Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Very Serious Call To Action In Austria

Depending on the next month or two, Cardinal Schonborn may get another up close and personal meeting with you know who.

Just when I am too angry and frustrated and saddened to even want to attempt to write a coherent sentence, God gives me another reason to keep on keepin' on.  This article from The National Catholic Reporter about the call to reform in Austria from 300 priests came as a breath of serious fresh air.

300 Austrian clerics call for women priests, reform

Cindy Wooden - Catholic News Service - 7/12/2011

VATICAN CITY -- Austrian bishops have criticized an effort by a group of priests calling for reforms in church practice, including opening the priesthood to women and married men, but the bishops have not taken or threatened disciplinary action.

Michael Pruller, spokesman for Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, said the cardinal plans to meet in late August or September with the Viennese priests who are among the leaders of the "Initiative of Parish Priests," which launched a "Call to Disobedience" in June.

The initiative, which says it has just more than 300 members, suggested saying a public prayer at every Mass for church reform; giving Communion to everyone who approaches the altar in good faith, including divorced Catholics who have remarried without an annulment; allowing women to preach at Mass; and supporting the ordination of women and married men.

In a telephone interview from Vienna July 11, Pruller said that as far as he knew, the Austrian bishops have not discussed a common response to the priests.

"No bishop has threatened disciplinary actions, but at the end of the day if a priest leads his parish away from what the church teaches, action would have to be taken," Pruller said.

The "Call to Disobedience" said the priests felt forced to follow their consciences for the good of the church in Austria because the bishops have refused to act.

Cardinal Schonborn issued a statement June 22 and said he waited three days to respond because he did not want to react "out of the anger and sorrow" the priests' initiative caused him.

"The open call to disobedience shocked me," he said.
The cardinal said none of the priests was ordained by force and all of them vowed obedience as they strive to do God's will. (Operative words here are 'strive to do God's will'.)

Cardinal Schonborn said righteous human beings must follow their conscience, and if the priests really believe they have such an extreme conflict of conscience with the church, they probably should consider whether they still belong in the church.

"I believe and hope, however, that this extreme case does not occur here," he wrote. But ultimately, "we all decide whether we want to walk the path with the pope, the bishops and the universal church or not." (Our first choice is to decide whether we want to walk the Way of Christ and that path is not always the same as the one walked by the pope and the bishops in a given era of time.  In fact, the universal church is a large road atlas of paths.)

Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz, vice president of the Austrian bishops' conference, issued a statement June 28 saying the priests' proposals "seriously threaten the identity and unity of the Catholic Church." (Yes it does.)

While pastors are right to be concerned about providing more and better pastoral care to Catholics in the country, the situation in Austria is not so drastic that it would require priests to act outside communion with the universal church, he said. (Depends on what one is referencing as drastic.  Mass attendance in Austria could easily be considered a drastic situation.)

It is one thing to call public attention to the needs of the church, Bishop Kapellari said, and it is another to encourage people to disobey church teaching and practice. (The situation with Bishop Morris would seem to say that calling public attention to the needs of the church is determined to be disobedient by the Vatican.)

Bishop Kapellari said that while personal conscience is a "highly respected value" in the church, it is wrong to imply that the pope and bishops are not acting out of their own good conscience when promoting the unity and tradition of the church. 


Cardinal Schonborn has a problem which could get out of hand very quickly if he isn't careful.  300 priests is about twenty per cent of the priests in Austria.  That is not an insignificant number.  In contrast, SSPX's Archbishop LeFebvre started his 'call to disobedience' with far far fewer numbers.  Even today SSPX has only slightly more than 500 priests and yet they have proven to be a major head ache to the Vatican.  It's not hard to imagine how 300 priests in Austria could snowball very quickly into thousands world wide in this day and age of internet access and utter frustration with the Vatican.  Yes indeed, Cardinal Schonborn has a problem.

I doubt any of this actually shocks Cardinal Schonborn, except maybe the actual numbers and he probably knows there are a bunch more priests behind those who did sign.  The signing or not signing may have a lot to do with which diocese a given priest works in.  Schonborn's first problem will undoubtedly be trying to keep his bishops reacting from the same playbook.  Good luck there.  I seriously wonder how many Austrian bishops would have signed this initiative is they only had the courage.  The 'Bishop Morris solution' has to have been very fresh in their minds.

