Rebels and Conformists

Monday, March 2, AD 2015




Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings us this story that highlights one of the problems that the Church has these days with precious snowflakes who think they are heroic rebels:



Northwestern University student Kathleen Ferraro was RAISED CATHOLIC!! and thinks that it’s extremely important for all of you people to understand that fact:

My name is Kathleen and I am a little Catholic schoolgirl. I wore a sweater vest and knee-highs and a skirt that could be no more than two inches above my knees. Rogue nuns wandered the halls of my high school. We “left room for Jesus” at school dances, all of which were supervised by a resident priest. I come from a devoutly Roman Catholic family from a primarily Catholic community largely dominated by Catholic institutions, schools, values and beliefs.

Yet young Katie doesn’t consider herself Catholic any more.

And yet against all odds, I don’t fit into Catholicism. My Catholic upbringing and education seemed the perfect formula for a perfect Catholic. Nonetheless, I’ve developed values and beliefs that significantly diverge from this foundation.

Gee.  Wonder what those might be.

Whenever I think about this question, I always resort to my list-making ways, crafting an inventory of the reasons that Catholicism has not worked for me. Old-fashioned values and traditions, hesitation towards accepting the LGBTQ community and inherent political undertones of church leadership leave me feeling conflicted and uneasy. I will never understand why dressing up in a modest J.Crew dress and sitting in the first pew at church trumps participating in a climate march, or why accepting doctrine on faith alone beats independent thinking, questioning and customizing one’s religious life. For me, religion has been more a culture of privilege than of prayer, a competition of piety rather than a humble quest of personal growth and spiritual connection. These are all examples from my experience with religion that motivate me to reject Catholicism, but as I think about it, are these also reasons that Catholicism rejects me?

No, because that’s just stupid.

I believe it is. Speaking only for the Catholic institutions I come from, I do not fit the prototype of what a Catholic is supposed to be–the by the book churchgoer who accepts Catholicism because that is what is true.

Ya think?!!

I am pro-choice, don’t go to church on Sundays, don’t put stock in the Bible or doctrine, challenge traditional ideas of religion and spirituality and care infinitely more about trying to be a kind, humble person than actively worshipping.

In other words, an Episcopalian.

On one hand, this rejection validates my personal beliefs and their deliberate divergence from Catholicism. On the other hand, this rejection leaves me unfulfilled. I find myself an outsider, subject to the Catholic exclusivity that ostracizes other divergent thinkers and doers: the very exclusivity that prompts me to reject Catholicism in the first place. Its a perplexing paradox – my beliefs exclude me and define me as an independent. And because my beliefs disqualify me from active participation, I am consequently excluded from a community that I want to engage with, though not necessarily be a part of. I would say “its not you, its me,” but I think “its not me, its you” is equally appropriate.

Told you.

I’m not saying that my beliefs are right,

You are so.

but I am saying that I want to be heard, not just listened to.

Every Anglican in the world knows that means that we keep yammering until the Roman Catholic Church realizes that it’s wrong and I’m right.

For me, this conversation is not about stylizing religion to suit the tastes of young adults;


it’s about aligning all voices with the process of organized religion and earnestly engaging in different conceptualizations of faith.

Whatever that means.  Katie?  I’d like to tell you a little bit about my mom.

Over and over again, I’m amazed at what a visionary my mother was.  Mom was also RAISED CATHOLIC!! but had some sort of major conflict with the Catholic Church in the 40′s, the nature of which she never disclosed to any of us.

I suspect what it might have been but I don’t know for certain so I’m not going to speculate.  But to those of you whose parents are still with you, a word of warning; you find out quite a bit after they shuffle off this mortal coil.

Mom was always a little bit of a rebel.  She was born and raised in New York City and when she was in college at Adelphi, she vocally stood up for the Jews.  She’d married in the late 30′s, early 40′s, somewhere in there, and had a daughter shortly after that.  Her husband was killed during the war and after it, she was a single mom with a little girl to raise and she didn’t have any money coming in.

So Mom found herself a job.  In Montana.  She left New York City and never again entertained the idea of ever going back.

Anyway, Mom’s got this problem with the Roman Catholic Church.  Know what she did about it, Katie?

