much more conservative than most Rochester Catholics. Setting aside whether you are “right” or not you are a smaller subset of the overall laity in the DOR.

The old saying that you catch more bees with honey than vinegar has a lot of truth to it. It seems like many here think the vinegar is honey and after Catholics get over the initial bitter taste they will learn to like it. I think they won’t. Time will tell.

Pen 15 said...

Are you talking to yourself?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem so.

Mike said...

"Unless a future 'orthodox' bishop is successful at regulating the content of every homily in the diocese less conservative Catholics will seek parishes where they are less likely to hear what they don’t want to hear as conservatives now seek ones where they don’t have listen to peace and love sermons they consider un-'orthodox'."

I think you may have a point here. While Bishop Clark has been pretty successful at discouraging forceful, orthodox preaching (see here and here, for starters), I just don't see how another bishop could successfully legislate against the utterances of those of the "Jesus loves you; don't litter" school of theology.

It's easy to spot - and deal with - those who say too much for one's liking as opposed to those who say too little.

Anonymous said...

"I just don't see how another bishop could successfully legislate against the utterances of those of the "Jesus loves you; don't litter" school of theology."

The new bishop will decide whether candidates are admissible to the priesthood, and to which seminaries they attend. This should result in more orthodox preaching.

Anonymous said...

"I think you may have a point here."

Honey, get my pills!!!!!

LarryD said...

The large number of people from Rochester who have signed the "What If We Just Said Wait" petition - lay and clergy alike - which wants to delay the New Translation from taking affect, is just another example of the crabapples in the DoR.

When Bishop Clark retires, and is replaced, hopefully by a bishop more in line with faithfully presenting Church teaching, one result will be the cleansing of the chancery, either voluntarily or by force. That alone will lay the foundation to bring about meaningful change. And people like Sobala and others may end up escaping to loonier pastures. Or perhaps told by the new bishop to conform and support to Church teaching a la Cincinnati earlier this year.

When bishops lead with courage and conviction, people will flock to him and the current trends will reverse themselves. Not overnight, but they will.

It will take time, and it will take prayers and it will take the hard work and support of faithful laity such as Mike to make it happen. And don't underestimate the Holy Spirit, either. He's guiding the Church, after all.

Although if the numbers continue to shrink, it wouldn't surprise me if the DoR gets absorbed by Buffalo, or split up between there and Syracuse.

Anonymous said...

"When bishops lead with courage and conviction, people will flock to him and the current trends will reverse themselves. Not overnight, but they will.

It will take time..."

No pressure; I won't hold you to it, but how much time do you think it will take; months, years, decades? Straighten me out, but wouldn't it have to be less than a year or so to avoid having to close more buildings?

Mike said...

Larry,

I believe Sr. Joan is in her late 60s. I would not be at all surprised if she announced her retirement right around the time Bishop Clark sends his letter off to Rome. Ditto for several other of DOR's more prominent progressives, such as the French Road Heresy Factory's Sr. Pat Schoelles.

The same may be true for many of the old guard at Buffalo Rd. Quite a few of them are pretty long in the tooth and may not be planning to outlast Bishop Clark. You may be right about some of the younger ones, though. I expect there will be some weeping and gnashing of teeth before the dust settles.

Our friend, Anon. (the commenter formerly known as Irondequoit Catholic), also seems to have a point. The data I posted here a couple of days back, along with the expected clerical retirements in the next few years, can only lead to more parish closings.

Will more orthodox preaching in the parishes and teaching from the chancery drive enough so-so Catholics away to lead to other closures? Perhaps. But, as you said, let's not underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps, as is frequently true of the alcoholic, he is letting this diocese "hit bottom" in order to show what he can really do.

Anonymous said...

If the diocese really "hit bottom" then I agree with Larry, it would likely merge with Buffalo or Syracuse and disappear as a separate entity. How would that work for your goal of a more "orthodox" Church here? From what I've read the DOB is more conservative than the DOR (as you believe all are); what about Syracuse? If DOR went away and was absorbed into one of its neighbors would the size of it be unusual? It would likely be irreversible. Far be it from me to assume the Holy Spirit's intentions, but I don't understand how that would help your goal.

Mike said...

Anon.,

I recently tabulated the 2005 Catholic populations of all U.S. dioceses for some research on Catholic schools.

In that year there were 116 dioceses (out of 176) with fewer Catholics than DOR's 342,003.

Furthermore, there were 90 dioceses with fewer than 200,000 Catholics and 52 with fewer than 100,000.

