Time: Benedict may have killed off American Catholic liberalism

This in from TimeLet’s see what is going on, with my emphases and comments.

Saturday, May. 03, 2008
Is Liberal Catholicism Dead?
By David Van Biema

He may not have been thinking about it at the time, but Pope Benedict, in the course of his recent U.S. visit may have dealt a knockout blow to the liberal American Catholicism that has challenged Rome since the early 1960s. He did so by speaking frankly and forcefully of his "deep shame" during his meeting with victims of the Church’s sex-abuse scandal. By demonstrating that he "gets" this most visceral of issues, the pontiff may have successfully mollified a good many alienated believers — and in the process, neutralized the last great rallying point for what was once a feisty and optimistic style of progressivism. [Let’s see how he backs up this bold claim.]

The liberal rebellion [the correct word] in American Catholicism has dogged Benedict and his predecessors since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. "Vatican II," which overhauled much of Catholic teaching and ritual, had a revolutionary impact on the Church as a whole. It enabled people to hear the Mass in their own languages; embraced the principle of religious freedom; rejected anti-semitism; and permitted Catholic scholars to grapple with modernity.

But Vatican II meant even more to a generation of devout but restless young people in the U.S. rather than a course correction, Terrence Tilley, now head of the Fordham University’s theology department, wrote recently, his generation perceived "an interruption of history, [cf. hermeneutic of rupture] a divine typhoon that left only the keel and structure of the church unchanged." They discerned in the Council a call to greater church democracy, and an assertion of individual conscience that could stand up to the authority of even the Pope. So, they battled the Vatican’s birth-control ban, its rejection of female priests and insistence on celibacy, and its [imagined] authoritarianism.

Rome pushed back, and the ensuing struggle defined a movement, whose icons included peace activist Fr. Daniel Berrigan, feminist Sister Joan Chittister, and sociologist/author Fr. Andrew Greeley. Its perspectives were covered in The National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal and America. Martin Sheen held down Hollywood, and the movement even boasted its own cheesy singing act: the St. Louis Jesuits. [ROFL!] The reformers’ premier membership organization was Call to Action, but their influence was felt at the highest reaches of the American Church, as sympathetic American bishops passed left-leaning statements on nuclear weapons and economic justice. Remarks Tilley, "For a couple of generations, progressivism was an [important] way to be Catholic." [Great paragraph!]

Then he adds, "But I think the end of an era is here."

To some extent, liberal Catholicism has been a victim of its own success. Its positions on sex and gender issues have become commonplace in the American Church, diminishing the distinctiveness of the progressives. [Aside from the fact that those positions are … well… wrong.] More importantly, they failed [operative word: failed] to transform the main body of the Church: John Paul II, a charismatic conservative, enjoyed the third-longest papacy in church history, and refused to budge on the left’s demands; instead, he eventually swept away liberal bishops. [More on this, below.] The heads at Call to Action grayed, [cf. "aging hippies"]  and by the late 1990s, Vatican II progressivism began to look like a self-limited Boomer moment. [YES!]

Then, the movement received a monstrous reprieve. The priest sex abuse scandal implicated not only the predators, but the superiors who shielded them. John Paul remained mostly silent. A new reform group, Voice of the Faithful, arose; the old anger returned, crystallizing around the battle-cry "They just don’t get it."

Benedict’s visit, however, changed the dynamic. And that’s a problem for progressives. Says [liberal] Fr. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center whom Benedict famously removed from his previous job as editor of America, "Reform movements need an enemy to organize against. As most bishops have gotten their acts together on sex abuse, they have looked less like the enemy and more like part of the solution. Enthusiasm for reform declined. With the Pope’s forthright response, it will decline even more."

Not everyone agrees. Says Voice of the Faithful spokesman John Moynihan, "That’s funny; I just came from a meeting of COR (Catholic Organizations for Reform), and there were a lot of people very buoyed up. We can now say to people, ‘We have made a difference, and if you stick with us we are going to make a further difference’." Adds [liberal] Peter Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, now a director of Fordham’s Religion and Culture Center, "I think there is continuity in terms of the issues and the questions about whether Church structures can be altered." He notes that a social justice group, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, formed just three years ago.

But the familiar progressives-versus-Vatican paradigm seems almost certain to be undone by a looming demographic tsunami. Almost everyone agrees that the "millennial generation," born in 1980 or later, while sharing liberal views on many issues, has no desire to mount the barricades. [I wonder if their enthusiasm for "liberal views"is all that great?] Notes Reese, "Younger Catholics don’t argue with the bishops; they simply do what they want or shop for another church." And Hispanic Catholics, who may be the U.S. majority by 2020, don’t see this as their battle. "I’m sure they’re happy that the celebration of the Eucharist is in the vernacular," [really?  I wonder what they will do as Benedict’s Marshall Plan continues to develop?] says Tilley, "but they don’t have significant issues connected to Vatican II."  [Right.  I agree with what Fr. George Rutler wrote in his review of Archbp. Marini’s book (listen to my PODCAzT on it): Vatican II means as much to young people as Nicea II and Lateran II.]

And so, unless Benedict contradicts in Rome what he said in New York, [Why on earth would he do that?] the Church may have reached a tipping point. This is not to say that the (over-hyped) [?] young Catholic Right will swing into lay dominance. Nor will liberal single-issue groups simply evaporate. But if they cohere again, it will be around different defining issues. "It’s a new ball game," admits Steinfels. As Tilley wrote recently in Commonweal regarding his fellow theologians, "A new generation has neither the baggage nor the ballast of mine. Theirs is the future. Let’s hope they remember the Council as the most important event in twentieth-century Catholicism."  [They are more likely to say, "Council?  What Council?"]

Let’s see.

On his comment that John Paul II "swept away liberal bishops"….

People have very often asked me how John Paul II could have appointed all those strange bishops or allowed strange bishops to remain in their places?  How could he have knowingly appointed his enemies?  And surely some of them were appointed knowingly or left in place.  He couldn’t micro-manage all selection of bishops.  So, he must have had some purpose for this.

I think one of the great things John Paul did for the Church was do drag it back from the edge of schism, not on the right, but on the left.  He did it by slowly shifting the world’s episcopate around.  He did it patiently, not trying to change things too quickly, lest moving too fast sparked off true revolt.  If he swept away liberal bishops, he had to start with a little hand-held brush rather than get out the big push broom.  So, he had to allow the appointment even of enemies in some places, but as the years went on, he could pick up the pace.  

A perfect explanation?  No.  But it explains a lot.

The Time article bears some consideration. 

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77 Responses to Time: Benedict may have killed off American Catholic liberalism

  1. David Rog says:

    I think that this revival of traditional Catholicism is massively over-hyped and embellished by those who are more prone to wishful thinking than to actually discerning what’s happening with real Catholics. Right wing blogs like this one and the others are very very skilled at co-ordinating their efforts, sharing articles and subscribers and making their numbers appear larger than they are. Likewise the Trad websites and publications are also good at spinning the illusion that there is a young, dynamic group of Catholic just itching for the return of true Catholicism in opposition to their wayward hippy parents.

    Get off your blogs, though, and go talk to people in the parishes, schools and other mainstream Catholic groups and you might just realise that the Trad revival isn’t actually happening. In the rare pockets where it is happening, it is trumpeted and amplified to a massive degree. But it’s all smoke and mirrors in reality. The left went too far after the Council and they were, wrongly, unchecked. But the insidious [ROFL!] idea that we are going to effectively repeal Vatican II when all the chess pieces are in place is wishful thinking by those who are infact dying out themselves.

    I just got back from living in the US for years. Your average priest, catechist and lay person over there is fairly happy with the way that Vatican II is panning out. Of course, these people don’t have blogs though!

  2. Beowulf says:

    Now, at least there is a new mainstream of JPII priests, in touch with Tradition, who will make effective Bishops. That is something which was lacking until recently.

  3. A knowledgeble cleric told me some time ago that Pope JPII appointed Bernardin to Chicago and then immediately named him a Cardinal because he saw a schism on the left in this country and he knew two things about Bernardin 1)he was immensely influential among the bishops and the liberal elite in the USA,and 2)he knew also when push came to shove and people had to take sides,Bernardin would stand with Rome thus preventimng any split.

  4. RBrown says:

    David Rog,

    Although I agree about there not being a Trad revivial, your other comments seem an unusual combo of naivete and superciliousness.

    1. You seem to think this blog is anchored in Europe. It is not. Further, it isn’t right wing.

    2. I’ve been back in the states 10 years after 8 in Rome, and I assure you that the average priest and layman is not happy with the Church. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t talked with people.

    If the priests were so happy, they would be encouraging young men to enter seminary. They don’t.

    If the laity were so happy with the Church, they would be encouraging their children to become priests and religious. They don’t.

    3. The laity sees not only the priest shortage but also the number of priests with personal problems. Further, because of the sexual scandals, limp wrists, and generalized clerical incompetence, the laity now keeps their distance from priests–they no longer trust them.

    4. IMHO, the situation here is simply that Catholics have learned to live with what they have.

    5. Various Ratzinger writings over the years have made it clear that he thinks that the present situation (incl liturgy) is not in line with Vat II.

  5. David Rog says:

    RBrown,

    1. I know where the blog is anchored. And if you think that this blog isn’t right wing, you need to get out more.

    2. My experience is different. We will have to agree to differ on that one.

    3. This is partly true. But there are a great many good priests who are trusted and loved.

    4. If that is true, then it was every bit as true before the council, when people often went to Church out of fear and duty.

    5. True. But this is normally a trad fallback position. When they realise that the council isn’t going to go away, they try to tell us that we didn’t read it right. They are partly right – as I said in my point about things having gone too far to the left – but only up to a point.

