Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Future of Our Church

Please forgive the delay on posting on the magnificent witness of World Youth Day to the future of our Church. The combination of beefing up my prayer life and exercising is sucking up the 'free time' I use to blog. I've been an avid exerciser all my life but have been slacking for the past year. (Some savvy advice: Don't try this experiment unless you can afford to carry 20 extra pounds and you enjoy stiff joints and muscle weakness.) Former runner, now walker, I've added it back into my daily routine.

Anyway, I've been meaning to post about the Mass I went to last Sunday but maybe the delay actually makes a good segway into a post about World Youth Day.

Most of us here at TTC are missionaries who have the abilities to see the tools for salvation being withheld from the faithful. We share Christ's heartache over the loss of souls as closely as our hearts ache over our own physical loss of loved ones to death. We see the repercussions of severing God from the culture.

It is strange how efforts to reconnect people to Christ are misconstrued to be divisive but if you think about it, it actually is divisive. If souls are given the tools that lead them to the Sacrament of Confession and Sacramental Grace, their intimacy and union with Christ is divisive to people who positioned themselves to be adored and idolized. Priests who confirm us in our sins are so much "nicer" to us than Christ and His Church as we are being led astray by the devil and all his works, the symbiosis of our spiritual intimacy and attachments and the ego of these priests feed off of each other. Let us face it. On its face, the work we do to sever these attachments to bring people to Christ is divisive to the mortals involved.

These priests, by the way, are the Scribes and Pharisees spoken about in today's Scripture. Urban dictionary language would refer to this symbiosis as the narcissists. Christ speaks about them today in Scripture and calls them Scribes and Pharisees.

The narcissists are everywhere. We ride the emotions of how this affects us and others. Righteous anger has the propensity to settle into discouragement and lo and behold despair comes moseying on down the road. If we give in to the serious sin of despair, just like every other sin, it makes a home in our emotions and starts rewiring our emotional circuits. If we are not conscious about how sin processes,the haywire emotions get into the driver's seat of our animus and intellect.

We have to be on our own guard when we see souls being misled and our Liturgies trampled by the narcissists, least we fall. I've been there, done that. It kept me away from the Sacraments for quite some time. Watching it all was too much for me to bear. I had to spend years finding the caverns where our religion is taught or at the very least not massacred and our Liturgies take us to Golgatha and the Resurrection.

These places are not always convenient and as the purity of what I was being fed ignited grace, I found I was able to tolerate little things going awry at a Liturgy. I believe this is what Bishop Coyne coined as 'emotional cruise control' when he was describing his frustrations a few weeks back.

Last Sunday, my schedule left only the later afternoon for Sunday Mass and the only choices were places unknown to me (which I still avoid), places I've experienced Liturgical and spiritual malpractice that is too much for me to bear and the charismatic Lifeteen Mass where the time before Mass is spent listening to the deafening echoes of the discussions of teenagers and well-meaning adults trying to lead them to Christ and the Liturgy has some annoying but not fatal irregularities. I chose the Lifeteen Mass because I've never heard anything doctrinally that is doctrinally misleading and there is nothing that invalidated the Mass.

The noise before Mass was a crucible as I knew it would be. Collecting yourself spiritually, praying, preparing took enormous effort. And, of course, as soon as I was able to overcome the noise to intimately and spiritually connect to Christ, the louder a few dames around me in their 50s and 60s got!

Five years ago, I would have come out of that deep cavern to stew in my emotions, give them dirty looks or in my better days tapped them and ask in charity if they could lower their voices so that people who use this time to pray and prepare could concentrate.

As soon as I felt myself leaving Christ's intimacy to be annoyed, I reminded myself that these are good people on the road to Emmaus. As the Mass began and I was surrounded by them, lifting their hands in prayer, praise and song, I couldn't help being uplifted by their fire for Our Lord. It's like watching newlyweds. They are newlyweds. The thought of how much Christ is comforted by their fire brought me to tears. It still brings me to tears thinking about it now. The talking at the beginning of the Mass is minutia in comparison.

