Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WHY ARE TRADITIONAL (ORTHODOX) CATHOLICS SO JUDGEMENTAL ABOUT THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION? SHOULDN'T WE SIMPLY LET GOD DO IT AND NOT SCRUNTIZE THOSE WHO APPROACH THE ALTAR RAILING FOR HOLY COMMUNION ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY?

Archbishop Bruno Forte:
Are the sacraments for remarried divorcees a doctrinal issue?
“The doctrine is clear on this: the indissolubility of marriage is unquestionable. The pastoral question is to do with the situations and circumstances in which these people should be allowed to receive the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist. This already happens in certain situations, for example when there is a serious illness involved or when someone is on their deathbed. Can these sacraments be granted in any other special situations? We will have to wait and see what the local Churches have to say in order to work out which of these cases are most urgent.”
 
Some priests and even bishops grant these sacraments when in the confessional or when they know the person in question well...
“Some of the Synods Fathers did in fact say that this does sometimes happen. This is perhaps partly a clearer direction is needed.”

MY COMMENTS: I have mentioned time and time again that the there are two possible solutions to helping Catholics in irregular marriage situations. The first which must always be used first is the external forum which we call annulments. There are strict Church canons to govern this procedure.

The second option which in fact is used by many priests is the "internal" forum. There are no canons governing this but it is used. Is it licit or not? There is great disagreement since there is no Church law governing this forum.

My understanding of its use is tied to Archbishop Forte's answer to the question above concerning pastoral procedures clearly mandated by the Church. If someone is dying or entering into a phase of health crisis, like a serious operation, and even though that person may recover, the sacraments are allowed to them, that of Confession, Anointing of the sick and Holy Communion. I've done this twice in the past week in my parish!

The less clear pastoral procedure using the internal forum is when the annulment process is exhausted and a penitent comes to a priest asking for an internal forum solution during Confession. Let's say no one knows of the person's second marriage (or don't care) and that the persons have been married outside the Church for many years, have reared their children in the Church and are otherwise living exemplary lives. The person seeking the internal forum believes that their first marriage was seriously flawed and that the current one not recognized by the Church is good. This is the penitent's judgment. The priest says that the burden of conscience is on the person and that they are seeking God's mercy, but the opposite could take place at the day of personal judgment. Properly warning the penitent, and there is no public scandal for them to begin receiving Holy Communion, the person, on their own, and not with actual permission from the priest returns to the sacraments.  If scandal might be present the priest warns them to receive in a parish where their situation isn't known. 

The door is still open that the person might face a negative judgement at their death from God. So the burden is on the penitent in terms of this decision of conscience.

Why have we become so judgmental about those who receive Holy Communion. After all, it will be God's responsibility to sort it all out at everyone's personal judgement. 

MY FINAL COMMENT: I am staying with Peter through this rough time for the Church. At almost 61 I know my time left on earth is limited. This is God's Church and He is the One to sort out the pastoral mess that the lay faithful and lower and higher clergy create for the Church in various epochs of Church history.

BE NOT AFRAID! 

Archbishop Bruno Forte, portrayed as the villain in all this and perhaps Pope Francis' next Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, replacing Cardinal Mueller who has openly challenged the papal position through His Holiness' surrogate, Cardinal Kasper, gave this post synod interview to the Vatican Insider (what do your think about it?):

 
How do you view the final result of the Synod?
“Very positively because there was widespread consensus on all the points contained in the final document, even those which did not obtain he two-thirds majority; these were nevertheless approved by a significant majority, meaning that more than 50% of bishops agreed.”

Is the Church divided?
“No, on the contrary. As far as I could tell, the Synod Fathers worked closely with the Pope. Although participants spoke frankly and although we did argue quite a bit, everyone tried to be supportive to families, particularly those facing difficult situations. We are all pastors who are in touch with the people and we all share the same goal: to proclaim God’s love to everyone.”
 
But neither the paragraph which outlined the positions of those in favour and against granting remarried divorcees access to the sacraments, nor the paragraph relating to gay people obtained a two-thirds majority…
“The paragraph on gay people presented two texts from the Catholic magisterium which have already been assimilated by the Church, while the paragraph on remarried divorcees outlined two positions which emerged during the Synod debate. The outcome of the vote cannot therefore be seen as a sign of disagreement against something, because as I said, both viewpoints were mentioned. In my opinion, the result shows a need to reflect and mature further. The Pope wants us to continue reflecting. Now, the entire final document will be merged into the text that is going to be sent to the local Churches. This journey is not yet over, it is still work in progress.”
 