While it's always possible Rome could suppress DOR and merge its remains into one or more of our neighbors, that action wouldn't happen simply because DOR had become too small to be viable.

Dr. K said...

"I believe Sr. Joan is in her late 60s. I would not be at all surprised if she announced her retirement right around the time Bishop Clark sends his letter off to Rome."

If the DoR is going to play by its own rules, Sr. Joan Sobala should retire this coming May. Sr. Joan's date of birth is May 11th, 1940. On May 11th 2010, she will have reached 70 years of age; the age when most priests in the DoR enter into retirement from pastoral duties. Why should it be any different when it comes to Sr. Joan's pastoral duties?

~Dr. K

Anonymous said...

"While it's always possible Rome could suppress DOR and merge its remains into one or more of our neighbors, that action wouldn't happen simply because DOR had become too small to be viable."

That pretty much puts that possibility on the back burner. After my post I thought, "Wait a second, that's not gonna happen; it would be HUGE".

So I'm back to my original question; how much time is acceptable to for the "smaller, purer" plan to work? In what must be an historic event, Mike and I agree that in the short term it's likely there would be a further drop in mass attendance and an increase in parish closings once the "orthodox" DOR kicks in. Those favoring "smaller, purer" say it will be worth it in the long run and that The Holy Spirit approves. I say that I don't know what The Holy Spirit's opinion is but if the "smaller" part goes on for a long time it would effect the long-term demographic health of the Church. I know that most here feel that doing the opposite, tolerating and maintaining "So-So Catholics" (my invented phrase) while encouraging them to be Better Catholics is a risk not worth taking, that they're more trouble than they're worth and are doing unacceptable damage to the Church.

Jesus was fully human and fully divine and chose fully-human-only humans to build His Church. Is there an argument to be made for politics here? Not the secular kind we could argue about all day, but the art of human compromise? Without sacrificing The Truth as defined during a particular Pontificate, might it not be a good idea to make changes one way or another so that we don't lose a lot of Catholics?

And not litter?

Anonymous said...

Irondequoit Catholic, you sure make an awful lot of assumptions about what we think and feel. I'd say less than half of what you say about us is true.

Anonymous said...

What am I wrong about?

What do you and other "orthodox" Catholics think the majority of people sitting next to you in the pews, the majority of Catholics worldwide should do if they use contraception? Am I incorrect that you think they should stay seated when you rise to receive Communion, that they should get in line or get out? When you get your hoped-for "orthodox" bishop who will command "orthodox" preaching from all pulpits in the DOR will that preaching include the Church ban on contraception? Will CCD teachers be required to teach it to 12 year-olds? Will they go home and ask Mom and Dad about it?

I'm not hung up on the contraception issue as some attest, but it is the Number One glaring inconsistency between what 95% of the laity believe and practice and what the "orthodox" teaching of the Church actually dictates. If you really want lay down the law on Sunday you'd better be prepared to tick off a ton of Catholics who might not come back next week.

Everything I read here and on other "orthodox" sites seems based on the shared belief that once the DOR and others become "orthodox" that the pews will fill up eventually. I am saying you'd better think hard and be realistic about what this "smaller, purer" thing would really look like.

It really doesn't matter what you or I say on this or any other forum; the Church is not a democracy and they don't take opinion polls. But if it goes the way you want, in my opinion, you will have to accept the "smaller" part of "smaller, purer".

I come from a people who kept their faith since St. Patrick converted their heathen butts 1,600 years ago and are now having it tested by his "orthodox" successors. You could be right, I could be wrong, but from where I sit "smaller" is just that - smaller, less - not the great awaking "orthodox" Catholics seem to count on.

I am the last Catholic in my family. All the rest including my mother have left. I want to hang on to every existing Catholic in the world and get more. Unless they're Adolph Hitler (who wasn't ex-communicated - I know, he ex-communicated himself) I don't want to lose any of them. I think that would be bad for you, me and the entire Church.

So correct me. Tell me where I misunderstand the "orthodox" rebirth plan and how it will either convince the majority of Catholics to change their behavior or show them the door. I would be delighted to learn that I'm wrong because I am sick and tired of hearing regular Mass-going Catholics put down as not Catholic enough.

Anonymous said...

What's with putting orthodox in quotes? The idea of orthodoxy is that one subscribes to all that the Church teaches. There is no need for quotation marks every time you write the word orthodox.

Anonymous said...

OK, then can we drop "progressive" too? Because I see "them" getting bashed regularly.

