Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CARICATURES OF FAR RIGHT AND FAR LEFT CATHOLICS; WE REALLY NEED TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS!

Either BOTH

Or AND

Here are some caricatures of progressive, left leaning Catholics. Keep in mind I was schooled in this way of thinking and if not for a confluence of circumstances I would be stuck in arrested development in this extreme:

1. There is a desire for a perfect Church, not people, but perfect structures that will make perfect people. Vatican II was a "conciliar" council that called for "conciliar" decision making rather than autocratic rule. This in and of itself is a fallacy. Vatican II documents do call for more consultation with the larger Church, bishops among bishops, priests among priests and with the laity also. So if the structures are perfect, we'll be perfect. It is never clear where God fits into all of this and if perfect structures produce grace as though these perfect structures become deified. It is a crass form of Pelagianism.

Those who promote perfect structures, personify these structures. They call flawed structures "sinful" as though a structure can sin. Even a second grader should know that only people sin, not things or ideas or structures. Progressives want to reform the Church by focusing in on "sinful" structures and making them perfect "saints."

2. Because group think is so important to this caricature, the process by which a decision is made is elevated even if the decision is wrong. It is like new math. In old Math it was the correct answer that counted and there were short-cuts that could be employed to get the right answer. In new math, it is the process by which you arrive at the answer. The correct answer doesn't matter, it is the process of arriving at it that counts (no pun intended). When you look at the so-called renewal of religious life, especially among women, their group think was excellent. They went through wonderful processes of dialogue, consultation, prayer and meetings after meetings. But so many of their conclusions were flawed to the point that women religious may soon become extinct. No one wants to be autocratic and calls for major reforms to return to a more identifiable religious life where there is a clear ministry, identifiable habit, community life and a robust support for the Church in her completeness go unanswered in group think.

3. Creativity in liturgy and parish life is the highest form of being "Church." Tradition is frowned upon. Formality is abhorrent. Flexibility and innovation are elevated to a fault.

Here is a caricature of a retro-Catholic who leans severely to the right:

1. The pre-Vatican II Mass and way of life is the cat's meow. Things were perfect in the 1950's so let's make it the 1950's again. Selective memory is involved. It's kind of like the progressives who think the Church was perfect before Constantine's conversion and corrupting influences especially on the liturgy.

2. If we could only get back to the 1950's the Church would be perfect again.

3. Ecumenism is an evil and waters down the Catholic faith.

4. Religious liberty is a flawed idea. We need to make anathemas clear against those who are not Catholic.

5. We need to impose a Catholic culture; Christendom must arise again!

6. The Church must be autocratic and monarchical and demand fidelity from its members and excommunicate anyone who questions.

7. The Church is a perfect society and there is only one way to do anything and everyone else is wrong.

These are caricatures but to be found in people on the left and on the right.

Healthy Catholicism is found somewhere in the middle. Not always either/or but both/and.

You can have the EF and OF Mass in the same parish. There can be active participation in the EF Mass with a good deal of vernacular. There can be some Latin in the OF and it would not be a bad idea to kneel for Holy Communion and receive on the tongue by way of intinction.

You can consult until you are blue in the face but the buck stops with the one in charge, the pope, the bishop, the pastor or the superior general or coordinator. That person approves the final decision or asks for a revision.

What do you think?

22 comments:

Robert Kumpel said...

I don't think the Church should excommunicate anyone who questions. The Church should only excommunicate those who defiantly, persistently and publicly reject the answers.

Jody Peterman said...

Father,

I used to be to the far right. I have drifted to the center a little bit for two main reasons:

1) Attending an OF Mass at your Parish. There is such reverance.

2) The New English Translation, which removes much of the banality.

Ad orientem and the option to kneel would complete the "organic evolution" of the OF for my lifetime.

Bill Meyer said...

I think that if we had more priests with such grace and good sense, we'd have more worship and less bickering.

Ma Mignonne said...

Describing a structure as "sinful" does not mean that anyone thinks the structure can commit a sin, but that it is inherently evil. An oligarchical dictatorship, a communist regime, a corporation that routinely holds laborers in peonage - these are "sinful" structures. They promote, condone, and are predicated on the personal sins of individuals within the structure who hold power.

pinanv525 said...

As long as we remember that the "progressives" and de-constructionists view "moderates" as easy game. Compromise, negotiation, moderation all are viewed as victories by the religious and political Left, which generally coincide (someone mentioned before the coincidence of the political Left with heterodoxy). These enemies of the Church are tireless and exploit any "moderate" stance, generally winning the advantage. That is why the ostensibly reasonable call for moderation on the part of well-meaning conservatives causes me to question whether we will ever realize just how ruthless and uncompromising are these enemies of the Church. There can be no compromise with them, unless you wish to capitulate. Simply stated, we are not mean enough to seriously resist them. This is frightening to me.

Frajm said...

Fortunately I'm not qualified for any episcopal honors; I doubt that I'll even be made a Monsignor!

Frajm said...

Structures cannot commit sin nor are these inherently evil. It is the people who are sinful or evil. It is wrong to say that a structure is sinful. Some would say that a monarchy is sinful or evil (apart from the people, the institution itself). You might not like a monarchy form of government, but it is not evil or sinful, but the people who hold the office might well be. A dictatorship can't commit evil, but a dictator can and does.

pinanv525 said...

