Saturday, October 23, 2010

Further Adrift: Cast Your Nets Into the Deep Water - These are the Days!

Several readers and friends have sent me a story published in Commonweal called "Further Adrift" looking for some feedback.

I'm about as likely to read Commonweal as a treatise on human sexuality written Michael Sean Winters and Joan Chittister would pique my interest and so I thank you for calling this article to my attention.

The article cites that one out of every three baptized Catholics have left the Catholic Church, and cites heterodox priest Thomas Reese characterizing the situation as a disaster.

The irony of this kills me.  This Jesuit who has been misleading the faithful for decades is looking out into the empty seats in the pews and he is oh-so concerned about what happened?

An article written by Deal Hudson featured this week on Inside Catholic put what Reese and his generation of Catholic wreckovators did to the consciousness of this generation into perspective.   It's a book review of a book called "Conversations with God".

All you need to know about the book can be gleaned from its acknowledgments, where he thanks John Denver, "whose songs touch my soul"; Richard Bach, author of that influential epic, Jonathan Livingston Seagull; Barbra Streisand, whose singing causes him "to feel what is true"; and Robert Heinlein, "whose visionary literature has raised questions and posed answers in ways no one else has dared even approach."  [Yes, I swooned over this kind of drivel! - cm]
My most common form of communication is through feelingFeeling is the language of the soul. If you want to know what's true for you about something, look to how you're feeling about it. . . . hidden in your deepest feelings is your highest truth. [Can anyone say 'divination'?]
If you feel like having sex with your secretary, have it. If you feel like taking birth control, take them.    If two same sex people feel like getting married, let's legalize it. [But then why are polygamists discriminated against?] If teenagers feel like smoking pot, let's decriminalize it.  If teens feel like drinking, let's provide a safe place.  They will feel like having sex, so let's teach them how to do it safely and hand them a condom. [I've never understood why these adults don't provide a safe bedroom with nice clean sheets].  If a woman is attracted to an irresponsible man and gets pregnant, she may feel like killing their unborn child, so let's make it safe for her.  [Why not teach women how the attributes of a responsible man manifest themselves and how to please God by saving herself for him?  The dumbing down of women.]    If Muslims feel like hijacking a plane and driving it into a building full of Americans, do it.  If Muslims feel like putting a victory shrine over the graves of our people, we must let them.   If you're a priest and you feel like having sex with a child, have it.  If you're a Bishop catching pedophiles and you feel like shuffling them to another parish, onward Christian soldier.

Ooops....wait a minute.  

I guess feelings aren't the indicators to right vs. wrong after all.

But, if Christ's Church is not the arbiter of good and evil and the Holy Spirit, who shall be like God?

Why it's Peter Steinfels, of course!

Catholics becoming unaffiliated stressed disagreement with church teachings, both general teachings and church positions on specific issues like abortion, homosexuality, and treatment of women, and to a lesser extent clerical celibacy. In open-ended questioning, they also stressed hypocrisy and other moral and spiritual failures of church leaders and fellow Catholics. well as theologically more complex and controversial matters like expanding the pool of those eligible for ordination and revisiting some aspects of the church’s teaching on sexuality.

People stopped coming to Church because they don't want to hear sex outside of the Sacrament of marriage, birth control, abortion, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery and jealousy are sins.  It makes people feel bad about themselves.

If the Catholic Church would only silence people teaching these things, there will be a stampede back into the pews to received the Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of Our Lord.

 Priests and lay people imparting knowledge of right from wrong, good from bad, truth from lies are scaring people away from the pews.You are supposed to rope them in.  Meet them where they're at, tell them how good they are no matter what kinds of choices they are making.

Get it?

The fix is in.  The trick is to keep people out of a state of grace. The fruit of sin is a magnet to the Sacraments, holiness and God.

Will they ever get over those three days in Woodstock?

I don't mean to be condescending... but how does this stolid philosophy keep on going?

Could be my stubborn unwillingness to be taken for a fool but I don't understand how anyone could swallow this balderdash.

Was a whole generation deprived of analytical skills?

The impact of sin on a human soul is a natural repellent to Church and God.  There's something about sanctity that makes makes you want to keep your distance when you are on a track of impurity.

For example, a lot of people 'feel' like using the 'f' word in conversation. When people feel like saying the 'f' word, they're going to pass the Church and go to the corner barroom.  So too, when we are doing what is immoral we do not put ourselves in the company of  the Holy Presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  Unless, of course we are ready to repent and amend our lives.   There are some who will of course are sit in the pews that are not there for purification and adoring God.   They are there to feel good about themselves.  That is what priests have turned our parishes into - places to gather in people to feel good about themselves. At the cost of salvation of their souls.   For the most part, people couldn't be bothered.  Like the author of this article, their interest in achievements are about Ivy League schools and their booty in the bank.  This of course makes the Cardinals, Bishops and priests salivate.   It is a feeding frenzy.