Cardinal Erdo pointed to you as the author of the controversial paragraph on gay people contained in the post-discussion summary which was significantly altered in the final version. Don’t you think it was a bit imbalanced?
“I should point out that I was by no means the only brains behind the document, nor the only author I was coordinating the drafting process. There is no single author…”

But it was the most contested paragraph in the whole assembly as the debate in the circoli minori – which we read a summary of – demonstrates.

 “As far as I recall, everything that was said during the debate was reported faithfully. In any case, the final text is clear about the Church opposition to marriage being equated to same-sex unions. At the same time, however, it is welcoming and does not discriminate.”

So why did the paragraph on gay people not get the necessary two-thirds majority?
“Some may have expressed disagreement because they wanted more to be said. Or they wanted the issue to be dropped. I would like to remind you, however, that the main message to gay people is one that is central to Francis’ pontificate: communicating the faith and mercy. These are not acts of do-goodery or weakness.”
 
Are the sacraments for remarried divorcees a doctrinal issue?
“The doctrine is clear on this: the indissolubility of marriage is unquestionable. The pastoral question is to do with the situations and circumstances in which these people should be allowed to receive the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist. This already happens in certain situations, for example when there is a serious illness involved or when someone is on their deathbed. Can these sacraments be granted in any other special situations? We will have to wait and see what the local Churches have to say in order to work out which of these cases are most urgent.”
 
Some priests and even bishops grant these sacraments when in the confessional or when they know the person in question well...
“Some of the Synods Fathers did in fact say that this does sometimes happen. This is perhaps partly a clearer direction is needed.”
 
What is the path that has opened up from thi smoment unil the Synod in October 2015?
“Above all, I foresee that this path is going to be a calm one. There is a great deal of faith in the local Churches, in listening, in considering various possibilities, in examining things further and finally in proposals. There is a need for great freedom of expression and for us to listen in the spirit of truth and of charity, continuing in the footsteps of this Synod. The Pope gets the last word and we all agree on this. He holds the keys and the power which is given to him as Vicar of Christ and as the Successor of Peter.”

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Either Cardinal Kasper is a buffoon or he truly is loosing it. It seems everything out of his mouth is a lie.

As for the Forte appointment, bring it on. It will just clarify for the faithful who Pope Francis ACTUALLY is...which after this SinNod we already know and have known all along.


Anonymous R

Julian Barkin said...

I think that this guy should not be allowed to be CDF head. If Francis does do this ... then we really will be in for a rough ride pastorally. It doesn't matter what's in the books, people are looking for any excuse to be selfish and sin and get what they want and I think Pope Francis is overlooking this in his well-meaning, but improperly executed quest for mercy. Honestly, as a young practicing male catholic in Toronto,

I am unsure how much hope and trust I can keep. The online assaults are endless and nobody seems to care about truly living the faith. It seems all St. Louis Jesuit and fuzzy Jesus land and anything traditional is being ripped apart by trads behaving badly within.

Paul said...

"Do this in remembrance of me".

If someone is openly and stubbornly defying (or even campaigning against) Church teaching on very grave matters do they not excommunicate themselves? If one is encouraging the wearing of dirty, filthy robes when invited to a feast do they not get tossed out onto the street?

What is being remembered when approaching the communion rail? We cannot judge the soul but actions can and must be judged. There is a difference between struggling and rejecting.

Ryan Ellis said...

Like Fr. Longenecker, it looks like someone got a call from the chancery. It was nice while it lasted, Fr.

Anonymous said...

"Why are traditional Catholics so judgemental"

That's about as biased a headline as I have ever seen.

Why are Catholics who believe and practice everything the Church ever taught accused of being judgemental? Why are we called fussy, mean, knuckle draggers etc. is it because we actually believe the words of Christ and St. Paul.

Christ Himself said that " a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery". I didn't say that. Pope Pius XII didn't say it. Bishop Fellay didn't say it. Christ said it. And no pope or synod can change that. And trying to implement practices that in effect deny the words of Our Lord is evil and heresy. And it's not being judgemental or mean, it's called being faithful to Christ.

St. Paul said "Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God." I didn't say that St. Paul did. Either he is right or he is wrong.

