Wednesday, September 21, 2016

THE PROBLEM WITH CATHOLICS ON THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT AND IN BETWEEN

This of course is an over simplification. Catholics on the left of the 1960's ilk (that's me folks, I'm an aging baby boomer) think that the garbage they were fed in the 60's from radical bishops, priests and religious sisters was the divine truth, infallible, immutable. They are the ones having the hardest time with orthodox liturgy, doctrine and morals. They prefer a more "flexible" arrangement to allow for mortal sins. In fact, most of them think mortal and venial sins are out-of-date terms!

On the right, we have the rigidity of those who claim orthodoxy but who are quite willing to split and join semi-schismatic groups or go the way of authentic, full blown schism of the Eastern Orthodox Church. There is a disconnect in all of this. As well, they claim they are more Catholic than Pope Francis is, yet they denigrate His Holiness at every turn, usually hiding behind the curtain of anonymity. Never mind that they sin in a mortal way (they believe in mortal sin, btw) against the virtue of charity. To a certain extent too they break canon law when they publicly denigrate the pastors of the Church and their office, be it the Supreme Pastor or less than supreme ones.

They you have the group in the middle who are content with Mass on occasion, claiming the veneer of being Catholic but really more concerned about the secular sentimentality of the age. They work hard, live well and go about their business without having a fight to pick with the Church. They could care less about Church politics and fights and whether Pope Francis is a favorite of the liberals or the wishy-washy.

Perhaps that is the problem with post Vatican II Catholics, they are too churchy or not churchy enough and forget that supporting the Church financially is critical to their faithfulness as Catholics (paying), that their personal relationship with God manifested at Mass, other liturgies, devotions and a sacramental life (praying) is foundational as is complete and full assent to the Deposit of Faith and the canon laws of the Church expressed by the living Magisterium of the Church be it Ordinary or Extraordinary (obeying).

It really is quite simple and uncomplicated, isn't it?

27 comments:

TJM said...

a typical second grader prior to the Council knew more about the Faith than the average adult Catholic today, and I include bishops and priests in that statement. My pastor is an ignorant heretic

Anonymous said...

"full blown schism of the Eastern Orthodox Church."

You sure don't seem too complimentary on them....maybe I will get a second opinion at Atlanta's Greek festival this weekend...held at their cathedral. I'm sure the Orthodox would gladly point out that ecclesiastical chaos these days is in the West, as there was no Reformation to speak of in the East.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Schism happens in the Catholic Church when an individual or a group fails to acknowledge the pope as the visible head of the Church or the Vicar of Christ (Christ being the Head of the Church). To break with the papacy (and there can be degrees to this or an ecumenical council where the Vicar of Christ is present and endorses it, is to go into schism. The Eastern Orthodox Church is in schism. So are the Protestants, although their schism is more serious as they deny basic Catholic teachings held by both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. In fact, we really can't classify Protestants as a Church, like Catholics attribute to the Orthodox because so many constitutive elements are missing in Protestantism.

The SSPX are not in full blown schism but could be if not for the Pope preventing such a disaster for them.

Anonymous said...

The answer to your last question is NO. The problem in the Church goes much deeper. The main problem is a loss of faith in the Church and Her teachings because the pastors of the Church cared more for their own comfort than the care of souls. If the Moral and Social teachings of the Church had been taught by priests who really believed in them them for the last 50 years perhaps our culture would be in a healthier place. We have gotten use to sloppy, impious celebration of the Mass. We have gotten use to not seeing religious sisters and if we do we are happy that they aren't recognizable as Catholic sisters because they have goon so far of the rails Catholic education has become compromised by the heresy of Modernism. And now we have a pope who has said publicly that people living in adultery can continue living in that situation and yet can go to Commumion and confession without amendment of life first. Things are so bad that when we the faithful have a problem with all of these things we are accused of being in mortal sin and being uncharitable. It is so bad that adultery is no longer seen as a mortal sin but pointing out that God said it is forbidden is now viewed as the mortal sin.

The problem is clearly stated in 2 Timothy "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." We now have bishops pretending to love God and yet publicly saying to do the opposite of what He commanded.

Anonymous said...

"The Last Days" spoken of in 2 Timothy are all the days since the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. We have been living in these "last days" or these "end times"since then.

It is erroneous to see this decade, or the post-Vatican Two Church, as particularly or uniquely in the "last days."

