When starting a blog..expect something like this


I “rejected” this comment but thought it merited some thoughts.

GOOGLER GOD YOU SURE SOUND LIKE GOD ALMIGHT, UR I HATE ORTHODOX CATHOLICS IS CSHOWING MAN, WHATCHA GONA DO WHEN SSPX IS RECONCILED IN TOTO WITH ROME, UR GONNA HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER NON HETERDOX BISHOP PRIEST AND OR SOCIETY TO KICK ASS . JEEEE WIZ U MAKE ME FEEL LIKE UR THE SAME ENTITIES THAT CRIED IN ANGER UPON HEARING THE NAME JOSEPH RATZINGER, RIGHT AFTER HABEMUS PAPUM. COULD IT BE THAT YOU REALIZD THE WATERED DOWN CUMBYA FEELY FEELY LEFTIST YUM YUM LIBERAL CATHOLICISM IS COMING TO A SCREECHING HALT AND BEFORE PEOPLE LIKE THE HALF BILLION STRONG EASTERN ORTHODOX WILL EVEN LOOK AT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THEY MUST SEE THAT IT IS RETURNING TO CATHOLICISM, ORTHODOXY AND SHUCKING OFF IT’S PHONE WANNA BE A PROTESTANT CATHOLIC VERSION OF VAT 2. TIMES ARE CHANGING AND IF THE SOCIAL, LEFT, LIB THEOLOGY PC CATHOLICS DON’T LIKE IT, CAN’T STAND IT REJECT IT AND CONTINUE TO BE DISOBEDIENT TO THE POPE, MAGISTERIUM, THEN THE WATERED DOWN LIBERALS OF THE LAST 40 YRS CAN ALWAY JOIN THE “WHAT EVER U WANNA BELIEVE EPISCOPALIANS AKA CHURCH OF ENGLAND AKA ANGLICANS OR BETTER YET U MIGHT BE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNITARIANS

Um, no. I’m not an Episcopalian. I’m not a Unitarian. I’m not a Wiccan. I don’t like the song Kum-by-ya! But as I travel around the country I notice a few things about young adults, in particular, (people in their 20s and 30s who I minister with and to) that I found interesting.

a) The events of the world often shape their religious responses and participation. Columbine, 9-11, Katrina, the Indian Tsunami and Virginia Tech all have had a huge influence on them. Many think that because they have some desire for “traditional” worship practices and like some of the old-school traditions (like adoration, the rosary and even yes, the Latin Mass) that this means that they are harkening back to a time before the council, retrieving some of the ancient rituals from long ago and reviving them. But these people and even their parents in some cases have had no experience of the church before the council, so what is going on is different here. I claim that it is a reaction to a culture of insecurity. People long for security in a world gone mad with terrorism, violence and even natural disasters and they look for religion to provide what the world cannot. Our opportunity as ministers is not to mistake this longing for some kind of political affiliation with conservatism but rather to engage their longing and give them appropriate opportunities for worship that also explain and engages their minds as well as their hearts with these rituals.

I would also say I notice something that a friend recently pointed out to me. At let’s say at a Catholic event focused on social justice–there are great things going on, great witness by people living out gospel values and even great community, but there seems to be very little regard for prayer, contemplation and personal piety.

At Catholic events that are more focused on family, life issues or even liturgy there seems to be only a contemplative focus and not much on social justice, community, diversity or culture.

Aren’t BOTH of these things important?

Now the writer above, claims that I hate “orthodox” Catholics. I say two things in response.

1) I am an orthodox Catholic. The Jesuits who I met at Fordham were orthodox. The Paulists I work for now are orthodox. As are anybody who are in the big tent of Catholicism. We are all in the SAME church and do the same things and are engaging the same tradition. Being orthodox means being part of the entire experience of our church. It also means that we don’t reject the Second Vatican Council which is the exact heresy that the “Bishops” who are running the Society of St Pius X were in fact, excommunicated for. Pope Benedict has already said without an adherence to all that the council has placed into our tradition there cannot be ANY reconciliation (this includes the holocaust in light of the document Nostra Aetate)

2) What I am not is a fundamentalist. I don’t read a literal translation of the bible. I don’t think that the Second Vatican Council was a bunch of hogwash. I don’t blindly toss away people’s questions when they ask them and tell them to simply read the bible or the catechism and that their questions will magically dissolve. I engage Catholicism with culture and with experience and try to help people navigate that path and show where they are less divergent than what they may think.

3) I also am not someone who thinks we should just ignore everything that the Second Vatican Council says, but rather we should be critical about what we didn’t do well after the council, namely Catechesis, explanation (one Sunday they just turned the altar around!) and a lack of ritual done with mystery and reverence at times. The Second Vatican Council provided some great things for the church that we should not blindly think about tossing away (the proverbial baby with the bathwater) in favor of a reversion to a time before the council. However, we did lose some of what was good about ritual and liturgy from before the council. There was a sense of mystery and rhythm that perhaps we don’t do as well currently. Something different and “other-worldly” was going on at mass which perhaps today seems more common to our experience. And yet, people don’t know what’s going on at mass even when it is in English! So going back to Latin mass may not do anything except serve to confuse even the most ardent mass attender. Perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions and I think many of our brothers and sisters who find value in the Society of St Pius X are onto something. Most of these people are not like the so-called Bishop Williamson who denies the value of the second vatican council and the holocaust. I think most of the people who follow the SSPX are simply people who long for a sense of mystery in liturgy and who are tired of having an experience on Sunday that is very much like their experience of daily life. They are looking to TRANSCEND daily life for an experience that brings them into a mysterious connection with the divine.

