Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Be Not Lukewarm

Is it possible that Church leaders and Catholic institutions in the U.S. are assisting the furtherance of central tenets of the secularist political and cultural plot? Have you ever read of a prominent Catholic who contends that the Bible instructs us not to judge people? How often have you heard this phrase in the social media? I think there is the phenomena of an unsuspecting acceptance in some Catholic circles of a secularist understanding of important cultural issues.

If a Catholic supports the notion that men who have sex with men, or women who have sex with women “come out,” he or she assists the Gay agenda in achieving its dream of getting an imprimatur from society for grave sin. Many Catholics, woefully ignorant of Catholic moral teaching, by default seem to be accepting of secularist identity politics and the groundless idea that same-sex attraction is innate, and the defining characteristic for those aggrieved by it.
Often such Catholics cite the homosexual priest scandal as a point of departure for their abandonment of Catholic moral theology. As I recount in my book, the scandals were the result of defective vetting of seminary candidates, insufficient oversight within seminaries and dioceses, and an opening to neomodernist thought in the post-Conciliar period. For a cleric to issue a non-judgmental statement toward the homosexual movement is ironic, given the fact the sex abuse scandal mostly involved homosexual priests molesting minor post-pubescent males.
Some months ago, I blogged on the president of a respected Catholic college who seemed to publicly rebuke a teaching subordinate after dissenting parents objected to her defense of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality at a Catholic highschool. Here it appeared that a Catholic institution precluded a challenge to the homosexual narrative.
Some Catholics seem unaware of how the homosexualist will use their actions and statements to further an agenda hostile to Church teaching, and then state that the Church now agrees with them. They seem to confuse true caritas with false compassion. They want to be “pastoral” and influence Catholics whom they fear may not otherwise listen, and thus do not emphasize those Church teachings despised by the secular culture.
The U.S. Bishops, the Shepherds of the flock and those of the flock who understand the problem have to speak up. The secularists are aiming at total cultural transformation, evidenced in the media. Catholics must not only avoid unwittingly promoting the secular narrative, they must relentlessly oppose it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Will She, or Won't She?

As the synod approaches, defenders of traditional marriage may take heart: the Church will uphold Her teaching on marriage and family vs. the onslaught of a secular understanding of the institution, this is the face of growing speculation that the bishops--and ultimately the Pope--will change certain rules, in particular, allowing divorced Catholics who have remarried without first getting an annulment to receive Communion. Nor is She likely to allow for a non-celibate clergy....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The 21st Century Must Come Into the Church

Continued from September 14....

Through the Church’s teachings, God has also revealed his truth on how humanity can live happily. What is so little understood by Catholics and Christians is that doctrinal revelations that come through the Church come out of God’s very Self. They are not tied to culturally constructed norms! Read Vatican II’s Dei Verbum: “by divine revelation God wished to manifest and communicate both himself and the eternal decrees of his will concerning the salvation of humankind.” Our Lord’s Church derives its basic vision not from mere human speculation, which would be tentative and uncertain, but from God’s own testimony—from a historically given divine revelation.  Thus Catholics believe that just as God himself is immutable, so, too, are His teachings as revealed through the Church because they come from him.

As I discuss in my book, although the Church does not change its central teachings, we do see the theological principle of “development” that Blessed John Henry Newman discussed in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine: “the bodily structure of a grown man is not merely that of a magnified boy; he differs from what he was in his make and proportions; still manhood is the perfection of boyhood, adding something of its own, yet keeping what it finds.” Here a caution: to say the Church “develops,” is not to say the Church “changes.” What is true about God’s teachings revealed through the Church 2,000 years ago is just as true in the twenty-first century.

We can now see why modern secularists are so contemptuous and spiteful toward the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church. They do not understand Her fundamental assumptions, and so utter foolish questions such as, “When will the Catholic Church come into the twenty-first century? Foolish because this question itself is permeated with a postulation about progress toward perfection that does not make sense to the Catholic worldview. The more appropriate question? What has God revealed to us about what it means to live a healthy life, and how do we best live that life? The answer, according to Catholicism, is that we should conform our lives to those timeless truths revealed through the Church in order to enter into a rightly ordered (not disordered) relationship with God.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On Prideful, Utopian Thought

(Continued from September 13
The Church believes that we can change. She teachs that all sacraments, but most importantly the Eucharist, can and do change our lives. This belief in the power of the Eucharist is manifest in Thomas Merton, the great twentieth-century Catholic mystic: “the grace of the Eucharist is not confined to the moments of thanksgiving after Mass and communion, but reaches out into our whole day and into all the affairs of our life, in order to sanctify and transform them in Christ.” Change, conversion through the Eucharist does not happen overnight. But the Church believes at her core that Her sacramental life, over time, leads us towards holiness, the call of Vatican II.

At the same time, we as Catholics scrap the idea that as a society we will ever arrive at a Morean utopia. To cite only one example, Jesus said: “you always will have the poor with you” (Mark 14:7). Pope Paul VI, about whom I wrote my book, stated in his 1971 encyclical Octogesima Adveniens, that “the appeal to a utopia is often a convenient excuse for those who wish to escape from concrete tasks in order to take refuge in an imaginary world.” America may progress technologically, medically, and scientifically, and, individually, we may (or may not) choose to make progress through the sacraments; however, this growth will never convert into heaven on earth.

The Catholic Church, in contrast to the secular position discussed above about secular law, has taught from the beginning that Church doctrines are tied to God’s revelation of Himself, not cultural norms, though She has been cautious about constructing too many official statements about God (how can one say anything final about He-Who-Transcends-Our-Finite-Intellectual-Capacities?) God is: eternal (Psalm 90:2), omnipotent (Matthew 19:26), omniscient (I John 3:20), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), and, most importantly for our contemporaries to understand, immutable (Malachi 3:6). Although beyond human intellectual abilities, God has not remained far distant from his creation, as asserted the Enlightenment Deists. Reasonably, God has reveals Himself to his creatures. Dei Verbum, one of the most important documents from Vatican II, has listed the many ways that God has revealed himself to us and how this revelation has been communicated down through the centuries: through the created world, the prophets, the Apostles, bishops, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture, the magisterium, and Christ Himself. Pridefully we oten make the mistake of pretending to really know God's stane on cultural matters merely from our own finite intellects, a temptation which Adam and Eve first succumbed to.... (To be continued).