It is comforting, in an odd way, to some to take the meaning of these scriptural passages as references to their own, particular times. But this does not seem to have been the intent of the sacred authors, nor is it the understanding that the Church has applied through the ages to such passages.

"Since the Ascension, Christ's coming in glory has been imminent even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority." CCC 673

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous said..."And now we have a pope who has said publicly that people living in adultery can continue living in that situation and yet can go to Commumion and confession without amendment of life first."

His Holiness Pope Francis said that? I don't think so.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said..."And now we have a pope who has said publicly that people living in adultery can continue living in that situation and yet can go to Commumion and confession without amendment of life first."

His Holiness Pope Francis said that? I don't think so."

Really. The pope said if adulterers have trouble not living as brother and sister then they can continue fornicationg if for instance children are involved. And that these people can go to confession and Commumion. How has Francis not betrayed God and the Church? So if I have trouble giving up a mortal sin it's reasonable to come to the conclusion based on Francis' argument that I can keep sinning and don't have to change and can go to Commumion and confession without mentioning my sin. The pope approved the bishops of Argentina interpretation that adulterers can go to Commumion and confession without amendment of life, he said "there is no other interpretation". So either the pope is a liar or you are refusing to see the truth of what is going on. If Francis says there are really 2 people in the Trinity do we all of a sudden have to believe that also?

Julian Barkin said...

Hello Fr.

You have succinctly and excellently summarized the three positions, but especially how the left and right attack the Church from within and are "protestant" in mind and spirit. Ignore the trolls when they disagree, they are just armchair angry Radicals Misrepresenting Traditonalists.

I do however have to partially disagree somewhat with one of your "faults" on the pray, pay, and obey thing, mainly the pay part. Generally speaking, yes I agree that most Mass going Catholics are not putting enough into the collection baskets. From what I've witnessed and heard, certain (not all) Latin Mass Trads are also part of this problem, and it's not just exclusive to the Novus Ordo.

Unfortunately, Fr, for those of us who are the more centrist/"orthodox Catholics", even GladTrads who do the bulk of their Masses in the Novus Ordo in solidarity with the local Church community, withholding money might be the only means to send a message to priests/bishops in certain cases to smarten up and be more orthodox or not to support certain questionable initiatives. Say your parish has a liberal pastor who says the Latin Mass is not contemporary to Catholic worship, the parish council is stacked with "elites and church ladies" and heretic ministers, and your bishop doesn't have the time to police every parish in the diocese. Let's say that you cannot travel out to a TLM or even a decent Novus Ordo Parish where these shenanigans don't occur, so walking with your feet isn't an option. In terms of donating to the overall Church, yes you can divert your money to a charity like Caritas. However, you are still stuck with your parish and its elites and heresy teachers and poor catechesis programs. If you enter and try to do more orthodox teachings, other oarishoners complain about you and Fr so and so kicks you out, and might use that scenario to affect your ability to do sacraments, or tell the school committee not to give little Jimmy the CWL/ KofC award for something with a reward attached. Or Fr so and so won't write that reference letter because your son is a reflection of you.

So what option in that scenario does that leave you? The system is also against you Fr and this you should know. Post Vatican II, dioceses generally rotate their priests after anywhere from 6-12 years in a parish. My understanding is partially so people don't get used to a pastor (doesn't always work. Some ppl travel to go to Mass for their favourite pastor), but the more major reason was part of ridding the Church of "clericalism" because a priest for life at a parish makes them little kings of a fifedom so you move them. Sadly, if anything it makes it more tempting to clericalism for a priest. If Fr comes in and hates the Trad stuff, he tears it down for whatever he wants to do. He will do it wherever he can, and doesn't care about the next priest who comes in and the mess they will need to clean it up.

The answer to my question? The only option as an orthodox layman you have left is to go nuclear and not donate to the parish in said scenario. If you are donating to orthodox charities in the Church you aren't withholding money/alms, but you will not support the heresy and damage of the Faith said pastor is doing. It's all you can do. So not every occasion that people withhold money is out of laziness, though I do get your point Fr. If the priest is decent, and especially if he's on the Trad/centrist side we should be offering more money to support that priest and parish's works. However that being said I cannot agree with a blanket statement.

Julian Barkin said...

Fr.,

I post again in a separate comment to ask a valid question about a separate issue. You said this here: "As well, they claim they are more Catholic than Pope Francis is, yet they denigrate His Holiness at every turn, usually hiding behind the curtain of anonymity. Never mind that they sin in a mortal way (they believe in mortal sin, btw) against the virtue of charity."