This weekend, after reading the CNA article on Archbishop Thomasi's views on the UN Declaration for Human Rights, and then sitting stupefied reading Archbishop Gomez's response to a California bill to include the achievements of GLBT people in California's school curriculum, I had pretty much concluded all things Catholic were beyond my stomach.  They say though that the night gets coldest just before the breaking of dawn.  Maybe there's more truth to this than just the ambient air temperature.


  1. Schoenborn is still locked in the clericalist papalist mindset, no doubt dreaming of his own prospects of becoming pope. Real pastoral concern I see no sign of in his response.

  2. Well, actually he is being pastoral relative to the tantrums thrown by some other cardinals I could mention.

    Schonborn is supposed to be on the short list of papal possibilities which makes this situation even more interesting. He is the only cardinal that has ever questioned the behavior of Sodano and he has also made some interesting comments about gay unions. Not to mention he is also a major backer of Medjugorge which has irritated his brother bishops in Croatia.

    He's an interesting mix of things, not exactly lock step but not exactly marching to his own drum either.

  3. Colleen, I too, was delighted and encouraged when I saw this article this afternoon.

    With 300+ European theologians asking for reform and now 300 additional parish priests asking for reform even asking that women be ordained with all the possible dreaded penalties for whispering such a requests, I think this is the very beginnings of "simple" priests pointing out that the hierarchy is in Schism with the People of God. With all of the distaste for the Episcopate in Europe, the United States and Australia not to mention the current proliferation of independent Catholic Churches in South America over the last 20 Years, we seem to be witnessing something even more powerful than the Protestant reformation. In the End, I expect that Rome will have little influence other than that of an Interesting Vatican museum. Too bad we will not see what the next 100 years will bring, but Hans Kung's prediction that the RCC will be limited to a small ghetto seems to becoming a likely reality. One thing for certain the hierarchy already has a small cultish Ghetto mentality.

    I think we are following the path of Judaism which will include a small number of conservative members and a much larger number of reformed Catholics. It is Important to note that what really unites the Church is Baptism and its Priesthood of Baptism.

  4. "Cardinal Schonborn said righteous human beings must follow their conscience, and if the priests really believe they have such an extreme conflict of conscience with the church, they probably should consider whether they still belong in the church."
    I agree with Cardinal Schonborn, and if his conscience does not lead him where these members of the church are going, then he should leave the church. The Church as the People of God is leaving behind the Imperial Roman hierarchy which has so little to do with anything that Jesus ever said or did. The High Priests didn't like Jesus chasing the money changers out of the temple. They didn't like Jesus' disobedience to the law when he healed the blind man on a Sabbath. The call of the 300 priests for reform is in keeping with Jesus' own understanding of the law.

  5. Nice flip cembalo8. When I was writing this I kept wondering if Schonborn was trying to delineate the conscience issue: Sort of like do you follow where God is leading you or do you follow the pope. Even Schonborn, who was instrumental in writing the catechism, knows the two are not the same. Which leaves me wondering where he himself stands--as you point out.

    Dennis--I've that same thing for quite awhile, the Catholicism could follow the Jewish path and have a reformed branch and conservative branch with many leaves claiming they are the true Catholic Church.

  6. This is interesting...and potentially seismic in its ramifications. What is needed is a bishop, just one, who (a la Lefebevre) splits from the bishops' club. That would grab Rome's attention. Sometimes I think that sort of move is just on the horizon; other times I somewhat despair that because of careerism it will never occur.

  7. A couple of years ago, I looked without success for any equivalent to the 58 Boston priests who wrote publicly to Cdl. Law in 2002 calling for him to go. Now, in addition to the Austrian and German activities mentioned above, the Association of Catholic Priests has formed in Ireland. It recently claimed over 500 members, who meet in various dioceses on what is beginning to look like a familiar agenda. See objectives, news at: http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/objectives/

    Some insight on Cdl. Schonborn's outlook on change may come from his surprising Op-Ed in, of all places, the New York Times, 7/7/05. He defended Intelligent Design against claims of neo-Darwinists after rudely dismissing John Paul II's "… rather vague and unimportant 1996 letter about evolution …". A great many, including the Director of the Vatican Observatory, disagreed with Schonborn, interpreting JPII's letter as an important small step forward in Church recognition of what has been learned in the past 150 years about science and faith.

