Rorate Caeli Responds to Catholic World Report on the Friars of the Immaculate

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Yesterday in the comboxes there was a link to an article in the Catholic World Report on the persecution of the Friars of the Immaculate which painted a fairly rose colored picture of the situation.  Rorate Caeli responds with a report from  what they describe as a very well-informed source:

 

 

Michael J. Miller, writing for Catholic World Report, wishes English-speaking readers to hear the “other side” of the Franciscans of the Immaculate controversy, namely, the Commissioner’s side. Unfortunately, he has done so by uncritically repeating arguments, some of which were answered months ago, and others more recently.

 
Perhaps the first point he makes that is worthy of comment is the matter of the survey or questionnaire that was apparently the principal means by which the Apostolic Visit was conducted. It is surprising that anyone would trot this out again three months after it was debunked, but there it is.
 
 
For those who missed this the first time, we summarize: the percentage of friars who chose each of the four possible responses was not presented in a straightforward way like A, B, C, D. Instead, the public was given A, B/(100%-A), (C+D)/(100%-A). The fairly obvious intent was to boost the apparent percentages of those who thought that there was some problem, and especially to associate as high a percentage as possible with option D (a Commissioner is needed). Despite requests by the public to have separate figures for C and D, and to know how many friars responded (since it was certainly not all the friars), no further information was forthcoming. Since it was not, we are unable to determine the total who responded A, B, or C, that is, those who thought that if there were problems, they could be resolved by the Institute itself in a General Chapter.
 
Releasing manipulated data was a PR disaster, as Fr. Alfonso M. Bruno implicitly recognized by distancing himself in a letter to La nuova Bussola Quotidiana published 28 September. He wrote: “It is of no importance, for the purpose of this evaluation [as to whether or not a Commissioner was necessary] what the proportion among the various responses was.” So why were the percentages published in the first place? 
Go here to read the rest.  Who knows who is telling the truth?  Of course when these type of matters are dealt with in secrecy, with very heavy handed tactics being employed, that conflicting accounts come out is not unexpected.  What I do know for certain is that whatever problems existed in the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, the measures taken against them are unprecedented since Vatican II, during a period when many orders within the Church have “distinguished” themselves by constant dissent from Church teaching.  That the orthodox Friars of the Immaculate are the recipients of firm Church discipline in such an environment seems to me like a very sick joke.
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  1. About the seems like a sick joke part.. It does make me wonder about when there would be a crack down on the new age Dominican meditating in his ashram or the Benedictines not far from here whose bread and butter seems to be catering to that market
    It does seem odd they would crack down on the mass as I knew it as a child, that my parents celebrated at their wedding Besides all the new age fol de rol, what about the way some Spanish language masses are celebrated in mid America? Doesn’t seem kosher :) Seems like the Pope would have some other fish to fry.

  2. I do not know of the details of the matter, but griping about procedural matters, i.e. why can’t we find out how many people actually ratted on us to the Vatican, makes for a very weak counter-offensive. The history of the Church’s crackdowns on faithful (or formerly faithful) orders, not to mention the damages inflicted by heavy-handed Vatican bureaucracy, is not a pretty one. I would hope that a Jesuit pope would, sooner rather than later, address that, too, when it comes to curial reform. But in mentioning the Jesuits, it should also be noted that they weathered the unjust suppressions of their order with good grace and obedience. Sometimes, that is all we can hope for, given that we are useless servants. (But for what it’s worth, I’d also recommend giving some more PR-savvier friar a shot at managing this.)

  3. why can’t we find out how many people actually ratted on us to the Vatican, makes for a very weak counter-offensive.

    That’s a complete misread of the argument. The argument being used by the CWR piece is that a huge majority of people thought things were so bad they needed a commissioner.

    However, that percentage is incorrect, since the questionaire propounders lumped together as an undifferentiated whole all negative and all positive answers.

    In this case, only the “D” answer indicated that the responder thought a Commissioner was needed. But those who formulated the questionaire only released the critical responses as a group.