Ma Mignonne/Ignotus, You are logic chopping.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, I want to hear more about these corporations that "hold their laborers in peonage." LOL! I'll bet you think there are a lot of them in this country. Notice how progressives are incapable of saying "employees." It has to be "laborers." Then, of course, they have to get all hysterical and find some term like "peonage" to use in order to attempt to emotionally load the comment. This is such standard Leftist/Socialist technique it is laughable. Do you suppose Ignotus has "The Little Red Book" and "Rules for Radicals" on his nightstand by his missal? Wonder which is the more dog-eared...

Michael Brough said...

What is the difference between a “sinful structure” and a “structure of sin”?

My reading of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2005) would suggest that both Fr. Allan and Ma Mignonne are correct: the structures of sin are always “rooted in personal sin and connected to concrete acts of the individuals who commit them” but according to the Magisterium they also, “go well beyond the actions and brief life span of the individual and interfere also in the process of the development of peoples…” (#119)

It is for that reason that the Compendium speaks of “structures of sin” four times (#119, 193, 332, 566) and calls for them to be “purified and transformed into structures of solidarity”, “structures of participation and shared responsibility”, and “structures of cooperation, with a view to the common good.”

As Fr. Allan, notes, it is a case of “both/and” where “The laity must therefore work at the same time for the conversion of hearts and the improvement of structures…” (#552)

Anonymous said...

I am not sure the 'middle' is the correct place to be, either. One needs commitment and the strength to stand with that commitment. The middle, respectfully, implies negotiation and concession. One or the other 'side' will accuse you of being 'far' left or right simply for differing from their goals.

If I have a problem with either 'side' is that they both put people in a defensive position through sweeping accusations (no offense, Ma). This is a good indicator that the person is on a 'side' rather in the congregation.

I am 'struggling' (poor me) with this even now as I am dealing with several prejudiced clergy and parish staffs concerning our credit union membership and loan programs. We have a sound financial management program to help people learn and maintain proper personal finances, budgets, and overall financial skills. Our objective goes beyond the loan process to include the schools of the parishes and helping parents budget and save for education expenses, charity, and personal debt management. The problem is that some of the Church 'educators' have gotten to them first and we are having to first defeat an ill defined but entirely pejorative 'money lender' image. This simply delays any benefit the parish members of the credit union can enjoy until we are considered 'clean'.

Rather than feeling anger toward the clergy and their staff I prefer to enjoy the challenge of helping them. They do not shun me as a sinner and bring me closer to God through their ministry. So I am going to return the favour by opening their eyes to the gifts of good stewardship each person can have in this world.

rcg

Anonymous said...

How does one "qualify for any episcopal honors?" Are those who do qualify appear to be ambitious or favored and seen negatively among peers?

Frajm said...

I think you would have to be viewed positively by your peers and your bishop; you'd have to have an advanced degree in theology; you'd have to be orthodox, supportive of the hierarchy and defined truths. You'd have to view the priesthood as a male calling and be highly supportive of the Church's discipline of celibacy. These are all positives.

Frajm said...

thanks Michael for your clarifications and hope all is well in New Jersey! We can say that just as people are "fallen" through Original Sin, so too is the world and the structures that fallen humans create.

Bill Meyer said...

I guess, based on a few bishops whose positions leap to mind, the view of orthodoxy must be highly subjective....

Templar said...

Structures can not make people sin any more than food can make you fat or guns can kill. The food and the gun are incapable of any action unless it is supplied by the human. The same goes for structures. An organizations structure is likewise incapable of sin, only the Humans inhabiting the organization can sin.

We have Kings who were Saints and Kings who were despots, both wearing the same crown and served by the same structure.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/04/27/pkg.nun.stuck.in.elevator.WBFF?hpt=T2

How does this happen? She lived in an apartment? Help me undrestand this?

Frajm said...

That's what many sisters of her generation think was renewal. If she had lived with at least one other sister, I think they would have wondered where she was. It is sad and a scandal.

Anonymous said...

Ma Mignonne said “. . . a corporation that routinely holds laborers in peonage - these are "sinful" structures.” Ma, would you be agreeable to adding these as sinful structures: A political party that champions abortion and taxpayer funding of its practitioners; a political party that, when in power, loses the war on poverty, thereby keeping people in ignorance and bondage to the false promises of bigger and bigger government

Ma Mignonne said...

"Laborers" is the term employed by Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum. If it's good enough for a pope . . .

I did not "find" the word peonage. It is often used in legal documents as a synonym for slavery. I'm glad I have improved your vocabulary today.

The reality of both peonage (slavery) and child labor are well-known and documented. There are not "a lot of them in this country," but there are corporations and in this country that benefit from these evils which are practiced in other countries. In recent years both Apple and Nike have acknowledged that their overseas suppliers were guilty of such offenses against human dignity. A simple Google search will provide evidence for others.

Michael, thank you for the references to the Church's teaching from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which I keep close at hand.

pinanv525 said...

You did not improve my vocabulary, I am about to improve your's: Peonage is not a synonym for slavery. Peonage: "The system by which debtors or legal prisoners are held in servitude to labor for their creditors or for persons who lease their services from the state." Webster's New World Dictionary. Even a Pope can misuse a word. My daughter, who is a Constitutional attorney, says that peonage is,indeed, not used in law as a synonym for slavery. There are very different connotations for each word. So, put a dictionary up there on your table by Alinsky and Marx.

Anonymous said...

Ma, I see you didn't respond to my suggested additions of folks relegated to be peons by your political party. Cat got your tongue?