  6. Hermione says:

    Gee, we are getting down to the “nitty-gritty” : how effective is this and other trad/conservative/neo-conservative blogs? Do they reflect a genuine traditional revival?

    It’s interesting that the liberals don’t have blogs. Most of us trads know why they don’t …

    The British bishops have done a pretty good job in suppressing the SP after the MP. They completely control the seminaries and my own small parish is being reordered along NO lines to the tune of a million bucks by a committed modernist with the assistance of an ageing member of the laity. I see no evidence of a revival in tradition. That’s why I come on here!

  7. Virgil says:

    A word about the “enthusiasm for liberal views” of the Millenial Generation, on which Fathers Reese and Z appear to disagree.

    What the heck is a “liberal view?”

    The Baby Boomers (a.k.a. Aging Hippies) like my parents are very proud to be “progressive”. (They would never say “liberal” since it is a naughty word.) And they want their Church to reflect these views. They want guitars and soup kitchens and priestesses, and they want to see their son married to his boyfriend in a big old Church wedding.

    We GenXers and Millennials, we have views that Reese and Fr Z might find “liberal.” However, we just find them a normal part of life. We don’t need the Church to be our vanguard, since we can lead ourselves quite well, thank you. Since the “liberal” 60’s, the world has gotten quite good at feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

    From the Church, we want inspiration and rootedness, not more politics. Benedict gets it. We don’t need to change the message (Truth!), just the medium. Millenials get it – let the Church inspire, and we will do the rest.

    Women priests? Silly. A woman president? Of course!

    Sister Joan getting arrested for banging on a missile cone? Silly. Sister Joan lobbying for cuts to the defense budget? Brava!

    Gay marriages? Silly. Gay men at the parish forming a chant schola? Brilliant!

    Denying communion to politicians whose votes don’t march in lock-step? Silly. Preaching very clearly about Catholic dogma? Please, can we hear more!

    Preventing sexual abuse by singing a new democratic Church into being? Silly. Preventing sexual abuse by promoting inspiring priests and sacking the rest? Sign here.

    Pouring parish resources into a school or soup kitchen? Not on my dime! Asking me to donate my time and energy to the same? Tell me how!

  8. David Rog says:

    judging by the changes (for lack of a better word) to my first comment, I think I should leave this one alone.

    I apologise if my comments caused offence. that wasnt my intent.

    Might I say in parting, that I sincerely hope that dialogue can be maintained in the Church. It is only through honest dialogue that rifts can be healed.

  9. Jordanes says:

    David’s opinion that Father Zuhlsdorf’s weblog is “right wing” is perhaps mainly useful as an indication that David is “left wing” in comparison? As for the average priest, catechist, and layman or laywoman in the U.S. being fairly happy with the way Vatican II is panning out, I would have to disagree — and that’s because my impression is that the average priest, catechist, and layperson in the U.S. knows precious little and cares even less about Vatican II. If they did, they’d not be happy about the current state of affairs at all. (Mind you, there’s no doubt that the folks who are running U.S. Catholic schools aren’t happy — Catholics aren’t sending their kids to Catholic schools, the schools are getting too expensive to run, and schools are steadily disappearing from our parishes. I’ve been to several Catholic education conferences and talked to principals and diocesan superintendents — they’re not happy at all with the way things have been panning out, with all the school closing, and with so many losing their Catholic identity and sense of divine mission.)

    As for what the future holds, well, we know that the overwhelming majority of Catholics are lapsed, not practicing their faith and rarely if ever going to Mass. Of those who practice their faith, it is orthodox Catholics (whether you want to call them “conservative” or “right wing” or “trad”) who are teaching their children the faith, and who are actually having children at all, unlike the heterodox or poorly or falsely catechised (whether you want to call them “liberals” or “modernists” or whatever). Those who are contracepting, who aren’t having children or teaching their children the faith, are being seduced and drawn aside from the Church, heading out of her fold and being lost to her. Just looking at the demographic trends, the church in the U.S., and probably in most other places, is going to get smaller and more “traditional” or “conservative” in the next few decades. The basic demographic of “conservative” Catholics is noticeably younger, and seemingly more devout and “on fire” than the basic demographic of “liberals.” So we’re going to get smaller before we start getting bigger again.

  10. David Rog: I hope you will continue to tackle RBrown, frankly. So long as the discussion doesn’t turn to the ad hominem or go over the top, there is room for it.

    But your initial comment really smacked of the sour. “Insidious”?

  11. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    GenXer

    I was born in late 1960’s UK. Would I be considered a GenXer? Not being familiar with the lingo makes it a wee bit hard for me to fully appreciate the discussion.

  12. B Knotts says:

    My two cents:

    The bottom line on why I, like others here, see a more traditional Church in the future is because, unlike many of the Baby Boomers, who have maintained a tenuous connection to the Church while embracing the liberal views of the 60s, those people of the later generations who have disagreements with Church teaching simply leave.

    Given that, it seems a given that the Church will shink (in Western countries, at least), and at the same time, become more traditional.

    That said, I am under no misconception that we are very far down that road at this point in history. The Mass I attended last night (as part of a K of C function) was a vivid reminder in that regard. There is a long way to go.

  13. Volpius says:

    I am one of the millennial generation, I don’t so much say “council, what council” I say “council, to hell with the council.” But I am just one, all the others I know have left the church altogether so they probably match your “what council” but then they also tend to say “what God” to.

  14. Jacques says:

    Who will once have the courage to draw the balance sheet of VatII council?
    Where are the renewal, the new Pentecost, the Spring that John XIII promised us enthusiastically? Instead we had only discords, scandals, loss of faith, lack of priests, churches and monasteries closing.
    I was educated by pre-VatII priests with the “old” catechism.
    Like many others in the mid sixties I was troubled and disoriented and began to neglect and slowly give up my faith.
    I came back 15 years later.
    Now not being able to discern why happened such a mess, I prefered to stand on the pre-VatII basic teachings of my youth regarding confession, mass attendance, Eucharist, etc…
    Really I couldn’t understand why there was such a need to change everything, such a push of rupture with the past.
    I try to make the best of the current situation, praying for better days to come.
    I am fully aware that coming back to the pre-VatII Church is now impossible. Only a new council would be able to build the new basements to restore the confidence and the faith

  15. Fr. Buaidhe asked:

    I was born in late 1960’s UK. Would I be considered a GenXer?

    The baby boom generation begins with those born in 1946. Its end is disputed: the late 1950s, or 1960, or 1964.

    Generation X is, archetypically, those born around 1970.

    This leaves open the question: was there a generation between the boomers and GenX? Some say no: if you were born in 1964 you are a boomer, if you were born in 1965 you are GenX. I lean to the other view: the boomer generation ends with those born in 1960 or so, and GenX begins with those born in 1970 or so, and those born in the 1960s are a forgotten, unnamed generation.

    This isn’t just semantics. I was born in 1964, and when I went to high school in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles), everyone I knew was vividly aware that there had been something of great import called “The Sixties” which was gone. My generation didn’t riot over politics. But neither did we share the grunge and nihilism of the GenX folks who came after us.

    Another distinction: I graduated from a Catholic high school in 1982. The vast majority of my fellow students were Catholic and attended mass at age 17. Twenty years later, at my high school reunion, I asked around and concluded that only a small minority still attended mass, and that included those who had stopped but then came back after they had kids. The rest had no interest in the subject.

    This also makes us very different than the other generations. The boomers learned religion from nuns in grade school, and the Novus Ordo mass was introduced during their formative years. Even those who never attend Mass still have a strong emotional reaction (positive, negative, or mixed) to the Church. My generation, on the other hand, went to Mass as kids but now doesn’t care much. Many GenX Catholics didn’t even go to Mass as kids.

    The Millennials are harder to describe, because the dechristianization is so strong that many of the non-religious Millennials no longer describe themselves as Catholic. This has the side-effect of making Catholic Millennials statistically more orthodox, because the sample has been culled! Whereas the earlier generations, even when they didn’t attend church or care about church, tended to still describe themselves as “Catholic”, which means that their views are factored into the “What do Catholics think?” statistical claims.

    All of this applies to the United States. It may apply to a lesser degree in the other English-speaking nations, but I’m not sure. It certainly does not apply in Europe (which didn’t even have “the Sixties”, although they did have “1968”, which was much more political and less cultural than our Sixties.)

  16. Dan J says:

    I am of the generation that grew up under President Reagan and saw the Berlin Wall come down. I was born in 1975 and the movie Wall Street was my “Gospel” because I fell under the spell of the “unholy Trinity” of ‘Me, Myself and I’. My mother tried to instill God in my life but we weren’t the church going family so it is very interesting that I felt such a so connection to the church even though I knew nothing of it. What I am trying to say is that my generation has grown up with “Junk Bonds” and you have to get yours. There was no thought about anyone else because you couldn’t have room for anyone else except for self. We are face with the reality that all of the “toys” in the world is not going to bring us happiness and what the hollow promises of the “boomers” brought us death and destruction i.e (abortion on demand and free love). It is Holy Mother Church with its message that brought me from the edge of ruin and there is a generation out there that woke as I did and realize that society sold us a bill of good and it came up worthless. Brick by Brick the truth shall open the eyes of those blinded by the lies the radicals (for they will not win).

  17. Tom says:

    David Rog wrote: “I think that this revival of traditional Catholicism is massively over-hyped and embellished…the Trad revival isn’t actually happening…in the rare pockets where it is happening…your average priest, catechist and lay person over there is fairly happy with the way that Vatican II is panning out.”

    1. I agree that the “revival of traditional Catholicism” has been embellished and is, at best, confined to “pockets” throughout the Church.

