Sunday, October 7, 2012

Excellent Post at Boston Catholic Insider on Adult Faith Formation in Boston

The inmates are running the asylum.

While we are on the subject, Fr. Unni at St. Cecilia's continues to earn his reputation.  In this week's lesson, parishioners are told that if they want to know God's love, they 'better find somebody to love'.

They seem to have a rock and roll theme going. Theology from Queen.
Lord what you're doing to me 
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can't get no relief, Lord!
Somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody...Can anybody find me somebody to-ooo-oooh-oh-oh.. lo-o-o-ovvve?
God's mission is to love creation?

Not in Catholic theology it isn't.   God's mission is the salvation of souls.

God's being is love. God's being is God's mission. We have to participate in the mission of justice, forgiveness, mercy, peace.

Again, this is not Catholic theology.   We can forgive each other of transgressions but we do not have the power to pardon sin.  That is an act of Christ's Church alone which is the entire mission of the Catholic Church.

The disunity in the Church can be traced back to problems, errors, disagreements, concerning doctrine of God and the biggest errors in the doctrine of God are connected to an abstraction of God's being from God's mission.  When we bifurcate from the mission of God, we make God into an abstraction and idol we can control and please.  When we have relations among ourselves and creation, we obtain knowledge of God and set ourselves free.  

Get it?


Let me tell you something.  If you're going to St. Cecelia's and personal life is such a train wreck that you are all alone in the world, there is another problem going down that needs fixing.

No doubt somebody will come along and tell me I have not cracked Fr. Unni's passive-aggressive code correctly, but nevertheless, I shall proceed in explaining how the theology errs to those who read it and are educated in their faith. The piece actually gets some parts of Catholic theology correct.

From our parents, to strangers we serve or even meet on the street all of our human relationships and interactions do indeed (or are supposed to!) have some of the same qualities as the love of God.    The problem with the piece is, it reduces knowledge of God and love of God to filial love and interactions.

Both of the subjects of God and love are complicated ones and my explanation is limited to address, as simply as possible, the errors in the article.

We experience the qualities and characteristics of God's love in human love and service, but human love, from filial to eros, is not the source of knowledge of God.   The Love of God is Truine in Spirit.  It informs through the Holy Spirit and the source of that love are the Sacraments (the son) and teachings of the Church (the Father's love - parental).

Fr. Unni teaches love without obedience, honor, devotion and fidelity to God's teachings. His fairy tales about love is much like a cartoon caricature of marital love defined as a husband maintaining a sexual relationship outside of marriage and when the wife catches him shacking up, he tries to ratify marital love by telling her he serves in the soup kitchen.

Straw man's arguments, ad nauseum.

An excellent resource to rebut Fr. Unni's errors this week is HERE.

There are three stages in our love for God: servile love, mercenary love and filial love. The word servile derives from “servant”.  
A servant (or employee) does his master’s will out of fear of punishment. Likewise, beginners in the spiritual life do God’s will, obey the Commandments, avoid sin, and go to Mass on Sunday.. 
A mercenary is a soldier who fights because he is paid, not because he is committed to the cause of defending home and country. Colonel Gadhafy hires sub-Saharan mercenaries to help him survive as the dictator of Libya. Our love for God is mercenary when it is focused on our gain, on what we hope to get from God, rather than on what we want to give God. Here is a great trap for many of us, and a trap we remain caught in for many years if not a whole lifetime. Even Jesus’ close friends, James and John, were hoping to have positions of honor when Jesus established His kingdom. We must constantly strive to purify our motives and our faith in order to put God and His will first. 
Filial love, the love of a son or daughter for their Father whom we love for His own sake. Why? Because God is total Goodness, Beauty, Truth, Being, everything our heart was made for! Human analogies may help: spouses and friends are able to love each other more than their own selves, and are ready to sacrifice everything for their beloved. This third degree of love is called by the Greek word, Agape, in the New Testament. It is divine love. Jesus lives it, and only His grace enables us to live it. It will help if we constantly practice love of God and neighbor and if we constantly ask for this grace to do everything we do out of pure love for God and neighbor. In our prayer, whether personal or liturgical, we need to concentrate on loving God for His own sake and avoid seeking for signs and “prayer experiences” and good feelings. We need naked trust in God’s pure, tender and merciful love for ourselves. Let us imitate the “Our Father” prayer which Jesus gives us as the model of all prayer. There Jesus teaches us to first seek to give glory and obedience to the Father before asking for any our own legitimate needs. This heals our soul.
The reality is, there are parishes that are menace to our salvation and the diocese is a rudderless ship.