She left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopalians.  My mom loved the Episcopal Church until the end of her life.  And as far as I know, she was the only one in her family who ever did anything like that.  Her brother, my Uncle Howard, remained Catholic until the end of his life.

Kid?  The Catholic Church is almost 2,000 years old; you’re not.  Your idea that the Catholic Church needs to conform itself to the bumper stickers beliefs of the Young PeopleTM is too absurd for any intelligent person to even begin to entertain.  So emulate my mother, grow a freaking spine and drop into one of Chicagoland’s many fine Episcopal parishes next Sunday.  You’ll be glad you did.

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28 Responses to Rebels and Conformists

  • Stated briefely, “I’m twenty-two years old and I know everything!”

  • Go where you can hear the gospel…proclaimed in it’s purity…

    …and where the sacraments are administered in accordance with that pure gospel.

    Good luck being able to find that.

  • “I find myself an outsider, subject to the Catholic exclusivity that ostracizes other divergent thinkers and doers:”
    I believe the faith teaches that heaven is an exclusive place, also.

    “Let’s hope and pray that she doesn’t continue with her self-absorption, and her unwillingness to serve (disguised as self-anointed intellegence and wisdom) that she may not spend eternity as a wilful “outsider”
    Lord help the minions of lapsed “Catholics” that are as confused as she.

  • “the State was essential in taking measures against the Church to largely eliminate her influence from society.”

    But we just now have heard from our “on high” communications director who supports the take over of the internet (in violation of subsidiarity) that it is the culture of death and perverted morality “government” that will insure our freedom of religion.
    That line ought to be on SNL.

  • Reminds me of an article I read once about a girl of similar age who grew up pro life then she read an article in the NYTimes and now she’s pro choice. It makes me wonder about her education. Did she engage in the arguments for the cause? Did she learn to have real sympathy for pro choicer and yet still have the courage to say why they are wrong? Probably not. She just didn’t think about it that much. Sounds like this girl’s “Catholicism” was largely about uniforms and school dance rules. I don’t know if I’d lay the blame at her parents or school, but somewhere she wasn’t taught our didn’t listen to the deeper truths of her faith. She’s not able to make a coherent rejection of her childhood faith. I feel bad for her.

  • Note what’s missing: she never once mentions Jesus, except in the silly little anecdote about the school dances. The questions of whether she believes in Him, and whether the Church was founded by Him, and any thought of Grace or Redemption are completely incidental to the all-important issue of whether or not she feels ‘excluded.’

  • I was exactly that dumb at that age, too. I’m glad there was no Huffington Post back then to record it. And the fact that it was published in HuffPo should tell you everything about conformity: would a similar article about a fallen-away Methodist get the same national platform? There are millions of people leaving mainline Protestantism for Evangelicalism, because they want something stricter and more biblical – do they get articles in HuffPo?

    I did see something more depressing last week, an article in the Daily Beast written by a gay former Jesuit. Google “gay Jesuit daily beast” and, hey, you get what you deserve. The thing about the article was that it reflected the same depth of Catholic understanding as this 22-year-old undergrad. That was mortifying. Gay Jesuits don’t surprise me. I know too well how human beings act when they’re tempted. But the ignorance of what the Church teaches, that shocked me. There’s a way you can go through Catholicism and come out in disagreement with the Church, but for you to take the positions that this former priest was taking, you’d have to have never gone through the process of learning and growing in the Faith at all.

  • “I find myself an outsider, subject to the Catholic exclusivity that ostracizes other divergent thinkers and doers:”

    The notion she’s an outsider at Northwestern for an exposition like the one under review is worth one chuckle.

    She’s not able to make a coherent rejection of her childhood faith. I feel bad for her.
    As Ava Gardner put it, “Deep down, I’m pretty superficial”. Or, Allan Bloom on the sort of students he’d met at the University of Chicago ca. 1987, “In a word, ‘nice’, which is to say that nothing that’s happened to them has particularly hardened them”.

    The results from investing 20 years in childrearing can be a wretched surprise at times (as both my mother and two or three of my great-grandparents might have told you). However, you look at this woman’s LinkedIn profile, and what you see is familiar. There’s the signal and the noise. I’d lay a low four figure wager that the parents are fairly well-to-do professional-managerial types and the signal was to assure your ‘future’. The rest dissolved into static.