So no, “anonymous” (who didn’t even have the guts to write their name), I don’t hate those who use the title Orthodox. I’m actually one of the few people who actually looks at your experience and values it and doesn’t dismiss it.

I’m a Catholic. I love our Pope. I love Cardinals (see, here I am with Cardinal George). I love the church. And I hope our experiences can be less judgmental of one another and more focused on providing a window into where we all long for a connection for God.

And I also know how to write in complete sentences.

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2 Comments

  1. Father, I was a lifelong Catholic that drifted away after Vatican II but not because of it, but because I of my own weaknesses. I was not a person who left because of anything in particular the church was doing or not doing. On return, I found a church that had changed radically. I first came back with a priest I would imagine most would call a liberal who brought me to Christ. However, I soon began to search for more of what I saw as a child and young adult. I saw a lot missing in the Church, but I also saw some priest and bishops who seemed to have an agenda that was almost opposed to the actual teaching, canon law, and documents of Vatican II. What I saw as I travelled around and went to mass and heard sermons was a lot of junk that was in outright dissent. At the same time, I noticed in a lot places that there was the abuse issue and bishops covering it up. I began to notice that many of these priests seem to come through the same seminaries and that some of the leaders of those seminaries where now bishops in the church and part of this problem. At the same time, John Paul II was really beginning to shine alond with Cardinal Ratzinger and what they were saying was there was a need to stop much of what happened that was wrong after Vatican II. The young people were attracted to this and began to study what the church actually taught versus what they had been taught in schools and even Catholic Universities. We saw John Paul II try to get the bishops to step in and get the Universities in their area of responsbility back in line and again many of the same bishops did nothing even to this day. John Paul and now Benedict tried to open the door to the Latin Mass in its full beauty and the same bishops tried to block this in their areas. The same is true of Eucharistic Adoration being pushed aside. Those same bishops often had people in their headquarters that were out teaching heresy. So when a Pope is trying for decades to get bishops and priest to be Catholic, and not more protestant than Catholic, it seems like it is crying sour grapes when what is being sought is not anything other than the actual teaching of Vatican II, the Cathecism, Canon Law, and the traditional teaching of the Church. The other thing that bothers them is when bishops do not seem to understand that there are indeed issues in elections where life trumps a lot of other issues and in many cases these same bishops are pushing back against every effort to stop the holocaust of infants that now numbers over 50,000,000. Yet when a bishop who denies belief that 6,000,000 were killed in the holocaust, some of the same liberal bishops call for the Pope to apologize and some call for him to resign even though his relationships with Jews over time and his belief in the holocaust in WWII is in agreement with history. So what is behind the left wing yelling has more to do with strong Orthodox people being added to the church. By the way, most news people get what was done is wrong. What Benedict did was to end the excommunication. None of them were made bishops or even priests and they still need to go to confession to join fullness in the Catholic faith. It is my hope that you will allow this to be posted in your comments section. God Bless.

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  2. Gramps–Some comments:1) I’m not a priest. I’m a layperson and you can see more on my background by clicking the about me link on the blog. But thanks for thinking I could be. That’s an honor in my book!2) I noted that you mention the numbers of Jews killed in the holocaust and contrast that with the many more babies killed by abortion each year. Let me just say that ONE baby is too many and ONE person killed for simply being who they are is also too many deaths.3) The Pope did not lift an excommunication. He is far from doing that. What he did was start the process of reconciliation. The end of that process would be to bring these people back into full communion with the church. I pray that the good people who simply want the Latin Mass and who don’t agree with the extremist theories put forth by others in the SSPX will be welcomed back into the faith.4) Your overall point, of people longing for more traditional or orthodox to use your word teaching within the church has validity. However, we might not want to dismiss those who call the church to re-examine some of it’s teaching in light of current scholarship and science. The Pontifical Biblical commission for example has brought our thinking on scripture into a much more healthy place, especially when discussing things like the literal interpretation of the Genesis creation stories, etc.But I agree some people take things too far and should be called to the carpet for what may even be outright heresy. I would also add that this is rare but it does happen.Where I think most people are, is that they look to the church to explain what their teaching is in light of the current times. We are in a new world where a simple google search can place people’s faith in a precarious situation. We need spiritual mentors who are open to these questions, especially from young people and who treat those questions not with hostility but rather with care and pastoral judgment. We need, in some cases, to listen a lot more than we need to preach. Moreover, we are the translators of tradition in light of the modern age. How can we make sense of a tradition to people who haven’t been catechized but already long for the faith of an adult when they’ve never had the faith of a child? It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

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