Wednesday, November 7, 2018


One of “my” converts from Macon, Gene, a former Presbyterian minister, self avowed Calvinist, has left the true Church for an ecclesial body only partially in communion with the true Church, the Methodists. If there was a close by SSPX parish, he would attend that, although I think he would find more hostility there resulting from his Calvinistic and now Methodist leanings.

Apart from Catholic internet and blog geeks, just how fed up are practicing Catholics, especially the younger generation of practicing Catholics like practicing millennials?

This is what George Weigel thinks from a longer article HERE:

A priest or bishop who messes with the Missal and re-writes it to his taste as he celebrates Mass is a narcissist. The priest or bishop who rambles on aimlessly during a daily Mass homily, abusing the time of his people, is a narcissist. A bishop who behaves as if he were hereditary nobility, but absent the gentlemanly noblesse oblige that characterizes the truly noble man, is a narcissist. And Catholics are fed up with clerical narcissism. The angers of the present have been stoked by that narcissism for decades; the deadly combination of McCarrick and Josh Shapiro blew the boiler’s lid off. Anyone who doesn’t recognize this is not going to be much help in fixing what’s broken.


Anonymous said...

A self-described Calvinist is not a Catholic. By definition, you can not be both; you cannot believe in the doctrine of presdestination & “faith alone” & also a Catholic life. So maybe Gene just has a problem with Catholicism? I know that Southern Catholic parishes put a huge priority on wooing & winning Protestant conversions — the numbers in many parishes demand it — but these people often bring unrealistic expectations and want to change a parish into what they’re accustomed to.

TJM said...

We were with friends last night, both Catholics, who no longer go to Church because of Cardinal McCarrick and the merry band of clerical perverts. They also dislike PF instensley, saying his is a political figure not a religious one. They used to both teach CCD and were faithful Catholics, until now

Anonymous said...

"We were with friends last night, both Catholics, who no longer go to Church because of Cardinal McCarrick and the merry band of clerical perverts. They also dislike PF instensley, saying his is a political figure not a religious one. They used to both teach CCD and were faithful Catholics, until now."

Nope. They left of their own free choice. McCarrick did not push them out. That's like the old line people use to excuse their own sinful choices: "The Devil made me do it!!"

No, he didn't. He may have tempted you, but you made a choice to reject grace and to engage in sin.

qwikness said...

If I ever left the Catholic Church it would be to the Orthodox. I really am fascinated by their Icons and Liturgy. Their beliefs are basically the same but their theology is easier to understand and explain. I would hope Gene, or anyone abandoning Catholicism, would go more toward the Orthodoxy than to Protestantism. Does anyone know Gene's thoughts on Orthodoxy?

Victor said...

"... his is a political figure not a religious one..." It does not take a brain scientist to see this, in fact almost anyone in authority from South America is like this, as politics is part of the everyday culture of getting things done. And what is also part of the everyday culture there, but few seem to have remarked on it, is corruption. You have to use the way of corruption to gain any authority. The corruption under this papacy is pretty clear in the way "their own" are being protected and promoted as payback, something which Absp Vigano has tried to expose. The Church is in for an increasingly rough ride with this papacy. The resultant hypocrisy is just overwhelming, and it will not help to bring in or keep converts, and, as in the case of your friends, will continue to alienate more and more Catholics of good will.

Marc said...

I tried to convince Gene to look toward Orthodoxy. His love for Augustine doesn't really permit him to get too far into Orthodox theology since Augustine's idiosyncratic ideas don't carry much, if any, weight in Orthodox teaching. This is the case not only for Augustine's views on original sin, which are not Orthodox, but also his understanding of the Trinity, which is also not a predominant theory in Orthodoxy.

The beliefs of the Orthodox are not "basically the same" as Catholicism. Some major differences include triadology, soteriology, eschatology, and ecclesiology. Specifically, the Trinity is monarchical (contrary to Augustine), there's no teaching on original sin so salvation is conceived differently, the state of soul after death is radically different (as is the teaching on the time between death and the last judgment), and the conception of "catholicism" is different in terms of authority.

Woody said...

There is also a Western Rite alternative in Orthodoxy now:

Dan said...

Anonymous, it's easy to say that those who leave, leave on their own choices, or that they do not have strong faith. I have sympathy for this attitude. Problem is, it is beginning to seem, to me at least, that it is the CHURCH, that is leaving the faith. The clerics in charge seem to be turning it into something that it wasn't just a few short years ago. I for one don't understand the hurry.

TJM said...