  • When she faces her trial’s and disappointment’s she will be the one cursing her creator. That will be the extent of her “quest for spiritual connection.” How sweet.

  • And I have to give credit where credit is due:

    This is the kind of article I was just saying wouldn’t be published. Good for them. The Daily Beast is a weird mess of a site, and I hate to admit that it’s on my once-a-day list, but I’m glad for this.

  • This young woman is an idiot. Perhaps it is not entirely her fault, as we don’t know all of the details of her upbringing. Nevertheless, she is an idiot, as she is an adult and is capable of discovering the truth, but would rather follow the crowd of idiotic young adults who get their news from Twitter, Jon Stewart, etc.

    I was naive at that age. I didn’t know a lot about my faith but I never abandoned it. Even in the 1980s I knew the media was filled with libtard brain dead slugs- as it is now – and they did not sway me.

    Piss-poor Catholic catechesis has driven away countless baptized Catholics. Other Catholics get a bug up their posteriors and blame the entire church for a bad priest, nun, etc. I have several relatives that fit into both of these examples.

  • Penguins Fan: “Nevertheless, she is an idiot, as she is an adult and is capable of discovering the truth, but would rather follow the crowd of idiotic young adults who get their news from Twitter, Jon Stewart, etc.”
    From my own experience, I find that Jon Stewart and especially family members who ridicule, intimidate and consciously demean a religious perspective of life and demand that one abandons real love for God in order to become acceptable and in the “incrowd” inculcate a terror of being ostracized by them, like they are somebody to be feared, but they are cowards like the devil.
    A person must make a GIANT embrace for one’s own freedom and conscious search for truth in the one’s self and the Catholic Church to reverse the fear instilled in the quiet of one’s heart to be who one must be, to pursue one’s Happiness and find one’s destiny; to answer one’s vocation to be(…or not to be.)
    The Holy Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity responds to our plea for TRUTH and guidance. Nothing is lost except our own happiness if refuse to pray for grace.
    One day, the woman will write a book with much joy and comedy about her spiritual search and conquest of the truth as truth is.

  • Mary De Voe corrects her omission: “Nothing is lost except our own happiness if one refuses to pray for grace. – See more at:

  • “I find myself an outsider, subject to the Catholic exclusivity that ostracizes other divergent thinkers and doers:”
    People are free to leave the church and when people leave the church, the church is always open to them as they have made a free will choice to reject eternal truth. If a persons holds the Church responsible for people’s leaving, than, it means that these people intended to impose their errors on the church. Heresy does not fulfill our vocation, destiny or happiness.

  • My flippant reply to flippant pro-choicers:

    I’m pro-choice myself: Either choose to not have sex outside of marriage, or choose to live with the consequences.

  • “customizing one’s religious life” says it all. ALL.

  • I tend to pity folks like Miss. Ferrarro more than I blame them– I suspect she
    has no idea what the Catholic Church teaches or what it is she’s rejecting when
    she turns up her nose at her patrimony.
    During my undergrad years I volunteered to teach CCD at my college parish–
    a very affluent, jaded, au courant parish run by an order of priests that
    has since become notorious for its dissidence. Think lots of National Catholic
    in the vestibule. I was aghast at the absolute bone ignorance of
    even the basics of Catholicism that these kids had– and these were kids whose
    parents had sent them to the parish’s elementary school, and were currently
    enrolled in the city’s “Catholic” high school. These were good kids, but they
    were utterly ignorant of the concept of the Real Presence, had never been taught
    about the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and had no idea who Jesus was.
    At one point, I asked the class to raise their hands if they thought Jesus was
    a man, but not God. Half raised their hands. God, but not a man? That got
    most of the rest of the class. Both God and man? One kid raised his hand, out
    of a class of two dozen kids whose parents cared enough to send them to
    CCD. And these were kids who had been in the tender care of the parochial
    school system for close to 12 years.
    I suspect that Miss Ferrarro is rejecting something she’s never actually been
    introduced to. And shame on us all for not passing on the Faith to kids like
    her. We’ve failed her.

  • The American Catholic Educational system turned out girls and guys like her in droves in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. It is only now changing. However, the biggest mystery to her piece is how she could reject something she knows nothing about. As stated above, “I’d lay a low four figure wager” that she couldn’t begin to discuss the scriptural basis for the real presence. That’s the “signal” most Catholic schools used to miss. Instead, kids like her just got the “noise”.

