Thursday, October 21, 2010

THE LEGACY OF THE 1970'S DESCONTRUCTIONISTS IN THE CHURCH

Some images from the 1970's that I was exposed to in my parish growing up, in my seminary and elsewhere. This dying breed is rallying for the last hooray prior to their timely demise. But it won't work, view the last picture for the victory that awaits the patient.


This was actually one of our text books in our Spirituality class at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore in the 1970's. The author, Matthew Fox left the Church some years later. The cover of the book really does say it all and is a symbol for much of the stupidity of the 1970's that still is around today but dying.

While I have read this book and some of it is based upon St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore of the late 1960's and very early 1970's (before I got there (BIGT)it is much exaggerated in many places in the various chapters, but still offers some kernel of truth about that era and the silliness and decline and fall of a great number of seminaries. These once powerful seminaries are no longer, having shut their doors due to declining numbers and bishops who refused to send their men to these institutions and men who refused the priesthood and/or religious life because of the sullied reputation these once great institutions began to earn.


I'm a baby-boomer and experienced the "spirit of Vatican II" which began around 1966 in my neck of the woods in Augusta, Georgia. I would have been 12 years old and in the 7th grade when the Mass began to change. But it would be the late 60's and early 70's, my high school years, when silly experiences of the Mass really became in vogue, not only in Augusta, but around the world as reported in the various Catholic newspapers our parish had available to parishioners.

There are many in the blogosphere who dismiss the concept of causality. Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a consequence of the first. These dismissive individuals in the Church usually are born post 1970's. They have no recollection of the Church prior to the "spirit of Vatican II" and pontificate on recent Church history from the 1950's until the present as though they have first hand experiences which of course they do not. They do not believe that the silliness in the Church of the late 1960's and 70's and the misinterpretation of the documents of Vatican II have anything to do with the decline in Mass attendance from its peak of about 90% of all Catholics in the 1950's to its current low today of about 25% of all Catholics involves any of the chaos that those who pushed the "spirit of Vatican II" during those years. They say there is no cause and effect in other words.

These people are not only naive,they are dead wrong. The intentional, informed liberals of the Church in the 1960's and 70's epitomized by that powerful minority who wrote/write for the National Catholic Reporter, are indeed the clique of individuals that oversaw and promoted the great "deconstruction" of the Catholic Mass, Catholic culture, Catholic religious orders and seminaries, Catholic unity and Catholic pride. They wanted/want an ecumenical Church where Catholic tradition and culture was purged that made us more palatable to the Protestant world. They want a "false egalitarian Jesus" where He was no longer believed to be the exclusive way to heaven, but just one way amongst many ways in the various religions and no-religions of the world.

The liberalism of those who promoted and continue to promote "the spirit of Vatican II" which has little or nothing to do with the actual documents of Vatican II and subsequent authoritative teachings of the popes since that time, has led to a loss of Catholic identity and culture that continues to afflict and divide Catholics today. It has led to lukewarm Catholicism, Cafeteria Catholicism, indiscriminate support for those who have apostatized from Catholicism but continue to demand that the Church change to their apostasy.

One symbol of displacing Jesus as the most unique figure in salvation history was/is the shift in the academic world of theology of using the terms BC and AD (Before Christ and In the Year of the Lord (Anno Domini). The newer term more palatable to our non-Christian friends and thus more interfaith and ecumenical is BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (the Common Era).

I intentionally single out the National Catholic Reporter because it was viewed as the "Palm Reader" of the future Church by a very large and significant number of priests and nuns (religious orders) of the 1970's. You were square if you did not subscribe to the National Catholic Order, I mean, Reporter and allow its editorial positions to become your dogma. The National Catholic Reporter had/has more influence on priests and nuns than any other newspaper, but their influence is on life-support today. I kid you not. This newspaper did and does have some of the most fringe, loony type contributors writing for its pages, except for John Allen who is sane and balanced in his writing and destined for greater things than what one blogger calls the National Catholic Fish-wrap, but I digress.

Today, these aging liberals, again epitomized by the National Catholic Reporter and their editorial positions, want to deconstruct the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of Marriage to conform to the "false egalitarianism" of allowing people to redefine these sacraments according to their own political agendas, i.e. women priests, same sex marriage and sexuality not based upon chastity, but individualized amorality. They use sin and sinners in the institutional Church, which our Lord came to forgive and redeem, to undermine the authority of Pope Benedict and the bishops in order to promote the liberal's warped agenda. They dispise what they call "patriarchy," and the "out of touch" hierarchy of Rome and other places.