Anonymous You Know Who is invested in the failure, so his response is not surprising

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Those who leave the Church due to scandals and scandalous clergy and obvious failures on the part of the clergy must examine how much of their Faith was placed in other people instead of in God.

It's a tough test. When confronted with evil in people we once trusted as spiritual guides we can be wounded very deeply. When this happens we must remember humans are fallible creatures, and we should never treat them as if they are not full of sin and faults, so when (not if) we finally discover their sinfulness we do not lose our Faith, or give up our faithfulness to the Church (the Bride of Christ). After that we should always examine where our loyalty lies: with God or with our nice and seemingly holy priest.

It's spiritual maturity to retain your Faith in God and the doctrines of the Church in the face of perversity and heterodox teaching by the clergy. The reportedly "faithful Catholics" who now are in mortal sin (because they no longer go to Mass) have been hoodwinked by the devil and risk going to hell because of their own repugnance of evil. They may judge the behavior of clerics evil, but should never risk their own souls because of that repugnance. They should be more astute to the tactics of Satan.

God bless.

Marc said...

The foundational problem that Gene (and myself) struggle with is the claim that Catholicism makes to be the true faith. If that claim is shown to be false, then any other issues that may arise, including clerical sex scandals, are at least somewhat secondary, although they may support the falsity of the foundational claim.

It seems that it is somewhat easier for converts who came to Catholicism through study and reasoning to accept the evidence that this foundational claim is false than it is for people who did not reason themselves into Catholicism in the first place.

At one point, Gene studied and believed that Catholicism was true -- based on the evidence available at the time. More evidence has been uncovered, though, and so now some of its fundamental claims have become apparently false. That is shown primarily by a change in teaching: When an institution claiming it does not and cannot change teaching (and that is itself a teaching that cannot change) does change a teaching, then the entirety of that institution's claims are negated.

Whether you agree or disagree that the Catholic Church has changed its teaching, this is the inescapable logic of a religion that cannot go from teaching X to teaching not-X. If it does, it is false.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The sinfulness of a member or of members of the Church does not falsify the claim of the Church to be the True Faith. (If a church claimed to be made up of only sinless practitioners and one or more sinned, then the claim is falsified.)

Were that the case, no church could claim to be the True Faith since all churches have sinful members.

The truth of the Catholic Church's claim to be the True Faith does not depend on "evidence available at the time" to any member of the Church, whether that person is born into a Catholic family or whether a person converts at some time in his or her life.

In the sense of development, or evolution, or a deepening of understanding, the Church's teachings have always changed. The Truth - the Divine Truth - that is contained in or represented by the doctrine does not change, while the expression thereof, since it is expressed in human language and since all human language is analogical, does.

Divine Truth does not change. How we understand and express it does.

Mark Thomas said...

I would ask Mr. Weigel what he has to say in regard to Catholics who are not "fed up" in regard to Holy Mother Church?

That is, they desire that everything within the Church were fine and dandy. However, they are aware that scandals and sins have been a part of Catholicism from the dawn of the Church to date.

Countless holy, humble Catholics, love the Church...the Mass...Divine Eastern liturgies. Again, they wish that the Church were scandal-free. But the Church has never been scandal-free. In turn, there are countless Catholics who are not shaken in the least in regard to today's situation within the Church.

Mr. Weigel, what about said folks?

Sorry, Mr. Weigel. There are countless Catholics who've not lost sleep in regard to well as additional matters contained within your article in question.


Mark Thomas

Православный физик said...

It is the church that left me, full disclosure, I have gone to Orthodoxy, and am not looking back...My heart was there well before the scandals have broken out.

If I was to say one thing, that if I was to say one's this...if you decide to come east to Orthodoxy, DO NOT bring the hatred for Rome, or leave just because the USS Francis is sinking. Come because you seek to love God, and keep faithful to the Sacraments instituted by Christ. and lest anyone think that thou art ditching Peter, Remember St Peter was in Antioch before Rome, and through his secratary St Mark he was in Alexandria. ;)

Lest anyone be confused the Orthodox Catholic Church is just as full of sinners as everyone else, and everyone else, you will not escape scandal if you come this direction. I have found peace, something I did not have for the longest time after dealing with tons of things in Roman seminary...

Rome through her negligence, has shown herself not to be who she says she is.

If this isn't evidence that the biggest enemy to the world being Roman Catholic are Roman Catholics themselves, I don't know what is.

Though I should note, that the Liturgy calls the Church Catholic, we are Orthodox because we uphold the correct teachings, those held in common by East and West...I do think that these modern times are the chance for Rome to look itself in the mirror and figure out what went wrong.