  • “Mary De Voe:” “…I find that Jon Stewart and especially family members who ridicule, intimidate and consciously demean a religious perspective of life and demand that one abandons real love for God in order to become acceptable and in the “incrowd” inculcate a terror of being ostracized by them, like they are somebody to be feared…”

    I would remind all that this evil only works, as the diabolical well knows, because that “terror” is but “pride” the foundation of most sin.
    Humble people, who know and live by God’s truth, are able to resist this–will they like me if I do/don’t–weapon. Catechesis and Sacramental Grace is the cure.

  • I believe the catholic school girl shtick appeals to her. She believes she was raised catholic, no doubt. If she was really raised catholic she would not have left. She is seeking fulfillment and just may find it in the revolutionary group working against the church.

  • I wonder about her (home-schooling.)
    Whay I mean is did her parents believe that buying her a dress and enrolling her in Catholic school was sufficient enough? My guess is yes. They participated as if dropping one off to soccer practice.

    If the parents are not engaged and living their lives in sanctifying grace then the development of any true spiritual life for her would be undermined. I’m not suggesting that this is the complete cause of her ignorance but that it certainly didn’t help her come to her conclusions.

    The most influential church is home.

  • ….say What..not whay…typo 🙁

  • RicK, Don Lord and Philip, my friend: Miss Ferraro sticks to the school girl shtick because it most brings her to the reality that she is a minor child spiritually. As a minor child who ought to have been given the Faith, she was disconnected by others, who, in their pride, laziness, ignorance and all the rest of the capital sins abandoned her soul to the Prince of Darkness. That darkness is terrifying. Looking around and seeing others just as terrified, three generations since Vatican II, lost souls, only confirms one’s terror. Lucifer, the great angel of light possesses the soul, leaving that person bereft of any Faith, Hope and therefore, not exercising their charity in handing on the Faith, the gift of life and love, the fourth generation of lost souls.

  • Bob Tanaka, You beat me to the punch. While extolling climate marches over attending Mass, the poor dear never mentioned praising and worshipping God or the saving graces of the sacraments. A brief synopsis of her attitude might be, “Me, My & I”.

  • . I was aghast at the absolute bone ignorance of
    even the basics of Catholicism that these kids had– and these were kids whose
    parents had sent them to the parish’s elementary school, and were currently
    enrolled in the city’s “Catholic” high school.

    And the horrible thing is, the folks who are responsible for teaching them might think they were teaching them.
    My mom was horrified when she found out that I’d never heard of the catechism before I was an adult– she assumed that we were actually being taught stuff at our CCD and similar classes, including youth group.
    And even that isn’t because she was willfully abandoning her responsibility to teach us– she was told all of her training was wrong because of Vatican II. She was teaching CCD to high school students, and told them sex outside of marriage was wrong in the hearing of the priest. Who then publicly chewed her out as hateful and ignorant, because it was fine if you “really loved” the other person. (She naturally quit teaching, because he’d know, and she’d hate to lead kids astray.)
    I’ve since found out there were shockingly horribly taught folks before that– ever have a theological argument with someone’s grandmother, and the agnostic is defending Catholic teaching from the lady who goes every week?– but without stuff like Jimmy Akin’s blog, I would probably not be Catholic, and would be as miserable as some of the other “raised Catholic” folks I know.
    It’s sad.

  • Foxfier.

    Your dear mom. Trying to do the right thing and hearing the great lie; “Vatican II states it differently.” The pigs who knowingly spread lies to promote their agenda’s will have to pay for their offenses. They may receive Gods mercy however they may have a very very very long wait in Purgatory prior to entrance into His Kingdom.

    Vatican II was certainly highjacked and misinterpreted to foster division and corrode the teachings of the Holy Church. To liberalize as a means to create freedom to sin without consequences.

    God bless your mom and others that ran into similar atrocities.

