Sr. Fiedler’s summation of the American Catholic Council. Fr. Z agrees.

Fishwrap has a wrap-up, in their own paper, if you get my drift, of the American catholic “Council” held in Detroit over the weekend.

The Fishwrap wrap-up is by nun-other than Sr. Maureen Fiedler.  We seen her insights here and here and here.

She has some interesting points and conclusions.  This may surprise you, but I agree with some of this!

My emphases and comments.

Reflections after the American Catholic Council meeting
by Maureen Fiedler on Jun. 14, 2011

I’m a veteran of conferences on church reform. I started out at the first Women’s Ordination Conference in 1975, attended the original Call to Action (the one the U.S. Bishops called in 1976) and participated in numerous Call to Action and Women’s Conferences since then. I’ve even attended a couple in Europe, including the 8th of May Movement in the Netherlands.

So, the American Catholic Council meeting in Detroit this past weekend (June 10-12) was of great interest to me. I was especially interested in signs of change and maturing in the movement. [Maturing.. yes… there was that.] Here’s what I sensed and observed:

The issue of women’s ordination, and gender equality generally, has risen to a new level of prominence on the roster of reform. It is at the top of many reformers’ lists — men as well as women. It’s clear as never before: the denial of women’s equality just makes no sense to most Catholics anymore, especially these Catholics. [Two premises need to be checked.  First, are the “reformers”?  Or are they just “wrong”?  Second, are they “Catholics”?  A group such as gathered this weekend is sure to be pretty heterogeneous.  So… who knows?]
The issue of gay and lesbian rights has become mainstream in the movement, just as in society at large. [First… blech.  Second, that only means that they are “conforming themselves to the wisdom of this world”.] It’s not a “fringe” issue for Dignity or New Ways Ministry; it’s everybody’s issue. And of course, over the years, Call to Action has had a lot to do with that.
New and independent communities are flowering as never before. [Key word: independent.] If the Church is a garden, new sprouts are proliferating. [Is the Church a “garden”?  Okay…we can play along.] There have always been tall trees and shrubs (cathedral and parish communities) in the church. But now, there are new flowerings: intentional communities – lots of them, the communities of the Roman Catholic Women Priests’ movement, the “Ecumenical” and “American” Catholic churches and dioceses, even new religious orders like Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont. Most of these are outside the purview of the hierarchy.  [Indeed.  In the garden there also be weeds.]
The “priesthood of the faithful” was visible. [No, Maureen.  What was visible were some people pretending that there is no distinction between the priesthood of the faithful, the baptized, and the ordained priesthood.  What you say were people who were pretending.] When the celebrant at the Pentecost Sunday mass said the words of consecration, hundreds of people in the congregation chimed in without prodding or instructions in the program. Why? I suspect that many do it routinely in their intentional communities, and they believe that they have the power, along with the priest, to call for the presence of Christ.  [And they can call and call and call.  Thousands and thousands of lay people can scream the words of consecration over and over again and transubstantiation will not take place.  A single priest, alone, whispering, can do that.  But note that Maureen has clung to to the old and outdated language of “consecration”.  Men are consecrated with Holy Orders.  I just thought I would add that.]
There is something increasingly “American” about this movement. [Which may mean that it is decreasingly “Catholic”.] The leaders of the conference formulated a “Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” modeled on our own Bill of Rights. [What did I say about conforming to this world?] The whole crowd affirmed it.
Nobody expects that the world of Catholic “officialdom” will change soon, maybe not even in their lifetimes. [Well… they better hurry, ’cause they aren’t going to have another generation.] Common comments about the hierarchy or bishops included: “Can it get any worse?” “Do you think they know how ridiculous they look?” “When will they leave the Middle Ages behind?”  [I have often thought the same, but different reasons.]
No one feels guilty about working for reform. [Interesting.  So, keep telling them that they are reformers instead of sinners.  Good.  They reformers, not dissenters.  Just use another term, repeat it loudly.  Repeat it enough times.  No more guilt.] If anyone worried about what the hierarchy would say in response to this meeting, it was not in evidence. “Excommunication… what’s that?[I am reminded of the guy who asked a Jesuit if it would be a sin to recite a novena so he could get a Maserati.  The Jesuit puzzled for a moment and said “What’s a novena?”]