  8. I, too, read this article and still have a glimmer (if flickering) of hope for the Church.
    Now if some American priests and bishops would also stand up and speak out. (Oh well, I can dream can't I?)

  9. Jo-

    What is really shameful about the lack of American clergy response is our cultural heritage that resents and rebels against the very tactics and strong-arming the Vatican has been up to for decades now. And it used to be within the American Church's "skill set"! American priests and bishops gave Rome a hard time during the 18th and 19th centuries as the ol' pontiffs couldn't get used to democracy.

  10. How extraordinary.

    Who are the protestants? And why are they masquerading as Catholics?

  11. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think God demands unthinking robots rather than the the individual human beings with free will as we were created.

    We might just as well be animals acting on instinct IMHO if unthinking robots will fit God's requirements.

    The pope, the Vatican and the rest of the clergy have gone too far when they insist we substitute the pope's will and brain and conscience for our own. That isn't faith, that's cult.

  12. And yet, Veronica, if your faith is a protestant faith, might it be better served by a protestant organisation?

  13. OK, Invictus, I'll take the bait. Yes, I'm a card carrying Catholic who protests the faithlessness of the hierarchy. I understand that you feel the hierarchy, led by the Spirit, could not be in error. Ask them, and they'll tell you so. That doesn't stand up to our own history.

    I can't abandon my mother Church in her time of need. I can't abandon all of the faithful who've gone before me, passing down the faith so that I would have an opening to be blessed and receive it. I won't leave my Church to you, who wants everyone out of the way if their belief isn't perfect like.....your own. Instead, I'll try to stay inside even with your noise, with those who can't see women as equal, with those who won't budge when gay people cry out, with this cacophony of mistakes and sins -- because that's what Jesus does. He patiently too-patiently-for-me waits and invites, never sends us away. And I won't send you away, either.

  14. Interesting.

    What (Do I dare ask? In curiosity, I do, though I fear I can anticipate the answer.) is your understanding of that history, that you would use it to deny the authority of the Church?

  15. I suppose you can guess the answer. First, I remain a believer. I do believe that the Spirit guides us, and that we are indeed the people of God, the Body of Christ. Our transcendent Lord remains well beyond you and I.

    And I think that's the point. If God remains transcendent, then why would we claim any perfection in following that God? Wouldn't that be a knowable God-in-a-box, a rejection of transcendency? Doesn't the concept of the people of God groping to find faith and love and eternity, erring but irresistably drawn on, fit the last two thousand years better than any inerrancy?

    Galileo. Crusades. The mortal sin of usury becomes the Vatican Bank in about a sixty year time span. Antipopes. Saints and popes against infallibility. The politics of the Curia. The donation of Constantine. The list goes on to show an errant people of faith, and erring on the side of compassion and inclusion becomes logical as well as a command of Jesus.

    One more thing -- if I believe all of this wrongly, if every bit is my own selfishness and fevered imagination, and I'm still trying to love and live the best I know how, how does the Triune God react to that? Exclusion on principle? Oh, Lord, I am not worthy, but say the word and I shall be healed. I count on that, and I bet you do too.

  16. Well stated mjc. One NT statement of Jesus's, that I keep remembering at odd moments, is the one about many rooms in my Father's mansion. There are many ways to live the Way and get to the same destination. When we get there some of us my wind up in the kitchen, and some in the upper tower, and some may spend some time in the crying room until they get things out their system.

  17. And who do you think you are, Invictus, to put ANY kind of a label on my faith? If you have a faith of labels and exclusion, that is NOT my trouble in my faith.

    I have faith in God. I have faith in the mysterious and transcendent nature of God the Creator and Man the created. I have faith in God's Will to heal whatever errors I make in in this provided I ask. And I do ask God, daily.

    I do NOT have faith in a cult. This is where my Catholic upbringing has led me. In my lifetime, I've seen Catholicism portrayed as a very flexible thing that not only allowed but encouraged people to follow their own conscience above even the Pope and yet still be Catholic in Faith. We are now on some sort of terrible swing of the pendulum back toward a Catholic cult. I won't let that swing damage my faith. I simply do not believe this pendulum swing is born of the Holy Spirit. As mjc mentions in a short list, the human beings that make up the church's hierarchy are perfectly capable of making human errors. Maybe those people were erring in spite of of their 'rightly formed conscience' and maybe not. The fact remains they are human and they can err - even when proclaiming they have the authority to make everyone believe and behave as they wish.