You might want to elaborate in a separate post Fr., but I ask you, can you explain this further? Mortal sin is serious matter needing full consent, the act itself is evil, and knowledge the act is evil. Can you please explain how what they do is a mortal sin? If you can reference any Papal Documents, the Cathechism too, that would be appreciated. If this is mortal sin, that it must satisfy these three criteria and I gotta say I haven't heard of this before. This is something I would like to know and explain to people.

Thanks for the catechesis and apologetics in advance, Julian.

Joe Potillor said...

The Orthodox are no longer excommunicated from the Church. Inter communion can and dies happen often depending on of course who you ask. The Orthodox don't have a problem with the Papacy as such, rather, the problem is the issue of how the Perrine office is exercised...does it mean the pope can do whatever he wishes without recourse, and will the principle of subsidiary NE ignore in regards to centralisation of power. Having our own theology, liturgy, and expressions...dosent mean we must do the above as rome.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Julian, there have been good Holy Fathers and bad Holy Fathers throughout the ages. As Catholics, we can disagree politely with this, that or the other which are not magisterial. The laity have a right to voice their concerns. The question is how do we do this as it pertains to our Holy Father. I use this term because we are a family.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons for the sky high divorce rate today, that has led to the divorce mentality is the ugliness in dialogue we have with each other over serious and not so serious issues. It comes down to name calling and pouting.

Honor your father and mother applies as much to the pope as to our blood parents. But also, loving God and our neighbor does too. The ugly comments about Pope Francis on this blog betray a lack of knowledge of what the 4th Commandment teaches and it can be found in fullness in the CCC. The outright hatred of the Holy Father by the scathing remarks I read, some of which I post many of which I don't post, are sins against charity.

Breaking the 4th Commandment and one of the two Greatest commandments which sums up all ten, the one on love of neighbor being the last 7, are serious matter. Catholics should know how serious it is. And if they sin against these with full consent of the will, especially by spewing it on the social media and thus giving bad example to others, it is mortal. Need I mention also that anger is one of the seven deadly sins?

Anonymous said...

Not trying to be a wise-guy, but the correct phrase is: "COULDN'T care less." If they could care less, then they obviously care at least a little bit.

rcg said...

As a dyed in the wool Traditionalist and conservative (to misused that word for conversational benefit) I will point out that we are all Post Vatican II and that is the problem. You, FrAJM, speak of the aged progressives but the conservatives who can claim to remember the pre-Vatican II era are every bit as old. Many older! The idea that the neo-traditionists are much younger is being challenged by the trolls of this blog. I certainly would like to see the Vatican, or the USCCB, investigate it. Same goes for the claims about seminarians. My anecdotal experience says it is true but I think it is important to know; not so much for bragging rights as planning.

Many of the most ardent Traditionalists are as ignorant of the Old Ways as the progressives, as John Nolan pointed out to me in another thread. I think that is what the progressives wanted, by the way, and is evident from how they attempted to expunge Latin and introduce banal music with diluted and sometimes dodgy theology. The crux of the matter is a question that is the elephant in the room: was the VO valid? As crazy as this question sounds that is the impression many had and still have. At best many consider it, the EF, a novelty. The Trads will often claim the NO is invalid; again an error or poor education. If that single point, that both are valid, can be made clear to all, as Summorum Pontificum did to a smaller audience, then the people of the Church can work to figure out WHY we have these two forms and what they do for us as Catholics and Christians.

Anonymous said...

Joe, intercommunion may happen between Catholics and the Orthodox, but it certainly is not sanctioned by the Orthodox---I have read several Orthodox publications making that pretty clear, the premise being that to take communion in another church is to tacitly accept all of its doctrines and morals, and with the Catholics and Orthodox having different views on not just the papacy but also the Filioque, Immaculate Conception, divorce, birth control, etc., the two clearly do not share the same faith. As for the office of the papacy, my understanding of Orthodoxy is that its existence is not dependent on a supranational organization (the Vatican), and while the Orthodox might not mind supreme Papal rule in the West, such is unacceptable in the East as that violates their most conciliar form of government. It goes to the question, who has the final say in a doctrinal dispute or matter of faith, one person (the pope) or a council (Orthodoxy), and I don't see how the two could be reconciled. Each also claims to be the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church", and obviously in a reunited Church (both sides), one side would have to be in error on that matter. That is probably why after 50 or so years of dialogue, there really hasn't been much progress on the question of reunification.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous said..."The pope approved the bishops of Argentina interpretation that adulterers can go to Commumion and confession without amendment of life, he said "there is no other interpretation"."