  • Do you think that catechesis worse now? I know it’s not ideal now, but I worry that we idealize the past. In the modern era of literacy and mass communication, the ignorance is less justifiable, sure. But there have always been places with no priests, or untrained and/or heretical priests. How deep was the understanding of the faith? My suspicion is that the peaks were higher and the valleys were lower – which calls to mind Rev 3:16: “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

Church of the Zeitgeist

Thursday, March 20, AD 2014

Church of the Zeitgeist

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats, Second Coming

For any who think that there are not bishops and higher prelates rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of ditching most of the morality in sexual matters taught by the Church since the time of the Crucifixion, Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives you the cold shock of reality:

Roman Catholics?  Many of us former Anglicans know from bitter experience that the Episcopalianization of churches always starts small.  A bishop here, a bishop there:

Two Catholic bishops in the UK have expressed hope that the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome in October, will bring about massive changes to the Church’s approach to marriage and human sexuality.

Bishop Terence Drainey of Middleborough told the far-left magazine The Tablet that he is hoping for and expecting a “radical re-examination of human sexuality.”

Drainey told The Tablet that this “re-examination” should be made “in light of modern psychological and anthropological insights and the lived experience of lay people.” This, he said, “could lead to development in church teaching on all aspects of marriage and family life: contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, cohabitation; even the position of women in the Church.”

“The Church has to hold in tension its imperative to proclaim the high Christian ideals to which all should aspire with its desire at the same time to welcome with love and compassion those whose lives are complicated and messy,” the bishop said.

“A careful discussion of this dichotomy could yield pastoral solutions in the areas of family life where many are struggling, enabling the Church more readily to welcome and include these people,” Drainey said.

Bishop Drainey said the issues to be addressed by the Synod and brought up in a Vatican questionnaire are “multifaceted and complex” to which there are no “simple soundbite answers.”

Sound familiar?  If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, it better.  So you might want to hold off criticizing those Catholics who are worried about such trends or you may see a day when you yearn to hear their voices and find that they’re no longer there.

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9 Responses to Church of the Zeitgeist

  • Bishop Terence Drainey of Middleborough has just erased heaven, both in heaven and here on earth.

  • When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, when encountering true evil, would say: “Saints preserve us.” A saying I have adopted because it so much says what needs saying.
    Now, Drainey would discard the Church Triumphant and impose the Church not so holy.
    Jesus Christ, Who led a sinless life as an innocent man, a virgin, too, would be exiled and expelled. Discounting God is the work of atheism. Usurping the brotherhood of Jesus Christ is not Catholic.
    Destroying the future of persons conceived in true innocence and virginity is the work of the devil. Saints preserve us. Drainey appears to not have the brains with which he was born.

  • Related thoughts from Ed Peters, as quoted by Father Zuhlsdorf [Fr. Z’s comments in brackets]:

    Why the gathering storm over divorce might be worse than was that over contraception

    Interesting parallels are being suggested between, on the one hand, Paul VI’s dithering over contraception in the 1960s (which, though reversed by his reassertion of Church teaching in Humanae vitae, contributed to widespread repudiation of that teaching by Catholics), and Francis’ recent mixed signals (or what are widely perceived as mixed signals) over the future of Church teaching against divorce-and-remarriage and the reception of holy Communion. Notwithstanding some important differences between the two men and situations, I write to suggest that the stakes for all might actually be higher this time around.

    Consider two points:

    First, Church teaching against contraception had to be teased out over the centuries from natural law theory and what we call now ‘theology of the body’. It rests today largely on conclusions of logic, philosophy, and theology. Church teaching against divorce-and-remarriage, in contrast, is expressly proclaimed in the New Testament and any literate Catholic can read Jesus’ strong words about it in the Bible. This teaching was heatedly and repeatedly defended by the Church Fathers, was reiterated consistently in numerous Councils, and has been expounded by all major theologians.

    Second, short of personal admission, there is no way to tell whether this Catholic couple or that is practicing contraception, and so there are virtually no ecclesiastical consequences possible in the external forum for disregard of Church teaching by pew Catholics. Indeed, with exceptions too rare to mention, there weren’t even official consequences for high-profile Catholics defending contraception in the ’60s. But cohabitation and post-divorce ‘marriage’, in contrast, are public acts falling squarely with the parameters of well-established (if inconsistently applied) public consequences (withholding of Communion being the best known). Millions of Catholics abide by this consequence. The millions of others who do not abide by it pretty much know they do not.

    What does this mean?