While it is technically correct to say that people left of their own free will, it's pretty hard to not see the effect of the constant insults by Pope Francis, and of course the present scandals of McCarrick....No longer can Christ be seen in them, but rather themselves, the exhaltation of man over Christ God, and this is the fundamental root of the crisis in the west...

Political crisis (as the present one with Moscow and Constantinople) can be solved with the stroke of a pen, Homosexual clergy crisis can't be solved with the stroke of a pen...

God have mercy on all of us

johnnyc said...

I think maybe the liberals in the Vatican want Faithful Catholics to leave so they can change the teachings of Jesus without a fight. Right now they are forced to put it all down as 'pastoral' change because the Faithful are calling them out on their shenanigans. Their response is telling.....coming up with this certification process, restricting clergy who question them (Cardinal Burke, etc.) and I can see eventually attacking laity by bringing lawsuits against Catholic media and blogs that don't line up with them. That's why we shouldn't leave.....we need to defend the Faith.

Anonymous said...

I have followed this blog since 2009. I have “known” Gene here since he was pinanv525. He never seemed at peace. He now says “I am currently attending a Methodist church and enjoying it very much.” Perhaps he has found HIS true faith community. If so, I believe God will be with him on the journey. God is that big and that good.
May God be with us all.

John Nolan said...

If England was what England seems,
An' not the England of our dreams,
But only putty, brass and paint,
'Ow quick we'd chuck 'er! But she ain't!

(Rudyard Kipling)

Substitute 'the Church' for 'England' and you get my drift. Sodomitic prelates? Nothing new there. A pope who is clearly a hypocrite? There have been many such. Corruption and cowardice in high places? It's almost par for the course.

There are some modern elements; sociology masquerading as pastoral theology, and a debased and impoverished liturgy are two of them. There are two main differences between now and 1970. Firstly, thanks to the internet, the powers that be can no longer withhold information. Secondly, the currents are no longer running in one direction and in many respects the direction has been reversed. This is not lost on the 'liberals' who for ten years now have been moaning about 'Ratzinger priests' and the increasing availability of the Tridentine Mass.

And they are hoist with their own petard; those who clamoured for 'transparency' are now advocating censorship!

Anonymous said...

Gene will be unhappy until he finds a church community, of whatever denomination, that does not challenge him.

He discovered fairly early on that St. Joseph, Macon, was not a microcosm of the Catholic Church. Maybe he did encounter like-minded folks in the RCIA process. Maybe he dismissed what he heard in the classes about the Church's teaching on Social Justice. Maybe he thought that no one would challenge his racist remarks. Maybe he insulated himself by thinking that his self-proclaimed superior theological education would validate his Calvinism and his adherence to TULIP thinking.

He wants to be left alone. Yes, God will be with him on his journey, but God will not leave him alone.

Marc said...

As someone who taught RCIA at St. Joseph, Macon, alongside Gene, I can attest that Anonymous's caricature of Gene is false.

rcg said...

I suppose it is a proof of the existance of God that He refuses to do as I please. Likewise, His Church is alarmingly obstinate. So i must assume a follower role? Yes. I have had the conversation with people about the role of the Pope, even Mary and the saints, and that I do not worship them. In the case of a pope we have a person who is still struggling with his human limitations. By understanding that I can take the long view of history and a Charitable view of his shenanigans. It often offends me that the Mass is conducted in such a way as to distract from anything remotely sublime and leave me wondering what they were trying to communicate. I treat it like fire in the cockpit and force my mind instead to dwell on the task at hand. I will go to Mass as a Catholic even if, or maybe because, it pisses off the heirarchy.

Dan said...

Don't really think anonymous should have posted comment. Seems very mean spirited. No wonder post is "anonymous."

Anonymous said...

I did not teach with Gene (pinanv525 previously) but have read his posts here for several years. When his non-Catholic theological views have been challenged he has responded by citing his theological training and expertise, assuming that his schooling is better than those who corrected his incorrect statements. When his blatant racism has been challenged, he defense was that his educated friends agreed with him. He consistently dismisses the settled teaching of the Church regarding Social Justice, disregarding the Church's teaching on the necessary connection between Faith and Works.

He doesn't want to be challenged, especially by those he wrongly considers his intellectual inferiors.

He has walked away from the Catholic Church citing confusion and what he perceives to be apostasy among some leaders, including Pope Francis. Yet he has thrown in with the Methodists who have ordained female ministers since 1956, who have ordained transgender ministers since 2008, a church in which many Methodist clergy and congregations have celebrated gay marriages without being sanctioned by the UMC.

Marc said...

I just disagree with the idea that one can ascertain much about anyone, especially their motivations, based on their postings on this (or any) website.