    When I stand to be judged I simply will not be offering the excuse that 'The Pope said...'.

  18. In the cases of Galileo, slavery, the crusades, the current misbehavior of bishops and priests in the sex scandal, and a huge list of other pronouncements and actions, the Church was and is not acting authoritatively but only as an omniscient authoritarian. The Church itself misuses the idea of authority when the Pope and Bishops describe themselves as in any way infallible. They are fallible men just as you and I and Hans Kung's questioning book has been answered over and over again. "Infallibility a Question."

    It has been shown infallibility is not a question at all, any action or description by mortal woman or man, Pope, or whomever as infallible can be nothing other than a symptom of thought disorder - a delusion of omnipotence, or if not delusional symptom than a more than a simple lie-- a wanton deception!

  19. Veronica,

    "And who do you think you are, Invictus, to put ANY kind of a label on my faith? If you have a faith of labels and exclusion, that is NOT my trouble in my faith."

    Wounded pride, much?

    And yet, you are right. The label "protestant" isn't important, what's important is the substance of that protestantism, and down which paths it leads one's soul.

  20. The question about why those who do not parrot every word out of the mouth of B16 don't leave becuase they're "protestant" puzzles me. Where I have the greatest trouble with the hierarchical Church is with its leadership mode and its personal moral code. That leadership mode is at odds with Vatican II. A Council supercedes any pontiff, so B16 may be the one "outside the Church." I also think that the natural law moral theology behind the Church's pronouncements on everything from artificial contraception to gay relationships is outdated. There are few moral theologians today who disagree.

    The best part for me of Catholicism is how it attempts to incarnate the Transcendent through signs and symbols. It's what even a non-practicing Jew like Jung admired about the faith.

    I would like to ask Invictus a question: Do you concur with the Church's social teaching? Do you, for instance, believe, as B16 has stated, that capitalism is at the root of the nations' debt crises?

    Somehow, I'll wager not. Fact is, we ALL practice "cafeteria Catholicism."

  21. mjc,

    Your reading of history subscribes to a lot of protestant myth. Simply stating "The Crusades" as a bad thing and reason to abandon faith in Christ's Church is my favourite of the various hallmarks, for example, but I'm very glad of your final paragraph there.

    You're right that it is an errant Church (as it will always be, and as it was founded), but it is nonetheless an authoritative Church - the authoritative Church, and its doctrines are not corrupt. Wherever you may see a failing, it is in application of doctrine not in the doctrine itself.

    And as for us, you rightly suggest that you and I are both errant, and both undeservingly rely on grace in salvation.

    I should be clear - I don't think these creeping protestantisms necessarily damn you, but I do think there is a difference between erring in spite of trying to serve the Church and erring in trying to undermine her.

  22. "I would like to ask Invictus a question: Do you concur with the Church's social teaching? Do you, for instance, believe, as B16 has stated, that capitalism is at the root of the nations' debt crises?"

    I see no reason to disagree. It seems fairly self-evident, like most of the Pope's pronouncements, like most of church social teaching.

  23. I like this Invictus:

    "but I do think there is a difference between erring in spite of trying to serve the Church and erring in trying to undermine her."

    The question though, is who is doing the undermining and who is doing the serving, and what is one's definition of the Church being undermined or served?

    I personally freely admit a great deal of my writing is aimed at undermining the corrupt clerical system which serves few other than itself. Of course that actually puts me in a long line of both named and unnamed Catholic saints, mystics, theologians, and laity who have fought this internal sin since day one.

    I happen to think a real major problem for the Church lies in the theology surrounding the priesthood, and that this theology was corrupt from it's inception. Jesus did not ordain priests, He blessed and commissioned disciples. These are not interchangeable constructs or realities. The theology of priestly service was corrupted the instant it served to exclude classes of people rather than include. Exclusion is not Christ like at all.

  24. Invictus, this is the conversation we should be having -- two people of faith sharing how God leads us. I would submit that my protestant style comes from an errant and arrogant hierarchy stating that each time they apply our good doctrines, they must be correct. If so, what about the mortal sin of usury? Did God change His mind? Did we change God's mind? Or more likely, did we learn a better way?

