Sunday, November 8, 2015

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS FORMER PRIEST AND FORMER CATHOLIC'S COMMENTARY?

I won't mention any names to protect the guilty, but what do you think of this commentary. I find it amusing! And if you guess, please don't mention it out of respect for the guilty and his family:


I spent the first 40 years of my life in a strict religious environment. Religion was all around me. Every book I read, every sermon I heard, every conversation I engaged in was about the Catholic religion. Everybody who trained me and taught me and formed my thinking was either a monk, nun, priest, bishop, cardinal or pope. But not all of them were spiritual. Some were, like Pope John XXIII, who taught me many lessons in spirituality during the two years I lived in the Vatican; some were not. It was easy to tell the difference.


Organized religions are nonprofit companies, which means they don't pay taxes. However, they organize themselves around pinnacles of power exactly like their for-profit neighbors. Pastors of churches are simply managers, and when they bring in money and members, they are considered "religious people" because — like good managers — they are furthering the cause of that religion. However, spirituality has nothing to do with religion. In fact, if the pastor happens to be spiritual, but not religious, (that is, not a good manager) he or she gets fired.


What does it mean to be "spiritual?" My definition (just my opinion, of course) is a person who truly loves other people. That means, among other things: willing to listen, willing to understand, willing to question and willing to engage in dialogue — not argument and dissent and degrading accusations.


"Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) is now a popular phrase used to identify the lifestyle of spiritual people who sometimes reject all organized religions. This is the reason we can see church/synagogue attendance falling rapidly, but the vast majority of Americans were still appalled when they thought Planned Parenthood was harvesting baby parts for sale. Religions do not have a monopoly on morality.


Seventy two percent of Generation Y agree they are "more spiritual than religious." What does this really mean? It means this younger generation wants a God of love and peace and forgiveness, and not a God of power and fear and punishment, and they're willing to seek this God in their own like-minded communities instead of in the confines of some of our organized religions.


My Comment: I actually agree with the part on pastors being good business men/women or managers. What appalled me about Pope Benedict's resignation was that he felt he could not be a good manager of the curia and Vatican which under him and certainly under the handicapped days of Pope St. John Paul II got out of control. Why does the pope or any priest need to be a good manager? They need to be good Christians, spiritual and good teachers with word and deed, piety and life. Pope Benedict was certainly this. 


As for the commentator's Oprah remarks about being spiritual rather than religious, barf!  Such superficiality, individualism and narcissism. Nothing like creating God in one's own image!

 

24 comments:

Gene said...

Fr, please tell me you are not hurrying to post articles and, thus, get the thread asking Kavanaugh to honestly answer our questions to the second, generally unread, page...

Gene said...

Who knows...some unbelieving, humanistic, Priest or former Priest who thinks the pinnacle of "spirituality" is loving other people. They are a dime a dozen. Big deal. BTW, when I was in school, if someone said a girl was "spiritual but not religious" that meant you could look forward to a night of passing a bong and acting out the Kama Sutra.

Anonymous said...

Is this a test Father? I bet it was really Pope Francis who said those things.

JBS said...

His definition of "spiritual" seems more like the definition of "personable". He would do well to begin with his definition of "spirit". And, does he believe that spirits are in danger of eternal damnation? If so, then surely he would promote all-encompassing religious efforts to save such souls. If not, then perhaps he is just a non-believer who is not in a position to define things in which he does not believe.

John Nolan said...

Whatever reasons the cardinals had for electing Bergoglio, administrative acumen could not have been one of them. His record in Buenos Aires speaks for itself.

Anonymous 2 said...

“[Truly loving other people] means, among other things: willing to listen, willing to understand, willing to question and willing to engage in dialogue — not argument and dissent and degrading accusations.”

Well, of course, wherever could one get the outrageous idea that Christians could be called to do such things and avoid “degrading accusations”? Isn’t this the Eleventh Commandment for some here: “Thou shalt degrade, denigrate, and demonize”?


Anonymous 2 said...