Small "o" orthodox is how I see "conservative" Catholics who want to "reform the reform" and return to more "traditional" worship forms describe themselves. I've been corrected on calling them "conservative" as confusing a political and social term with a religious one.

What would you prefer I call those on this forum and others who share the same sentiments and views?

I would prefer to call us all "Catholics".

But that is not what I see here and elsewhere. I see an us vs. them fight, "them" being Catholics who are deemed not "orthodox".

One question I would like to ask those here is do you think Pope John and the Church made a mistake even convening Vatican II? Do you wish it had never happened? Because as I understand it the difference between a schismatic "Catholic" and a Traditional, Conservative or small "o" orthodox one is accepting Vatican II as a good thing because it was brought forth by a pope and the Church or denying that it was really of the Church. Those who think it was an error and can't say that the Church was in error (because it can't be) rationalize that it wasn't the true Church that did it. Do I have that right?

So, Vatican II itself - good or bad? Do you accept it but wish you didn't have to? Would you be happier if it never happened?

I'm glad it happened. I remember the Latin Mass, following the English in my missalette, the priest's back facing us, not being able to enter a Protestant church even when the minister's kids invited me to their attached house because the nuns said I couldn't, that all Protestants were going to hell including my playmates and I'd go there with them if I came over for milk and cookies.

I don't want to go back to that Tradition. Would I like to attend a mass like the one when I was a kid just to experience it again, sure, but I defiantly don't want to do it every Sunday.

I know this is not a TLM forum, but it seems like everyone wants to go back to the good old days when things were fine, not broke and didn't need fixing. Well, things weren't 100% fine in the 50's which is why Pope John called for Vatican II. Many conservative (or whatever you want to call them) Cardinals and others tried to delay or stop it. Many conservatives today seem to want to turn VII in on itself by saying most of what came out of it wasn't what was really intended and we need to "reform the reform", which I read as roll things back and make VII a footnote in Church history.

So, VII, good or bad?

And what should I call Catholics who think the NO and other changes brought by VII were not improvements and would like to see valid but rarely practiced liturgical traditions restored to everyday use?

Anonymous said...

"OK, then can we drop "progressive" too? Because I see "them" getting bashed regularly."

You're the only one putting in quotes, so don't tell me to do anything.

"Because as I understand it the difference between a schismatic
"Catholic" and a Traditional, Conservative or small "o" orthodox one is accepting Vatican II as a good thing because it was brought forth by a pope and the Church or denying that it was really of the Church. Those who think it was an error and can't say that the Church was in error (because it can't be) rationalize that it wasn't the true Church that did it. Do I have that right?"


Your understanding is incorrect. Orthodoxy refers to assent to Church teaching, not whether or not you like it. No one needs to think VII is a "good thing" as you put it. The Church has been in error in the past -- recall the Arian heresy.

"So, Vatican II itself - good or bad? Do you accept it but wish you didn't have to? Would you be happier if it never happened?"

I think it's bad, I think it's killed our Church, I think it'd be better if it didn't happen. But that doesn't matter, I accept the Council. That's quite different than you, who disagrees with contraception issues and also disobeys.

"And what should I call Catholics who think the NO and other changes brought by VII were not improvements "

It's absolutely disgusting to call what we have today improvements. The intention was to simplify the liturgy for the laity, not to enhance it.

Anonymous said...

An important item has been left out in the previous few comments: Vatican II (unlike Vatican I) did not define any new dogmas about the faith, so to apply infallibility to it would be incorrect.

Anonymous said...

ALSO -

The Novus Ordo Mass came after the Council, not from the Council itself. The liturgy was called to be made by Sacrosanctum Concilium, but the liturgy itself was not actually created by the Council.

Anonymous said...

"I think it's bad, I think it's killed our Church, I think it'd be better if it didn't happen. But that doesn't matter, I accept the Council. That's quite different than you, who disagrees with contraception issues and also disobeys."

Thank you for your honest opinion, but I haven't told you what I do or don't do, as I wouldn't ask you. I have only state fact, that 95% or more of Catholics disagree with and disobey this teaching, that 95% or more are not orthodox. There, I said it. No quotes.

Now what are you going to do about them?

95%

That's almost all the Catholics in the world.

How small are you willing to get to achieve an orthodox laity?

Anonymous said...

"Now what are you going to do about them? "

Not change the Church's teaching just because people don't like it. Morality is not a popularity contest. For example, many more people today support homosexuality, but that does not mean the Church should say homosexual acts are acceptable.