NEVER in my life have I witnessed a Catholic priest be rude, mean or insulting to a divorced person, a single mother, a gay person, a gay couple, a woman who had an abortion. But I have seen Catholic priests be rude to Traditional Catholics who want to kneel for communion, who chapel veils, who want to pray the Stations of the Cross etc. the truth is the Catholic Church has always shown mercy to sinners but not to sin. Let's get it straight. I hardly call a bishop who, during the Mass, constantly calls people he disagrees with nasty names merciful. And it's not a traditional bishop who is doing this, but a very liberal one.

Anonymous said...

I hope and pray that if the solution is to be the "internal forum", that it does not become like form III of the sacrament of confession. That was badly abused by priests and even bishops in my area.
Vianney1100

Henry said...

"Why orthodox Catholics . . . ?"

Because indifference to the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion (or otherwise) constitutes a denial of the Real Presence of Christ in Mass and Eucharist, which as faithful Catholics we are obliged to defend in word and deed.

Failure to be "judgmental" in this regard--especially on the part of priests--is a dereliction of Christian duty. I personally believe that the collapse of lay belief and faith in recent decades is mostly due to widespread (if not almost universal) dereliction of duty by priests and bishops.

rcg said...

Why, then follow any of the Church's rules if one of the sacraments don't have to followed. Maybe Christ was not being pastoral with the Pharisees when he spoke of marriages? Following the rules is, I have heard, something we do in our own homes. Maybe we forgive people for being sinners even if they don't change and even persist in their sin. What is it that makes a traditionalist bed for following the law and pointing out the law to others? If that is a sin, why, then is that so much more difficult for the bishops to forgive than the sodomites they are catering to? Maybe when it comes to pastoring could it be that some animals are more equal than others?

Marie said...

Father, you asked:

1. "Why have we become so judgmental about those who receive Holy Communion? After all, it will be God's responsibility to sort it all out at everyone's personal judgement."

God will indeed deal with everyone's personal judgement in time and in eternity. Meanwhile, it's the duty of the Church Militant [both priests and faithful] to defend Church dogma, help prevent scandal, and take care that the Blessed Sacrament is not descrated through sacrilegious communion. [Matthew 18:15 ]

2. "The second option which in fact is used by many priests is the 'internal' forum. There are no canons governing this but it is used. Is it licit or not? There is great disagreement since there is no Church law governing this forum."

If the "internal forum" proves to be licit, it should remain internal, i.e. secret, if only to avoid scandal and misunderstanding. It shoudn't be done via a papal telephone call from Rome to Argentina and posted on Facebook. That was really, really, tacky. And really, really wrong! Shame on the Pope [if he's even capable of being asshame!]

3. "If someone is dying or entering into a phase of health crisis, like a serious operation, and even though that person may recover, the sacraments are allowed to them, that of Confession..."

The sacrament of Confession is available even to those who are not in a health crisis. What makes you think cohabiting couples are not welcome to this sacrament?

Ah, I see...because the sacrament requires REPENTANCE in order to be effective. Therefore it's not the Church that's unwelcoming to cohabiting couples - it's them that do not welcome the Church into their lives because they find Christ's teachings on marriage hard. Figures.

4. "I would like to remind you, however, that the main message to gay people is one that is central to Francis’ pontificate: communicating the faith and mercy. These are not acts of do-goodery or weakness.”

The message of the pre-Bergoglian Church has always been, "Repent!" Repent before mercy. "Go and sin no more." Not, "Jesus, these are your sins and I will sin again. Jesus likes that." [Pope Francis has some words to that effect. Google it.]

5. "In any case, the final text is clear about the Church opposition to marriage being equated to same-sex unions. At the same time, however, it is welcoming and does not discriminate.”

The Church does not discriminate against those who repent. The Confessional box is the clear sign that all are welcome. It was wrong for the Pope to work on the premise that homosexuals are not welcome in the Church. All sinners - murderers, thieves, adulterers, practicing homosexuals - are welcome if they repent.

6. "This already happens in certain situations, for example when there is a serious illness involved or when someone is on their deathbed."

When a person is on his deathbed, you can be sure that he will not commit sexual sins again after he dies. If he lives and commits the same sins again, there's the sacrament of reconciliation, which, with sincere REPENTANCE and HOPE for God's mercy and grace, a person can hope to lead a holy life.

The Synod was a dangerous waste of time, effort, and money. Imagine trying to doctor some established teachings of the Church? Were any words from Scripture quoted in the reports? No. Was Jesus even mentioned? Who He?

I tell you, Father - It's not just tradition that traditionalists defend - it's Doctrine! The Law. [The Pope doesn't like "rigid legalist ideologues? Who is he to judge?