Anonymous, here is my understanding of the situation in regard to His Holiness Pope Francis and bishops in Argentina. The following information differs greatly from your understanding of the situation.

-- What Pope Francis said about Communion for the divorced-and-remarried

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/what-pope-francis-said-about-communion-for-the-divorced-and-remarried-42513/

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas. You are not being honest. Clearly the pope is saying if you are in a second marriage and can't get an annulment (because your first marriage was VALID) then you can keep having all the sex you want especially if you have children together. You if someone else commits a mortal sin and it's to hard to stop oh well can they keep on committing that act. If not, why not. If adulterers don't have to carry their cross why does anyone else. And I guess St. John the Baptist died in vain as did St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

For more good information, see "The Quest for Unity: Orthodox and Catholics in Dialogue" John Borelli and John H. Erikson

Victor said...

The problem with Catholics today is that they are generally poorly educated in their faith. Most Catholics do not even know what the word "Magisterium" means. As a result, they look to the world first for answers to their deeper questions, and then try to fit the Church into it. In other words, their pre-suppositions are shaped by the world. The world has a lot of answers, yet the Church also has a huge deposit of Faith, and it is not being taught, probably because there are few competent enough to teach it anymore. In the early Church, instruction on the Faith was very important, where you could not even assist at the sacred mystery (Eucharist/Mystical Supper) unless you were sufficiently formed at which time you were baptised. You had to pass a serious test....
But was not the whole progressive movement that followed Vatican II based on throwing traditional catechisms and theology books into the dumpster, and replacing them with colouring books and intellectually thin Catholic themed magazines in the Catholic schools? It seems the only opportunity Catholics get instruction today is at Mass, but they rarely do with the standard inoffensive homilies; and the Mass was never even meant to be didactic, but the reward of accepting the Faith.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Mass as reward" might not be accurate.

We celebrate mass to be in the presence of Christ. CSL: ‘Christ is always present in the Church, especially in its Liturgical Celebrations.’

We celebrate mass to participate in offering praise to God. CSL: ‘We take part by acclamations, responses, songs, actions and gestures.’

We celebrate mass to hear God's word and respond. GIRM: ‘In the reading, God’s word is laid before the people and the treasures of the Bible opened to them.’

We celebrate mass to be made a community of the faithful. Matthew ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’

We celebrate mass as a memorial. CCC 'The Eucharist is a ‘memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection.'

Mass is thanksgiving. CCC ‘The Eucharist is an action of thanksgiving.’

Mass is a celebration of our faith. Music in Catholic Worship ‘We gather at Mass that we may hear and express our faith.’

We celebrate mass to be nourished spiritually. Mark ‘Take; this is my body... this is my blood of the covenant.'

We celebrate mass to be challenged. Directory for Mass with Children ‘We are sent forth to live the Gospel in our daily lives.’

Jusadbellum said...

Well, in terms of this debate, attendance at Mass only helps people if they first have more than a culturally thin understanding of the faith. For those who DO have a more than average grasp of the theology, any Mass is of profound and vital meaning. Skipping a Sunday obligation is unthinkable for these folk.

But if you are not already a disciple and not even aware of the concept, if you are a 'cultural Catholic' akin to being "Irish" (reduced to occasional meals, parties, quirky family traditions) then a lifetime of Masses might not introduce you to the deeper implications of the faith. You might never learn that attendance and a life of grace begun in Mass is to bear fruit in society via holiness and actually changing society through your life. You might never learn that being a disciple is lived by making disciples. The blessed are to be blessings. The healed to heal. The receiver of the Word is to share it with others.

So being Catholic is not to be a quietist or Amish, living quiet 'umble' lives under a bushel, nice and safe.

Nor is being a Catholic discharged by safely voting for the Socialists to do everything "for the poor" (which, given 150 years of experience always results in MORE poverty).

The ancient Christians and Christians in frontier lands under persecution didn't and don't make Mass the end all and be all of their Catholic lives. It's the summit, not the base. It's what you retreat to from the battlefield, it's the HQ not the front lines.

So we've 3 groups: those whose real allegiance is to the secular world, those whose real allegiance is to the Church and the grey middle who isn't quite sure whose allegiance really matters.

Now, the real question is how to migrate groups 1 and 3 into group 2?