    In other words, while a majority of the friars may have been unhappy with the current condition of the order, it may have been a vanishingly small number who wanted the most draconian response–a commissioner. Which tends to put the level of disaffection in perspective.

  4. “Unjust suppression”?

    Abbé de Chauvelin’s two pamphlets « Discours sur les constitutions des Jésuites » {discourse on the constitutions of the Jesuits] and « Compte rendu sur la doctrine des Jésuites. » [an account taken of the Jesuits’] suggest little had changed since Pascal wrote his Provincial Letters a century earlier.

  5. Rorate Coeli broke a story sometime ago about a member of the Lavender Mafia being a higher up in the Curia. They had plenty of evidence about what was going on.

    What has the traditional Catholics infuriated about this papacy and the FFI business is that we are well aware of heresy and abuse in dioceses and orders in the Church and nothing but lip service, if that, is used to address the problem. Anything the FFI has done or has been alleged to do pales in comparison to Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop Weakland and the shenanigans in Boston and Philadelphia – which went on for years.

    Traditional Catholicism provides us with – not an escape from Hugen-Haas, Dan Schutte, the St. Louis Jesuits, Communion in the hand, Tom Dick and Harriet handing out Communion (need I go on?) – the hard identity Catholicism of the Western Church which destroyed the Aztec human sacrifice, defeated the Muslims in 1492, 1571 and 1683, evangelized most of the Western Hemisphere, built countless hospitals, schools, orphanages, colleges and universities and did more than any other particular Christan Church in the USA to help the poor, sick and needy. The altar is a holy place where no laity set foot during Mass – and it’s the same in the Divine Liturgy and the Holy Quorbono of the Eastern Churches. Singing is done by those who KNOW how to sing.

  6. That’s a complete misread of the argument. The argument being used by the CWR piece is that a huge majority of people thought things were so bad…

     

    Tomato, tomah-to. The friars, or their boosters, are now complaining about how the the number of complainants was not enough (or, in your words, not the huge majority necessary) to warrant a commissioner, even though the investigation is already well underway (and even though Fr Bruno has already backhandedly conceded that the initial report was misleading). Therefore, I repeat: if that is the best they can do in crafting a counter-response, then there are deeper problems within the order not having anything to do with fidelity that need serious attention. A certain amount of sagacity and wile is necessary to effectively manage an order these days. My hope is that the friars find at least one among them who is up to the task.

     

    unjust suppression

     

    With regard to my characterization of the Jesuits’ suppression (there was, as you surely know better than I, more than one), feel free to substitute Knights Templar or some other order whose suppression had all too much to do with earthly matters, and too little with divine. And when I say that the suppression was unjust, I do not mean that the order was completely blameless with regards to their predicament.
     

  7. “Traditional Catholicism provides us with – not an escape from Hugen-Haas, Dan Schutte, the St. Louis Jesuits, Communion in the hand, Tom Dick and Harriet handing out Communion (need I go on?) – the hard identity Catholicism of the Western Church which destroyed the Aztec human sacrifice, defeated the Muslims in 1492, 1571 and 1683, evangelized most of the Western Hemisphere, built countless hospitals, schools, orphanages, colleges and universities and did more than any other particular Christan Church in the USA to help the poor, sick and needy.”

    Well said PF!

  8. “defeated the Muslims …evangelized most of the Western Hemisphere, built countless hospitals, schools, orphanages, colleges and universities and did more than any other particular Christan Church in the USA to help the poor, sick and needy.”
     
    I, too, cheer these words. However, I note that these achievements were possible because the Church’s involvement in the secular world was a tactile one. She was not afraid to engage in the dirty business of state affairs, and mass opinion. While I agreed with Benedict’s assessment that the Church may in the future have to be content with being a smaller, more compact remnant, any such Church is unlikely to be able to continue that record in the same way, resulting in a huge loss for the world. Ultimately, the true course is to be found somewhere in the middle of being an eremitical movement safely secluded from the corruptions of modernity (not to mention those of the past), and being willing to go out in the wasteland where the wild and tempting things roam in order to collect lost sheep. I am more at home with Benedict’s approach, since it reflects my current situation. But Christianity is all about being challenged to move beyond one’s comfort zone.
     