As the psalm goes, "The Law of the Lord is perfect, enlightening the eye." If you try to tamper with the law, your vision gets clouded. That's what happens to Pope Francis, that's why his pronouncements are so unclear. Pope Francis the Unclear.

Gene said...

Well, if the rules are up for grabs, I vote to not have to attend Mass every Sunday and suffer through various sacreligious buffoonery, and other liturgical nonsense. I also wish the Church would lighten up on lust (just in the heart), as well.

Anonymous said...

Marie was the second runner-up in the 2013 "All Catholic Admonish the Sinner" competition.

John said...

If the present trend continues, I am concerned that the Pope is building a solid foundation to be declared schismatic by a Catholic Bishop somewhere. The great many corrections directed at his activities just during this past Synod in toto amount to practically at least a laud warning. None of it was unjustified and some could have been worse.

The Church is now de facto in division at least 2 or three different major ways. The mercy being preached is a socio-cultural construct not the mercy og God.

Vox Cantoris said...

Mr. Barkin,

You have written "I am not sure how much hope and trust I can keep."

Gird your loins my brother in Toronto, put on the helmet of salvation and suck it up.

If you are practicing Catholic then you will continue to do so. Are you going to desert the Lord at His Crucifixion? Are you going to walk away as they did in John 6?

Stop with this thinking now! Jesus promised us that the "gates of Hell will not prevail" and He did not say, that the Church would not be shaken. In fact, we know from many Catholic prophecies especially Our Lady, She will be.

So stiffen up and never give up hope and please, please stop blaming us trads behaving badly for this.

As Father said early, you cannot be liberal or conservative only orthodox or heterodox. To be Catholic is to be a TRAD. As for whether a trad is behaving badly, why don't you leave it between the trad and God, eh?

James Ignatius McAuley said...

A reminder - we are Christians, who belong to the Catholic Universal) Faith, we are to be orthodox (true belief) and hold to the faith that comes to us from the Apostles. We are in communion with Peter and Latin Rite Christians are actually under the Pope's jurisdiction as Chief Bishop of the West.

Yes, even the Pope can screw up, look at Liberius and Honorius.

Gene - you are truly funny in saying regarding "Lust in the heart" - as Georgians, you and Father, remember Jimmy Carter and Playboy interview. If we are loosening up on some sins, why not some others? but this joke of Gene's makes areal point - Sure, we can declare ala Archbishop Forte that marriage is indissoluble, but given the opportunity, the exceptions will swallow the rule.

I would suggest everyone read "Remaining in the Truth of Christ" that Father Z recommended.

Besides, is it not judgmental to ask, even rhetorically, if someone is being judgmental?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ryan, no call from my bishop (yet) or the Vatican. I have been praying and have come to the realization that the Holy Spirit will guard, protect and guide the Church even with a papacy that is sowing seeds of confusion amongst bishops, priests, deacons and lay faithful, not to mention brothers/monks, sisters/nuns.

But where do faithful Catholics go? To a schismatic group like the Eastern Orthodox (while hardliners on homosexuality, allow for divorce and remarriage) or do we make up our own Church?

I'm a Catholic and that means fidelity to the Pope, but only in areas of faith and morals. While I might like or not like his style, his opinions or his way of leading, I can dislike these things. And if he says rain is dry, I reject it.

So if the pope allows something that clearly creates a Pandora's box opening leading the the collapse of every ecumenical council's teachings, that I say, no. But His Holiness has not done this and has upheld the Deposit of Faith to which His Holiness is a servant not a master!

George said...

Judgmental? I can honestly say that I do not personally know anyone who is receiving unworthily. I know that in every church there are some who shouldn't be receiving. I do pray for these, whoever they are. The obligation of bishops and priests is to teach the faithful and proclaim God's Holy laws. As did St John Vianney and St Paul. If there are those who still receive unworthily,if they know what Magisterium teaches but disobey anyway, then it is to their judgement before God. My concern is that I (and we) are not concerned enough about the eternal salvation of others.
We must pray constantly for the conversion of sinners.

Alger Hissed said...

This has an eerie parallel to a secular problem:

We have bent over backward so far in America to end racism that we have almost invited the opposite to happen: We now live in a society where a white person cannot even notice that a person is black. Yet black people get to practice racism without any penalty. If you think that is not true, you've never heard a group of black people talking against another black person for "acting white". The hatred in their voices is palpable. We have spent so much energy teaching the white man not to hate that we have forgotten to teach the same lesson to the black man.