I still say that Boston Catholics need to beef up the blogging community with a blog that is specifically designed to guide Catholics to parishes that are teaching the faith and steer them away from parishes where catechesis is dangerous.  One that takes inventory of each parish and writes a brief synopsis of what kind of catechesis is going down.  What priest is ramming what down the throats of uncatechized Catholics, shenanigans that invalidate the Sacred Liturgy or even if valid - rises to the level of disrespect.

Another 'someday' project!

Hope you are all having a great holiday weekend.


Anonymous said...

Just to say that I noticed that the 'find someone to love' article is written by a non-Catholic. So, why is someone who has 'planted' three evangelical (I presume) churches giving theological advice to Catholics? Nothing wrong with some of things some churches and preachers say but should it really be coming in the parish newsletter?

TTC said...

Agreed. I was a bit harder on fisking this article until I reached the end and duly noted the author is Christian but not Catholic. It explains why the the theology was not consistent with ours but your question really gets to the heart of the problem. What's wrong with Fr. Unni?

He either does not know or he does and he is intentionally misleading his parishioners.

After the lack of oversight and refusal to discipline pedophiles, one would think the hierarchy would have protocol for discipline but it does not.

breathnach said...

Father Unni is the Father Cutie for the LGBT wing of the "catholyc church"----Watered down, heterdox and ant-magisterial spin 24/7.

TTC said...

Ha. We had our own Unni didn't we. I think I like it better when they're not in our diocese!

Lynne said...

I'd love to see a Boston blog which highlights good and bad aspects of parishes. I know many would claim that it's insensitive, etc but it would be so helpful for us pew-sitters and even the priests who might tighten-up the ship a bit...

TTC said...


You are so right.

I think it is the only thing that tightens the ship. The parish I went to tonight is a pretty good parish - good pastor - but the priest that filled in skipped over the first part of the Gospel. That's the second time this priest filled in and innovated. Last time I wasn't sure if he did a valid consecration. I stayed away for months. Thought I would try it again. Priest is from Brockton.

This is the kind of stuff that we all really need to know.

It's a big project. Probably would start it by just documenting the great parishes and parishes to steer clear of. Fill in the others as details come along.

someday - God willing!

Lynne said...

It's been my experience that the fill-ins can be problematic, especially the Salesians. I'm sorry you had that experience. I attended the 'family' Mass yesterday and so the priest geared the homily towards the children, describing their parents' marriages as sacraficial love. It was very good, it would have been perfect if he had said that marriage is between one man and one woman. (I can dream, can't I?)

AND he followed it up with remarks to the adults, saying that if they had questions about divorce and annulments, to come to him or the parochial vicar, NOT Aunt so-and-so or Uncle Whats-his-name... lol

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

"Find somebody to love". Is Gracie Slick of the Jefferson Airplane/Starship a part of the liberal magisterium now?

Anonymous said...

What happened to my thoughtful and reasonable question?

TTC said...

The one that cited Jonathan Martin to caricature criticisms of his theological errors as picking on him?

I deleted it.

Anonymous said...

Well, it was a real question. Sorry. Was looking forward to your response. Next time I'll send a quick bread recipe.

TTC said...

I believe it was a real question. Just like I believe you're apology is sincere and you're combing through your recipes.

Be sure to check out today's post on martinis, ya hear?


Anonymous said...

Why couldn't you answer the question?

TTC said...

Because the answers to your questions are already in the post. This is not a forum for posting crackpot theology in a comments section. Try patheos.

breathnach said...

The Unni-ites can't get enough of bankrupt pseudo-theology and psychobabble to justify their embrace of decadence. Time is better spent exchanging banana bread recipes then carrying on with that drivel.

breathnach said...

Quite a piece of invective from such a loving soul as yourself. You validated my point by your eruption of feel good sentimentalism dressed up as a gloss on the Gospels. Your conviction that you know the motivations and the inner life of "people like you ( meaning me)" and "my followers" is not very becoming. I speak for myself. My only followers are those in a line at the supermarket checkout.Get over yourself.

TTC said...

Breathnach, thank you for your comment. It was indeed invective. I deleted it.

TTC said...

Breathnach, thank you for your comment. It was indeed invective. I deleted it.