Let me be up front, there is much about the Amazon Synod and synodality as understood by Pope Francis that I find hard to swallow and quite frankly won’t swallow. It’s like the theology of limbo, we can take it or leave it since it isn’t a defined doctrine and certainly not a dogma.
But when I was in the seminary in the 1970’s one of the things I appreciated was the seminary’s emphasis on Gospel simplicity what they called, “Kingdom values.”
Why did I like it? Because that is what the institutional Church modeled, for the most part, prior to Vatican II with most rank and file clergy and religious.
Also, in terms of ecology, I firmly believe our 1950’s secular culture in the USA simply lived by a common sense ecology and simplicity of life.
The vast majority of middle class American prior to the 1970’s lived Kingdom values even if they weren’t religious. We had small homes with small closets and thus few clothes that we children handed down and we had one bathroom and most only had one car and one driver of that car. This resulted in more people using public transportation as my mother and I did in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia in the late 50’s and early 60’s. In Atlanta in the 50’s there were electric buses getting their electricity from above lines.
My mother saved her drippings for later use, was creative with leftovers and there were no plastics. Everything was in cardboard boxes or glass jars and soft drink and beer bottles were to be sent back to the store to be reused and we got a deposit from that. We seldom if ever ate fast food or went to restaurants.
I use to pick up returnable bottles on the way to the corner store and could buy from what I collected a bottle of coke and a candy bar! I considered that free.
My mother saved S&H Green stamps and purchased needed things with these.
My experience of the 1950’s Church in the south is that priests lived below most of us. Their rectories accommodated multiple priests. They drove simple cars and made a very low salary and truly depended on the laity to support them with stipends and gifts. They were poor for the most part.
My pastor in Augusta lived in the sacristy of the Church for more than three years until a new rectory was built next to the church.
Priests had few secular clothes and few clerical clothes and wore a single cassock usually on church grounds but not in public elsewhere.
Nuns lived in huge convents but had maybe two or three habits at the most and were never ever seen without their habit. That all changed after Vatican II when they went to secular clothes. Some had no taste in secular dress but some nuns did. I can remember my mom being scandalized by nuns who dressed better than she. And she wondered just for whom were they making themselves attractive with jewelry and make up?
Institutionally big factories and gasoline with lead and dirty coal polluted the air. These things were beyond most people’s control. But on the practical level of the populace in general, simplicity of life and an integral ecology of not wasting and recycling prevailed as did simplicity of life.
You've stumbled into it...
Does Wealth Make Us Less Religious?
According to a study from the Pew Research Center, the answer to this question appears to be yes. “In general, people in richer nations are less likely than those in poorer nations to say religion plays a very important role in their lives,” the authors report.
As people become more prosperous, they become more comfortable with their lives. They find more satisfaction in the material realities of this world, which means they are less inclined to depend on God and look hopefully to another (future) world. Perhaps they think they’ve figured life out on their own. Life is great. I’m in control. Why do I need God?
The love of money is the root of all evil.
Most Americans, including all of us who read and post on this blog, are, by world standards, wealthy. We have stable homes, we have more than enough food to eat each day, we have medical care as needed, we can spend on small - or not so small - luxuries without worrying that tomorrow's necessities will be lost.
Catholics began to move up the socio-economic level after World War Two. With rare exceptions prior to that, immigrant Catholic families were poor laborers. With the availability of employment and education, much of it made possible by the GI Bill, Catholics came into their own in terms of earthly possessions.
As we did, we began to lose our dependency on others and on God. We grew into the mythical "independence" that is so much a part of the American ideal.
Saint Pope John Paul II was among those who warned us of the dangers of consumerism and materialism. To return to God, we must return to a simple way of living.
"...in terms of ecology, I firmly believe our 1950’s secular culture..."
Not really. It was after WW2 that public transportation in cities and interurban was being decimated in favour of the private automobile. Super highways, super super highways, and so forth, destroying the land, huge parts of cities destroyed to build expressways and super expressways and so forth under the guise of urban renewal, which really meant getting rid of poor people as eyesores living in decrepit housing in favour of the rich car owning public. Cars, cars, cars, with the carnage to people and animals and the resulting suffering they have caused in the name of economic prosperity (i.e materialism). In the city where I live, by WW2 80% of the public used public transit which meant electric non polluting trams; by 1960 it was the reverse, 80% using the private automobile with the huge city destruction it needed to alleviate congestion. No, not much good ecology after WW2 up to to our times as far as transportation is concerned. We are not taking good care of God's gift of creation to us, but only concerned with ourselves and what we can get out of it.
We are rich, no doubt about it and the clergy and religious also reflect this wealth, especially after Vatican II when Gospel simplicity, the vow of poverty and kingdom values were redefined.
And just like the vernacular Mass with all its excesses is here to stay, so too is all the materialism of our Church and culture as much as Pope Francis and progressives lament it and think they can change it just like conservatives think they can bring back the EF Mass once and for all to the exclusion of the OF Mass. Living in la la land!
The Jeanie is out of the bottle in terms of what Vatican II wrought and what Materialism has wrought.
Father McDonald said..."Let me be up front, there is much about the Amazon Synod and synodality as understood by Pope Francis that I find hard to swallow and quite frankly won’t swallow."
In regard to the Amazon Synod, I believe that all we have is a report that was sent to Pope Francis. He will issue his document on the Synod, I believe, by the end of this year.
Until then, what is there to accept in regard to the Synod?
"And just like the vernacular Mass with all its excesses is here to stay, so too is all the materialism of our Church and culture as much as Pope Francis and progressives lament it and think they can change it just like conservatives think they can bring back the EF Mass once and for all to the exclusion of the OF Mass."