    The reason I bring up the Crusades is because the idea of a Christian soldier is unthinkable, unconscionable for the first three hundred years. Whether you agree with the premise of the Crusades or not (and I don't), it certainly highlights the changeable nature of the doctrines.

    I also think all this doctrinal talk is wrong headed. At the end of our lives, whatever happens then will be based on our response to God's people. It will not be a litany of who believed what. (I'm talking out of my hat here. I don't really know, I'm just trusting what Jesus told us.) Doctrine is used mostly to exclude the undesireables, and Jesus seemed to condemn that and demand they be ... family. Is that an undermining of the Church? No, it's an undermining of a scared hierarchy protecting its right to a Lordship it shouldn't claim.

  25. @ Invictus,

    Interesting screen name, mind if I call you unconquerable? or would you prefer something more formal, remote, more Latin? The name and the avatar symbol you have chosen make me think that you dropped by looking for heretics, no? Are you self-appointed? Be open and honest.

    Too "Ad Hominem?" But that was your first question "Who are the protestants?"

    What about your tone? Who are we (little, ignorant people implied) to question the authority of the Church? My impression is that you are very pompous. Do you think you are speaking to children here? Is this any way for adults to engage in dialog?

    Have you thought that many people associate Invictus with Henley's poem from 1875? The words aren't exactly papal but they do call to mind a bull:

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishment the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul."

    That last two lines sound particularly heretical to me.


  26. Anonymous,

    Sorry for the apparent lack of clarity in my first post here, the typo is my fault. I intended "these" but accidentally typed "the".

    There was never any doubt or questioning, it was not as such a question inviting an answer.

  27. Colkoch,

    "The question though, is who is doing the undermining and who is doing the serving, and what is one's definition of the Church being undermined or served?

    I personally freely admit a great deal of my writing is aimed at undermining the corrupt clerical system which serves few other than itself. [etcetc]

    As you wish. "The question" is a protestant one, so not really relevant to me. If you choose to make it your question, you might well be happier in a religious community founded on it. You'll find many to choose from!


    None of it demonstrates a changing of doctrine. The crusades were never a doctrinal issue, so in using them as a stick with which to beat Mother Church you are in error. With a fuller comprehension of those timeless doctrines, you would come to see - thankfully - that such doctrines exclude nobody, but that in fact they have always allowed the inclusion of anybody. That all souls are called to unite with God in His Church.

  28. In a very real sense the Crusades were about doctrine. Some pretty heavy duty indulgences were promised by various popes for participation. Usury was a doctrine and violation of it would send one to hell.

    If we were talking dogma, I might be apt to agree with you, because there is little in the Nicene Creed which excludes anyone. But doctrine? Lots of exclusion exists in Catholic doctrine. One can start with the exclusion of married men from the priesthood.

  29. Colkoch,

    Married priests is a discipline, and I'm not sure the formulation of indulgence was even that! People ought to be a lot more cautious than they usually are, in asserting changing doctrine or changing dogma!

  30. Invictus you wrote...

    None of it demonstrates a changing of doctrine. The crusades were never a doctrinal issue, so in using them as a stick with which to beat Mother Church you are in error. With a fuller comprehension of those timeless doctrines, you would come to see - thankfully - that such doctrines exclude nobody, but that in fact they have always allowed the inclusion of anybody. That all souls are called to unite with God in His Church.

    And I'm amazed you don't see the problems inherent in your response.

    1. The early church called military service a mortal sin, rife as it was with plunder and killing people and the like. The ideas of just war or justified killing were not yet developed. Whatever side of the war issue you land on, that is a radical change in policy.

    2. "Using a stick to beat Mother Church" would be known as fightin' words. I am not beating up my Mother, and how dare you say that? I am trying to save my Mother as she continues on an untruthful path, pretending all is well and all always was well forever. Do not assume you know my motives. By the way, I don't like when your motivation is questioned as well.

    3. "With a fuller comprehension of these timeless doctrines..." I love that one. As I defend your right to your own motives above, let me be the first to call you a pompous ass. I wish I were smart enough to answer better, but maybe someday.