A couple things other things to note:  [This, friends, is good…]

This was a “graying” crowd: the “Vatican II generation” still hoping to fulfill the promise of that Council. There was surely outreach to the young, but both Call to Action and the Women’s Ordination Conference have had more success in attracting youth. [And not many, either.  They are “graying”.  FAIL 1.]
It was a very “white” crowd, and the major speakers — with the exception of Jeanette Rodriquez — were white and Anglo. I know the organizers tried to attract people of color, but Call to Action conferences definitely exhibit greater diversity. [Lot’s of talk about diversity, but not much real diversity. FAIL 2.]
Barring some re-appearance of Christ on earth, no one expects the hierarchy to change course any time soon. [That’s sure to rouse up the troops!  But read on… the most important line is coming…] Meanwhile, new communities grow and create what is essentially a small parallel church. How all this will ultimately play out only God knows.

“Small parallel church.”

And that, my friends, is a wrap.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    To her credit, Sr. Fiedler avoided using the 1960s buzzword “vibrant.”

  2. PomeroyonthePalouse says:

    “Sister” F.: How all this will ultimately play out only God knows.
    And I don’t think He’s happy about any of it, either.

  3. shane says:

    The age of the attendees stood out for me also. Most young Catholics of dissenting views simply apostatize — they don’t try to effect ‘change from within’.

  4. vetusta ecclesia says:

    I’m from UK and have said for years that the next schism will be centred in the USA. The woman is quite right – they are “reformers”. Let them have their reformation and secede from Rome. When it last happened Rome emerged the stronger.

  5. Gregg the Obscure says:

    These folks appear to want what is currently being peddled by The Episcopal Organization (formerly known as The Episcopal Church), but with a “catholic” label.

  6. AnAmericanMother says:

    The way I heard it, the guy first went to a Franciscan and asked the same question, and got the response, “What’s a Maserati?” Then he went to the Jesuit, and . . . you know the rest. [Actually, there is more than that. He goes to several priests, and finally the Jesuit. But I made my point.]

    My experience has been that the young people want challenge and complexity and tradition. It’s the people my age (56) and older who are holding them back by trying to feed them the horrible 70s mixture of ‘relevance’ and ‘contemporary’ . . . problem is, it may have been relevant and contemporary in 1975 (although that’s debatable). Now it’s just tired and dated and passe’, and the twenty-somethings just roll their eyes. Nothing looks so shopworn and unattractive as a passing fad forty years out.

    And nothing gets the twenty-somethings into our parish like ‘that old time religion’. :-D

  7. Tim Ferguson says:

    and as they focus on issues of “power” in the Church and demanding “rights,” the Vicar of Christ is focusing on Christ and the work of the Gospel. Last evening he said to people from his diocese of Rome, “May we show increasing commitment to renewing evangelization, which is a task not just for the few, but for all the members of the Church. Should we too not share the beauty and reason of the faith, and carry the light of God to the men and women of our time with courage, conviction and joy? [Joy is the key, isn’t it?] Many are the people who have not yet met the Lord; they must be given our special pastoral attention. Today, this is more urgent than ever and requires us to commit ourselves trustingly, upheld by the certainty that the grace of God always works on the hearts of man.”

  8. RichardT says:

    AnAmericanMother – I thought the Fransiscan said “what’s a Maserati?”, the Dominican said “what’s a novena?” and the Jesuit said “what’s a sin?”.

  9. RichardT says:

    But I suppose these dissidents are a sign of the strength of an old-fashioned Catholic upbringing.

    They dissent from pretty much everything that makes the Catholic Church what it is, but they still can’t bear to leave it.

  10. Kerry says:

    We note with amusement there is no movement of men clamoring to become Mary, Most Holy.

  11. Athelstan says:

    Hello Charles,

    To her credit, Sr. Fiedler avoided using the 1960s buzzword “vibrant.”

    Also left out, surprisingly: “prophetic.”