  9. “Tomato, tomah-to. The friars, or their boosters, are now complaining about how the the number of complainants was not enough (or, in your words, not the huge majority necessary) to warrant a commissioner, even though the investigation is already well underway (and even though Fr Bruno has already backhandedly conceded that the initial report was misleading).”

    Sigh. No. One last time.

    I and my co-workers are given a multiple choice survey question about temperature and comfort in the work place during a typical midwestern summer. A and B represent “It’s too cold” answers, and C and D “it’s too hot.”

    Answer C says, “It’s too hot, please make sure the average temperature does not rise above 75 degrees.”

    Answer D says “It’s too hot–we need to make sure the average temperature does not rise above 55 degrees.”

    The management announces that, on the basis of the fact that 61 percent of the employees think the office is too hot, the temperature will not go above 55 degrees. But they won’t give us the percentage split between those who voted to work in a meatlocker vs. those who wanted relief from the heat.

    It might suggest that Mr. Coldcuts rigged the game a little bit to get the solution he wanted.

    As applied to the FFI, the failure to explain the level of discontent suggests hammer-swinger eager to treat yet another problem like a nail.

    And, again, the discrepancy in treatment between the FFI and more aberrant groups like the LCs and Neocatechumenate, both of which had or have serious issues, is left entirely unaddressed.

  10. Sigh. No. One last time…And, again, the discrepancy in treatment between the FFI and more aberrant groups…

     

    And, yet again, I too will say that it’s a little late to be arguing about that now. given that the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. If you choose to do so, it only serves to highlight the lack of any real counter-argument, and indicates deeper problems. Ditto for the complaint about ‘well, why aren’t those people being punished too?’ If you can’t see that this makes you look more like a petulant 10-year old than a stalwart defender of the faith, then we have real problems indeed. For what it is worth, I do not know why the LC’s of the Neocatechumenates are not being treated in the same way, but it would not surprise me if they are simply savvier when it comes being able to come up with an effective counter-response, though that is just guess-work.

     

  11. it only serves to highlight the lack of any real counter-argument, and indicates deeper problems.

    I would swear reading you you were on the payroll somewhere. Organizations have their priorities. That the FFI is a priority is damning.

  12. I would swear reading you you were on the payroll somewhere.

     

    Delightful. Jealous much? You would think that whoever would hire me might at least afford a better spell-checker. Seriously, you can tell yourself whatever makes you feel better, but for what it’s worth, I wish the FFI all the best in this commission, and look forward to a time when the CDF or the like can focus on real enemies of the faith. I will also admit, based on what little I know of Church history, that finding an abbot or spokesman who is holy enough to be a friar, and worldly enough to manage situations like this is comparable to the proverbial camel through the needle’s eye. But you do the Friars no service by failing to point what should be obvious to them and to you. Whoever is interested in truly helping them, needs to go back to the chalkboard and come up with something effective.

  13. Oh, and for what it’s worth, telling me I’m a mean damnable person who is probably on the payroll somewhere? That’s not a real counter-argument, either. That’s another one that a petulant 10-year-old already came up with.

  14. That’s not a real counter-argument, either

    You never made an argument to counter. Measures without precedent need explanations. Why is this done now and not some other time?

    No agglomeration of human beings is without some intramural trouble. I knew of an academic department where I once worked that had one side which was not talking to the other; they were stymied attempting to hire anyone new. The college president had to hire-with-tenure a chairman from a college in Pennsylvania that no one there knew in order to sort the place out. The solution employed to intramural bickering was nearly unique. I am not aware of another example. An alternative solution would have been to erect separate departments; that’s never been done.