    4. "All souls are called to unite with God in His church." Bishop Geoffrey Robinson is the latest of many to write about this. He calls the church a means to an end. The unity part is the important part, while the "In the Church" part is not a necessity. Is he right? I don't know, that's the Lord's call, according to Jesus' words to Peter. But right or wrong, why would these doctrinal arguments be any reason to leave (or be thrown out) the family? I do not want you to leave, even though the name calling and ranking is odious and contrary to the Body of Christ I know and love -- love enough to criticize rather than bow meekly and obey. If we stay and pray together, if we bring peace and shelter and healing together, if we lay these things at the altar together, then doctrine becomes an enlightening discussion rather than the fight you keep picking here.

  31. @Invictus,

    The doctrine, or teachings of beliefs, the policies, and instructions etc. of the church do change from time to time. Admittedly it is a slow process.

    Here's a Catholic site that describes the Crusades. Note the vows made by soldiers of Christ to fulfill the Pope's instruction to free the Holy Land from the tyranny of Islam. That's doctrine.


    Not that wiki is a great source, but like any encyclopedia it does serve a purpose. Please read the summary of the Inquisition. It gives a quick background overview and points to sources that prove the Church did have a doctrine of seeking out heretics, especially among those Jews and Muslims who had been forced to convert.


    Let me share a brief personal story. My paternal line can be traced to the Iberian peninsula at the time of the Crusades. One of my ancestors commanded troops who defeated 4 Muslim armies. For his prowess he was royally honored. About 20 years ago a friend told me about the strange discovery he made at the time of his father's death. He was American of Portuguese descent, had been raised Catholic, but was baffled by his father's will. It said the father was to be buried according to the Jewish tradition and directed the son to the hidden location of his father's prayer shawl. He was a "Crypto-Jew".


    For most of the man's life it had not been safe to be a European Jew (WW2). Even after he arrived in the USA he feared something like the Inquisition as his forebears had for over 500 years.


  32. mjc,

    1. No, that's actually a weak position. There's obvious a dislike of war, as is scriptural and Christian, but no clear consensus on it being a sin to be in an army, let-alone a mortal one. Indeed, it was in the Early Church that most of the well-known warrior saints lived.
    The Church has always engaged properly and sensibly with the topic of war, and you have yourself failed to prove doctrinal change.

    2. You trust your own opinions over the assertions of Christ? I read about a monk like that, named Martin. Suffice to say it did not end well, for anyone.

    3. Prove me wrong then, if liberalism is such a brilliant thing. Prove the softness and shifting nature of the rock on which the Church was founded.

    4. My name calling? You called me a pompous ass, and I said you are in error. Only one of those is name calling. Mine has actual meaning, which you can - if I am wrong - demonstrably disprove.
    Or, come to think of it, you could also overturn my criticism if you can demonstrate that liberals are (as I may have failed to appreciate) faithful to dogma and doctrine, and that I have misjudged them in this way.
    The point is, if one doesn't stand on the same ground as the Church, is is difficult to be in any meaningful sense united within it.

  33. p2p,

    Interesting reading for sure, but not in itself a legitimate defence of the modernist assumption that truth is flexible (or that there is no truth, only perspectives).

    i. A vow - that taken by a crusader or by a monastic or by a supernumerary - is a point of discipline, not doctrine, let alone dogma. It's liable to exemption and alteration, like the way married priests are not barred from the Anglican Ordinariate if they in their other respects orhodox and suitable.

    ii. The inquisition is very interesting, but you've yet to point clearly to a doctrine therein which no longer applies. And the antisemitism of the modern era is even less relevant, given that it's neither directed nor supported by the Church!

  34. Invictus, I'm done, pal. When you stop trying to win the argument and want to share in a discussion of faith, let me know. However, until you listen to the faith journeys of those around you, you'll remain hopelessly correct and still wondering why everyone can't see what you know. Good luck, and God bless you.

  35. @Invictus

    Doctrine. "And yet... it moves".

    Ummm. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ring a bell? Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. That would be the first of all the congregations in the Roman Curia.

    Surely you have heard of Copernicus? Galileo Galilei and his trials for heresy? Heliocentrism?

    See any parallels?


  36. mjc, there is a big difference between a discussion about faith, and a debate about religion. Great point.

  37. But...the "discussion about faith" was blatantly criticising the Church and attacking the hierarchy. Yet as soon as someone criticises those criticisms, defends against those attacks, it becomes a "debate about religion" and infra dig for moderns?