    Hello Shane,

    Most young Catholics of dissenting views simply apostatize — they don’t try to effect ‘change from within’.


    The 60’s generation is more reluctant to do the same, because (I think) it would be admitting failure of a project they were deeply invested in. Younger generations don’t have that investment.

  12. Glen M says:

    A “small parallel church” to go along side the thousands of already erected. Jesus never used the word “church” in the plural form. Once you are outside of It…you’re outside. It’s time we stop wasting time on those who choose to leave and focus on those remaining – most of whom have been denied the authentic teaching and culture of their birthright these past forty years.

  13. Chrysologus says:

    I think that we have avoided a formal schism in America (or the West at large) but that there is a de facto, inward schism in some places. Reading that piece, I see confirmation of that. She practically admits that they are schismatic by speaking of “independent” and “American Catholic” communities. How she reconciles that with “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church,” I know not.

  14. GTW says:

    Fr Z, I beg to differ on your first comment above. I would have said “There was aging.” Maturity is implies wisdom. Wisdom, as you know, begins with Fear of the Lord.
    The reason men aren’t clamoring to become Our Lady is because that role was offered her exclusively. Not entirely unlike the role of the priesthood is offered to men exclusively.

  15. amenamen says:

    “I’m a veteran of conferences …”

    They are almost all veterans, very few rookies, and no farm team.
    And “conferences.” What a miserable way to live. The same old thing, year after year. Yes, many years have passed, and still, the same crew of aging, greying, childless bureaucrats go on an endless, pitiful circuit of hotel ballrooms and conference halls. Enough to entertain the old folks for a weekend, but not much longer. After a few days, the old slogans become unbearably repetitious, and it is time to go home.

    “When the celebrant at the Pentecost Sunday mass [Mass?] said the words of consecration, hundreds of people in the congregation chimed in without prodding or instructions in the program. Why?”

    Perhaps they know the words from memory, because so many of them are laicized priests?

    “This was a ‘graying’ crowd”
    You can say that again.
    “This was a ‘graying’ crowd”
    You can say that again.

    “The issue of gay and lesbian rights has become mainstream in the movement … It’s not a “fringe” issue … it is everybody’s issue.”

    They are terribly preoccupied with sodomy. It pervades almost everything they say. The sin of the men of Sodom really does seem to be at the very heart of this pitiful movement. Perhaps it always has been. It seems almost to define them.

  16. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Well, like Fr. Z. alludes to, let the “biological solution” run its course, then we 30 somethings and under can take over the Church and re-orthodox-icise it back to what it should be!!! TLMs everywhere and young people modestly dressed and faithful, here we come!!!

  17. digdigby says:

    An American Mother –
    I am a Jewish convert and you know how touchy we are. Father is telling an old old old JEWISH joke.
    A guy goes to an Orthodox rabbi and asks him if he will make a baruchah (blessing) on his new Maseretti. The Orthodox rabbi says “Matzohretti, vat is dat? I don’t know to make baruchah on that?No!”
    He goes to a Conservative rabbi and asks him. Of course he says, “That is disgusting! To ask God to bestow blessings on a ridiculously expensive sports car! You should be ashamed!”
    Finally he goes to a Reform rabbi and asks ” Will you make a Baruchah on my new Maseretti?”
    And of course the hip Reform rabbi says… “What’s a Baruchah?”

    Judging from John Zmirak, Catholics are funny enough without borrowing Jewish jokes!

  18. ContraMundum says:

    Oddly enough, and no foolin’, I had a dream like this about 4 years before I converted to the Catholic Church. At the time, I was a pretty serious Protestant who had just met a genuine and serious Catholic, and I was already entering the “accretion disk” of the Church, nearing the “event horizon”. (Then again, in an odd way, I can now see I was pulled to the Church for a long time before this, only I didn’t know that what I was being pulled to was the Catholic Church.)

    Anyhow, in my dream there were two priests concelebrating, one Catholic and one Orthodox. That was unusual, but what was really shocking, even to my ignorant self at the time, was the bread they were using: buns of walnut-raisin bread, poppy seed rolls, croissants, you name it. Then they did the same thing as at this meeting: they asked everyone to join in the words of consecration, after which baskets of bread were passed around. In my dream I thought, “It’s OK for me to eat this even though I’m a Protestant, because there’s no way transubstantiation really took place.”