There was also a young child several rows back whose mother gave him a book and snacks to keep him occupied. Every once in a while he could come across a discover in the book and shared his joy with his mother. The Mass was disrupted with "A DOG!","A TURTLE!" in the happiest little voice as his mother would remind him to be quiet. I remember these days hoping not to frustrate the people around me but too in love with Our Lord not to go, not to bring them closer to Christ's Presence. Not every home has two parents that are practicing Catholics. One parent may even resent it. Others are single parents. I smiled each time I heard that voice and prayed for him and his mother, that their faith forever be preserved.

The young man, the teenagers on fire for the Lord, this is the future of our Church.
This fire was my own path to Christ. It eventually burns off the impurities and irregularities.

We have a lot of scandals around us but we have to be on our guard not to make things into scandal that are not.

If you are in a diocese or parish where you can fine tune a Lifeteen Liturgy, go for it of course. To those of us on the Isle of Crete, we have to choose our battles wisely.

Listen, even John Allen's snippy little article has some inkling about the fire. It's the evangelicals stupid.

He is having a pipe dream of course in his claim that fire and the children of John Paul II, whom he admits strongly defend Catholic Church teaching, is conservative and liberal all at the same time, but he sees what he does not have the knowledge to evaluate:

That said, the Evangelicals clearly set the tone. World Youth Day is perhaps the lone international venue where being faithfully, energetically Catholic amounts to the “hip” choice of lifestyle. To be clear, this passion isn’t artificially manufactured by party ideologues and foisted on impressionable youth, like the Nuremberg rallies or Mao’s Red Guard brigades; it’s something these young believers already feel, and WYD simply provides an outlet.
In that sense, World Youth Day is the premier reminder of a fundamental truth about Catholicism in the early 21st century. Given the double whammy of Evangelical Catholicism as both the idée fixe of the church’s leadership class, and a driving force among the inner core of younger believers, it’s destined to shape the culture of the church (especially in the global north, i.e., Europe and the United States) for the foreseeable future. One can debate its merits, but not its staying power.
In the real world, the contest for the Catholic future is therefore not between the Evangelicals and some other group -- say, liberal reformers. It’s inside the Evangelical movement, between an open and optimistic wing committed to “Affirmative Orthodoxy,” i.e., emphasizing what the church affirms rather than what it condemns, and a more defensive cohort committed to waging cultural war.
How that tension shakes out among today’s crop of church leaders will be interesting to follow,

It sure is going to be interesting to follow. This is why simultaneously, others are working on internal reforms.

If it helps the dying breed at the National Catholic Reporter to sleep better at night to think the children being led to accept and defend Church teaching and promote it in the culture are 'liberals', rock on dude.

Meanwhile, the Pope reminded the children to “swim against the tide” and abide by the principles of the Catholic Church despite broader changes in society...

At the end of Sunday’s Mass, the pope announced that the next such event would be in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. Until then, he told those at the service, in Portuguese, that they “will be swimming against the tide in a society with a relativistic culture, which wishes neither to seek nor hold on to the truth.”


Though the event was marred earlier this week by clashes between the police and protesters condemning its cost, the huge and ebullient welcome for the pope provided a powerful demonstration of his influence, even at a time when church attendance has been dwindling in Catholic countries like Spain.

As It was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.

The Pope heard Confessions at the Festival of Forgiveness and he gave a beautiful and grace-filled message to our seminarians and priests.

That said, Christ the High Priest is also the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep, even giving his life for them (John 10:11). In order to liken yourselves to the Lord in this as well, your heart must mature while in seminary, remaining completely open to the Master. This openness, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, inspires the decision to live in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven and, leaving aside the world’s goods, live in austerity of life and sincere obedience, without pretense.

Ask him to let you imitate him in his perfect charity towards all, so that you do not shun the excluded and sinners, but help them convert and return to the right path. Ask him to teach you how to be close to the sick and the poor in simplicity and generosity. Face this challenge without anxiety or mediocrity, but rather as a beautiful way of living our human life in gratuitousness and service, as witnesses of God made man, messengers of the supreme dignity of the human person and therefore its unconditional defenders.

