Saturday, January 26, 2013

WHAT TO DO? WRING OUR HANDS OR PUSH ON?

German Catholics vent their dissatisfaction with the Church ( My Comment:BUT THIS IS A SURVEY OF ONLY 100 DIVERSE CATHOLICS, BUT JUST HOW DIVERSE IS THE QUESTION!) (AS REPORTED BY VATICAN INSIDER)

A study on Germany's Catholic community reveals the discontent of faithful with the ecclesiastical institution. But proposals for solutions are lacking

Alessandro Alviani
Berlin


The Pope’s ecclesiastical policies are “backward-looking” and suspected of trying to take the Church back to the pre-Second Vatican Council period. As for the Church’s leaders, they are “cut off from reality, reactionary and obstructionist.”

This is the opinion German faithful have of Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church according to a study by Sinus Institute and consulting agency MDG (which the German Church controls). In-depth interviews were conducted with 100 Catholics from different social backgrounds. According to the study, which picks up on a similar one carried out in 2005, German faithful are convinced that today’s Church finds itself in a “desolate situation” and the most obvious manifestation of this is the sex abuse scandal.

The authors of the study wrote that the scandal seriously damaged the image of the Church, even in the eyes of the most fervent Catholics, whose faith was deeply shaken. The scandal was seen as confirmation of the Church’s “modernization deficit”. The Church lost a great deal of credibility not just as a result of the accusations of paedophilia made against it but also because many believe it dealt with the abuse issue inadequately.

Internal dogma and rules that had been tacitly accepted until about a year ago are now openly criticised by faithful. Criticisms range from complaints about “discrimination against women” and celibacy, to the condemnation of homosexuality, contraception and sex outside wedlock, to the marginalisation of lay people involved in Church life.

Another factor that is creating animosity, is the organisational restructuring that is taking place in Germany, with a number of parishes being merged because of the shortage in parish priests, for example.

The study also shows the Church’s detachment from the weakest sections of society: it would make no difference to the lower social classes if the Church ceased to exist.

Despite their criticisms, however, faithful still look to the Church for “spiritual guidance” and “meaning”. The majority of them do not want to lose their Catholic identity and few consider leaving the Church.

So what do German faithful expect from the Church? They want lay people involved in the Church to play a greater role; they want more women in leadership roles; the possibility for women to be ordained priests; the elimination of celibacy; a different attitude towards sexuality and contraception; the sacraments to be administrated to all Christians, regardless of their denomination or sexual identity; less ostentation and less abuse of power and a greater focus on God’s love and love for one’s neighbour.

My Comments: The manner in which the Catholic Church has handled scandal, including the sex abuse scandal, has been abysmal and certainly must account for a great deal of division and dissatisfaction in the Church.

But my question remains. There have always been scandals in the Church, because we are composed of sinners, just as there are scandals in the regular population of people.

How we deal with scandals, crosses and the like is the question that begs to be asked.

If Catholics had had a more of a "reform in continuity" approach to Church, liturgy and morality, would we have weathered these scandals better? Who knows? We'll have to wait for the parallel time machine of heaven to let us see various outcomes depending on what path was chosen (like the movie "It's a Wonderful Life.")

Keep in mind, though, Germany has had dissent from official and traditional Catholic teachings for a much longer time than the United States and thus their Catholics are more tainted and less rooted in the traditions of the Church, except the dissent tradition which is only about 50 years old.

17 comments:

Flavius Hesychius said...

So what do German faithful expect from the Church? They want lay people involved in the Church to play a greater role; they want more women in leadership roles; the possibility for women to be ordained priests; the elimination of celibacy; a different attitude towards sexuality and contraception; the sacraments to be administrated to all Christians, regardless of their denomination or sexual identity; less ostentation and less abuse of power and a greater focus on God’s love and love for one’s neighbour.

Hmm... a few thoughts about their "wants"...

1. I'm not sure how the laity can have a "greater role" in the Church. Perhaps allowing lay cardinals again? Or simply letting everyone play priest, and letting anyone celebrate the Sacraments?

2. The elimination of celibacy--who, again, becomes a priest and is ignorant of the fact that priests must be celibate? Or is this another case of worrying about another person's life (especially if it's laity demanding priestly celibacy be done abolished... how does it affect them)?

3. A different attitude towards sexuality and contraception--Like... what? Contraception isn't necessary if one resists the urge to engage with others.

4. I have no idea what they think would be accomplished by letting other denominations receive the Sacraments. Given that most of these denominations see the Sacraments as having no power/effect, I cannot imagine this as having any basis on reality. Coming from a Primitive Baptist background, I can say with certainty that the more conservative, evangelical branches of Protestantism would sooner dine with Satan than receive the Sacraments of the "idolatrous Roman church."