By the way, Father McDonald, I notice that you seem to like captions of that elk.

George said...



"Seventy two percent of Generation Y agree they are "more spiritual than religious." What does this really mean? It means this younger generation wants a God of love and peace and forgiveness, and not a God of power and fear and punishment, and they're willing to seek this God in their own like-minded communities instead of in the confines of some of our organized religions."

So we have a generation who want a God who is made in their own self-conceived image;as if this has not happened before in the history of man. God is both merciful and just. Yes, He is a God of love and forgiveness.That could be said as much about those who are good parents. As with good parents God will sometimes discipline and chastise us, and this for our own good. It is for our own good because our trangressions go against His very Divine nature, and what He desires of us originates from His Holy and Divine nature. Our sinful actions are incompatible with, and therefore are in opposition to, He who is the Supreme Good.

Our obstinacy in fulfilling our own sinful desires affects our relationship to God and our knowing of Him:
"For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools."




qwikness said...

Has the person offering this opinion ever wrote an article without writing,"Pope John XXIII, who taught me ...during the two years I lived in the Vatican?" I don't think so.

qwikness said...

"My definition {of "spiritual"} is a person who truly loves other people." That is so asinine. No, that is not spiritual that is interpersonal you dolt. Spiritual refers to nonphysical. I guess love is not physical, emotional maybe, but not spiritual between people. That would be weird. Some kind of LSD trip.

Dorota said...

Being spiritual then means listening well and not judging, what one hears? The person saying it spent a lifetime almost exclusively under the direction of clergy? It sounds like a farce. Can't be for real.
I am a lay person, but I would say - of the top of my head - and I would likely be more correct, that being spiritual means focusing on the life of the spirit, rather the life of the flesh.
One can be a very good listener, who is motivated by the flesh, just as easily as one can be a hermit focused on the life of the spirit, on the Kingdom of God.
One can be an excellent listener and an enabler of bad behaviours by one's neighbours, or one can be an impatient hermit, who by focusing on the Kingdom of God has developed such excellent discernment, that without having to listen to the self-serving nonsense of sinners, he is able to identify their sin and a road to repentance rather accurately and quickly.
One can be very spiritual, very focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, while living a regular life, of course, One does not need to be a hermit. It was just an example.

Gene said...

I know Anon 2, some people are just sooooo mean. It just makes me so mad that I could just...I could just...have a hissy fit right here and throw up my Perrier and tofu all over my brand new Greenpeace Calendar and my autographed picture of Obama. Ohhhh, I just, I just...well, they're just mean..

Flavius Hesychius said...

I bet Bill Cummings wrote this.

Gene said...

Being spiritual means believing in God and his Son Jesus Christ, worshipping the Holy Trinity in spirit and in truth, repenting of our sins, and "believing on Him who was sent." Everything else, good works, compassion, and service follows from this. There is a cause and effect relationship between belief and the Christian life and it only goes one way...from belief and repentance to loving others. There is no vice versa. Good behavior, loving others, and all the humanistic, feel-good "spiritual" BS does not get you saved and it does not equal theology. You cannot start with man and get to God. Sorry.

Gene said...

Quickness, you're killin' me...LOL!

Gene said...

Nice rack on that moose....

Jusadbellum said...

It is impossible to have a spirituality without at least an implicit religion just as it's impossible to communicate a concept in a language without any syntax and common rules shared with whomever you are communicating with.

There is one true religion - one true, best, optimal way of relating to God. But there are as many spiritualities as there are individuals in friendship with God (or negatively as many as there are individuals in a relationship with idols or demons).

Dorota said...

@ Jusadbellum

If there is one true religion, doesn't it mean that all other religions are untrue? Doesn't it mean that they do not worship God? If then only one religion is true, because there is only one God, what friendship can there be with God amidst the worship of a false deity? Can the worship of a false deity occur under the blessing and guidance of the Holy Ghost?
For example, can a husband be a friend to his wife, while having a "friendship" with another woman, not his only wife, while pretending that the other woman is his true wife?