    The TLM will remain an off-to-the-side ghetto Mass. Within a diocese, a few parishes may offer the TLM…and within the majority of dioceses, not more than a few hundred Catholics will assist at TLM Masses.

    2. I disagree that “your average” Catholic is pleased with Vatican II. The Church, at least in the United States, doesn’t matter to the “average” Catholic.

    Each week, 75 to 85 percent of Catholics refuse to assist at Mass. The Catholic Religion has little meaning to 75-85 percent of Catholics.

    Therefore, how could the “average” Catholic be pleased with Vatican II?

  18. CPKS says:

    Well, I’m happy to regard myself as right-wing and “trad”, in the sense that all Catholics are so by definition: if we aren’t traditionalist, we aren’t catholics. In another sense, I’m very unhappy with talk about right and left wings, because such factionalist description really does not do justice to the issue.

    And it is right to say that this issue is, first and foremost, a liturgical one. I accept that there are the odd rumblings of unorthodox “left-wing” theology; but these are not the common concern. They don’t affect the people in the pew. There is no big theological split in today’s church. This is not a doctrinal matter.

    In fact, the so-called liturgical reforms after VatII were not grounded on a popular desire for change. Nor were they a response to a sound analysis of liturgical tradition. They were I think to some extent grounded in a dissatisfaction with a church culture in which the wishes of the laity were discounted, where clerical opinion was law, where many in clerical circles felt that this had reached the point where the laity were becoming cut off from the real life of the church.

    Unfortunately, this highly authoritarian institution lacked the intellectual vocabulary, and the will, to engage in a genuine consultation with the laity. Instead, it sought refuge in the advice of chosen experts, drew up and approved new plans, and imposed their will on the people. The people accepted the changes meekly, for the most part, swallowing their qualms, being the obedient, docile laity they were and are and ever shall be. But for the laity, the post-VatII changes were imposed by the iron hand of clerical authority. There was nothing remotely demotic or left-wing about it. The so-called “liberal” reforms of the 1960s and 1970s were imposed upon the laity not by argument, not by reason, not by engagement with the sensus fidelium, not by encouraging lay involvement in a full engagement in the liturgical renewal process, but by the moral authority of the institution of the church. We weren’t asked if we minded that first some bits, and then all, of the Mass were going to be in the vernacular. We were jolly well told. And we, the laity, who were used to being jolly well told, put up and for the most part shut up, as we always do.

    It was a dictatorship of liberalism (er, is that “right wing” or “left wing”?).

    Sure, there were some among the hand-picked laity who were loudly in favour. Look in your hymn book and your “mass book” (we don’t say “missal” any more) for the copyright symbols. Look at the royalty payments that sprang up in the wake of VatII! That was new and refreshing.

    I suspect, but don’t know, that if the majority of Catholic blogs seem rather traditionalist, it is because they reflect the mental life and aspirations of those Catholics who are interested enough in their faith, and good enough typists, to communicate about it. The blogosphere has given people with similar interests a way to set out their ideas and get them discussed by people who care enough to get involved in a debate and a discussion. The first response to this posting seems to make the allegation that the discussion here is somehow unrepresentative. Well, it certainly isn’t representative of those Catholics who cannot type, who cannot read, who aren’t sufficiently interested, et cetera.

    But – and this is a point that I think I have made here before – nobody is entitled to say what is the majority opinion about liturgy in the Catholic church because (a) the Church is not, never has been, and never will be a democracy, and (b) nobody to my knowledge has ever, ever attempted to find out, by means of properly conducted surveys, what the Catholic faithful value and want in their liturgy.

  19. Tom says:

    Jacques wrote: “I am fully aware that coming back to the pre-VatII Church is now impossible. Only a new council would be able to build the new basements to restore the confidence and the faith.”

    Jacques, until Pope Benedict XVI returns to the Traditional Latin Mass — the Mass that he was ordained to offer — the best that we can do…the rational thing to do…is to attach ourselves to the TLM.

    I don’t believe that a slooooow “brick-by-brick” so-called “Marshall Plan” will reinvigorate the Latin Church.

    The Novus Ordo is here to stay (until a Pope returns to the Traditional Mass). The Tower of Babel Masses, such as we encountered during the Pope’s recent visit to the United States, are here to stay.

    Pope Paul VI’s plans to “reinvigorate” the Church failed. The same applied to Pope John Paul II…and will apply to Pope Benedict XVI.

    To reinvigorate Catholic identity throughout the (Latin) Church, Rome must return to the TLM…and must shun Her infatuation with ecumenism/interreligious “dialogue.”

    Until then, any “plan” undertaken by our well-meaning Popes to reinvigorate Catholic identity will fail.

    Therefore, with few exceptions, only those communities that are attached to the Traditional Latin Mass will thrive within the “Latin” Church.

    Jacques, I don’t believe that we require a new Council…we simply require a Pope who will return to the TLM and end the ecumenical/interreligious debacle that continues to destroy Catholic identity.

    The crisis that plagues the Church is the crisis of Peter. When he returns to the Traditional Liturgy, then everything else will fall into place.

    Pax.

  20. CPKS says:

    Tom, I don’t believe in your crisis. I believe in the long, slow revolution that is quietly happening as we write.

    I don’t believe in your no-ecumenism, no-dialogue rigidity (move the sour grapes down!). We christians are committed to bear witness to the truth wherever it exists, and that is what ecumenism is, that is what dialogue is.

    Why don’t I disbelieve in “sloooow ‘brick by brick'” progress? Because I am mindful of tradition. Look at tradition, and you will see it, two thousand years of it. This is where the Spirit dwells, not in “new things” and not, either, in frosty rejectionism.

  21. C says:

    Speaking as a 20 year old Catholic who grew up in a trad leaning home but attended an ultra-progressive parish I would say that there is a very real shift occurring. The young I know see that the Church has shrunk, the liturgy is awful, the clergy are often woefully bad and heterodox opinions are everywhere. We are angry. Why can I not be PROUD of being Catholic? What can’t I be confident in asserting the truth to the world because all the world need to is point back at the Church? Because of Vatican II. It is the great disaster. No ifs, no buts. It is the problem. All the really thinking young know this. We must reform the Church or the Church will die.

    I am fully confident this will happen. Why? Because the Church will be run by people who think like me in the future. A great number of the most intelligent and most dynamic young Catholics know this. They are the ones who will be the bishops of tomorrow. Benedict is a great boon but he is really just moving things a little ahead of schedule. Which is, of course, no bad thing. :-)

  22. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I agree that this this blog is more right wing, ie shows an admiration for groups like the Acton Institute, and conservative/Republican politics. I also agree that the traditional movement is not flourishing in a way that many think it is, but it is growing. However, I do think that many traditionalists are embracing a desire to think more and more with the mind of the Church, and less and less like Republicans or Democrats. There is a growing enthusiasm in the traditional movement for soup kitchens and social justice, based on the great social encyclicals of the twentieth century. Many traditionalists strongly condemn the Iraq war, and nuclear weapons. There is also a growing appreciation of Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin and the Catholic Worker Movement. I am basing my thoughts mostly on the traditional movement in America. I remember when the traditional movement seemed dominated by members of the John Birch Society, and others that preached the gospel of 1950s conservative/anti-communist America, but those members of the traditional movement are aging just as quickly as the hippies. I am convinced that many of the early traditionalists gravitated to the TLM in reaction against the liberals, as opposed to a desire for a liturgy that more adequately reflected authentic Catholicism. These people can still found during the coffee hours after the TLM, discussing how communists are are going to take over America, how McCarthy was right and probably killed by the government, and lamenting for the good old days of the 1950s when everyone was a good patriotic American, who believed in truth, justice and the American way. They are also usually the ones arguing that this aspect of the TLM, or that aspect was wrong, because it is not how they remembered it when they were children.

  23. Seminarian says:

    I would disagree EXTREMELY that there is not a large traditional movement in the Church.

    Sure, not every young man in seminary will necessarily push for the Traditional Latin Mass, but I have yet to find ANY seminarian under 35 that is opposed to it. Even those who have no plans to say it are certainly very fond of Latin, Ad Orientem, and the general reform of the Ordinary Form.

    On addition to that, they are passionate about simply following the directives of the Pope (no matter what the personal opinion is), and are excited to bring our Lord to the faithful.

    I happen to think obedience to the Holy See is traditional, and first and foremost this is returning. If someone wants it another way, then please find young men willing to give their lives for their cause.

  24. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    “How could John Paul II have appointed all those strange bishops or allowed strange bishops to remain in their places?”

    I’m not totally convinced by the theory that Pope John Paul had a softly-softly masterplan gradually to re-populate the world’s episcopate with theologically sound bishops, while occasionally making “strange” appointments in order to avoid open revolt by the modernists.

    My view is that he remained an outsider in the Vatican, never really getting to grips with the Italianate bureaucracy and all the subtle power politics and behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings–including those connected with the appointment of bishops. By way of compensation, he preferred to lead by example (which was one of his outstanding contributions to the Church). As a true Pole, he had a profound respect for the Catholic Church as an institution and for its seniority structures, and his natural tendency was to behave deferentially towards high-ranking members of the clergy. So, if a nuncio in a particular country proposed a terna for a new episcopal appointment, John Paul treated it as a deeply serious proposal from a high-ranking church dignatary worthy of great respect, and generally accepted whatever the recommendation was.

    At the end of the day, Pope John Paul was a pontiff whose trust in God, and in the power of God to change hearts and minds, was so absolute that it overcame any distrust of human frailty that might otherwise have influenced his choice — or retention — of bishops.