There are many hotspots of the cultural clash between authentic Catholicism and those who espouse a neo-liberal Catholicism. The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis is a prime example. There is a small, vocal minority of so-called liberal Catholics taking issue with the Archbishop in terms of the Church's teaching on the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman for a life time as well as other sexual issues of the day. You can read about it at the two following links, simply press the sentence:
NO LUKEWARM CATHOLICS

ARCHBISHOP HAS TO DEFEND IS POSITIONS SUPPORTING CATHOLIC TEACHING ON MARRIAGE TO OTHER CATHOLICS!

NOW READ WHAT THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER ALLOWS ON ITS PAGES, ANTI-CATHOLIC DRIVEL!

This is what the neo-liberals in the Catholic Church fear the most, a revived traditional Catholicism with its distinct identity in our secular culture and a proud heritage that is embraced today.


Two excellent videos on the culture war the Catholic Church is fighting today as it regards the nature of marriage in our American culture:

12 comments:

Philosophy Student said...

Causality is more than an assertion.

"The rooster crowed, then the sun rose. Therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise."

The fallacy is "Post hoce, ergo propter hoc." In your studies of philosophy you seem to have missed the explanation of this common fallacy into which you now so deeply fall.

Can this assertion of causality be shown to be true? No.

"The mass changed, then attendance declined. Therefore the change caused the decline." This is an assertion. Is there evidence to show that the "causal" relationship exists? Or will you just repeat the assertion?

Frajm said...

Philosophy Student, the problem with your assertion is that you imply that I'm only speaking about the changes in the Mass. If you read the blog more closely, you will note that there was a wholesale attempt at deconstructing the Catholic Church, diminishing her identity, culture, religious life and substituting something that was thought to be new and improved. The changes in the Mass are just a symbol of everything else that has led to the diminishment of the Church. But I am an Easter person and believe in the resurrection and that the Lord will prevail. The problem with those who do not understand the causality of things post-Vatican II is that they don't really understand what took place apart from the changes in the Mass. Everything was affected and thus led to the loss of Catholic identity which we are only now becoming sadly aware of in terms of devastating the Church.

Philosophy Student said...

But you have simply made your assertion again. Can you show (give evidence for) the causality you claim exists here?

Seeker said...

Very true and pertinent post. And I might add, a very fine rebuttal to phil/stu's lack of intuition.

Frajm said...

People my age and slightly older are from cusp families of the 1950's where the values, traditions and strong authority of the Church were respected and observed. There was a since of obligation that motivated participation even when "feelings" may not have been involved. Everything that was valued by that generation of Catholics was overturned in the ensuing years of Vatican II and primarily by the clerical and religious establishments, i.e. priests, nuns, brothers in parishes and schools that undermined traditional Catholicism because their own orders were in a chaotic transition. This coupled with new catechetical materials, new morality and suspicion of institutions and authority has caused Catholicism to suffer in terms of those who no longer practice their faith. The silliness of the season in the clergy and the laity and the downright wrong teachings they gave the the children of my parents age and slightly younger has continued to have the trickle down effect to this day.

Philosophy Student said...

More assertions, no causal relationship shown.
Sloppy reasoning.

Intuition has nothing to do with causal relationships. If you think it does, you are simply wrong.

Henry said...

Here's Philosophy Student's argument:

"The mass changed, then attendance declined. Therefore the change caused the decline." This is an assertion. Is there evidence to show that the "causal" relationship exists?

Of course, you did not claim that what's happened is solely a result of a change in the Mass. So Philosophy Student's is just a straw man argument.

Are we to assume that current philosophy students are taught that setting up straw men is a valid method of logical argument?

Or merely that this particular philosophy student does not know the difference?

Philosophy Student said...

No, Henry, that's not my argument. My argument is that Fr. McDonald has made as assertion that there is a causal relationship betyween "A" and "B" and not offered any evidence to show that the relationship exists.

Anonymous said...

The decline in mass attendance coincides with the change in the mass so there a sound reason to investigate a link. And there are indicators that mass change is at least partially the cause: places where traditional masses occur have higher than average attendance. Also, the mass is an attended event that does not happen if no one is there. The sun rises in the absence of the rooster. Mass does not happen with no attendees.

pinanv525 said...