How does Seinfels reconcile why the pews were loaded when priests were teaching us sins and we were purifying our souls with the Sacrament of Penance and worthy reception of the Eucharist with his thesis?

The reality is, when Vatican II was used to desensitize people to sin so more people would come to Church, it backfired.

We can trick ourselves into believing all kinds of things that are not real.

I don't have the vantage point of spending decades fermenting in my opposition to the teachings of the Church, so maybe it's me, but I was struck by the absence of lucidity in Seinfels' attempt to pin the empty seats in Church to Pope John Paul II.

He claims that while we were busy following the Vicar of Christ, we didn't notice the millions who were not there.  

But this couldn't be any further than the truth.

When I was being interviewed for this AP article, the journalist noted that the priests who are now in formation are the children of the JPII generation and their faith is solid.  Pope Benedict XVI is convening a consistory to name 24 new Cardinals who will be casting the vote for the next Pope, setting the stage for his successor.  The Bernadin prelates in the US Episcopal Conference are retiring and dying and their replacements were taught by Pope John Paul II.

She asked why orthodox Catholics were rising at this time.

I explained to her that somewhere in between the death of John Paul II and  rising of the secular messiah obama, there was a new attempt on the ground to recalibrate the teachings of the Church to the next generation.  Which happen to be our own children.   Seeing a weak Cardinal, they have set up shop and they are planning to use what they are doing here as a blueprint for the rest of the country.  

Would you let their own children and grandchildren be led into an abyss right in front of you because the Bishops are sanctifying themselves?   Goodie for them.  We are interested in our children.

Zoll also asked how  I felt politics and theology intersect.  The animus that runs the country shapes academia, law and governance.  Everyone wants to influence thought because it creates the kind of world we will pass on to our children.  Catholics have the right and duty to put their two cents in.

The  'fed up' spirit of the 'tea party' movement made its way into theology.

So, while Seinfels sees this:

For some Catholics, this grieving has clearly passed beyond anger. It seems to border now on resignation to either a death of faith or withdrawal from the church.  For others, it means the impossibility of being in any way a “public Catholic,” whether in their fields of work, their communities, their parishes, or their circles of family and friends.

That's not at all what I see, so I guess it all depends on your vantage point.

There is a moment in Christ's ministry when the apostles had been trying to catch fish and every day came ashore with their nets empty.     He gets into Simon (Peter's) boat, they go out a bit into the water and He teaches the people on the shore from the boat.  He tells Simon to lower the nets.  Simon tells Christ that they have been fishing all night and day and couldn't catch anything but lowered the net as Christ wished.  You know how the story ends.

We are casting our nets into the deep.

As they settle into resignation, withdrawal and impossibility of being a public Catholic - there is a counterinsurgency.   We are invigorated.  These are the days.

So, I guess it's all working out.

These are the days you'll remember.

Never before and never since, I promise, 
will the whole world be warm as this.

And as you feel it, 
you'll know it's true
 that you 
are blessed and lucky.

It's true that you are touched by something 
that will grow and bloom in you.

These are the days you'll remember.

When May is rushing over you with desire 
to be part of the miracles you see in every hour.

You'll know it's true 
that you are blessed and lucky.

It's true 
that you
 are touched by something 
that will grow and bloom in you.

The days!!

These are the days you might fill with laughter until you break.

These days 
you might feel a shaft of light 
make its way across your face.

And when you do 
you'll know how it was meant to be.

See the signs and know their meaning.

It's true,
you'll know how it was meant to be.
See the signs and know they're speaking
to you.



1 comment:

breathnach said...

Steinfels, Reese and their ilk have been crying from the rooftops for almost two generations that the Church must accommodate "the Spirit of the Age". During the 70's, 80's and 90's it became clear that accommodating sin and worldliness was the actual result of these efforts.

The mainline Protestant denominations, who were in the forefront of this secularized Christianity,are empty shells of their former selves. Those who sought a muscular, orthodox Christianity are thriving.

Steinfels et al. call for a public relations response to a spiritual crisis. As if Christ became man to convene a town hall meeting or organize an encounter group instead of heading to Golgotha.

The thin gruel served up by Reese and the rest of the trimmers will not motivate anyone to return to the Church. Politics is done better by politicians, entertainment is done better by Hollywood. Reese's "feel good" hokum, dressed up as "spirituality" nourishes no one at all.