George said...


Anonymous @September 21, 2016 at 5:06 PM

"... intercommunion may happen between Catholics and the Orthodox, but it certainly is not sanctioned by the Orthodox---I have read several Orthodox publications making that pretty clear, the premise being that to take communion in another church is to tacitly accept all of its doctrines and morals, and with the Catholics and Orthodox having different views on not just the papacy but also the Filioque, Immaculate Conception, divorce, birth control, etc., the two clearly do not share the same faith."

From everything I've read and for my understanding,the Orthodox are intractable, obstinant, insistent, inflexible, and unyielding when it comes to intercommunion. I hope I am not being uncharitable here. It is their Church and their rules, but it is unfortunate that they do not accept the hand we have extended to them.

If a faithful Catholic is unable to attend Mass because there is no Catholic celebration available, it is permissable according to our Church for the person to attend and receive Communion at an Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

An Orthodox Christian in a similar circumstance is allowed to receive Communion and some other sacraments in the Catholic Church. The Orthodox position is to tell their members not to do so however.

As far as the Orthodox differences with the Catholic Church on the Immaculate Conception, divorce and birth control, it will be difficult to come to any mutual agreement on those. The dogma of the Immavculate Concption would seem to constitute a major stumbling block to re-unification. Its worth noting that Mary has taken on more prominence in the Roman Catholic Church since the spit with Eastern Orthodoxism.. The Holy Rosary which is the pre-eminant prayer devotion in the Catholic Church, developed in the West after the schism of 1054. It has figured prominantly in the lives of many saints in addition to the major apparitions of Lourdes and Fatima, and has been credited on more than one occasion owith gaining the Blessed Virgin' s assistance and inrecessory power in delivering Europe from Muslim conquest.

Victor said...

Fr Kavanaugh:
Ever wonder why there was the Mass of the Catechumens, and the Mass of the Faithful for almost 2000 years? I rather wonder why there is none of that in the Novus Ordo, whether it is not in the same framework of universalism where everyone will be saved regardless of their sins; all they have to do is "believe", in something remotely spiritual. Exactly what is that faith of "the community of the faithful" that goes to Mass, "which is a celebration of our faith"? Is it what over half of Catholics in the advanced countries believe, the belief in marriage equality or contraception or abortion or symbolic real presence, in short, what the godless world believes?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Victor - I am familiar with the Mass of the Catechumens.

A catechumen - "one who is being instructed" - was not excluded from the Mass of the Faithful because he/she had not earned a "reward." It was a matter of incomplete instruction, not incomplete worthiness. A reward is something "earned." Nothing we do can earn God's grace. It is offered to all - saints and sinners.

The faith of the Community of the Faithful is found in the teaching documents of the Church - exactly.

What you should keep in mind is that the self-offering of the Son of God precedes repentance and faith. Also recall that in Jesus' death on the cross, distinctions forbidding access to God came to an end.

"But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Rom 5:8

rcg said...

As far as the Mass of the Catechumens goes: my previous NO parish took the end of that phase of the Mass to excuse the catechumens for further religious education. I sort of like that although I can also see how it would be proper to remain and observe the remaing parts of Mass and inquire about it later.

John Nolan said...

The terms 'Mass of the Catechumens' and 'Mass of the Faithful' hark back to the practice of an earlier millennium. The enthusiasm of the reformers for 'ressourcement' was essentially bogus - fine when it came to stripping down the Rite, but definitely not all right if it meant a return to the strict practice of the early Church, particularly regarding reconciliation of penitents. That said, 'Liturgy of the Word' and 'Liturgy of the Eucharist' maintain the traditional bipartite structure, albeit with different, and arguably more accurate, descriptors.

Anonymous said...

Fr. MJK:
"Nothing we do can earn God's grace. It is offered to all - saints and sinners.
The faith of the Community of the Faithful is found in the teaching documents of the Church - exactly.
What you should keep in mind is that the self-offering of the Son of God precedes repentance and faith. Also recall that in Jesus' death on the cross, distinctions forbidding access to God came to an end."
"But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Rom 5:8

You speak the truth here. My take: Grace is Grace, not merit. Now are there things we are instructed by the Church to do to increase our faith? Of course. In that sense, we are all "catechumens" needing ongoing teaching--thus the homily that joins the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist (hopefully!).

Anonymous said...

Your Tee Shirt should say "I AM A BRUTALLY MEAN PERSON"
You have no answers at all.