    It means, I suggest, that the complexity of the arguments underlying Church teaching on contraception allowed for the ecclesial equivalent of “plausible deniability” in regard to acceptance of that teaching by rank-and-file faithful, and the nature of the contraceptive act virtually excluded public enforcement measures. [NB:] But Church teaching against divorce-and-remarriage is utterly obvious to any but the deliberately blind and the appropriateness of public consequences for public violation of that teaching has been unanimously upheld, and usually observed, for two millenia. Those factors combine to imply, I think, higher stakes in the divorce debate today than those confronting the Church over contraception a generation ago. [Couple all that with today’s increasing antinomian spirit and plummeting ability to think clearly.]

    Now I think Church teaching against divorce-and-remarriage will, in the end, be squarely upheld in principle. My concern is different: what if Church teaching is duly upheld but, as happened after Humanae vitae, that teaching is allowed to twist slowly in the wind? For ecclesiastical officialdom to look the other way on contraception was, in a sense, possible; [Because of its more hidden, private nature.] but for it to do so in regard to divorce, remarriage, and the reception of holy Communion would be immediately recognized as the practical abandonment of a major doctrino-disciplinary point.

  • We have always known that, whilst the Church cannot err, there can be error and widespread error, in the Church, lasting for centuries.

    In the age of her greatest doctors, we find, as Bl John Henry Newman recounts, a virtual consensus on the subject of baptism by heretics. “The Apostolical Canons say, “Those who are baptized by heretics cannot be believers.” The Synods of Iconium and Synnada declare that “those who came from the heretics were to be washed and purified from the filth of their old impure leaven.” Clement of Alexandria, that “Wisdom pronounces that strange waters do not belong to her.” Firmilian, that “we recognize one only Church of God, and account baptism to belong only to the Holy Church.” “It seemed good from the beginning,” says St. Basil, “wholly to annul the baptism of heretics.” Tertullian says, “We have not the same baptism with heretics; since they have it not rightly; without, they have it not at all.” “Then may there be one baptism,” says St. Cyprian, “when there is one faith. We and heretics cannot have a common baptism, since we have not the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost in common. Heretics in their baptism are polluted by their profane water.” St. Cyril says, “None but heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not baptism.” St. Athanasius asks, “Is not the rite administered by the Arians, altogether empty and unprofitable? He that is sprinkled by them is rather polluted than redeemed.” Optatus says, “The stained baptism cannot wash a man, the polluted cannot cleanse.” “The baptism of traitors.” says St. Ambrose, “does not heal, does not cleanse, but defiles.”

    They all erred. Great and holy bishops and doctors of the Church, St Athanasius, St Ambrose, St Basil, St Cyril were all simply wrong. Pope St Stephen (254-257), standing alone and distaining to give the grounds or motives of his decision, held the contrary. He pronounced the baptism of heretics to be valid and, a hundred and fifty years after his death, his teaching prevailed. St Augustine embraced it and the Novatians and the Donatists were anathematized for rejecting it.

    Bishop Terence Drainey of Middleborough may rival these Fathers in sanctity, learning and zeal, but he can err, as they erred, even in things pertaining to the Faith. Why suppose the bishops of Germany incapable of error, when the bishops of Phrygia, Galatia, Cilicia and all Asia Minor erred at the Synod of Iconium?

  • if they do not get what they publicly ask for and the boss says no will they as brits say, “put theit money where their mouth is and resign” ?

  • Some remarks by R.S. McCain a few months back, which, while concerned with the protestant congregations, describe some of our predicament.

    I suspect those of us who grew up in Anglicanism are inured to loser clergy. (David Mills description of the Episcopal bishops he had known: “…most of them very mediocre men…”). You expect your pastor to be manipulative, evasive, inane, and altogether useless for most intents and purposes. (But inveterately defended by the organization (wo)men who dominate vestries; “the worship which unites us rather than the issues which divide us” &c.). You see less of that in the Catholic Church (but more bad taste). The extension of grinning boobery into the College of Cardinals (Timothy “Bravo” Dolan) following upon the manifestation of dithering nincompoopery (see the Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major) is most demoralizing, though the current Pope’s serial hoof-in-mouth episodes do provide diversion from time to time.

    We’re not quite in the 10th century yet, but these chaps will do a great deal of damage before the Church is done with them.