  25. Woody Jones says:

    I am second to none in my love and respect for our Holy Father, for whose election I earnestly prayed, and I am sure that his work, in teaching and doing what he can in the administration of the Church will prove to be very important in the true renewal of the Church that is still to come. But I also agree with those who express some skepticism about “brick by brick”. The problem with “brick by brick” is that by its nature it requires a long and sustained commitment to the desired end. And it does seem evident yet to me that there is that much of a constituency for a sustained effort of revival of the type we care about. Who among the papabile could be counted upon to continue Benedict’s work? I am not so sure even about Bertone or Schoenborn, and aside from them, who, then?

    So I return to what I may have said here before: what is needed is the advent of a Providential Man, a new St. Francis or St Paul, to carry away the Church and the world by the force of his holiness and example. Such a one will come only when the Good Lord is ready to send him; we cannot elect him or designate him, all we can do is strive to merit the grace of his coming, by our prayer and penance.

  26. michigancatholic says:

    Only one thing wrong with your Bernardin hypothesis, Fr. McAfee: It’s never right to do a wrong with the expectation that a good will result. Morals 101.

  27. As someone who was born in the mid 80’s here’s what I see for the future of the Church.

    1. Many of my friends are in line with Rome. Practicing Catholics, they want to know the Truth that’s been hidden from them (i.e. heretic catecheists, etc). Tradition is making a come back. All though we are far away from it totally.

    2. I don’t think that for us that we want pre-Vatican II Church as we do actual Vatican II Church. Many of us have read the documents on Vatican II and look at our parish and go what happened? The spirit of Vatican II is dying out, but again, we’re still a long ways away.

    3. As more and more of us are exposed to the TLM the affinity that comes with being at the Mass, and soon it will be apart of regular parish life. brick by brick

    I wouldn’t say that Liberal Catholicism is dead, just on its last breath, with the knockout blow coming very soon.

  28. michigancatholic says:

    David Rog & RBrown,
    You’re both right on some things and both wrong on others.

    The situation with laity satisfaction is a little more profound than either of you seem to think. On the one hand, the laity does seem to be satisfied on the surface and repeat what they are told–going along with the flow, so to speak–as long as it doesn’t demand too much. People don’t want conflict. But on the other hand, the expectations have gone way down, as RBrown states. That is true. Priestly status is lower than I think I’ve ever seen it. People are very much more likely now to pin their hopes on one or another particular priest whom they know personally, and to shop around for parish services, while the general climate of trust has degraded. This kind of shopping is extremely common, and it is common over a wide variety of motivations and views. We’ve all witnessed the problems that have driven this kind of behavior–they’ve been endemic so I’m sure no examples are necessary.

    So while it’s true that most of the laity are not making a vocally negative assessment about the church, it’s also true that the grounds for any possible assessment have shifted dramatically to a more minor key. People feel less satisfaction with the church in general, but simultaneously feel that it’s less important to vocalize any objections they might feel, because it all matters less than it used to. Thus you get the couple who attend church but wouldn’t want their child to become a priest, for example.

    Lay ministry is also now entrenched and the dynamic is interesting. Precisely because priestly trust is so low, lay ministers have an enhanced status but it’s a bigger piece of a smaller pie. The public resents paying lay ministers large salaries because the quality of performance is usually very poor, and not always very useful. They’re substitutes and no one much really disputes that. *And, honestly, most people no longer rely on the church for much. That’s one of the biggest facts the church has yet to face.* There are 2 factors that led to this:
    1. People have decided that they can do exactly as they see fit personally, and look to the church for other things–ie. emotional satisfaction, cultural perks of a particular sort (getting the kid baptised in the white dress, a pretty wedding, a warm feeling on Christmas, etc etc). They no longer consult the church when they marry, when grandma is unplugged from the respirator, when sis gets pregnant, etc. Statistics bear this out.
    2. The church abdicated this turf. Everyone who has gone looking for the kind of leadership that the church used to have has discovered this fact. The church has simply stepped back and doesn’t make the claims, expect the results or provide the support that was previously forthcoming.

    BTW, the evolution of all this occurred during the years 1978-2000 & that’s relevant to this discussion. People–across the spectrum of possible dispositions toward the church–widely believed that they had been abandoned, and for a variety of good reasons.

    This dynamic is resisted by those who believe it can’t possibly be true, but statistics do bear this out. The church has got to come to terms with it.

    And RBrown, something you said is very precisely correct: “…the situation here is simply that Catholics have learned to live with what they have.”

    Many people aren’t happy with the stripping of the altars, however they conceptualize that, but are more or less repulsed by what they see and are glad they have some freedom from corruption, however they conceptualize that…so here we are, neither very happy nor very willing to yell about what we think we might be able salvage from it. Expectations are lower, with all that entails.

  29. michigancatholic says:

    Francis Brennan,
    I think your hypothesis about PJP2 is plausible, & explains why he simply refused to govern. There are many examples.

    Leaving things in God’s hands is important. But it never removes the necessity to discharge one’s proper responsibilities while waiting for God to act. To behave otherwise is more characteristic of Eastern religions, not Christianity.

  30. Louis E. says:

    Bertone has been rumored as the Pope’s preference as to a successor in the near term (as we wait for him to be named Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati),beyond that perhaps Cardinal Canizares Llovera,who has been nicknamed “the little Ratzinger”?

  31. californiacatholic says:

    I’m trying to figure out if I am a liberal or “trad” Catholic. Where can I read more on the distinction between the two? I am a GenXer with some values from both sides, I believe. I have a few thoughts after reading this discussion:

    1. When were interracial marriages permitted in the Church? Was that Vatican II?

    2. Can I still be Catholic if I believe abortion should remain legal even though it is morally wrong?

    3. And if the Catholic Church is the “one true Church”, my family has been Catholic (in Europe) for hundreds of years and all family members are viewed as “practicing Catholic” or “non-practicing Catholic”, but there is not an authentic alternative religion to belong to, then why should more traditional Catholics than I make me feel that I do not belong? Just because I don’t attend mass every day (only on Sundays), I have very mixed views on the role of the Church in guiding my sexual life (although I will not outright say that the Church is incorrect, just very idealistic), why can’t I entertain ideas of being part of my church leadership? I am committed to taking care of the poor (and have proven it through my professional career), I am committed to creating a kinder, gentler, more connected world, promoting volunteerism and community, and passing on religious traditions, including praying the Rosary and praying to the Saints.

    4. I get the feeling that the litmus test for whether or not you adhere to Vatican II teachings (as a parishioner), is whether you are against contraception and abortion. Isn’t there more to the Church than that? If I have mixed feelings about those things, can I ever be part of my church’s leadership? Must I forever be made to feel like a second-class citizen by sanctimonious people who were previously alcoholics and drug-addicts but have been cleansed (or “born again”?). Should I even be taking communion?

    I appreciate the intellectual nature of the Church and the variety of views posted on this website. I don’t mean to make this discussion all about me, I’m using myself as an example of a practicing Catholic at a crossroads, living the division of views within the Church, and trying to come to some kind of peace.

  32. Virgil says:

    Wow, californiacatholic… I think you have mailed EXACTLY what I was trying to say in my earlier post about Father Reese’s struggle with young “trads” who remain “liberal,” and Father Z’s struggle with the “liberal” views of the lot of us.

    Let me put it this way. THE OLD DEFINITIONS OF RIGHT AND LEFT ARE GONE AWAY for us. The Baby Boomers neatly organize themselves into Right and Left, and they want their Church to neatly line up in the same fashion.

    Your abortion example is a good one. Your Baby Boomer Bishop Burke would deny communion to pro-abort politicians. Your Baby Boomer Call to Action Hippies want the Church to recognize “a woman’s right to choose” her talking point.

    But for us GenXers and Millenials, it is enough for the Church to preach the Gospel of Life, so that women in tough situations make the right choice. It seems crazy to us that a bishop would deny communion to a pro-abortion politician. NOT BECAUSE we think the Church should be “pro-choice” but rather because we think that overtly POLITICAL actions actually DIMINISH the Church’s power to teach. Does that make us Liberal? (Because we don’t want to see Nancy Pelosi booted out of Nationals Park?) Or Trad? (Because we want Nancy Pelosi to be held accountable like the rest of us?)

    What distinguishes us from both sides of the Great Baby Boomer Divide, is that we REFUSE TO LET THE CHURCH STOOP TO THE CRASS LEVEL OF CULTURAL POLITICS. Instead, we want to hear the Gospel preached, and to make informed and Spirit-filled decisions in our own lives, and as a Church.

  33. Tim Ferguson says:

    californiacatholic – the Church never forbade interracial marriages. There may have been unfortunate incidents when Catholic pastors upheld the unjust civil laws on the matter, but it had never been against the teaching of the Church.

    If you are baptized Catholic, you remain Catholic no matter what. Your views on abortion and contraception may be contrary to the teachings of the Church, but do not wholly “kick you out of” the Church. In fact, even the penalty of excommunication does not place anyone outside of the Church (and I’m not saying you are excommunicate – that would only apply if you are subject to a canonical trial, or if you commit a delict, like active involvement in procuring an abortion, that places you under that penalty).

    Certainly the Church’s teaching on abortion and contraception is less central than, say, the Church’s teaching on Christ’s redemptive death. But, adherence to the truth is adherence to the truth. Let’s use the sun as an example – the sun emits light, heat, provides plants with food for growth, provides vitamin E, and powers solar power plants. One can say that the sun providing vitamin E is less important than light, heat and photosynthesis. Still, it is truth.

    cc and Virgil – I’d urge you, and anyone having a difficulty or disagreement with any teaching of the Church to study the matter, in a spirit of real humility and prayer. A prayer that a great old priest in Minnesota once taught me (Fr. Leo Dolan, for those who know him) was to pray constantly for the grace “sentire cum ecclesia” – to think (perceive, feel, understand) with the Church.