    Now, of course, I wouldn’t eat those poppy seed rolls even if I were starving.

    Now, on the other hand, I wouldn’t eat that bread if I were starving.

  19. KevinSymonds says:

    If I am not mistaken, isn’t the Archbishop gathering data about this group’s happenings for investigatory purposes?

    He doesn’t need such witnesses when the group is writing this stuff.


  20. ContraMundum says:

    The sin of the men of Sodom really does seem to be at the very heart of this pitiful movement. Perhaps it always has been.

    Well, as they used to say, “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” Have you ever looked up just who Aquarius was supposed to be?

  21. Rich says:

    The subtle delight in the emergence of a “small parallel church” is moot given the presence of a quite “large parallel church” who has already achieved that the ACC is trying to: the Episcopal church. If it continues to “play out”, what will likely become of it is a patheic wannabe of the Episcopal church.

  22. Maltese says:

    Fiedler’ piece is so bizarre, and, really, anti-Catholic, that I’ll consign myself to commenting on this point:

    “When will they leave the Middle Ages behind?”

    The twelfth century in europe was the most glorious in human history. I guess “Sr” Fiedler is happy with, on average, 4,000 babies being aborted a day, in America alone.

  23. rroan says:

    in the spring there will be growth in the garden

  24. benedetta says:

    To this “proliferation”, please divest, now.

  25. benedetta says:

    rroan: LOL! Yes Being There is Important.

  26. MaryW says:

    A parallel church: translation another Protestant sect.

    And you are right Father, where is the Joy?

  27. Luvadoxi says:

    Poignant and sad, to someone of my generation. But fitting–what goes around comes around….

  28. Cath says:

    “Do you think they know how ridiculous they look?”

    They were speaking of the bishops, but did they take a look at themselves during the litany of lament?

  29. Geoffrey says:

    I’m curious… these people always see it as “us (them) vs. them (the hierarchy). They assume that all the laity and most priests are on their side. Do they completely ignore things like World Youth Day, the JPII Generation (true to the REAL spirit of Vatican II), vocations to the FSSP, etc. Look at the numbers (ages)!

  30. Charles E Flynn says:

    Sure, the ACC conference attendees will be glum when they get home. But look, good news!:

    New Che Guevara diary published in Cuba

  31. Montenegro says:

    Love it love it love it! She is describing the decline and eventual (sooner even than she thinks) incineration of her beloved “movement.”

    As Yoda might say: “The denial is strong with this one.”

  32. EWTN Rocks says:

    Fr. Z,

    I found Maureen Fiedler’s reflections after the American Catholic Council meeting? quite interesting, and enjoyed reading your comments. While perusing the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, I found relevant information to explain your comments for those, like me, who are either new to the Catholic Church or recently returned.

    “What was visible were some people pretending that there is no distinction between the priesthood of the faithful, the baptized, and the ordained priesthood. What you say were people who were pretending.”

    “Christ founded His Church as a supernatural society, the Kingdom of God. In this society there must be the power of ruling; and also the principles by which the members are to attain their supernatural end, viz., supernatural truth, which is held by faith, and supernatural grace by which man is formally elevated to the supernatural order. Thus, besides the power of jurisdiction, the Church has the power of teaching (magisterium) and the power of conferring grace (power of order). This power of order was committed by our Lord to His Apostles, who were to continue His work and to be His earthly representatives. The Apostles received their power from Christ: “as the Father hath sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Christ possessed fullness of power in virtue of His priesthood–of His office as Redeemer and Mediator. He merited the grace which freed man from the bondage of sin, which grace is applied to man mediately by the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and immediately by the sacraments. He gave His Apostles the power to offer the Sacrifice (Luke 22:19), and dispense the sacraments (Matthew 28:18; John 20:22, 23); thus making them priests.”

    “Thousands and thousands of lay people can scream the words of consecration over and over again and transubstantiation will not take place.”