    You have a catastrophic breakdown in internal controls and spiritual direction (as you did with the Legionnaires of Christ, as you did with the California Jesuits, as you have here and again with the Norbertines) and nothing visible happens. Why is that? Because a devotion to the traditional rite is more of a problem than having a seminarian identified as “Jabba the Slut” on a formation house’s public website. More of a problem in a very disordered universe. You should stop shilling for these people.

  15. That’s not a real counter-argument, either
    You never made an argument to counter.

    This tactic, along with repeating things that were already answered as if they were new, is getting to be incredibly annoying.

    And yes, it does show up in the writing of those folks who are paid to drum up public support. Going off of previous tactics, it’ll go into popular use, and won’t die out until there’s a way to specifically answer it. (Sort of like the “search keyword, copy/paste comment” tactic is largely out of favor because searching for an exact phrase would tell you who started it.)

  16. You never made an argument to counter. Measures without precedent need explanations. Why is this done now and not some other time?…You should stop shilling for these people.

     

    And you should stop spinning conspiracy theories. You, rightly claim that anti-Zimmerman folks have made him an “icon of a mess of things they find wrong with the world”. You would do well to avoid behaving similarly with regard to those you disagree with, if only for the fact doing so makes you seem deranged.

     

    My argument, like it or not, was to point out that going before the judge and saying “Your Honor, only a few people were complaining about the noise and the funky odors emanating from the fraternity house, so the cops really had no business showing up in the first place, and besides, you people need to stop harassing us and crack down on the real criminals” is not likely to get you anywhere. Such complaints are perhaps worth a footnote in any real brief, or maybe a slide in the Power Point presentation, but focusing too much on that only makes a case look pathetic. If you find that an uncomfortable or hateful or inappropriate observation, you are entitled to your opinion, but please spare me the loony you-must-be-one-of-those-people accusations, or cut down on the caffeine, or up the Abilify or something. If the Vatican needs to focus on more deserving opponents, I might give you the same suggestion with regard to me.

  17. If you have a specific question with regard to the analogy I offered — for what, about the 3rd time now? — I will do my best to address it. Otherwise, the next time you post about a lack of actual argument, check to see if the same could be said of what you are posting. And if you just want to spew about Jabba the Slut, or something like that because I have become the embodiment of all that you find wrong with the world, then fine, but allow me to note that the vehemence is bizarrely misdirected, and to wonder whether something else is up.

     

    Yes, if I come to you and say, “Hey, I hear that Obamacare website is pretty much fixed now, so what say we all give it a try?” or else, apropos of nothing, start extolling the benefits of fracking or Scientology, or even if I start telling you about how much better the bishops’ cable channel is than the one from that angry bitter Mother Angelica, then you have my permission to suspect me of shilling. Otherwise, get a clue, or don’t complain when I question your sanity.

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  19. Taking a step back from my own conversations on the subject on the sad case concerning the FFI, it is safe to say that there are two distinct narratives concerning the Friars: one which sees the fundamental issue as the EF ( the right to celebrate/participate in it) and the heavy-handed if not totally unjust measures of the Vatican’s commission sent to straighten out problems in the order. The second narrative, which I myself have participated in, states that there are other, very serious issues going on in the FFI; the issue is not the EF (and I would add, should not be the EF: that is a right given to Catholics desiring to celebrate/participate in it) this second narrative sees the decisions of the Commission as necessary, although sad.

    I started by saying I am choosing to step back and look at both narratives in order to gain more perspective and to get to the truth of the situation. I understand that the measures of the commission are considered draconian and unjust by many. I understand that. I also understand many upset that the Vatican has not come down on orders or groups that are considered more “liberal”. I myself have no difficulty stating that every disciplinary action of “Rome” has not been just etc.-for example the suppression of the Jesuits or the Knights Templars or certainly the Galileo case. I have no problem saying this.

    However I am still stuck with a question that will not go away. If the problem with the FFI were simply or only the EF as those favoring the first narrative state, why did Pope Benedict, the author of Summorum Pontificem, the great liberalized of the EF see fit to set up a commission to investigate and get a hold of the FFI situation? Why did this take place, when as one poster suggested to me ( and was 100 percent correct) that an easy solution was that the community simply diversify: one having OF and the other, the EF.