    For the sake of generational placement, I’m one of those “in between” the Boomer generation and GenX – with older brothers and sisters who are firmly in the Boomer camp, and most of my friends solidly GenX.

  34. Jacques says:

    Wow, Tim
    You are wrong : Regarding abortion, to say or even think that abortion is justifiable “kicks you out of the Church” IPSO FACTO : You are EXCOMMUNICATED , that means that ou cannot be accepted to communion and all other sacraments unless you sincerely repent from your errors and make a PUBLIC retraction. Ipso facto means that there is no need of canonical trial. Pls ask Fr Zuhldorf if I am wrong on this point.
    That’s a good example of the confusion which VatII led the faitfuls in.
    Sorry to say that a priest who knowingly gives communion to a person who supports abortion partakes in his eternal dmnation: And in my opinion the priest bears a greater guilt than the faithful who may at least (like yourself) claim his ignorance, what the priest can’t.

  35. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Thanks, Lawrence, your explanation fits nicely with my own experience. I suppose I belong to what could be wryly termed, “Generation Gap.” We almost all went to Mass (Ordinary Form) while at primary school, fifty percent lapsed by secondary school, now about ten per cent attend, and the others couldn’t care less. They imagine the troubled ’70s & ’80s to be ‘normal’ Catholicism ergo Catholicism has no relevance to their lives.

    I wonder and worry about the less than 10%. There is a tiny minority with a strong attachment to the Church (usually gained outside the parochial structure e.g. Opus Dei, TLM goers/leaners etc), then there are those who have become ‘involved’ (EMHCs, liturgical dancers and whatever), but I can’t help wondering about the remainder: what is there about slapdash celebrations of Mass and pop liturgical music that attracts them?

    A witty cleric remarked once, “There are those of my parishioners who are too lazy to go to Mass on a Sunday, and there are those too lazy to stop coming.”

  36. Tim Ferguson says:

    Jacques,

    Excommunication has nothing to do with “kicking you out of the Church,” it is an ecclesiastical penalty imposed on Catholics. Those who are excommunicated do not cease being Catholic, rather, they are impeded from “the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts” (paragraph 1463, Catechism of the Catholic Church). The penalty of excommunication is a remedial penalty – meaning it’s purpose is to make the person fully aware of the gravity of his or her situation and to urge him or her to reconciliation.

    Saying or thinking that abortion is justifiable is certainly a heinous thing, and someone who is in a public position doing so makes himself liable to a potential penal trial and possible penalty (c. 1399 of the Latin Code). However, it is only those Latin Catholics who are directly involved in the procuring of an abortion that are subject to the latae sententiae penalty of excommunication (c. 1398).

    When speaking of penalties and excommunication, one must not have more fervor for punishment than the Church does, and one must always defer to the laws of the Church in their precision, rather than blanket statements. Yes, abortion is wrong and is a gravely sinful matter and an appalling crime. Support for the murder of innocents is reprehensible. It does not, however, “expel” one from the Church, since baptism is non-reversible and always has been.

  37. Steve says:

    I made enquiries about becoming a priest in our diocese and I was struck by the following features:

    1) You need to be well connected to the Church socially and economically via your family – the director of vocations admitted that only middle class, well supported students were getting through.

    2) Being a homosexual is not a handicap and sometimes an advantage.

    3) Having the support of one of the “new movements” is also a plus.

    Without one of the above in place it is very tough to gain acceptance. I am not saying that this is sinister but simply the reality. The issue of “liberal” or “trad” is irrelevant.

  38. Habemus Papam says:

    Fr O Buaidhe: speaking as a booming right-winger(?!)give us at least one Sunday Mass in Latin, ad orientem and we will be back. In force.

  39. Br. Andrew says:

    I just have to ask this:

    Why does standing up for the teachings of the Church-all of them-make one a “right-wing conservative traditionalist?” I know there are many distinctions in those words, but I am really sick and tired of being called anything but “Catholic” when I stand for all the Church teaches. And She teaches that TLM is a good and that making up things as you go during the mass is not a good.

    So, is Fr. Z a “Traddy” or is he Catholic? (both?)

    Andrew, OP

  40. About the late Pope John Paul II: people forget he was Polish. If one takes a historical atlas of Europe, it is easy to see how Poland has been either under German or under Russian rul for centuries, and yet they kept their culture and the Faith.
    It happened because they developed an acute sense of history and, at the same time, of what is essential and what is accidental. As a Polish man, JPII knew better than to try and confront the de facto new rulers of the Church. He knew the Church would end up the winner anyway, and it would be better to endure some bad bishops, to be replaced with not-so-bad bishops, and so on. In other words, he would let them die of old age, knowing their ideas would not last much longer than their lives, and the Church will last much more than any heresy.
    Here in Brazil, for instance, when Msgr. Paulo Cardinal Arns used his pulpit as the Archbishop of São Paulo to preach Communism (to the point of aiding and abetting Communist guerillas in churches), JPII divided the Archdiocese in small pieces and left him just a bit of it. He waited until Msgr. Arns left, and replaced him with a not-so-bad Bishop. And so on.
    He knew the Church will last and the heresies would crumble. If he acted differently, he would have faced a huge schism. Here, in our Catholic culture, people obey the Bishop. That is how the Padres de Campos happened: the Bishop was leading them, and people followed him. It is not a matter of good catechesis, although it certainly helped: if, instead of Msgr. Castro Mayer, Msgr. Arns had openly refused to obey, the people would follow just because he was the Bishop. If the Brazilian “progressist” Bishops rebelled openly, they would keep a large part of the flock, only because people are used to obey them. The way JPII did it, now all they have is a handful of old hippie priests and no vocations. When new Bishops, good and orthodox, come, vocations will come back.
    JPII did an admirable work attracting attention to the Papacy. He made people realize that the Pope is important, that the Pope is not just a picture on the wall. Now benedict, the Teacher, will take the stage JPII prepared, and – just like in St. John Bosco’s dream – the Church will again be firmly tied to the twin columns of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Virgin.
    Ave Maria…

  41. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Ferguson,

    I am a little confused about your understanding of excommunication. It was my understanding that an excommunicated person is indeed outside of the Church, and is not to be considered a member of the Church. Pius XII Mystici Corporis Christi:

    22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.”[17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.[18] And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered – so the Lord commands – as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.

    I was always under the impression that “been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed” referred to excommunication. I believe this is the highest teaching authority on the subject. Before this encyclical there was some debate about who is to be considered a member of the Church. Some theologians, for example, maintained that a person in a state of mortal sin was not a member of the Church. Pius XII basically confirmed the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine on this issue.

  42. Jacques: </b>Regarding abortion, to say or even think that abortion is justifiable “kicks you out of the Church” IPSO FACTO : You are EXCOMMUNICATED , that means that ou cannot be accepted to communion and all other sacraments unless you sincerely repent from your errors and make a PUBLIC retraction. Ipso facto means that there is no need of canonical trial. Pls ask Fr Zuhldorf if I am wrong on this point.</b>

    First, the one to whom your wrote this, Tim Ferguson, doesn’t need to ask me about what is right or wrong about excommunication.  We need to ask him.  He is a trained and working canonist, and a smart fellow.

    When a person is excommunicated, he may not receive the sacraments.  He is not “kicked out of the Church”.  The Church doesn’t kick anyone out.  As a matter of fact, a person who is excommunicated is still under the obligation to go to Mass on Sundays, to support the Church, etc.  But he may not receive the sacraments until the censure of excommunication is lifted.

    <b>That’s a good example of the confusion which VatII led the faitfuls in.</b>

    This is not correct.  Vatican II did not lead the faithful astray in anything regarding excommunication or abortion.  However, at the same time that John XXIII announced there would be a Council, he also announced the revision of the Code of Canon Law.  The revised Code was promulgated in 1983 and it incorporated some theological passages and points from the Council’s documents, especially in regard to the make up of the Church.  Although the 1983 Code made adjustments to the way people might incur an excommunication, let us not forget that after the Council, as before, the Church uses excommunication as a remedy.  When a person sins regarding something very important to the life of the Church or the sanctity of life itself, he hurts himself, endangers his own soul, and hurts the whole Church, possibly endangering the souls of other people.  Excommunication is a remedial measure, used like medicine, to heal the damage done.  The severity of the censure is designed to draw the person back to his senses and come to repent so that he can once again receive the sacaments.   This is what excommunication was before the Council.  This is what excommunication is after the Council.

    Concerning abortion, a person must participate actively or materially in the successful procuring of a abortion.  It is a little hard to say what level of participation a person must have before he or she incurs the excommunication.   Certainly the people directly involved, such as the doctor, etc.  The woman herself?  She may be so terrified or under so much pressure from others around her that she doesn’t have full use of her will and therefore the guilt for the action may be somewhat mitigated.  For her, objectively the act would be intrinsically evil, but subjectively she may not have sinned in the fullest sense of mortal sin.  Giving council, or money, etc, for the abortion.  Is it direct and active involvement?  This gets stickier.  Certainly it is sinful.  But does it incur the excommunication?  It is hard to say.  A politician who votes for abortion: direct and active?  Probably not.  Their sin, however is a little different.  They are creating scandal that tears at the faith people have in the teachings of the Church and, by their words and public actions, promoting an evil.  If they were to be excommunicated, they wouldn’t be excommunicated for the direct and active procuring of abortions (like a doctor).  They would be censured for causing scandal, etc.  A different sin.

    Sorry to say that a priest who knowingly gives communion to a person who supports abortion partakes in his eternal dmnation: And in my opinion the priest bears a greater guilt than the faithful who may at least (like yourself) claim his ignorance, what the priest can’t.