    “When we speak of consecration without any special qualification, we ordinarily understand it as the act by which, in the celebration of Holy Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is called transubstantiation, for in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of bread and wine do not remain, but the entire substance of bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the entire substance of wine is changed into His blood, the species or outward semblance of bread and wine alone remaining. This change is produced in virtue of the words: This is my body and This is my blood, or This is the chalice of my blood, pronounced by the priest assuming the person of Christ and using the same ceremonies that Christ used at the Last Supper. That this is the essential form has been the constant belief and teaching of both the Eastern and Western Churches.”

  33. Ceile De says:

    Article on liturgical abuae (and beyond), comments with Jesuit jokes – i hope I may be permitted to combine to tell a joke I heard after Mass on Sunday:

    What are the only two things that jesuits never change at Mass?

    The bread and the wine.

  34. EWTN Rocks says:


    You said “Anyhow, in my dream there were two priests concelebrating, one Catholic and one Orthodox. That was unusual, but what was really shocking, even to my ignorant self at the time, was the bread they were using: buns of walnut-raisin bread, poppy seed rolls, croissants, you name it. Then they did the same thing as at this meeting: they asked everyone to join in the words of consecration, after which baskets of bread were passed around.”

    I also found information in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia that addresses your comment, at least in part (again, for Fr. Z blog readers new or recently returned to the Catholic Church):

    “Since Christ is present under the appearances of bread and wine in a sacramental way, the Blessed Eucharist is unquestionably a sacrament of the Church. Indeed, in the Eucharist the definition of a Christian sacrament as “an outward sign of an inward grace instituted by Christ” is verified.

    The matter or Eucharistic elements:

    There are two Eucharistic elements, bread and wine, which constitute the remote matter of the Sacrament of the Altar, while the proximate matter can be none other than the Eucharistic appearances under which the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present.

    The first element is wheaten bread (panis triticeus), without which the “confection of the Sacrament does not take place” (Missale Romanum: De defectibus, sect. 3), Being true bread, the Host must be baked, since mere flour is not bread. Since, moreover, the bread required is that formed of wheaten flour, not every kind of flour is allowed for validity, such, e.g., as is ground from rye, oats, barley,Indian corn or maize, though these are all botanically classified as grain ( frumentum), On the other hand, the different varieties of wheat (as spelt, amel-corn, etc.) are valid, inasmuch as they can be proved botanically to be genuine wheat. The necessity of wheaten bread is deduced immediately from the words of Institution: “The Lord took bread” (ton arton), in connection with which it may be remarked, that in Scripture bread (artos), without any qualifying addition, always signifies wheaten bread. No doubt, too, Christ adhered unconditionally to the Jewish custom of using only wheaten bread in the Passover Supper, and by the words, “Do this for a commemoration of me”, commanded its use for all succeeding times. In addition to this, uninterrupted tradition, whether it be the testimony of the Fathers or the practice of the Church, shows wheaten bread to have played such an essential part, that even Protestants would be loath to regard rye bread or barley bread as a proper element for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

    The second Eucharistic element required is wine of the grape (vinum de vite). Hence are excluded as invalid, not only the juices extracted and prepared from other fruits (as cider and perry), but also the so-called artificialwines, even if their chemical constitution is identical with the genuine juice of the grape. The necessity of wine of the grape is not so much the result of the authoritative decision of the Church, as it is presupposed by her (Council of Trent, Sess. XIII, cap. iv), and is based upon the example and command of Christ, Who at the Last Supper certainly converted the natural wine of grapes into His Blood, This is deduced partly from the rite of the Passover, which required the head of the family to pass around the ‘cup of benediction’ (calix benedictionis) containing the wine of grapes, partly, and especially, from the express declaration of Christ, that henceforth He would not drink of the ‘fruit of the vine’ (genimen vitis). “

  35. Warmiaczka says:

    “Well, as they used to say, “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” […]ContraMundum
    Do you also have a feeling that some “Aquarians” should be moved to another aquarium (they are obviously peeing in our)? Perhaps to one where they would happily socialize with other toothless piranhas.