For example, I've been posting here for a really long time -- approaching 10 years, probably. My views on a lot of things have vacillated and changed in extreme ways over the years, as have my motivations for posting the things that I've posted.

Anonymous said...

I am Anon 10:44 PM, not the other one/ones here (although I can probably guess who “it” is). To the other Anonymi: this is gossip of the worst kind...leave the poor guy alone!

Gene said...

Anonymous is Kavanaugh, who continues to be a proctologist's dream of paradise. He loves to call me a racist because I have criticized much black activism and have said I have no interest in black culture. I do not believe that makes one a racist. I do not feel guilty for being white or for preferring Western European Caucasian culture and celebrating the fact that it has given us a high level of civilization, science, technology, art, literature, and much else. I judge that to be superior to making clay pots in the jungle and eating the entrails of wild animals. That does not make me racist, fact, I doubt if Kavanaugh even knows the definition of "racism." He prefers to chant it like some liberal mantra as a substitute for substantive thinking.

Gene said...

First, I have not left the Church, rather I am searching and struggling. I am forever grateful to Fr. MacDonald for bringing me into the Church because, whatever course I take, he and the Church have strengthened my faith. I have met and become friends with people like Marc Ermine, Buck Melton, and Mark Jones who have also strengthened my faith and caused me to examine my theology and my ecclesiology. Even my dialogues with Kavanaugh, sort of an arch-rival, have encouraged me to examine my thinking. My theological education (M.DIV, Th.D) is both a blessing and a certainly expands my understanding and enriches my faith, but it also instills a sort of theological/doctrinal "scrupulosity" (to borrow from Luther). I spent a lot of time going about things the wrong way...trying to find a church/worship experience that fit my theological thinking. Fr. MacDonald called me on this when he was counseling me about coming into the Church. He was concerned that I was approaching it from too much of an academic mindset. But, in the case of someone like me, the academic goes along with the emotional. Certainly, Calvinism is not Catholicism (although there is some overlap), but the Catholic Church is a big umbrella and, as long as you don’t make a big deal of theological issues, nobody cares about your theology. I would argue that TULIP Calvinism is pretty much straight out of Augustine. Calvin organized it into a logical doctrinal system, but you can find pretty much all of it in St. Augustine. And, yes, I prefer Augustine to Aquinas just as I prefer Plato to Aristotle. Anyway, this Methodist experiment is not chiseled in stone. The struggle continues.

rcg said...

Gene is my brother in Christ, whether I like it not. While I might think he is making a big mistake, he may also be wandering in that darkness where it appears God is no longer present. That is a wonderful place if he does not try to fill it up with what pleases himself but tries to understand the apparent void.

Gene said...

RCG, I had no idea our brotherhood in Christ was so painful for you...I am not wandering in darkness...I know what I believe and trust God's presence. But, the theological question does arise: "Does there come a time when the Church is no longer the Church?"
The Holy Spirit is not pressed between the pages of the Catechism or locked in a room at the Vatican.

Gene said...

God judges the Church through history. We need to be reminded that he let His chosen people wander in the Wilderness and used other nations in chastisement of Israel. God has allowed the Church to suffer the consequences of her own failures throughout in The Great Schism, the Reformation, and Vatican Two, to name several of the more prominent examples.

rcg said...

Gene, you cause me nothing but joy. I was being my usual sacastic self replying to the borderline calumny heaped on you in earlier posts. I wish I lived in the area so we could start a men’s prayer group and maybe recruit an FSSP priest. And I would get decent collards.

FWIW, both you and John Nolan remind me of my grandfathers who never let me get away with a sloppy thought. The intellectual beatings are the highlights of my childhood. Thank you.

Gene said...

RCG, The feeling is very mutual...I wish we lived closer, as well. But, I had in mind a bar room brawl of some kind. LOL!

BTW, a wormy little chihuahua nipping at one's heels can hardly rise to the level of calumny.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I have often wondered about my parents' and grandparents' Faith, and the Faith of others in their generation, and I have wondered how they were so rock solid in their beliefs that nothing seemed to shake them to doubt which is the true Faith, and to stay with the Catholic Church.

They were not educated as you were, at the college level, and in fact, my grandparents could just read and write, but had little education. My father, though very intelligent, only finished the 8th grade because of poverty. My mom finished high school, but only because she carried on so, and worked before (paper route) and after school each day to bring money into the home.

Yet in spite of all that came against them in their beliefs throughout their lives, including the threat of the loss of relationship with their children because they held fast to the teachings of the Church, and their children chose to publicly sin, and the death of a son due to illness, they went to Mass, confession and kept the Commandments and precepts of the Church until the day they died. And almost everyone I knew in their generation did the same.