Why bring this up? Because a similar double standard exists in the Church. The Church has gone so far from its immutable teachings to let the world know that it loves sinners that we have gone to the complete opposite extreme: We are not allowed to call anything a sin. Yet divorced governors living in sin with their concubines are permitted to receive Holy Communion and if you notice it and even mention it, YOU are the bad guy. Priests and bishops fall down all over themselves to fawn over publicly lapsed and dissenting Catholics or Church-haters, but if they find out you believe what the Church teaches and would like to see it reflected more in the actual praxis of diocesan life, then they are no longer so warm and fuzzy. No, they can vent their intolerance and anger all over you dirty traditionalists and get away with it. We have spent so much time making sure that priests and bishops publicly let us know that they love sinners that we have forgotten to teach them that faithful Catholics deserve the same consideration.

If racism is wrong, it is wrong for EVERYBODY. If tolerance is a virtue, it is a virtue that should also be shown to EVERYBODY. What makes Fr. Nicholas Gruner any less worthy of patience and kindness than Andrew Cuomo? (just to use an example)

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - So you have lately, through prayer, "...come to the realization that the Holy Spirit will guard, protect and guide the Church..."

Now this is NEWS! You have discovered, after 30 plus years of priestly ministry, what the Church has taught for 2000 plus years.

I mean, what did you think before you had this amazing, if tardy, realization regarding the indefectibility of the Church?



Julian Barkin said...

Well David, gotta say most of what you wrote was nice. But as for the Trad business? Don't think so. We ALL are responsible in this spiritual and liturgical war. If Trads behaving badly are the leaders of the charge, and "represent" the majority of the web and in-person presence, then all the pope and chancery will see is darkness amongst our kind and find a loophole ... ANy loophole to shut it down. Might I also add that repeatedly churning out Toxic blog posts, and declaring Pope Francis and his cohorts, directly or implied, in grievous sin, contributes to a lack of hope in the Church? I got to witness a lot of that in the Synod and you wonder why I am starting to lack hope.

So letting it be between GoD and TBBs? If I have the ability and gifts ... any, to prevent such madness from overtaking Traditionalism and the Catholic Church, then I will enact it as best as possible in His service. Even if I am the only voice out there trying to practice being a "Glad Trad" against the others, then there will still "be one dwarf in Moria who still draws breath" to quote Gimli from Lord of the rings - Fellowship (movie, and possibly the book also).

And oh yes, definitely keeping our chins up is a good idea, but also following a good tradtional priest's advice of taking the training wheels and getting on the bike sounds like a good analogy here.

JusadBellum said...

Pater, that's a good one!

And you'll be happy to note that Michael Voris agrees with you on this score.

As does Robert George and many others.

The issue for many sheep though (the ones on the peripheries, the ones we're supposed to reach out to) is confusion (who to take at face value, the secular or Catholic media?) and extrapolation.

Everyone has their own threshold for panic. For some Chicken-little is a single case or error or omission and they're extrapolating out the end times.

For others, it's many more connected dots.

As always in our day and age where definitions and distinctions are a lost art, it's incumbent on clergy and intellectuals to help people define our terms and distinguish similar but different things.

Doxis and praxis are related but distinct. There are many different ways to apply a given doctrine (thus we have many different rites in the single Catholic Church).

So proposing a new pastoral plan does not NECESSARILY annul doctrine.

On the other hand, it CAN annul doctrine if done incorrectly or understood or justified in a heretical way.

Proposing a better way to evangelize the adulterous and fornicating members of our Church does not NECESSARILY mean jettisoning doctrine....but it CAN.

Thus the need for caution and attention, for clarification and a defining of what the Synod fathers mean when they make affirmations with respect to this or that group of people or realities.

Low Information people make up the vast majority of Catholics (and secular humanists). Most people base their gut reactions on very little information.

So while we can pooh pooh their laughable behavior, they are fellow sheep in need of pastors. Will we pastor them to green pastures by providing them the tools to distinguish and define terms?

Julian Barkin said...

JusAdBellum, Well said!

Pater Ignotus said...

Jus - For reasons I can't understand, some people thrive, almost pathologically, on feeling aggravated, on seeing themselves as oppressed, on thinking they are being put upon by those they consider evil or wrong or something else. In a word, they live for controversy.

If there is no controversy, they create it. If the controversy belongs to someone else, they interject themselves. If the controversy is long-settled, they resurrect it.

As Fr. McDonald has noted, it is only in recent times that every Vatican/Synodal/Dicasterial discussion, conversation, or off the record comment has been available to us. Certainly, this sort of piecemeal communication is the source of much of the angst that, as I say, some people seem to thrive on. But it is angst that the person wants to feel.