And, we have a new Doctor of the Church, St. John of Avila whose works influenced the Council of Trent and was involve reformation of clerics

Lots of luck to John Allen.


Maria said...

Great post, Carol! It is deeply encouraging to see our young people so in love with our Lord.I never tire of seeing our Holy Father's childlike delight in seeing those who love God.

I found this in a book that Joe Fromm linked to:

“Let us try to deliver others from spiritual darkness.

People are often bound, as by chains, by the fear of what others will say of them, and by our courage and faith we can set them free.

Human respect and pride keep souls silent when they ought to speak.

Do they act thus on you”?

The above is taken from:

“Short Meditations for Everyday of the Year, According to the Methods of St. Ignatius”

Revised by “a Jesuit Father” 1883

H/T to Joseph Fromm @ Good Jesuit Bad Jesuit

I know I’m guilty…we are obligated to be in communion only with those Bishops and priests who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome. We are obligated to denounce falsehood. For too long our Bishops and priests have remained silent.

Fr. Hardon talked at length ,and often, of priests' falling victim to the need for human respect and thus failing to preach the gospel. People want to be "liked". Souls can, in this way, be led straight to hell. Amen, Carol.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

You know, Carol, it's one thing for this Pope or any Pope to tell young people to "swim against the tide." It's quite another to teach them morals and ethics that apply to practical situations. This is the point I've made in past threads concerning abortion.

Popes and Catholics love to indulge in high-sounding, essentially academic rhetoric. It's the only thing they seem to be good at. Well, I'm tired of such rhetoric and I'm tired of displays of fidelity that are energized only by a sense of place and moment, and not by firm committment beyond place and moment.

The proof for the young people you cite will be their behavior when they return to their respective homes...not just in the short-term but in the long-term.

As far as "Evangelical Catholicism" is concerned, frankly, it's about time. For far too long, Catholics have relied on a superficial denominational cultural identity and on isolated, distant authorities to define their faith...not on their relationship to Christ. That's why you see the rot in the Western Church, Carol. People have lost their focus. The hierarchs lost their focus centuries ago.

This isn't error; this is fact!

For far too long, Catholics have relied on externals to guide them. If the Sacrament of Confirmation is of any value, then the Church must start teaching Catholics to rely on the Holy Spirit that has been imparted to them. Only then will Catholicism be revived.

Carol said...


What our Pope's proclaim may sound like 'rhetoric' to you, but for those of us who have immersed themselves in the Sacraments of our Church and surrendered our intellect to Divine guidance like a child, we know he is teaching.

Catholics do not rely on our inner thoughts because there is a lot more going on than Holy Spirit when intellectually processing. Our Savour left us a Paraclete. It is not us. It is the Roman Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

I knew it wouldn't take long, Shea is back to insulting Mike Voris...


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Carol...the Roman Catholic Church is NOT the Paraclete. The Church is NOT the Holy Spirit. The Church is both human and Divine. The Church makes mistakes. The Holy Spirit and the Church are NOT synonymous.

Carol said...

Indeed it is true that the Paraclete Christ speaks of before his Ascension was the Roman Catholic Church!

Prior to His Incarnation, the people were in chaos from relying upon their own intellect to discern what the Holy Spirit was saying.

It did not pan out.

Leaving the Roman Catholic Church as the source of Holy Spirit was the purpose of His Incarnation.

The mortals within the Church do indeed make mistakes but the teachings of the Catholic Church which are reflected in our Catechisms thoughout our history were never, are never and shall never contain mistakes.

Consume It. Pledge allegiance to It. Live your life giving It as much honor as you possibly can.

Christ shed His Blood to leave It as guidance.

Carol said...

Blasphemy is a very serious state of affairs. Run to a priest and seek the Sacrament of Confession. You have our prayers.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Anyway, back to the original thrust of this thread.

We need a Tea Party in the Catholic Church.