Materialism doesn't exist apart from people, so it's not "here to stay" if the people choose to live otherwise.
Long before Vatican Two, long before, there were individuals among the secular clergy who lived high on the hog. The pastor got the Christmas collection, and he used it to buy a house at the beach or in the mountains to which he might retreat for lengthy stays. Not a few pastors and/or priests in well-to-do parishes drove fine cars and enjoyed a materially very comfortable existence.
(I recall the scene in the movie "Doubt" that contrasted the rather sumptuous steak dinner being enjoyed by the priests while the sisters were shown enjoying a far simpler meal in the convent. I also recall the one time I stayed in the three story home of a northeastern archbishop - one of my classmates was his secretary - and each of the priests had an under-the-table button he could press when he wanted something from one of the five (!) sisters who lived in the house to care for the three (!) priests who lived there regularly.)
How we use the money and the time that is ours is a personal choice. Kingdom Values can and are certainly lived by many clergy.
Where was the top picture taken? Atlanta indeed did have an electric bus system til around 1963, with trolleys coming to an end in 1949. Buses were found to be more effective and cheaper than trolleys y the 1950s---in fact, trolley service ended in a number of southern cities even before World War 2, like Augusta and Columbia. I don't think the electric buses were missed though as running them required those ugly overhead wires!
In Augusta, one blight from the auto age was the construction of the very short---maybe two and a half mile long---JC Calhoun expressway thru the Harrisburg neighborhood and ending just beyond the old Sacred Heart Church. Fortunately most of the area's expressway system goes around the city---20 and 520---but I am not sure the rationale for the JC Calhoun, now that we have River Watch Parkway to take commuters into Columbia County from 15th Street.
On different topic, one does wonder if our much greater economic wealth these days is a cause of the secularization of our society? People are more likely to turn to God when times are tough, not when they are great. Look how Ireland for instance went from poor to rich materially, but rich to poor spiritually! Not to make a case for socialism, which is bad, but a reminder that God is the source of everything---we really own nothing of our own ad things are on loan to us from the Almighty for our lifetime---but we can't take our Mercedes or beach house to the next destination!
It is a picture I found on the internet. With my mom I road these buses in Atlanta between 1956 and 60. completely and thoroughly fascinated by them and how they worked. Where the rods touched the lines would often spark and the driver could lower the apparatus when needed to get elsewhere. Really cool and really quiet!
Of course, we need not forget, that the nuns were under the vow of poverty and secular/diocesan priests were and are not. Often the homes that priests save for or inherit are much more modest and much smaller than most of our rectories. I know mine is. We both know the well known priest in our area known for his simple lifestyle who took every Wednesday off in Atlanta, spending two nights in a motel there and did this for three decades. Think of how that waste of motel money could have been put to a small condo or townhouse as an investment or retirement home. He also took long vacations in Europe every year. Another waste of resources. He also died quite rich much to the shock of so many who thought he was so poor.
"Of course, we need not forget, that the nuns were under the vow of poverty and secular/diocesan priests were and are not."
I'm not forgetting that at all. That we don't take a vow isn't really the point, though. "Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity.”
"Often the homes that priests save for or inherit are much more modest and much smaller than most of our rectories."
And some times those homes and lifestyles are extravagant.
"We both know the well known priest in our area known for his simple lifestyle who took every Wednesday off in Atlanta, spending two nights in a motel there and did this for three decades. Think of how that waste of motel money could have been put to a small condo or townhouse as an investment or retirement home."
I don't think Msgr. Cuddy wasted any money, and I don't think you think that either. Time off is a necessity, not a luxury. That he chose to do it in a very inexpensive motel was, it seems to me, a prudent choice.
"He also took long vacations in Europe every year. Another waste of resources. He also died quite rich much to the shock of so many who thought he was so poor."
Obviously he wasn't "wasting" money if he died rich.
You're arguing the poverty of Judas, Allan. You might as well say that a priest "wastes" money on books or "wastes" money on gifts for his family at Christmas or "wastes" money on buying a bottle of wine for the family that is hosting him for dinner. Or, you might say he should tell that family to give the money they would have spent on his meal to the poor and he'll stay home and eat leftover crusts from the school cafeteria.
I don't think anyone expects us to live an eremitical lifestyle.
And the failure to live a simple life has nothing whatsoever to do with Vatican Two.
I suspect anything from Pew Research because they are agenda driven. There is ample research elsewhere to the contrary. From my own personal observation I have seen extremely wealthy people who are deeply religious and extremely charitable. Leftists do their "charity" through higher taxes.
"From my own personal observation I have seen extremely wealthy people who are deeply religious and extremely charitable."
Anecdotal. Any one of us might be able to say, "From my own personal observation I have seen extremely wealthy people who are utterly irreligious and tightwads, to boot."
Taxes are the dues you pay to belong to the club. You get more in benefits if you are wealthy. Therefore you have higher dues.
Anonymous @ 12:29
Trolleys were in fact cheaper than buses, even trolley buses, to operate. The initial infrastructure of laying track and catanery was expensive, but the lifetime of a trolley compared to a diesel bus was often 3X, and trolleys required little maintenance compared to buses. The problem was they were rarely built on their own right of way. This is because at the time the streets belonged to every one, including kids playing, grandmothers shopping, bicyclists, etc., until about the early 1930's. By the late 1930's the streets belonged only to motorized private vehicles, and trolleys were seen as an obstruction to them. One forgets that in the 1920's the car manufacturers were extremely aggressive to promote cars by killing pedestrians off the streets, thereby changing the minds of the public to allow only private vehicles as sole owners of the streets.
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