Anonymous said...

"Not change the Church's teaching.."

I don't expect it to change.

But again, what do you want to do with the 95% of Catholics who knowingly reject an important part of that teaching?

When we say orthodox we're talking about believing and obeying all of what the Church teaches, right?

I won't get into what % buys or doesn't buy the Iraq War, the Death Penalty, Universal Health Care, Preferential Option for the Poor, etc, but again, what is the consensus on the 9 in 10 Catholics who flat out refuse to obey the ban on contraception? That's a pretty big disobedience. It says that most Catholics have concluded that they have a personal say in what the Church tells them to do.

I sympathize with those who long for the days when Catholics were more obedient, but facts are facts. Do you seriously want these Catholics to stop receiving Communion and probably leave the Church? If not, why?

One good reason might be that the Church can't afford to lose over 90% of it's members. No organization could.

I have teenagers. We have family rules. They rebel against them all. Just because they don't follow our rules doesn't mean we stop calling them rules. We evaluate if they still make sense and if they do we continue to stand by them whether they are followed or not. Even in disobedience the existence of rules provides some kind of moral break. I hope.

But we don't kick them out (though I've thought about it) because they won't obey. We pull our hair out, stamp our feet, then tell them we love them.

We stopped forcing them to go to Mass at 16. They were confirmed and we figured it was up to them. We were dragging them and they were ruining Sunday for everyone. I told them that they were Catholic whether they wanted to be or not because they were baptized, once in, never out. I mentioned from time to time that they were welcome to join us just for company, whatever. I told them that regardless of everything the Catholic Church was the Real Deal, the One and Only True Church established by Jesus Christ.

The oldest had a college Anthropology project that he needed family photos for. He said they had to be of important family events. We pulled them and most were Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Summer Bible Camp etc. From his captions you would think we were the most perfect Catholic family in the world. On each one he wrote something about how he was raised Catholic and this was an important part of his life. No doubt there was a good deal of b.s. but there was some real enthusiasm as he worked at the dining room table.

On weekends he won't admit it, but he is appreciating the home he couldn't wait to leave. He says, "Love you guys" instead of "You're ruining my life!" He calls me "Dude" instead of what he used to call me.

And he is remembering that he is Catholic.

Next week he will join us for Christmas Eve Mass and I am sure he will be glad to be there. Someday he might have kids of his own and realize what an important gift his faith is to live as best he can and pass on.

That is why I am not in favor of "smaller, purer", why I am not in favor of denying Communion to Cultural, Seasonal, or Whatever Catholics. If we followed the letter of the law my son would not receive Communion because he hasn't been to Mass in months and Confession in more. If we were to suggest that he would never return and might never rediscover the Catholic that is and will always be within him.

I understand why those who faithfully follow Church teachings get steamed when those who don't join them in the Communion line, but what would be the result be if they didn't? A much shorter line.

Let's keep my kids, me, and other imperfect Catholics in that line so that down the line we can grow the Church and ourselves.

Anonymous said...

"But we don't kick them out (though I've thought about it) because they won't obey."

Nobody is kicking anyone out because of condoms. You continue to modify the facts to make your arguments. Abortion on the other hand is a different matter, which incurs excommunication.

Anonymous said...

I get that.

But if a Catholic legislator signed onto a bill promoting condoms, for AIDS for instance, would he be called on that by his bishop?

I'm not equating contraception with abortion - I'm anti-abortion - but where's the line?

Maybe I'm full of it. No; check; I'm defiantly full of it, but in a future more orthodox DOR how much un-orthodox stuff excluding abortion and remarriage without an annulment could a Catholic publicly do before he/she was denied Communion?

If you're saying I'm talking about something that would never happen then I think you're agreeing with me that there is some amount of known sin even without Confession that could be overlooked at least as far as not denying the sinner Communion, hoping and encouraging them of course to repent.

I guess the real point of bringing up who can and can't receive Communion is at what point we really clamp down on those who are not considered orthodox enough.

I think there may be a variety of opinion here, but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

"but in a future more orthodox DOR how much un-orthodox stuff excluding abortion and remarriage without an annulment could a Catholic publicly do before he/she was denied Communion?"

That's really up to the bishop, not me. We'll see when it happens. All I can offer you is speculation, and that wouldn't do much good.

Anonymous said...