     It is certainly true that priests have a great responsibility, especially if they have the cura animarum, the “care of souls”.  But priests can be surprised if all of a sudden a person shows up for Communion, and in that moment not know exactly how to proceed.  After all, denying a person Holy Communion is a very seriously thing.  I remember once telling a teenage girl that I would not give her Communion while she was chewing gum.  left the line, got rid of the gum and came back and received.  But her parents were furious and they got all sorts of people to complain about me, etc.  And that wasn’t even denial of Communion.  This is a very serious matter.  Also, priests don’t generally have special powers or graces which allow them to see the heart and mind of the person in front of them.  It is one thing when a public figure shows up, it is another when you are in front of Joe Bagofdonuts, who is expecting to receive Communion.  If a priest doesn’t know the person’s disposition, and that is very hard to know, it is hard for him to deny Communion.  Of course, if people are in that moment of Communion manifesting a bad attitude, such as these people to put on rainbow striped sashes on Pentecost to protest the Church’s teaching about homosexuality, a priest must deny them Communion. 

    Anyway, to end this, it seems to me that the censures are actually very hard to incur, because they are so serious.  We should be careful not to throw terms like “kicked out” and “damned” around too easily. 

  43. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Habemus Papam:

    I don’t know where you are, but with just three exceptions my parishioners just don’t want to know. There is no latent pocket of traditionally-minded Catholics, young or old, in my parish. I have turned the entire field over at least three times; it doesn’t exist in this part of Ireland. A different strategy is called for here.

  44. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “Sorry to say that a priest who knowingly gives communion to a person who supports abortion partakes in his eternal damnation: And in my opinion the priest bears a greater guilt than the faithful who may at least (like yourself) claim his ignorance, what the priest can’t.”

    Sorry to say, Father, apparently some bishops (and archbishops and cardinals) don’t seem to see it this way, the limits of their jurisdictions notwithstanding.

    Regarding the young lady who was chewing gum, wouldn’t she have been in violation of the one hour fast before receiving, regardless of whether she got rid of the gum or not? I’m not trying to be overly scrupulous here, just wondering. I’m afraid the reaction of the parents is certainly not unusual these days. In this crazy, mixed up world, their kids are always right and those in authority seem to have no right to make any demands of their kids.

  45. RBrown says:

    1. I know where the blog is anchored. And if you think that this blog isn’t right wing, you need to get out more.

    It’s always disappointing–though not surprising–to see the political categories of Right and Left applied to life in the Church.

    BTW, politically, I consider myself to be a Left Wing Conservative.

    2. My experience is different. We will have to agree to differ on that one.

    Paul VI produced the LCD Church (Lowest Common Denominator). Can you name any LCD organization where the better people are happy?

    3. This is partly true. But there are a great many good priests who are trusted and loved.

    I realize that, and I know some of them. But many of the better priests, like Fr Z and Fr Angel, don’t exist as a consequence of seminary formation or the life lived by the average priest. Rather, they are products of their own initiative–reading on the own, soliciting the advice of some of the better priests, or paying their own way for advanced studies.

    One other point: I know lots of good Catholics locally who go to daily mass. But I don’t think any of them in the past 10 years has invited a priest into their home for dinner.

    4. If that is true, then it was every bit as true before the council, when people often went to Church out of fear and duty.

    That’s a worst case analysis.

    I acknowledge there were problems before the Council, and most were the product, IMHO, of either the By-The-Numbers Counter Reformation Church–or a reaction against it.

    Theologically, much of the pre VatII theology was dry as dust, reducing theology to little else than a branch of Library Science. Such a formation left many open to the Community of Man Ideology that dominated the Church for about 30 years by masquerading as Ecumenical Theology.

    5. True. But this is normally a trad fallback position. When they realise that the council isn’t going to go away, they try to tell us that we didn’t read it right. They are partly right – as I said in my point about things having gone too far to the left – but only up to a point.
    Comment by David Rog

    I am by inclination and education a Thomist, which disqualifies me as a Trad. As a Thomist, following John XXIII (cf. Veterum Sapientia), I consider Latin to be the fuel that runs the Catholic engine.

    Documents of the Council? It depends. This is not the time or place to comment on them.

  46. Limbo says:

    I do not buy this explanation for one minute –

    “I think one of the great things John Paul did for the Church was do drag it back from the edge of schism, not on the right, but on the left. He did it by slowly shifting the world’s episcopate around. He did it patiently, not trying to change things too quickly, lest moving too fast sparked off true revolt. If he swept away liberal bishops, he had to start with a little hand-held brush rather than get out the big push broom. So, he had to allow the appointment even of enemies in some places, but as the years went on, he could pick up the pace. ”

    So who was responsible for the Church being on the edge of schism ?
    These ‘enemies’ you refer to were the ‘holy’ men we were all supposed to obey ! the ‘holy ‘ men who formed our priests, who confirmed our children, who ran our dioceses, who allowed liturgical abuse to run rampant.
    Are we supposed to believe that JPII did all this on purpose ?
    More to the point – I don’t think he noticed.

  47. RBrown says:

    MichiganCatholic,

    You said that I wrote something that is wrong but failed to mention what it was.

    Well, what was it?

  48. C says:

    RBrown,

    Being a Thomist disqualifies you as a trad! What?! That is absurd. Why do you think the SSPX seminary is called “St Thomas Aquinas Seminary”? Why do you think that the FSSP seminary are, by their very constitution, specifically Thomist institutions? Traditionalism has almost been synonymous with Thomism since the council. The nuvelle Theologie of the 50’s was the anti-Thomism. The Councils greatest impact in theology was to dislodge Thomism from its position as the standard, universal system. Trads have always considered Thomism’s return to be a vital element in the return to tradition. After the Council some heterodox Dominicans tried to re-define what Thomism is. Are you sure you are not referring to that?

  49. TNCath says:

    RBrown: “I consider Latin to be the fuel that runs the Catholic engine.”

    I consider Christ to be the fuel that runs the Catholic engine.

  50. Steve says:

    The great litmus test for the JPII was Holland in 1978/1979 when he sacked the one trad bishop they had in their conference. He was exiled to Iceland where irony of ironies, as a result of Filipino immigration, (they work in the health service), his Church grew!

    JPII, presumably, feared schism in Holland so I am not surpised to learn that the same fear now exists in respect of Brazil within the Vatican.

    These situations would have been unthinkable 50 years ago and probably says as much about our World as the church itself. The deference to authority is no longer there nor the fear of God.

    We have surely got to start talking openly about our problems and admit that things are in a bad way. The site of a priest smiling inanely at his congregation come Sunday morning, I find alienating – it simply doesn’t reflect the reality of the things. It suggests, to me, a lack of humility on his part.

  51. RBrown says:

    RBrown: “I consider Latin to be the fuel that runs the Catholic engine.”
    I consider Christ to be the fuel that runs the Catholic engine.
    Comment by TNCath

    Christ and the Holy Spirit.

    But in so far as the running of the Catholic engine is done by the communication between the visible head, the Pope, and the particular Churches, then Latin is that fuel. Thus, JXXIII:

    Since “every Church must assemble round the Roman Church,”8 and since the Supreme Pontiffs have “true episcopal power, ordinary and immediate, over each and every Church and each and every Pastor, as well as over the faithful”9 of every rite and language, it seems particularly desirable that the instrument of mutual communication be uniform and universal, especially between the Apostolic See and the Churches which use the same Latin rite.

    And of course this instrument of communication is Latin.

  52. Habemus Papam says:

    Fr. O Buaidhe: I’m always a bit surprised to hear that the Traditional Mass is not so popular in Ireland, you know historically seen as a strongly Catholic nation. I’m thinking of those lapsed Catholics who I feel sure would come back if the Latin Mass was available. In a sense, for this constituency the term “lapsed” is incorrect. They didn’t leave the Church, the Church left them.

  53. Jacques says:

    Dear Fr Zuhlsdorf,
    Possibly my post seemed a bit imprudent.
    But:
    1/ As an excommunicated person, not being admitted to the sacraments, up to that extent to be denied religious funerals, looks closely like to be kicked out of the Church. \”Keep out, we no longer know you\”. One may gamble with the words…
    2/ I know that the less guilty in an abortion is the mother herself who often is in distress.
    In my opinion the gap between thinking or saying even mezza voce that an abortion is justifiable and counseling or helping a woman to undergo one is extremely small.
    Only thinking means that you will never raise a finger to prevent an abortion since you secretly approve it. Same as if someone is assaulted with death threat and not only you don\’t dare to defend him, but also you agree with his murder.
    Where is the difference? In my opinion the excommunication penalty applies to both cases much more than to the mother

  54. Michael says:

    “and those born in the 1960s are a forgotten, unnamed generation.”

    Oh No!. I’m a “FUG” too!

  55. Jacques: Where is the difference? In my opinion the excommunication penalty applies to both cases much more than to the mother

    When you become the Supreme Pontiff, and therefore the Legislator, you will be able to adjust Canon Law to reflect how you think it should be.

    In the meantime, I think we should not impose too much on Canon Law and make it harsher than it is.

  56. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Habemus Papam:

    It is surprising but after a good number of years of reflection I have come to the conclusion that sin is the base cause, namely the sins of pride and jealousy.

    Bearing in mind that the materially poor are not always humble, we can see in modern Ireland a desperation to be rid of the past package of monolithic traditional Catholicism, poverty and backwardness. There is a lot to be said for material progress (I for one have no burning desire to return to our old well for drinking water and lug it half a mile to the house as we did right up to the early nineties!), the desperation however, seems to have more than a hint of jealousy of other nations, and also a dollop of pride that the people today are not just better off than their forebears but also better people. Thus, BEGONE anything which smacks of that past, including the traditional Mass.