  36. StMichael71 says:

    I think what we need to call attention to is that these groups advocating for women’s ordination are HERETICAL. I don’t know if merely holding that women’s ordination is possible is a heresy, but the rationale by which, for example, Roman Catholic Womenpriests (and this sister quoted above) argues for women’s ordination is to argue that there is no such sacrament as Holy Orders and that Jesus intended no priests or leaders in His Church (or even that He founded a Church!). The latter statements are clearly heretical; they go to show you that one heretical statement is almost always undergirded by a heretical principle or spirit of heresy (via JH Newman). Some people might feel that women got the short end of the stick on ordination, but I think if we made perfectly clear the sorts of views that normally accompany belief in the possibility of women’s ordination, more people would be utterly opposed.

  37. Phil_NL says:

    It must say it’s very encouraging that Sr. parallel church mentons the Dutch 8th of May movement – they actually dissolved themselves a few years ago, mainly for lack of people willing to devote time to that kind of nonsense.

  38. Charivari Rob says:

    Thank you, Digdigby. I thought the original was Jewish – glad to know I wasn’t imagining it.

  39. AnAmericanMother says:

    Thanks, digdigby. Learn something every day.

  40. Mundabor says:

    oh the liberal, patronising smugness of that expression, “people of color”…..


  41. Kerry says:

    In one of James Harriot’s All Creatures Great and Small book, when asked the identity of her dog, a Scot vet replied, “What y’uv got there is a wee brun dug”; ” … small, parallel church”

  42. Kerry says:

    rroan, I get your reference. Heh. Geoffrey, how about ‘World small parallel church day’?

  43. wabashman says:

    “”There is something increasingly “American” about this movement. [Which may mean that it is decreasingly “Catholic”.]””

    Fr. Z., can we infer from the above statement that you do not in fact think being an American immediately corresponds with being a good Catholic. If so, that view, which I agree with, does not seem to correspond with your post the other day about you being a conservative, which usually includes beings a proud American.

  44. Augustin57 says:

    Well, I guess we witnessed the foundation of the 50,001st Protestant denomination. I wish we could copyright the word “Catholic” and bar all these Protestant groups from using it. It’s like false advertising.

  45. Brooklyn says:

    I think Sr. Fiedler and her ilk would greatly benefit from a thorogh reading of the book of Jude. I truly fear for her soul and all like her. Maybe they would also do well to meditate on the first secret of Fatima.

  46. Centristian says:

    Sister F: “If the Church is a garden, new sprouts are proliferating. There have always been tall trees and shrubs in the church. But now, there are new flowerings…”

    Father Z: “Give it a little mix a and let it all macerate for a few minutes.”

  47. AnAmericanMother says:

    My oldest dog, a diminutive (38 lb) Chocolate Lab, is known as “the wee brun dug” – from Herriot’s book.

    I’m pretty sure what Father is referring to is the ancient American nativist impulse and related anti-Catholicism, and the suspicion in certain quarters that Catholics have “divided loyalties” and are taking secret orders from the Vatican. Perhaps we could call it “Americanism”?
    In their hostility to the Church and their conviction that the hierarchy is taking secret orders from some ‘ultraconservative cabal’ in the Church that is secretly plotting to take over the world, they really sound an awful lot like the Know-Nothings and related conspiracy thinkers who pulled up paving stones to whack little Catholic schoolchildren and burned down convents and schools.

  48. OUChevelleSS says:

    Luckily the Father prunes the garden.

  49. benedetta says:

    “and create what is essentially a small parallel church”

    If we are still worrying about whether this discussion is all about mockery, being uncharitable towards a group of older folks. Would that it was just that, it would be a big relief as there are excellent ways offered by our Church to address that.

    I do not intend to mock. Fr. Z posts actual, real photos (not caricature, not cartoons) and actual real text, some of purported liturgy, their own words. As a matter of fact this was all disseminated deliberately and the media was invited to document, all. That is the stated purpose, not to hide but to invite attention and demand answers, response.

    Although it is difficult to engage in discussion on those terms, still it is not useful to anyone at this point to pretend that we are not present and not intended targets (beneficiaries?), that we as we are do not exist and are not a part of the Church.