5. The Church does administer the Sacraments to people regardless of sexual identity. Because, after all, doesn't the Catechism explicitly distinguish between "identity" and "action" in relation to sexual orientation?

6. A greater focus on God's love and loving one's neighbour-- a great thing to say, except... I wonder to whom they're referring? Most probably not murderers, rapists, and pedophiles.

rcg said...

100 people is not a satisfactory sample for a social statistical analysis. A better method would be to investigate the rends in attendance an membership of the traditional and modern parishes. It also could be survey to see how successful German politicians have been in undermining the Church.

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! "The majority of them do not want to lose their Catholic identity..." Yet everything this "study" claims they want changes the very identity of the Church.

I contend it's the institutional (local) Church's deathgrip on modernization and reactionary refusal to embrace tradition that helped bring about the very conditions that fostered the sex-abuse crisis.

It was the German bishops themselves who hi-jacked Vatican Ii's liturgical direction and gave us the so-called "reform of the liturgy".

How utterly Satanic. And an eerie parallel to the US Government: Just as liberals in congress forced banks to subsidize high-risk loans precipitating a financial crisis, they conveniently point to the Republican president in power at the time (Bush) and blame Republicans for the very crisis they created. Now we have Germans whose own bishops shoved their poisonous modernism down our throats blaming the Church for not being modern enough! The most guilty always blame their crimes on others.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The bottom line is that we have secularists in the Church, and I suspect some are well meaning, but others have actually left the faith but stay to corrupt it. This secularist agenda built upon a corrupt social justice that disregards Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law can be summed up from this one paragraph in the article:

"Internal dogma and rules that had been tacitly accepted until about a year ago are now openly criticised by faithful. Criticisms range from complaints about “discrimination against women” and celibacy, to the condemnation of homosexuality, contraception and sex outside wedlock, to the marginalisation of lay people involved in Church life."

This is what the hierarchy will have to face and make clear the reasons for our official positions and strive to help rank and file Catholics accept it on faith. In other words, Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law need to be the focus of catechesis especially with the several generations of post Vatican II Catholics whose catechesis in these areas is abysmal.

Gene said...

Ah, the Germans...sado-masochistic automatons with a warm spot in their hearts for megalomanic dictators and who goose-step off once a century on another insane goal of world conquest. I believe the average beer consumption in Berlin is 3.5 Imperial gallons per day for children under twelve...

I'm German Too said...

Careful with those stereotypes Gene. Need I remind you that our pope's last name is Ratzinger?

Father Shelton said...

"The scandal was seen as confirmation of the Church’s 'modernization deficit'. The Church lost a great deal of credibility not just as a result of the accusations of paedophilia..."

What? The bishops handled the cases of abuse according to the very "modern" recommendations of therapists. In her attempt to be "modern" the Church replaced penance with therapy.

Father Shelton said...

"...Germany has had dissent from official and traditional Catholic teachings for a much longer time than the United States..." Yeah, the Protestant Reformation!

Father Shelton said...

Flavius Hesychius,

I, too, come form a Primitive Baptist background. There aren't many of us in the Catholic Church! And, they would "un-church" a member who visited a Catholic Mass.

Gene said...

Auch bin Ich Deutsche: Indeed, and bear in mind that Ratzinger was there watching at Vat II. Apparently, he has had a change of heart and mind.

rcg said...

Fr. Shelton, "...The bishops handled the cases of abuse according to the very "modern" recommendations of therapists. In her attempt to be "modern" the Church replaced penance with therapy."

That is the last 20 years summed up in 27 words.

Marc said...

Apparently, he has had a change of heart and mind.

I don't think this is apparent at all...

Gene said...

Marc, I was being generous...

Henry Edwards said...

Marc,

With respect, I fear you may not do our Holy Father full justice. By the end of the Council, Fr. Ratzinger had expressed misgivings about some of the progressivists who had led it, and by around 1968 he was quite disillusioned about the aftermath of the Council. My personal opinion is that he has pushed return to continuity with tradition as strongly as pragmatically possible in the present Church, with its hierarchy and bureaucracy still dominated by the spirit of Vatican II generation. My opinion or yours might differ from his on whether pushing any harder would be counter productive to our common cause (and his, I believe) but neither you nor I am the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

rcg said...

I am also open the idea that a man of Ratzinger's qualities could reassess his position on many things. I can't say for sure, but I suspect there was an awful lot of peer pressure and social inertia among the Cardinals and Bishops.

Gene said...

I think some of us are disapppointed that he has not moved more aggressively and mandated some things. However, compared to the glacial nature of change in the Church, he may be breaking the sound barrier...

Henry Edwards said...

Gene, the first law of effective military command--do not give an order which you cannot enforce--applies to popes as well as to generals.