Is it OK to ask what you would like to see as far as enforcement? Would you be in favor of denying communion to more than legislators who vote for pro-choice legislation (remember, I'm anti-abortion)? What about other Catholic public figures who publicly state their disagreement with Church teaching? Supreme Court Justice Scalia comes to mind. He stated publicly during a speech that he thought the Church was wrong about the death penalty. He specifically said it was wrong, not that he just didn't like it, but that it was wrong. His position on that teaching is the same as Catholics who think the teaching on contraception is wrong. I don't see the difference. If the bishops told him how to decide a case on capital punishment he'd tell them to bud out. And he's Opus Dei. Then there's Sean Hannity. He's another conservative who has publicly stated his disagreement with Church teaching, this time on contraception, proving that it's not just "progressive" Catholics who reject it. Both of these Catholic public figures have stated very publicly that they do not believe and will not follow certain Church teachings. Yet they are not denied communion. I know, abortion trumps all, but don't the rules say that you're not supposed to receive communion unless you are in a state of grace after you've confessed and repented your sins and stated your intention not to commit them again? Scalia and Hannity have no intention of doing that. They have said flat out that they don't think violating a particular Church teaching is a sin and they're not bothered by it.

Aren't we really saying that denial of communion is limited to those who commit or aid in abortion and those who divorce and remarry without an annulment?

Would you, if you could decide, go beyond that?

Anonymous said...

Again, this all at the discretion of the bishop. When it comes to politicians supporting legislation contrary to Church teaching, yes, there should be consequences for that. The denial of Communion makes sense, since if the person is in a state of mortal sin, they shouldn't be receiving Communion anyways until they confess their sins before God.

Anonymous said...

All Church teaching? Other than abortion? If a Catholic candidate or legislator supports foreign aid that might include contraception should he be denied communion? Despite in-person appeals at the Vatican by neo-conservative American Catholics our current and previous popes said the Iraq invasion did not satisfy the definition of a just war and should not be done. Should they and all the Catholic legislators who supported and voted for it anyway be denied communion? What about Catholic legislators who support capital punishment as PUNISHMENT, not simply a last-ditch effort to protect society from murderers in a Third World or apocalyptic society where prisons don't exist? Should they be denied communion? Where do you draw the line?

If bishops expand what Catholic legislators must and must not vote for because they're Catholics non-Catholics and Catholics who don't agree with that will avoid voting for Catholics. It seems that today's conservative U.S. bishops would have disagreed with JFK when he said he wouldn't govern as a Catholic, that he wouldn't take orders from his religious leaders. I've read on orthodox/conservative/whatever Catholic forums that this is a view held by many orthodox/conservative/whatever Catholics. If those are the new rules then we will have a lot less Catholic legislators because even the non-Catholic Religious Right uses contraception.

Again, if you were a bishop, if you could decide, would you extend the communion ban to politicians who supported programs that included contraception and other things the Church says no to?

As far as abortion pro-choice politicians (remember, I'm anti-abortion) please explain to me why the pro-choice Republican governor of California has not been denied communion nor have any other pro-choice Republicans. How in the world is this not a double standard? Despite protests to the contrary it appears to the general public that the majority of U.S. bishops support the Republican Party and reserve their heavy ammunition for Democrats.

Anonymous said...

"Again, if you were a bishop, if you could decide, would you extend the communion ban to politicians who supported programs that included contraception and other things the Church says no to?"

But I'm not a bishop, nor will I ever be in all likelihood. Hypotheticals don't matter and only serve the purpose of you attempting to trap me in saying something that you are prepared to pounce on. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

ding a ling

Anonymous said...

So what do you all mean by an orthodox bishop, orthodox teaching, orthodox parishes and an orthodox DOR? Are you looking for that to include some kind of enforcement or is it OK to just talk about it and hope it will sink into people?

I'm relieved that the members of this forum aren't looking for a bishop and priests who will denying or not denying communion based on the public and private sins of DOR Catholics, that they only want to state official Church teaching, have more traditional masses and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Or do I have that wrong?

You all have pretty strong opinions about what Bishop Clark is doing wrong. Why is it a trap to ask what you hope a future bishop will do right?

Anonymous said...

"You all have pretty strong opinions about what Bishop Clark is doing wrong. Why is it a trap to ask what you hope a future bishop will do right?"

One is based on fact, the other is based on pure speculation.

Anonymous said...

But you have hopeful speculations, don't you? You just don't want to reveal them to me.

That's OK, I can see the wish list on the posts you send to each other.

Anonymous said...

Anything is better than our protector of child abusers.

Anonymous said...