    Now I certainly believe, especially in the US that every person may disagree with one another. I also fully have recognized that only God can judge our hearts. I can entertain their ideas, as they demand I do, and still realize that even if I disagree, and vociferously with the stated assumptions, that they may be speaking from a place of hurt, anger, bitterness, lack of knowledge, poverty of spirit, and with intentions that are in some ways about helping others. I further recognize that many people who adopt these sentiments may lead extremely holy lives, in the objective sense, virtuous and altruistic people, loving people, and holier than the one I am leading. It is within God’s purview, not mine.

    It is one thing if people united in hatred or anger or common purpose find camaraderie. I wouldn’t object to this and it would not be any business of mine really and would enjoy a friend with whom I disagreed in some ways. But that is not what this is. The stated purpose, in their words say essentially this at this time: “You, everyone, in the whole Church must do as we say, or else”. Now I am a Christian of the same dignity. This seems to desire response, and from one who has listened to what they propose. I will add that many have listened for a long time, with faith, patience, love, charity, respect. Truly. Many have tried their way and many have invested in it, heavily. Some have gone away scratching heads. Some have gone unitarian. Some have persevered and struggled on. And myriad other, results, consequences. Some very unhealthy for the individuals some innocuous, objectively speaking. I fully recognize that people are free to go where they will and while I may say, this is not a good, for you, individual friend, sister or brother, and I hope that you do not choose it, I can tell you what I think about it, still, that it is not my right to force another even for something that is good.

    But it is another thing entirely, in this conversation which we are somehow having though this liturgy and the talking points are at this time proposed mainly through media, for any group, in organized (and now relatively quite empowered, with numerous structures of their own) fashion to demand that everyone, in the whole Church, must do as they say. To that, as a person of equal dignity, one to another, I am entitled to say, “No thank you”. To their plan to teach and worship that, to the next generation, I may say, “No. You may not.” I pray for you, I wish you wouldn’t try it anyway, I wish you every good thing God has to give, and yet, still, simply, no. It certainly is not a matter of a mockery and no more. Sometimes images and words need to startle us out of banality. Sometimes we have to take things for what they objectively are, not spinning, just right there as is.

    I don’t begrudge any person, especially in these times, the struggle. Any of us may say, I assent entirely to all of what the Church proposes and teaches and we lie if we still say that every day we do not struggle still. I don’t judge any person for that and I leave the struggle to them and God and do what I can to permit the Church to speak through me and recognize that I am no less a sinner as anyone else. Holy Mother Church. It is not just a platitude, a flowery and lovely phrase from a bygone era. We say it in the creed, the Church, with all her faults, yet is holy. It is not about mockery, the elderly, feeling self-righteous. Would it were that. The Church is holy and the Church cannot be something she is not. It is not the Church’s desire that this group forms parallel church. If it is a conversation then Catholics may with open eyes, not blind, not being coerced, with full knowledge, say no I do not wish to worship that and that should be respected as well as the reasons for it which are not about what they claim it is about, and for the good practical reasons as well with respect to younger people coming along in the faith in the world. That people choose something else for other generations which may involve some hardship, persecution, courage, inventiveness, should be adequate to establish that it is not about what they say it is about, and that should be respected for what it is, a free choice with full knowledge.

  50. amenamen says:

    Contramundum: You are absolutely right. Horrifyingly right, about the conotations of the “Age of Aquarius” and its very troubling roots in Greek mythology. Of all the bad behavior by the pagan gods and godessses, this story may be the worst. Did the composers of the musical “Hair” know that?
    I never really looked into the story of “Aquarius” until now, but it does seem to fit the perversity of the “sexual revolution,” the dissent from Church teaching, and the “abuse” scandal of our times. The boy, Ganymede (in Greek) was abducted by Zeus to become his cup-bearer (Aquarius in Latin), as well as … the image of our times.

  51. wabashman says:


    I am really struggling to see your interpretation in Fr. Z’s words. I know mine might not be correct, but please do elaborate on how him saying American = less Catholic refers to American anti-Catholicism.


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