    I really want to get to the bottom of this to wrap my head around really what is going on.

  20. Botolph

    The answer to our question is that the EF has become the badge of a faction.

    As the Holy Father has said, “Then there are particular issues, like the liturgy according to the Vetus Ordo. I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity. What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.”

    If the Tridentine rite is ever formally suppressed, this will be the reason.

  21. MPS,

    Good grief, while I do know that this ‘ideolization’ and radicalization has obviously happened among some of those who love the “Vetus Ordo”, I never thought that this was widespread. I have always been genuinely supportive of Summorum Pontificem. I would never seek to suppress the Vetus Ordo nor rejoice if this ever happened-although I myself participate in the OF. My only concern is the communion and peace of the Catholic Church.

    I am hoping that this is not indeed widespread

  22. Botolph

    I do not know how widespread this “ideolization” (dreadful word) is. I am only saying that if Rome decides to take action to restrict Summorum Pontificum, this will be the reason.

    I should be appalled if this happened, but I would understand the reason behind it; just as I understand why subscription was imposed to “Cum Occasione” and “Unigenitus,” with all that that involved As Mgr Ronald Knox remarks, “Jansenism is the vigilant conscience of Christendom overshadowed by a scruple,” but the Holy See took the measures it did. Or think of the Quietist controversy and what Abbé Henri Bremond called, “the flight of the mystics.” We have been here before.

  23. Penguins Fan wrote on Thursday, December 19, A.D. 2013 at 12:48pm

    “Traditional Catholicism provides us with – not an escape from Hugen-Haas, Dan Schutte, the St. Louis Jesuits, Communion in the hand, Tom Dick and Harriet handing out Communion (need I go on?) – the hard identity Catholicism of the Western Church which destroyed the Aztec human sacrifice, defeated the Muslims in 1492, 1571 and 1683, evangelized most of the Western Hemisphere, built countless hospitals, schools, orphanages, colleges and universities and did more than any other particular Christan Church in the USA to help the poor, sick and needy. The altar is a holy place where no laity set foot during Mass – and it’s the same in the Divine Liturgy and the Holy Quorbono of the Eastern Churches. Singing is done by those who KNOW how to sing.”

    That same hard identity led to a Church beholden to various crowns, particularly France’s; a Church unable to stop slavery; unable to prevent the Reformation and Enlightenment; unable to make peace with the Orthodox; suffered schism after schism; carried out the Goa Inquisition; and witnessed its best intellectual arguments treated with polite contempt when they were considered at all.

    It is not all roses either.

  24. Michael Paterson Seymour,

    I do understand. I am not speaking of individuals who respond regularly here, but I have recognized a certain common thread with Jansenism, or I should say a Jansenist-like attitude in what I call the Ultra-traditionalist community. I was under the impression that they did not represent the much wider and broader Catholic traditionalists.

    The Church, all those in union with bishops in communion with the pope, will continue on of course. Yet, very much in that deep desire of the Church expressed in VII to recognize that 1 billion other Christians used to be members in full communion with the Catholic Church is extremely troubling, especially with Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper: “Father that they may be one even as we are one.”

    What is more ironic however, is that the Church is being battered on one side by those taking a hermeneutic of disruption who claim to speak ‘in the spirit of VII’ and on the other side by those using the same hermeneutic of disruption claiming to speak in the “spirit of Vetus Ordo”

    The old Chinese maxim: “May you live in interesting times” Indeed.

  25. It seems the extraordinary form of the Mass is being used as a chess piece or like a child caught in the middle of divorcing parents and the result is loss.