Let's address that. I'm on record saying that any bishop, including Bishop Clark, who sheltered child abusers should resign or be fired. I asked another Anon I was going back and forth with if he would agree to getting rid of conservative/orthodox bishops who did the same thing. He/she said yes.

Looking into the history of the scandal leads one to wonder if the reason bishops didn't just call the cops had something more to do than protecting the Church's and their own reputations, finances, and the "protect your own" mentality present in other organizations like police departments.

My favorite pope, Pope John, put his stamp on a directive to all bishops to observe strict secrecy on the subject of solicitation and sexual perversion among the clergy. This has been spliced and diced but it takes a wild stretch to say it didn't instruct that cases of child abuse by priests should be handled strictly in-house with no police or outside authorities.

This led me to wonder, what would happen if an individual bishop DID call the cops? Would the Vatican be pleased? Would be be disobeying orders? It's a question worth considering.

I don't know what Bishop Clark's personal decisions would have been in the cases of abuser priests under his management or what those of other bishops would have been if such a secret Vatican document didn't exist, but it's possible some of them might have been forbidden by the Church from calling the cops.

Never-the-less, they should have shown the personal courage to do it anyway then offer their resignation to the Vatican if charged with disobedience. Those that didn't still should have offered to quit when the scandal became public.

In Ireland one bishop called upon others to do the right thing and quit. That didn't happen here. Bishop Clark seems like the kind of guy who should have stepped forward and said, "I can't go along with this, I need to call the police" or "What we did was wrong, I offer my resignation". Perhaps he and others did. Perhaps their offers of resignation were refused and they were ordered to keep the matter secret. I wouldn't be surprised if that came out someday. This is entirely speculation, but so are a lot of things.

So, not to excuse Bishop Clark for not calling the cops, but lots of conservative/small "o" orthodox bishops did the same, often on a grander scale. It would be easy for me to compile a list.

So let's be honest, that's not your beef with Bishop Clark is it? It has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

"So, not to excuse Bishop Clark for not calling the cops, but lots of conservative/small "o" orthodox bishops did the same, often on a grander scale."

Grander than Weakland and Pilarczyk, two very progressive bishops?

Anonymous said...

Does the name Law ring a bell?

And Egan is no progressive.

"DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer
AP Online
05-11-2000
Bishop Egan Is Staunch and Friendly

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- The new head of the New York Archdiocese is described as friendly and down-to-earth but a staunch defender of the Roman Catholic Church's conservative positions on issues such as abortion and homosexuality."

Look out for those staunch and friendly types.

I know that one Defender of the Universal Church thinks Ireland is not part of that universe, but every one of those bishops who were and are responsible for the worst abuse yet come to light is very, very conservative, what those here would call kick-ass orthodox, though considering the horror perhaps another adjective should be chosen. There is no such thing as a progressive bishop in Ireland.

The fact is that bishops of all stripes shielded predators in priest's clothing.

It's been asked why parents allowed these priests such access to their children, why they trusted them so much. One reason was because they were seen as above suspicion, somehow more than normal mortals, closer to God than we. Another is that they did not view them as sexual human beings. The idea of a priest even having sexual thoughts was unthinkable. This was because people believed without question that all or most priests truly are chaste and celibate. That is an assumption that has been proven false.

Would those here leave their child alone with a priest they considered orthodox? If so they would be doing what the parents of abused children did. The perceived orthodoxy of a priest is not a reliable indicator that he is or is not a predator.

Of course most priests are not child abusers, but the fantasy that they are somehow more than mere men has been shattered.

The abuse scandal made that much more difficult the job of the majority of good priests but I question how many of them were aware of abuse committed by their peers and kept quiet about it because they were ordered to by their superiors or because of the seal of the confessional.

If anything good comes out of the scandal it will be that the Church is not immune from the law when it comes to crime committed by its clergy. Hopefully current and future bishops will follow the new guidelines and report crimes the first time they hear of them. Hopefully too the Vatican which initially rejected the USCCB's "One Strike" rule will do the same.

Anonymous said...

The same Egan who supported married priests? Umm, nice try?

Anonymous said...

He made that comment as he was leaving. While he was shielding child abusers he was as orthodox as they come.

Are you seriously trying to say that conservative/orthodox bishops were not involved in the scandal?

Also, priestly celibacy is a discipline, not dogma. I thought orthodox was about dogma. Is it unorthodox to discuss traditions that are not dogma?

Rob said...

EVERYONE CALM DOWN!

Thanks.