It is nigh impossible to provide, in every instance, clear, precise, and unambiguous communications that cannot, in any way, be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or spun in one way or another.

People who play into the Controversialist Mindset with their "bombshell" blog postings or predictions of the imminent catastrophic collapse of the Universal Church do no one any good. They're living on scraps that fall from the table, rather than on the "feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich foods and pure, choice wines" provided for us by God.

As I say, I can't understand those who, it seems, choose misery over trust. I'm simply grateful I am not one of them.

Julian Barkin said...

Pater Ignotus, another fine post here. Everything you say is true and airs my sentiments in better words that I could ever come with.

JusadBellum said...

Pater, I'm tempted to paraphrase "I thank you oh Lord I'm not like that tax collector..." but I know what you mean and it's solid.

Yes, people are amazing. If you have been blessed to live a life of solid faith it's hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone whose faith is like a smoldering wick or bruised reed.

Still, as mysterious as this phenomenon is, it behooves us to try to understand if only to reach out even unto these little ones, or to these Ninevites whom we'd ordinarily rather swim with fishes than minister to.

Perhaps its the result of a culture whereby so many are disenfranchised from real power and influence - outsiders helpless in their own civil, civic, social, cultural, and religious spheres. People used to watching someone else make all the decisions that will impact their lives for good or bad.

Laity thus can become brittle and afraid, get a hair-trigger for controversy that threatens what little security they might have eked out over time. So much of our lives depends on the good intentions of strangers. So threaten that trust by reports of shenanigans in Rome and it's no wonder people began to feel as though their world was threatened.

So what is the pastorally sensitive tact to take with people who feel vulnerable and thus are defensive and prone to panic attacks?

One can't shout them down or tell them to stop being silly. One has to acknowledge or at least give evidence of accepting their starting position before attempting to dispel fears, doubts, and worries.

Pater Ignotus said...

Jus - I don't think we have become disenfranchised from real power and influence, if you are speaking of ecclesial matters. (Citizens United is another, political matter and another discussion.) The bishops have been and continue to be the "power" in the Church, and that is as it should be.

With the appearance of greater forms of consultation within the Church, as evidenced by pastoral councils at parish and diocesan levels, the increase in the number of lay theologians, the increased legitimate news coverage of things happening in Rome, it could be argued that we are actually more involved in ecclesial decisions.

I think one can, as an act of legitimate leadership, tell people to stop being silly. And while we have to acknowledge that some few people are edgy, we certainly don't have to accept their "starting positions" if those starting positions are removed from reality.

JusadBellum said...

That's fair. About not accepting people's starting positions if they're irrational.

But getting people to accept that they're irrational (or at least don't have as good a reason for their fears as they think they do) is still a pastoral challenge.

With respect to empowerment....

1) civilly... the Boston Globe has joined others in noticing that when it comes to US foreign policy (and other policies) the civil service, the bureaucracies are on auto-pilot. That no matter who is in the White House, no matter who people elect to Congress, the bureaucracies will keep on their own course.

And so people feel helpless. It's like we hire Congress to be our protectors from the bureaucracy rather than just rein them in permanently.

Culturally, many people have pointed out how small a number of companies actually control the media and creation of pop culture, the actual content of what is the new fad, the new thing, the new song. And it does have a top down feel to it.

Common Core came out of nowhere, well bankrolled and suddenly every state was on board before most people knew what happened. That's when the pushback started on both ends of the ideological spectrum.

That sort of thing is more and more common it seems. Thus again, people feel disenfranchised.

Blacks certainly expected instant improvement to their lives but have faced nothing buy bad news the last 6 years and been hit with conspiracy theories after conspiracy theories to account for why their plight is not over.

Think of all the balkanized groups who have been promised something and then told that sinister groups are keeping them from these goodies. Koch brothers or Soros' keeping people from success.... thus the angst and distrust on both sides towards these seemingly all-powerful forces beyond our control.

Then there's the Church. Sure laity are more involved than before. But if far off Synods can threaten (via the ever helpful global media's carnival barking spin) to overturn 2,000 years of doctrine, what good is local involvement?

The problem is bigger than any parish priest to solve, but to best face your little corner of the kingdom, your corner of the Lord's pasture, it behooves you to reflect on the fact that more and more people, groups, etc. are becoming cynical and losing faith in legacy institutions and groups that they used to trust implicitly.