  26. Magdalene,

    That image is sadly very a propos. I do not like the fact that a ‘divorce’ is going on. I pray that reconciliation is still possible at least with a portion of those wanting to be distinct from the present Catholic Church, however, I do believe that the EF is like the poor child caught in the middle. I participate in the OF, but great up in what is now the EF. I always thought it was very wrong to have suppressed it in 1970, that might have been Pope Paul VI’s greatest mistake. If indeed a formal split does take place I hope that the EF will not ‘go’ as well. I believe that Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificem was aimed precisely so that that would not happen-in a way, sort of a mirror image of the Anglican usage

  27. Yet another bitter irony in this pogrom against the Franciscans/Mary Immaculate is exactly that “the measures taken against them are unprecedented since Vatican II, during a period when many orders within the Church have ‘distinguished’ themselves by constant dissent from Church teaching.” So it is that I am constantly amazed at, for example, the order at whose secondary school and universities I attended, the Jesuits, who both then and now, see no need to adhere to the Denzinger Index. Or for example, well-known dissident US Franciscan Richard Purcell (RIP) was lionized in these parts (San Francisco) for his preaching that there was no knowable God; an undivine Jesus; that “sex was good for everyone, including priests and religious” ; that a proper Catholic response was to join him in the Gay Pride marches after Mass; who later said he had left the Church (but still said NO ‘masses’ and preached retreats at Cath retreat houses—-yet he was eulogized and revered at a Catholic funeral well-attended by his provincial and many “brother Franciscans” as being a great Catholic priest.
    Or for example, there is the case of French history expert Jacques Gres-Gayer, an ex-priest educated at the Gregorian and the Institut Catholique, long-time prof @ Catholic U, who later married his male friend in 2011 and left the Catholic Church, yet at his funeral outside Paris in winter 2012-2013, a Cardinal Archbishop performed the funeral Mass and again, lionized him as a great Catholic. I am unceasingly amazed at the procession of those who are held in such high esteem in contra-distinction to the hated Promethean neo-pelagian Franciscans/MI

  28. Remarks from HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm:
    “That same hard identity led to a Church beholden to various crowns, particularly France’s; a Church unable to stop slavery; unable to prevent the Reformation and Enlightenment; unable to make peace with the Orthodox; suffered schism after schism; carried out the Goa Inquisition; and witnessed its best intellectual arguments treated with polite contempt when they were considered at all.”

    First:

    The heretic revolt known as the Reformation was led by a lunatic Luther egged on by the behavior of the Borgias and an insane Henry Tudor.
    The Catholic Church did not end slavery as it was a political institution.
    Squabbling with the Orthodox has gone on for almost 1,000 years and it is still going on in Ukraine, because the Moscow Patriarchate sees all of Ukraine as Russia.
    Schism after schism? Really? What do we have now?

    Please fill us in on the Goa Inquisition – it’s usually the Spanish Inquisition that we get bashed over the head with.

    Everything Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    has pointed out can be laid at the feet of bad Catholics, who have been with us in every age. Many of the leading Nazis were apostate Catholics.

    Hard identity Catholicism is what Pius XII showed by example in the dark days of WWII.

    Bye, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  29. Penguins Fan,

    While I might quibble with you about a couple of your remarks, I laughed when I read your post. I am not even sure you were attempting to be humorous but I found it so—in the good sense!

  30. Steve Phoenix,

    I do not disagree about either case you mention in your post, although I did not know of Purcell being from another part of the country.

    I am stepping out here in faith. I frankly do not like not dialoguing. I want to try this again. I want to carry on decent respectful conversations with you and you with me. However, if you go on the attack that simply will not work. I can understand anyone being passionate, I can be and frequently am, however the fire has to be always in the fire place. How about it?

  31. Penguins Fan, my point is for every triumph you mention, there are failures.

    You say “everything [I] pointed out can be laid at the feet of bad Catholics, who have been with us in every age. Many of the leading Nazis were apostate Catholics.”

    I never mentioned Nazis, or even had them in mind. Bad Catholics or not (in general, not just Nazis)- they were still Catholics, and they can’t merely be tossed aside because it’s convenient. As you say, they are present in every age, so how are they excluded? The Reformation and Enlightenment is much larger than Luther or the Borgias and the Tudors.