Gene said...

Jusad, "friendship with God" is a pretty meaningless phrase if you are not a believer. It is like when one of my philosophy professors was asked about A.N. Whitehead's Process Philosophy and if it had any meaning for Christians. He replied, "Well, Whitehead said a lot of nice things about God, but I seriously doubt if it was reciprocated."

Jusadbellum said...

Yes Dorota, there is only one true Religion. The one founded by the Incarnate Son of God....

Gene, friendship with God starts the moment God reveals Himself to an open soul. It necessarily leads towards the one true religion but the scripture itself if full of examples of pagans who were approached by angels or theophanies and so came in search of the true God.

Advent is almost upon us. Who were the Magi?

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

“There is a cause and effect relationship between belief and the Christian life and it only goes one way...from belief and repentance to loving others. There is no vice versa. Good behavior, loving others, and all the humanistic, feel-good "spiritual" BS does not get you saved and it does not equal theology. You cannot start with man and get to God.”

I beg to differ and maintain that there is a vice-versa. Jusadbellum has it right I think. See CCC:

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

But you are right insofar as it doesn’t start with man but with God (“moved by grace”). The intriguing question is whether one can “seek God with a sincere heart” without being consciously aware of the seeking. In other words perhaps, does this seeking equate to “try[ing] in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience”?




Gene said...

Jusad, "friendship with God" is initiated by God, the Holy Spirit working in the individual. The silly term, friendship with God, is referring to other religions and some horizontal nonsense. You have it right, that whatever movement in the person starts when God reveals Himself, but our's is a revealed religion in which mere openness to some deistic being means nothing.It does not "necessarily" lead toward the true faith, otherwise you have a rationalistic system a la Spinoza. Many do not accept the revelation and others fall away. When referring to join-Christian religions, "friendship" with God is a meaningless term.

Gene said...

The above should have read, "...when referring to NON-Christian religions. Spell checker on here is a wild s.o.b

Jusadbellum said...

Of course I agree with A2 and Gene about the definition of God.

When I am who am, when Ipsum esse subsistens breaks into the world He created and contacts a human soul, then that soul is drawn to interpersonal friendship with God not "a god" or some idol.

I don't equate this motion of the human heart towards a theophany of God as equivalent (psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually) with some merely horizontal, creature to creature mystical experience ala the New Age or Eastern psychological elevated state 'experience'.

When a human soul encounters God it is a jarring, sudden, life-altering encounter with not just a thing or aura or phenomenon but with a Person, THE Person. It's not a burning bush but a Presence speaking from the unconsumed bush. It's not just a whispering breeze but a Presence, a Person, speaking from that motion of air.

The universal human experience of God is to simultaneously be aware of our sinfulness and aware of God's merciful love. Isaiah's "woe is me, I am a sinful man in a land of sinful men!" or Peter's "depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" or Moses being instructed to remove his shoes for the ground was holy... all these recorded encounters show us this same "noominous" experience not of a fellow creature but of the author of Being.

For me, this means that Our Lord works still... that the Holy Spirit is constantly preparing hearts for us to come by and preach the Word. That the visible Church is only half the Church. That we believe in the invisible too. That the gates of hell are not going to prevail against not just the visible Church militant but the invisible Church militant, suffering and triumphant.

The world, the flesh, and the devil all ape God. They put on pomps and wonders to cow us into submission by pointing to their size, number, or innate superiority over our persons. But we are not alone. We are not outnumbered. We are not outgunned if we remain in our friendship with God and all His friends, our brothers and sisters in the cloud of witnesses.

I think much of our (or at least my) sense of aggressor or grievance against the secular world is a defense mechanism because I'm aware of being relatively alone, outnumbered and outgunned by the world, flesh, and devil and so given the alternative of surrender or silence, I opt for attack. But it's a brittle assault without the Lord of Hosts - and our God IS the "Lord of armies" not the "Lord of isolated lone rangers". Let us conduct our mopping up operations with that in mind gentlemen. :-)