    Someone explain this for me please?

  38. I wasn't actually thinking about this particular discussion, which is more a debate about the relative pastoral merits of our current leadership.

    I was thinking about a comment a theology professor of mine once made about the differences between faith, religion, and theology. He said it was important people keep in mind which they were talking about as the differences could be huge. A person can have great faith and still disagree about religious articles or theological notions of God. A theologian can have great ideas about God and zero faith. A religious person can practice great piety and have a very limited notion of theology or a very weak faith.

  39. Invictus, I said I was gone, but your question makes me want to take one more try, if you are still looking this far back in the threads.

    Go look back at this whole thread, as I have. Start earlier if you wish. Your questions feel baiting to me.
    "Wouldn't you be better off if..." sounds to my ear like "You obviously haven't thought this out; let me get this straight for you, little guy." Your use of the word protestant feels very much like '...and not Catholic", throwing me and others out.

    But we did engage the discussion. For me, the crux of your argument is the fact that the Church has walked this journey for 2000 years of faith, and how could lowly little me disagree with that? That's a powerful statement with a lot of truth in it. Stated theologically, you and the Church believe that the entire deposit of the faith is present in the Church.

    Does it surprise you that I agree with that? I do.
    I think you would find in a long conversation with most of the regulars here that there is a great deal of thought, prayer, and pain around this very issue. I believe. My church believes. My church teaches me to pray. I grow. And then the Church says, not so fast! Many of the great saints have been doubted, persecuted, even excommunicated and then finally brought back. Where I am nowhere near that stature or prophetic grace, that knowledge helps me. To say that any of us should be gone, as you have suggested, hurts to the core.

    However, if my faith leads me to try to be prophetic, unworthy as I am, then I have to be prophetic. I really don't have much choice, and I'm not allowed to leave you or the hierarchy behind.

    So I apologize for calling you a name. I should have swallowed that. However, your answers feel like an argument, as if I only need to be talked down from my hysterical ledge to find the true way. (I've heard this often on EWTN, especially "Catholic Answers". "Here's how you counter this argument.... they can't answer that one." As if this were some game to play, and as if losing the argument leaves me in sin and winning is proof of God's Love).

    To try to sum up an answer to your direct question: I must criticize the hierarchy when they hurt my Church, even if it is painful for me. Even if that feels like a nonsense statement to you. Even if you and others want me to leave. I hope that helps.

  40. You seem very sincere, but you must surely see that your faith - if it is that which guides you - is guiding you to support people who hate an agenda against the Church that you seem to love and wish to protect.

    They can never prevail, but it is nonetheless harmful to support them, and we should aim always for unity with scripture and sacred tradition rather than the sort of individualist infinite division suffered by the protestants.

    In the meantime, these people seek to disrupt the flock and cut people off from the safety of communion with the Church. Your sincerity cannot change the fact that their logic is in conflict rather than conformity with that of the modern Church, the Early Church Fathers, or Christ.

  41. Actually, Invictus, I think you hit the nail right on the head. It is sincerity I think the Holy Spirit demands, because we down here in the dark CAN NOT pretend to know the transcendent God. I hear what you suggest, that I'm "on the wrong side" leaving you with a white hat.

    I've written this before. I take great solace in the story of St Francis of Assisi in his early calling. He clearly heard the Lord telling him to rebuild the church. He spends more than 12 months doing as he's told, rebuilding a run down church. In that time, he realizes that he has misinterpreted the calling, and he moves toward rebuilding the human stanchions of the church rather than the granite ones.

    All of the time, God was leading him. All of the time, he believed and trusted. All of the time, God leads us if we let Her. If you are right and I am wrong, I'll get there. But couldn't it be that you (and the hierarchy) don't have the grip on God that you have doctrinized? Couldn't we still be learning? And doesn't history seem to bear that out (see previous unfinished list, and especially see the mortal sin of usury, now known as the Vatican Bank -- a fascinating history)?

    I'm glad you are devout. I'm glad you are fervent. But where Our Lord is leading me, inclusion is more like Him than exclusion. And following a hierarchy which does not seem to live as Jesus lived, and love as Jesus loved, is putting my (saved) head in the sand rather than risking my comfort for our good. I am aiming for unity with Scripture and tradition, just like you and most on this site.

    Again, good luck and God be with you.