    You say, “The Church didn’t end slavery because it was a political institution.” Which is true enough; however, how were “the triumphs which destroyed the Aztec human sacrifice,” and “defeated the Muslims in 1492, 1571 and 1683″ not political as well? I suppose one could say that it was out of a learned love of Christ informed by that hard Catholicism that motivated those who preserved the Gates of Vienna. Yet, we have countless writings from our religious of the same period asking for the end (or better treatment) of indigenous peoples that went largely unheeded for a long time. How can one be counted as a triumph if the other is not counted as a failure of the same institute?

    “Squabbling with the Orthodox has gone on for almost 1,000 years…” Yes, several chances at reconciliation were ruined (first 500 years specifically) by the political intrigue and “bad” Catholics that goes hand-in hand with “Hard Catholicism.”

    You ask, “Schism after schism? Really? What do we have now?”

    What we have now on one hand are groups, under the claim of adhering to tradition, breaking off (or threatening to) because of supposed innovations in the church. On the flipside, we have a gaggle of mushy coteries who dress women up as bishops so that the human interest story-writers in the Orlando Sentential continue to have employment. These mushes, like most mushes before them, never have the virility to ensure their teachings last beyond their generation. They do not schism as fast either, or bring scandal to the Church by holding schism over her head for every scruple; they do their own thing, write silly articles and eventually die out. The vast majority remain unchanged: unwilling to be educated in the faith, unconcerned with her dogma: they are there for community and the three big life certificates of birth, marriage and death. You can point to all the statistics about empty pews that you’d like; those people, informed by their parents relations to the Church, exhibit the same dead interior life. That they are not in the pews as frequently just means the social mores have changed and the social club has moved down the street, where it’s nice and safe to talk about changing the Church or being ‘spiritual but not religious’ while the club members politely nod their heads.

    You may point to Pius XII all you’d like, but I see a holy man with all his strength holding down fort amidst ruins of two world wars; the demise of Protestantism, a world filled with people who believed more strongly in positivism, communism, and fascism than they did in Christ. Those are the halcyon days of “Hard Catholicism”?

  32. The vast majority remain unchanged: unwilling to be educated in the faith

    Unwilling?

    How about “not even offered education, and when it is offered it is probably incorrect but in keeping with the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II”?

    Saying things doesn’t make them so– and it doesn’t go unnoticed that you are dodging around.

  33. No problem, Botolph. I have never been out to ‘attack’ anyone personally, but i have questioned some of the the concepts and perhaps their premises that I thought you were accepting as proven fact. (At least, I think I see a different set of facts.) I find your posts very illuminating. But this Vatican 2 thing: I think that is what makes us all try to puzzle it out. Something went really wrong,on that we all agree; and if a parallel evil was mushrooming and exploding in secular society in the 1960′s-1970′s, or not, perhaps then this was probably not the time for earthquake-type changes in expression of faith. As many of you no doubt know, Joseph Campbell. himself not at all a Christian believer, thought it was suicide for the Catholic Church to so radically change its liturgy, specifically to drop Latin: “because it took away precisely this sense of mystery, of following but not quite understanding, of surrendering to something ineffable and incomprehensible, yet recognisable particularly because its symbols transcended time and ages..” (Peter Neary) lWe have to journey on to find out the facts. Along the way, excuse me, but I am hoping that Pope Francis will see a need to develop a richer appreciation of all that JP2 and BXVI established (it appears he is deconstructing that foundation with his initial year’s many Molotov-cocktail comments) , but maybe he too will ‘come around.’ I dont know.

  34. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is to confuse institutional unity with unity of the Spirit. If we examine St. Paul’s argument for unity, the basis of that unity is the Spirit. “Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” he says. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, and so on. He’s making a point in his epistles. He’s saying that the church should be unified in truth and love and in its basic practices. I don’t think that argument was meant to embrace organizational unity. Many people have argued that that’s undesirable even when possible. When you think further about what Paul said, you see that he certainly embraced diversity and adaptability as well.

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