    The reading and thinking sincere Catholics are a different matter; I’m speaking mainly of the go-with-the-flow majority.

    A different angle on the same sins is seen in the attitude of the children and grandchildren of a lot of country folk; they seem to regard working on the land as something shameful. It’s funny, because I see no such inhibition among the professional German and Dutch people who have bought a number of the old plots and are proud to grow their own veg and wield great forkfuls of muck in the process.

  57. Jacques says:

    OK
    But the harshest remains for the innocent victims…

  58. A.Williams says:

    Does anyone think the Neo Catechumenal Way poses any danger to the Church, being sort of a hybrid between Traditional or progressive? They did attract over 160 bishops from around the world to an event in the holy land a month, or so, ago. Wouldn’t this classify as something strange, considering the highly abusive liturgy they currently perform…and with dozens of their Redemptoris Mater Seminaries over-flowing with vocations? …Just curious if others here are informed about these ‘new movement’ happenings in the Church?

  59. LCB says:

    californiacatholic,

    It sounds like you are sincerely seeking clarification. However, the issues you brought up are too large to deal with in a blog post. I would be happy to discuss some of those issues with you, via e-mail. Feel free to e-mail me at your convenience:

    LukeCBruner (-AT-) gmail (-DOT-) com

  60. Maureen says:

    I can’t believe someone would even consider someone being made a bishop in Iceland as a demotion or exile!!

    Look. The Scandinavian countries, before the Reformation and after their conversion, were powerhouses of holiness. They became powerhouses of anti-Catholicism. So one of the big Vatican priorities during the last couple centuries has been to woo them back. The Brigittines and other groups are regarded highly by the Vatican for their witness in Scandinavia, and they have made great progress.

    Being a bishop in Iceland would be a post which regards a certain skill in languages. (Icelandic is an independent language, and quite a bit different from Danish/Swedish/Norwegian, IIRC.) It would also require a lot of backbone, holiness, and zeal for evangelism. It’s a promotion, and one which provides an imaginative bishop with much scope to work, and much power to shape the future of Iceland for centuries to come.

    And hey, Iceland is an awfully nifty place to live. With all those hot springs, too — so it’s a promotion with a spa!

  61. californiacatholic says:

    To Virgil:

    THANK YOU FOR THIS COMMENT!!! We’re on the same page.

    “What distinguishes us from both sides of the Great Baby Boomer Divide, is that we REFUSE TO LET THE CHURCH STOOP TO THE CRASS LEVEL OF CULTURAL POLITICS. Instead, we want to hear the Gospel preached, and to make informed and Spirit-filled decisions in our own lives, and as a Church.”

    To Tim Ferguson:

    Thank you for the advice. It’s good and I’m working on it.

    “cc and Virgil – I’d urge you, and anyone having a difficulty or disagreement with any teaching of the Church to study the matter, in a spirit of real humility and prayer. A prayer that a great old priest in Minnesota once taught me (Fr. Leo Dolan, for those who know him) was to pray constantly for the grace “sentire cum ecclesia” – to think (perceive, feel, understand) with the Church.”

    To Father Z:

    I appreciate your comment about how it is difficult for a priest to be able to sum up all of a person’s good and bad qualities and actions, and to judge at the time of communion. I feel that if I were in front of you at communion you would still allow me to receive it, albeit thinking I have a lot of work to do in reconciling my thinking in those areas to that of the Church.

    “It is certainly true that priests have a great responsibility, especially if they have the cura animarum, the “care of souls”. But priests can be surprised if all of a sudden a person shows up for Communion, and in that moment not know exactly how to proceed. After all, denying a person Holy Communion is a very seriously thing. I remember once telling a teenage girl that I would not give her Communion while she was chewing gum. left the line, got rid of the gum and came back and received. But her parents were furious and they got all sorts of people to complain about me, etc. And that wasn’t even denial of Communion. This is a very serious matter. Also, priests don’t generally have special powers or graces which allow them to see the heart and mind of the person in front of them. It is one thing when a public figure shows up, it is another when you are in front of Joe Bagofdonuts, who is expecting to receive Communion. If a priest doesn’t know the person’s disposition, and that is very hard to know, it is hard for him to deny Communion. Of course, if people are in that moment of Communion manifesting a bad attitude, such as these people to put on rainbow striped sashes on Pentecost to protest the Church’s teaching about homosexuality, a priest must deny them Communion.

    Anyway, to end this, it seems to me that the censures are actually very hard to incur, because they are so serious. We should be careful not to throw terms like “kicked out” and “damned” around too easily.

    Comment by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf — 5 May 2008 @ 8:47 am

  62. Michael says:

    I think the first poster might be right. You visit these blogs and think the world is changing. You visit your local parish and realize it’s not and that some things are just getting worse. We see a thousand people show up at a Cathedral TLM and are supposed to think this means the average person is dissatisfied with the NO. But how many people point out that a thousand traditionalists, rounded up from all the indult chapels within a four hours drive of the cathedral, still only represent a miniscule fraction of the Catholic population? I’ve had people point to certain quickly growing religious communities as examples of how young people hunger for good liturgy. But then when you realize your dealing with one community of its kind for the entire English speaking world, three or four new vocations a year seems like nothing at all. The Jesuits still get more vocations than all the traditionalist orders combined. All of the most successful movements have bad liturgy. As for the “reform of the reform,” a Latin Novus Ordo is harder to find than a TLM. The Pope can wear beautiful vestments and dust off the ermine mozzetta but the liturgical life of your average Catholic is no better today than it was ten years ago. Where’s the change? I think we just have to admit that your average Catholic is content with the way things are and change is only going to come through legislation. But that may never happen.

  63. Chironomo says:

    I also have to testify to the growth of the “traditional” movement… however I think it is less of a lay movement and more of a clerical movement. That’s why it is not so visible RIGHT NOW… and this is important. Any young seminarian (please chime in if you’re out there) will verify that those in the seminary RIGHT NOW are far more “traditonal” or “orthodox” than those who are currently Priests. Those in the seminary RIGHT NOW are being trained in both OF and EF. This will have a profound effect on the church several years down the road, as they become Pastors. The laity will follow their lead, but until then, the laity follow the lead of the current Priests.

    Also, as for the change being “over-hyped”.. in our Diocese (Venice in Florida) we had ONE TLM at 7:00AM last September. ONE in the whole Diocese. This past week, yet another was added, bringing the number now to FIVE TLM celebrations on Sunday throughout the Diocese. Talk continues to add more in the coming months. Five-fold growth in 9 months… with more to come? If that’s “hype”, may the “hype” continue to bless our Diocese!!

  64. RBrown says:

    Being a Thomist disqualifies you as a trad! What?! That is absurd. Why do you think the SSPX seminary is called “St Thomas Aquinas Seminary”?

    1. It was purchased from the Dominicans.

    2. St Thomas Aquinas is the patron of students.

    Why do you think that the FSSP seminary are, by their very constitution, specifically Thomist institutions? Traditionalism has almost been synonymous with Thomism since the council.

    1. I am aware of the Constitutions because I taught in the FSSP theology faculty. At the time I was the only prof with an STD.

    2. And you incorrect about Traditionalism and theology. Although there are those in the SSPX who are fond of Garrigou LaGrange, by and large, SSPX theology usually hearkens back to the days of pre Vat II Neo-Scholasticism, which has more in common with Duns Scotus than it does with St Thomas. More about that below.

    La Nouvelle Theologie of the 50’s was the anti-Thomism. The Councils greatest impact in theology was to dislodge Thomism from its position as the standard, universal system. Trads have always considered Thomism’s return to be a vital element in the return to tradition. After the Council some heterodox Dominicans tried to re-define what Thomism is. Are you sure you are not referring to that?
    Comment by C

    Although La Nouvelle Theologie was often in opposition to St Thomas, it was directed more at Neo-Scholasticism. Even though this Neo-Scholasticism was often considered to be the thought of St Thomas, there are many serious differences between the two, among which are

    1. Neo-Scholasticism is Ecclesiocentric, but St Thomas’ approach is Theocentric and Christocentric. Neo Sch relies on the authority of the Church–such and such is true because the Church teaches it. St Thomas never approaches theology that way (even though he will cite Popes and Councils in the Sed Contra): His theological arguments are always from Scripture, the Fathers, and Reason (principally, what are called argumenta ex convenientia.

    2. St Thomas’ approach to theology is analogical. But the SSPX tends always toward univocal understanding of any theological proposition, only admitting one meaning. And so they will take an ambiguous (equivocal) phrase from Vat II and interpret it only one way. The irony is that their interpretation is usually the same as the liberals; the difference is that the libs think it’s a good interpretation, the SSPX bad.

    From those anti-Thomas “principles” comes a third.

    3. They usually consider the pope’s moral authority co-terminous with his legal authority. In fact, the pope has legal authority over things for which he lacks the moral authority. For example, the pope has the legal authority to bull doze St Peter’s and let Walmart built a super center there. But it’s doubtful that he has the moral authority. Ditto for the liturgy: The pope has the legal authority to make substantial changes that don’t contradict doctrine. But whether he has the moral authority to make those changes is another question.

  65. A Philadelphian says:

    Speaking from a post-GenX, pre-millennial position: I think this Time article is right on the money. I would make a distinction between a changing ethos and changing practice. On the level of practice, I think the first guy is actually correct — you have like a .005% chance (yes, this is wholly fabricated) chance of walking into a respectfully and reverently celebrated liturgy in the US or anywhere else. If you are blessed enought to stumble into a TLM well that’s like hitting the lottery! But that having been said, there is a real shift in ethos or zeitgeist, if you will among everyone who’s NOT a boomer. And this is because, all that 60’s blah-blah has failed miserably, and we are the ones who have to live with the failure — divorce rates, lowered mass attendence, priest in my age group who carry the burden daily of not having enough men to help them, utter immorality in all media — all of this and more resulted from the sixties, but it is the post-boomer generation(s) that is left to deal with it. And we have said “enough.” Let the Church reign: Habemus Papam!

