Saturday, June 2, 2012
IS IT STYLE OR SUBSTANCE: JUST WHAT IS TRUE CATHOLICISM?
I've come to realize that many post Vatican II Catholics hate the SSPX. But they love Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and their non-Christian brothers and sisters. They work hard at ecumenical dialogue and interfaith warmth.
But when it comes to the SSXP, they shun this group and use the most vile descriptions for them. Yet, the SSPX is closer to the full communion of the Catholic Church than any Protestant denomination, Eastern Orthodox Church or other sect. They are like us in all things except the "spirit" of Vatican II and the style of liturgy most Catholics attend today; and they are not imbued with a "spirit of dissent" when it comes to the sacred; but have embraced the spirit of dissent when it comes to the papacy's promotion of Vatican II and certain documents of Vatican II. They are cafeteria Catholics of another kind but in a different direction than most progressive Cafeteria Catholics. They preserve the substance and style of the Church whereas their progressive counterparts seem to abandon it altogether while staying connected to the full-communion of the Church, which is a paradox and commentary in and of itself!
What is the difference? Many Post Vatican II Catholics are self-loathers. The SSPX reminds them of the way they were. Their hatred of the SSPX is style over substance. For the substance of the faith, the SSPX are more orthodox than most post-Vatican II Catholics and adhere to the faith and the moral teachings of the Church with an affinity that makes post-Vatican II Catholics squirm.
Post Vatican II Catholics feel more comfortable around Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and those of non-Christian religions. Why? There style is similar, but the substance diverges and tremendously, but if the style is good, substance doesn't matter.
If you show any person, Catholic, Protestant or non-Christian the picture below, it will elicit feelings of respect and wonder over what these groups of orders were able to accomplish in the last century. They opened and staffed hospitals, schools, agencies to assist the poor and built institutions that were rock solid. They did so with style and substance. No one questions that these sisters were the backbone of the Church. In the information and television age, Mother Angelica of the Poor Claire Nuns is right up there with this group.
In the Macon deanery well into the 1960's there were perhaps 50 Sisters of Mercy, of the Blessed Sacrament and the Presentation Sisters.At that time almost every man, women and child, Catholic or not, knew the sisters and saw them regularly in this community. Today there are only two retired Sisters of Mercy, one Dominican and four Daughters of Charity. The Daughters of Charity are younger in full time ministries.
In the metro Augusta area well into the 1960's there were at least 70 sisters between Augusta to Aiken of a variety of orders.These sisters were known by everyone and respected by everyone, Catholic or not and Catholic children certainly knew what a sister was and what a sister does. There was style and substance! The Catholic hospital had up to 19 sisters alone, Sisters of Saint Joseph. Today there are 2 retired Sisters of Saint Joseph and they have sold their hospital to a for-profit hospital corporation. There are three Franciscans, two of whom are semi-retired. That is it. For almost a decade, the Catholic children in our elementary and high schools have not seen or heard a Catholic sister and would be at a loss as to tell you what one is or does.
In my parish, our children now for almost one generation have no idea what a sister is let alone what a sister does and represents. They are totally clueless. There is no style or substance in their little psyches.
If someone saw the picture below, I'm not sure what sentiments this would inspire. They would think it is just a group of women gathered for a picture. I'm sure that each of these sisters in one way or another is continuing the legacy of the sisters represented above but on a much smaller scale and often divorced from the rank and file Catholics of their community. They choose advocacy for the poor, protests of the inequality they see in the Church and in society and usually live alone in apartments indistinguishable from any other single women in the world. There may be great substance of personal choosing but very little style and no corporate identity for Catholics and non-Catholics to see and be inspired in the ways of the faith and morals of the Church unless a Catholic happens to get to know them.
Is the hierarchy of the LCWR anti-Catholic when it comes to being pro-life? Is there something endemic in the LCWR leadership that promotes this kind of faux Catholicism and religious life? Are all sisters who belong to this umbrella organization in league with the sentiment expressed in the photo below? Inquiring minds need to know!
Are all SSPX Catholics, priests and bishops Holocaust deniers and do they endorse what Bishop Williamson endorses. Is this endemic to the SSPX? Inquiring minds need to know! Is the hierarchy of the SSPX indicative of rank and file SSPX Catholics?