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  • The gates of hell shall not prevail…..

  • The bishops of England, Ireland, Germany and Austria have long been a bunch that I would not look up to.

    It has been speculated that when Papa Bergoglio turns 80 he will resign and return to Buenos Aires. He has maintained Argentine citizenship. What is clear is that in the past year, the lunatics have asserted themselves and are running the asylum. In any case, the answer is to pray, fast, give alms and hope in the Lord. The pagan roman government executed Him – but did not stop Him. In the end, the pagan Roman government withered away.

Pope Benedict Asks for Forgiveness

Friday, September 2, AD 2011

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI told the annual gathering of his “Study Group” (some of his former students) to ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of generations of “cradle Catholics” who have failed to transmit the faith to others.

No doubt, evangelizing others is an important dimension of Catholic life, as Pope Paul VI reminded the Church in his 1975 apostolic exhortation, Evangelii nuntiandi:

…what matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots), in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et spes, always taking the person as one’s starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God. (#20)

Where evangelization first takes place is in the home as parents evangelize their children in the Roman Catholic faith and its practice.  Today, the most-often heard lament is that Roman Catholic parents, in general, are not evangelizing their children and, of those who do, they are not evangelizing their children in the Roman Catholic faith and its practice but in some generic form of Christianity that emphasizes democratic values and aspirations.

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7 Responses to Pope Benedict Asks for Forgiveness

  • Mama, who pays for Neighbors A to go to school?

    Well, daddy pays for some of it in property taxes.

    Mama, who pays for Neighbors B to go to school?

    Well, daddy pays for some of it in the church tithe.

    Mama, who pays for our school?

    Daddy does.

    The Catholic homeschooler who belongs to a parish with a school gets triple taxed.

  • It seems to me that the Catholic Church needs to address the major cause for the mass exodus of the children of the Baby Boomers, the failure of the Church to give good catechesis in their formative years. I was born in 1947 and was the last child in my family to receive formation in the Baltimore Catechism. After me, the catechism was rejected in favor of whiffly, nondoctrinal, feel-good fluff. None of my younger siblings are practicing Catholics. They don’t even know what Catholicism is!
    I remained a faithful Catholic through all the storms of Humanae Vitae and pseudo Vatican II “reforms” largely because I had good formation, and hung around with others who had likewise. By God’s grace, I married a man who also knew his faith, and we have a large family of 10 children who have all maintained their Catholic identity, some even with religious vocations. When asked by other heartbroken friends how this happened, I tell them I think it is largely because when my husband went to his first Catholic school experience for parents to involve them in their child’s first sacraments, what he heard there so horrified him that he began to teach the children the Baltimore Catechism at home. It can be found online, and I know grandparents who quietly teach it to their grandchildren on visits.
    But noone can estimate the damage done by generations of no catechisis by a Church that used to take that role very seriously. Even homilies can be mostly “fluffy” instead of dealing with Church teaching on tough issues.
    THAT should be what the pope apologizes for, and for which the Church is responsible. Nevermind the colleges, bring those Catholic parochial schools up to speed! Where is their “oath of allegiance”?

  • But noone can estimate the damage done by generations of no catechisis by a Church that used to take that role very seriously.

    Check your Catechism of the Catholic Church. Parents have primary responsibility for the catechesis of their children.

    I’m of the opinion that the institutional church’s takeover of that parental role, however well-intended its motives were, was a grievous mistake that over time has done great harm to the Body of Christ that is His Church – as your personal testimony illustrates.

    The institutional church must humbly recognize that its role is to be an assistant to parents in their role of chief catechist to their children, not an usurper of that role. I believe this will require that formal, classroom catechesis through the Church be aimed primarily at adults, not children. And adult catechesis must be understood by the faithful as a commitment to lifelong learning.

    There’s a push in many dioceses for more “youth ministry.” Some hope that will be a fix for the poor catechesis of children in prior years. I’m doubtful about that.