Philosophy Student: Prove causality of any kind. Prove that gremlins do not make atoms come together to make water. Prove that God does not constantly intervene to maintain what we call "causality." How do you know that what we call "causality" is not merely our mediated and flawed interpretation of phenomena that we cannot understand through our limited mental categories?


Fr. is talking about a trend that developed from several sources, some of these being the re-interpretation of the Mass and the de-construction of the Liturgy. There is strong anecdotal evidence that he is correct...sort of like the strong anecdotal evidence that the sun will rise in the morning. Now, back to your Introductory Philosophjy studies...and don't forget to say an Ave or two before ou go to sleep tonight. Nver know about that sun...

kiwiinamerica said...

Philosophy student:

You say the following:

"The mass changed, then attendance declined. Therefore the change caused the decline." This is an assertion.

No it's not. It's more than an assertion. It's establishing a correlation. Correlation does not establish cause and effect. It simply shows that two or more events were linked temporally, geographically, statistically or in some other manner. That could be due to coincidence or it could be due to causation but it's more than an assertion.

In order to establish "causation" one needs to study those who have ceased attending Mass and find the reason for their falling away.

And how does one do that? It's rather difficult.

One can ask the subjects, of course, and analyze the resulting data. However, that may or may not uncover the true reason. For instance, someone who responds "I stopped going to Mass because I didn't like the priest" may simply be providing the proximal trigger which provoked the action. The real reason people stop going to Mass is because they no longer have faith, if they ever did, that Jesus is truly present on the altar. So it becomes difficult to establish causation. The responses which people give to questions such as "why did you stop going to Mass" usually provide only the event which triggered the action and not the underlying cause. Often, the best that can be done is to show correlation.

All of this assumes, however, that this is the Journal of Theological and Sociological Trends" (I made that name up) and that Father is trying to publish a scholarly paper. In that case, of course, he needs to show data to prove causation. But this isn't a journal of scientific record. It's a blog and Father is simply offering an opinion with which we are free to agree or disagree.

That being the case, your demand for proof of causation is a little out of place and somewhat pretentious.

Father is not alone in his opinion, of course. We have the accumulated wisdom of the Church over the years. There is an old saying, lex orandi, lex credendi which sums up the situation rather well and has been proven correct again and again.

Finally, correlations come in varying degrees of strength, which common sense can enlighten. "The rooster crowed, then the sun rose" cannot be used to demonstrate causality as you so magnificently demonstrate . For that matter, neither can "he drank seven beers, then his car ran off the road".

Common sense, however, tells us which of these two events has a more likely cause and effect relationship.

kiwiinamerica said...

Philosophy student:

You say the following:

"The mass changed, then attendance declined. Therefore the change caused the decline." This is an assertion.

No it's not. It's more than an assertion. It's establishing a correlation. Correlation does not establish cause and effect. It simply shows that two or more events were linked temporally, geographically, statistically or in some other manner. That could be due to coincidence or it could be due to causation but it's more than an assertion.

In order to establish "causation" one needs to study those who have ceased attending Mass and find the reason for their falling away.

And how does one do that? It's rather difficult.

One can ask the subjects, of course, and analyze the resulting data. However, that may or may not uncover the true reason. For instance, someone who responds "I stopped going to Mass because I didn't like the priest" may simply be providing the proximal trigger which provoked the action. The real reason people stop going to Mass is because they no longer have faith, if they ever did, that Jesus is truly present on the altar. So it becomes difficult to establish causation. The responses which people give to questions such as "why did you stop going to Mass" usually provide only the event which triggered the action and not the underlying cause. Often, the best that can be done is to show correlation.

All of this assumes, however, that this is the Journal of Theological and Sociological Trends" (I made that name up) and that Father is trying to publish a scholarly paper. In that case, of course, he needs to show data to prove causation. But this isn't a journal of scientific record. It's a blog and Father is simply offering an opinion with which we are free to agree or disagree.

That being the case, your demand for proof of causation is a little out of place and somewhat pretentious.

Father is not alone in his opinion, of course. We have the accumulated wisdom of the Church over the years. There is an old saying, lex orandi, lex credendi which sums up the situation rather well and has been proven correct again and again.

Finally, correlations come in varying degrees of strength, which common sense can enlighten. "The rooster crowed, then the sun rose" cannot be used to demonstrate causality as you so magnificently demonstrate . For that matter, neither can "he drank seven beers, then his car ran off the road".

Common sense, however, tells us which of these two events has a more likely cause and effect relationship.