  66. C says:

    Well, I certainly think of myself as a Trad AND a Thomist. You will find if you look up the meaning of true neo-scholasticism in the Catholic encyclopedia that it is very much connected with (though not synonymous with, I grant) neo-Thomism. I think you are not being quite fair in your definition of Neo-Scholasticism.

    Garrigou LaGrange was a great early warrior against the modernists and I have no doubt what so ever tht he would have joined the resistance had he lived longer. Indeed, his last work was an attack upon those who would later become the leaders of the post-conciliar revolution in 1960.

    One thing I will agree with you on, however, is the Marian ideas the seem to be prevalent in the trad movement. These are very un-Thomist. They are not, however, synonymous with the movement and one can be in the movement and oppose it. My priest also taught at an FSSP seminary (in Europe) and he is an ardent Thomist who has nothing but praise for those at the council who blocked attempts to call our Lady ‘mediatrix of all graces’. I am totally with him.

  67. Agellius says:

    Virgil:

    You write, ‘It seems crazy to us that a bishop would deny communion to a pro-abortion politician. NOT BECAUSE we think the Church should be “pro-choice” but rather because we think that overtly POLITICAL actions actually DIMINISH the Church’s power to teach.’

    I strongly disagree with you that denying communion to pro-abortion politicians is a political action. On the contrary, the ones engaging in political action are the politicians who insist on receiving communion even after being told by the lawful Church authorities that they should not.

    Someone else wrote to you, “I’d urge you, and anyone having a difficulty or disagreement with any teaching of the Church to study the matter, in a spirit of real humility and prayer.” To which you replied, “Thank you for the advice. It’s good and I’m working on it.” I don’t doubt your sincerity.

    To that end, I suggest studying Archbishop Burke’s side of the issue. He has written a scholarly paper titled “The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin”, wherein he spells out his reasoning and the premises underlying it. You can find it here: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/holycom/denial.htm

  68. Agellius says:

    Virgil:

    Feel free to e-mail me after reading it. I would be very interested to hear what you think. agellius1@gmail.com

  69. Brian Deanen says:

    I dont agree with Michael or David in every respect but I should say that ridiculing them is not a helpful or, dare I say, a Christian approach. You scared the first bloke away completely. If that is how we debate then I can see why people dont like us. Might I suggest, Revd. Father, that if you dont want comments, you disable the feature. Or at the very least, completely delete the ones you don’t like. There is no need to embarrass and poke fun at people.
    I am a ‘trad’ myself and I am excited by the ever easier access to the Traditional form of the Holy Mass. However, I think the future of the Church lies in the two forms existing side by side or possibly coming together. David Reg is at least right that the revival of tradition is being overstated by a very slick PR machine. He is also right to suspect that there are some ‘trads’ who do want to erase the council and all it’s effects from the history books. But its not the way forward.
    Just as the modernists need to accept that us ‘trads’ are not going away, so we need to accept that they (the vast, vast majority of the Church) are not going anywhere either.

    We need to find a way to get along.

  70. Brian Deanen says:

    I should add to this, in direct response to the article itself, that Liberal Catholicism is sadly not dead. At all. Anywhere. Even a little bit. Though we might like to think so.
    While I find liberals difficult to understand and deal with, I truly believe that many of them are good Catholics who are in communion with the Church. Others are not. Some are liberal merely as a way of side-stepping things they dont like. Cafeteria Catholics. Hence, they’re not really where they need to be. But a great many liberals are following Christ as they genuinely find him to be. It is very easy, safe and comfortable to assign the worst of motives to all those we dont like. But one can be liberal and Catholic. Sorry.
    Life would be easier if we were all ‘trad’ though.

  71. Steve says:

    “we need to accept that they (the vast, vast majority of the Church) are not going anywhere either”

    This needs further development. The “vast majority” have lapsed on an unprecedented scale these last 45 years especially in the last 25. Of those that are left in the West, they are like me, getting old and dying off. Massive political statements are being made here about an ever dwindling remnant.

    As for a “slick PR machine”, it’s true that trads seem to dominate the blogosphere but other than that I see little evidence of a functioning machine bringing back the EF in the UK.

    I agree with your “sour grapes” comments. Trads can be a childish and Father should stop his “Fr Tim for Westminster” comments.

  72. Brian Deanen says:

    I agree that most of those who call themselves Catholics are lapsed, but my comment about the vast majority related to the practicing Church. I put the lapsed in the Cafeteria category.
    Maybe youre right about my slick PR machine comments. Perhaps the machine is more about communicating than affecting change. Its interesting that there are few liberal blogs given how vocal the modernists can be. Hermoine commented that “most of us trads know why they dont” I would like to know what this means.

  73. Steve says:

    Liberals/modernists present dialogue stopping arguments. They even contrive to use certain words which prevent a counter argument – “intolerant”, “extreme”, “right-wing”, a favourite in England is simply to refer to ‘trads’ in terms of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” with all the sexual undertones that that implies. Ironically enough, Waugh loved low Mass and remained underwhelmed by excessively baroque liturgy but what is the point of arguing with opponents so determined to be offensive?

    Thus to rather clumsily answer you question, liberal Catholics don’t blog because their main strategy is to prevent dialogue. When they endeavour to engage in debate, they lose every time. They are smart enough to know this and content themselves with ad hominem attacks from time to time.

  74. Jack Regan says:

    I’ve been reading this page and its comments for a few days, as I often do on wdtprs.

    Personally I am not a Traditionalist, though I fully appreciate and support their rights and their spirituality. I think that having more traditional liturgies is a good thing, since the demand seems to be there. As for me, I am sort of centre-right-ish, on most things anyway. Not a liberal by any means!

    There are many points above that I feel like responding to, but the point about valid and helpful debate is probably the most pressing. I agree that the sour grapes stuff is unhelpful. Talk about dialogue stopping arguments! But I certainly see this on the left too. Both sides of the coin can stifle debate, both can blind the other side with quotes and historical facts that they can’t respond to, and both can sadly be childish, insulting and nasty at times.

    There is a breakdown of trust and charity at some levels in the Church which needs to be restored, lest we become split down the middle and essentially two Churches in one, like the Anglicans have become. You only have to look at how much hatred and mistrust there is in that particular communion to see where we could end up if we don’t start talking and listening.

  75. Susan B says:

    Virgil, you said: “But for us GenXers and Millenials, it is enough for the Church to preach the Gospel of Life, so that women in tough situations make the right choice. It seems crazy to us that a bishop would deny communion to a pro-abortion politician. NOT BECAUSE we think the Church should be “pro-choice” but rather because we think that overtly POLITICAL actions actually DIMINISH the Church’s power to teach.”

    It is not primarily a political action to deny communion to a pro-abortion politician. It is a matter of that person’s soul. Publicly supporting abortion is a grave sin. I am not talking about interior qualms or philosophical musings individuals may sometimes entertain, I am talking about publicly supporting the killing of children. That is objectively speaking a grave sin. Recall the Bible verse regarding “discerning the Body of Christ” before receiving? And if not, it is to him condemnation? It is, in fact, an act of charity to deny Communion to those who are clearly and objectively in grave sin. Sparing their soul from further condemnation is infinitely more important than their potential embarrassment in being turned away in the communion line.

    For the record, I am a Gen-Xer (born 1972), raised in a felt-clad Novus Ordo parish, attended Catholic high school primarily taught by lay-people and hippy nuns, and later self-educated myself about the Faith. My husband and children and I attended the TLM, until it was recently curtailed in our area due to the forced resignation of our good, holy priest by our anti-traditionalist Bishop. :(

  76. RBrown says:

    Sorry for the delay.

    Well, I certainly think of myself as a Trad AND a Thomist. You wbill find if you look up the meaning of true neo-scholasticism in the Catholic encyclopedia that it is very much connected with (though not synonymous with, I grant) neo-Thomism. I think you are not being quite fair in your definition of Neo-Scholasticism.

    Garrigou LaGrange was a great early warrior against the modernists and I have no doubt what so ever tht he would have joined the resistance had he lived longer. Indeed, his last work was an attack upon those who would later become the leaders of the post-conciliar revolution in 1960.

    One thing I will agree with you on, however, is the Marian ideas the seem to be prevalent in the trad movement. These are very un-Thomist. They are not, however, synonymous with the movement and one can be in the movement and oppose it. My priest also taught at an FSSP seminary (in Europe) and he is an ardent Thomist who has nothing but praise for those at the council who blocked attempts to call our Lady ‘mediatrix of all graces’. I am totally with him.
    Comment by C

    1. I acknowledge that the various neo-Thomist and neo-Scholastic manuals contained a lot of good, well organized information. Very often their authors were zealous defenders of the faith.

    But their proximity to the thought of St Thomas varied. Among other problems there were efforts to integrate Kantian concepts into the thought of St Thomas.

    2. Two points:

    a. As I said earlier, neo-Scholastic theology almost always has an Ecclesiocentric Sacramental Theology. One aspect of this approach is that it attributes to the Church an authority over the Sacraments that St Thomas would deny.

    IMHO, in EST the liturgists found the theological justification for the authority to make serious alterations.

    b. Neo-Scholastic moral theology is much different from the MT of ST Thomas.

  77. RBrown says:

    Also: Mary the Mediatrix of All Grace is not much of a problem with a Christocentric Sacramental Theology.