  • Micha, I have run your response by one of my adult children , and he agrees that it is the enthusiasm for the Faith that parents communicate which makes the difference for growing children.
    On further thought, I also tend to generalize our experiences here in our diocese regarding Catholic education. We are in a liberal area, and experimentation, beginning in the 70’s and continuing until recently, has left our faithful quite scarred.
    The children were the most harmed, since they were the least protected by a sense of how the Church had been historically. “Bring a new Church into being” is one of the songs we still sing here, and incapsulates the attitude that remains here.
    I agree with you that evangelizing the parents is the key. Pope John Paul II said that evangelization has to proceed catechizing, for there to be an authentic renewal of the whole person. My husband read your remarks and remembers back to his Irish small town experience of the Faith. His parents distributed the local Catholic paper, went to devotions regularly, put up brothers who were evangelizing in their house, read Catholic literature, went to St. Vincent to Paul meetings and helped distribute food and clothing to the needy.
    Needless to say he has always had a vibrant faithlife. But he also had a warm family life, without the incredible stressors of addiction, violence, or divorce. My awareness is that the family lifestyle is also critical to an understanding of Who God Is. For better or worse, the father image of alot of us leaves much to be desired.
    Luckily, God works with each of us as we are, and gives familes the tools they need for them to play a part in His plan. And only He knows what has been given and what is expected.
    Thanks for your thoughtful answer.
    ps I have one child involved with ministry to youth, for two years on a college campus (FOCUS) and now in a parish. She finds the Holy Spirit is very active in converting these young people and making them in turn apostles and evangelizers. Apparently the Holy Spirit is alive and well and able to bridge the gap left gaping by family or schools!

  • The majority of Catholic parents send their children to government schools where practical atheism is the norm. Many times I’ve heard governmetnt school Catholics, particularly those who work there, chide the Faith for failure to adopt modern secular norms. As long as most Catholilc parents prefer to save tuition money and send their children to be schooled among atheists, we’ll not evangelize society.

  • One of the little known parts of the health care act are the sections that deal with the adult formation of children.

    Title V of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended by sections 2951 and 2952(c), is amended by adding at the end the following:

    It is as a result of this law that children’s upbringing now belongs to the State.

    From the health care act:

    `(C) ADULTHOOD PREPARATION SUBJECTS- The adulthood preparation subjects described in this subparagraph are the following:
    `(i) Healthy relationships, such as positive self-esteem and relationship dynamics, friendships, dating, romantic involvement, marriage, and family interactions.
    `(ii) Adolescent development, such as the development of healthy attitudes and values about adolescent growth and development, body image, racial and ethnic diversity, and other related subjects.
    `(iii) Financial literacy.
    `(iv) Parent-child communication.
    `(v) Educational and career success, such as developing skills for employment preparation, job seeking, independent living, financial self-sufficiency, and workplace productivity.
    `(vi) Healthy life skills, such as goal-setting, decision making, negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills, and stress management.

    This is a secular/atheistic government that does not recognize inalieanable rights as endowed by a Supreme Being (God) and will be teaching children a world view devoid of Chrisitan/Catholic spirituality.

    The government embracing a UN perspective regarding the ‘rights of a child’ to sexual activity is especially frightening. It is also a perspective in which parents have no rights.

    Santorum makes an interesting point in this video clip (about 28 secs in):

    He states that those who hold certain faith beliefs will be identified as “bigots” and then those identified as ‘bigots’ will not be allowed professional licenses. I believe it was Dr. Jane Orient who, after reading the act expressed concern that if drs don’t participate in Obamacare they will also have their licenses pulled. Here is another article that she wrote that addresses various concerns related to licensing. Excellent article:

    What to me is particularly sad is just how many Catholics supported this abominable evil (there is so much more in this law that I am not addressing here….particularly as it relates to unlimited authorization of medical, biological, social, behavioral, psychological (etc) research according to guidelines established by a government that does not recognize God nor the sanctity of life). It is no accident that the law was passed connected to the education law. Thru curriculum regulation you will see Catholic preschool, grade school, high schools closed,and universities lose their ability for students to get student loans to attend their programs. And despite Sr. Keegans believes, yes, Catholic hospitals, and clinics will be forced to shut thier doors — unless they embrace the atheistic/secularism world view.

    “Evangalism” regarding correct Catholic doctrine is critical. It needs to be an evangalism based on true Catholic doctrine where Life is sacred and man is the steward of the earth, not the servant of the earth. A world view where God created the earth for man, and not a world view where man is expendable and subservient to the earth.