Why? What did they hear and accept as true that we don't?

I'm not sure of the answer to that, but I believe that generation had solid Catechesis from the Baltimore Catechism, and the example priests and nuns living heroic lives.
Your "education" may be working against you.

For myself, I got a copy and reviewed the Baltimore Catechism, and began to drill it into my head, accepting those answers, and only those answers to my questions of Faith.

#6: Why did God make me? God make me to love, honor and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

Simple. True.

I have a Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology. But I found almost all of that information worthless knowledge in my pursuit of salvation. I don't mind being stupid in the eyes of the world or in the eyes of clever brain-freezed and no-faith clerics, because I hold to what St. Thomas More said: "I don not care very much what men say of me, provided that God approves of me."

God matters.

God bless.

Gene said...

Bee, my folks sound very similar to your's. My education does not work against me. My faith is not faith in the Church is.

Anonymous said...

If one has faith it is because the Church, the Catholic Church, has received and taught that faith.

To suggest there is a separation or that one can have Faith apart f4om the Church, with all her warts, is contrary to doctrine.

"16. The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ's salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),47 which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18).48 And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single “whole Christ”.49 This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-29; Rev 21:2,9).50." Dominus Iesus.

Anonymous 2 said...

I come to this thread late—it has been quite a busy week!

I don’t want to comment on all the comments about Gene, except to say that I am very grateful that we have now become friends and that I greatly enjoy our lunch conversations. Do we agree on everything? Of course not—thank goodness! But we probably agree on much more than either of us thought we would, and any remaining disagreement/questioning offers the mutual promise of stimulating challenge and further growth, which is exactly how things should be in my view. (By the way, Gene, I will email you to follow up on our earlier email exchange about arranging lunch again—it seems that our schedules got away from us due to the hurricane and various other matters.)

More generally, I agree with Anonymi who imply that God will not leave any of us alone—thanks be to God. He will accompany each of us on our spiritual quest, as we accompany one another as fellow pilgrims. Speaking of quests, my thinking about many matters has been influenced by the (now Thomist) philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. His analogy between “the unity of a human life” and the medieval concept of a quest seems quite apt in the present context:

“The unity of a human life is the unity of a narrative quest. . . . It is in the course of the quest and only through encountering and coping with the various particular harms, dangers, temptations and distractions which provide any quest with its episodes and incidents that the goal of the quest is finally to be understood. A quest is always an education both as to the character of that which is sought and in self-knowledge.”

See Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (3d. ed., 2007)(1981), at 218-19.

In “encountering and coping” with the difficulties (the “particular harms, dangers, temptations and distractions”) we currently face at this particular moment in the historical development of the Church, I find the following article from a recent issue of The Catholic Thing to be quite helpful in providing a needed perspective:

Gene said...

Salvation is through Jesus Christ, not the Church. Christ and the Church are not coterminous. (Acts: 4:12; Mark: 1:15) Since Christ established the Church, it is the mediator of salvation, but the Holy Spirit remains free to move and work according to God's good and perfect will. There are any interpretations of "extra ecclesiam, nullum salus," some quite broad and some quite narrow. But, belief is primary from the theological standpoint. But, given this, we are called to both community and service. The Church is the locus of both of these imperatives. It is where we are known by our fruits.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"41. They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it."

Mystici Corporis, Pope Pius XII

John Nolan said...

Pius XII was assuming that Christ's vicar on earth was fulfilling his function of confirming the brethren and handing down the faith unadulterated.

I could have adhered loyally to Alexander VI, despite his immorality and shameless nepotism, since he was doctrinally orthodox. I might have despised him as a man, but that is a separate issue.

I find many things that Pope Francis says and does despicable, and I'm not alone. I think he is as much a disgrace to his office as was Alexander VI; perhaps even more so. But when he fulfils the duties entrusted to him, I have no problem with loyal adherence.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan 11:12 summer it up perfectly. If Gene does not agree with Mr. Nolan then Gene wasted all those years in collage.


johnnyc said...

About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter - St Joan of Arc

protestants complicated/complicate the matter when they separate Jesus Christ from His Church, the Catholic Church.

And that includes liberal dissenters within the Church all the way up to and including some in the fact liberal 'catholics' make the best protestants and do the most damage.

Gene said...

Anonymous 1 wasted a lot of years in English grammar and spelling class...

John Nolan said...

Comments on blogs such as this are first and foremost opinions, although they may use facts in support of these. They can inform, but are not designed to solicit agreement, still less to persuade.