|These two Popes had a plan all along, and in 2012 we will see if it bears fruit or blows up the Church in the West.|
I've been meditating on Fr Sivalon's piece in the National Catholic Reporter about the upcoming Year of the Faith in which Sivalon writes that the big purge is coming to clean out the last of progressive thought in the Church. I came across this following speech that the then Cardinal Ratzinger gave during a meeting with CDF personnel and the Presidents of the European Doctrinal Commission. Cardinal Ratzinger gave the opening address which I reprint here in full. Keep in mind the year of this address is 1989. Twenty three years ago Cardinal Ratzinger was boldly stating where the Church was going in regards to cultural issues. In 2012 his war strategy is fully evolving. The following was in pdf format so I'm not quite sure how it's going to look when posted. I will be off to work and so won't be posting for a few days, but I really want to encourage readers of the blog to digest this rather dense and circuitous piece because it lays out exactly the strategy Herr Ratzinger intended to use and has used to keep gays and women in their place, and the priesthood in it's pristine Trentan form.
Retrieving the Tradition
THE FAITH IN EUROPE TODAY1
• Joseph Ratzinger •
“We can give a meaningful answer to
the questions raised only if we . . . are
able to express the logic of the Faith in its
integrity, the good sense and reasonableness
of its view of reality and life.”
As bishops who bear responsibility for the faith of the Church in our
countries, we ask ourselves where especially do the difficulties lie
which people have with the faith today and how can we rightly
reply to them.
We need no extensive search in order to answer the first of
these questions. There exists something like a litany of objections to
the practice and teaching of the Church, and nowadays its regular
recitation has become like the performance of a duty for
progressive-thinking Catholics. We can ascertain the principal
elements of this litany: the rejection of the Church’s teaching about
contraception, which means the placing upon the same moral level
of every kind of means for the prevention of conception upon
whose application only individual “conscience” may decide; the
rejection of every form of “discrimination” as to homosexuality and
the consequent assertion of a moral equivalence for all forms of
sexual activity as long as they are motivated by “love” or at least do
not hurt anyone; the admission of the divorced who remarry to the
Church’s sacraments; and the ordination of women to the priesthood.
As we can see, there are quite different issues linked together
in this litany. The first two claims pertain to the field of sexual
morality; the second two to the Church’s sacramental order. A
closer look makes it clear, however, that these four issues, their
differences notwithstanding, are very much linked together. They
spring from one and the same vision of humanity within which
there operates a particular notion of human freedom. When this
background is borne in mind, it becomes evident that the litany of
objections goes even deeper than it appears at first glance.
What does this vision of humanity, upon which this litany
depends, look like on closer scrutiny? Its fundamental characteristics
are as diffuse as the claims which derive from it, and so it can be
easily traced. We find our starting point in the plausible assertion
that modern man would find it difficult to relate to the Church’s
traditional sexual morality. Instead, it is said, he has come to terms
with his sexuality in a differentiated and less confining way and thus
urges a revision of standards which are no longer acceptable in the
present circumstances, no matter how meaningful they may have
been under past historical conditions. The next step, then, consists
in showing how we today have finally discovered our rights and the
freedom of our conscience and how we are no longer prepared to
subordinate it to some external authority. Furthermore, it is now
time that the fundamental relationship between man and woman be
reordered, that outmoded role expectations be overturned and that
complete equality of opportunity be accorded women on all levels
and in all fields. The fact that the Church, as the particularly
conservative institution that she is, might not go along with this line
of thinking would certainly not be surprising. If the Church,
however, would wish to promote human freedom, then ultimately
she will be obliged to set aside the theological justification of old
social taboos, and the most timely and vital sign of such a desire at
the present moment would be her consent to the ordination of
women to the priesthood.
The roots of this opposition continue to emerge in various
forms and make it clear that what we are dealing with in our
imaginary but quite pointed litany is nothing less than a very
Its key concepts present themselves in the words “conscience”
and “freedom,” which are supposed to confer the aura of
morality upon changed norms of behavior that at first glance would
be plainly labelled as a surrender of moral integrity, the simplifications
of a lax conscience.
No longer is conscience understood as that knowledge
which derives from a higher form of knowing. It is instead the
individual’s self-determination which may not be directed by
someone else, a determination by which each person decides for
himself what is moral in a given situation.
The concept “norm”—or what is even worse, the moral law
itself—takes on negative shades of dark intensity: an external rule
may supply models for direction but it can in no case serve as the
ultimate arbiter of one’s obligation. Where such thinking holds
sway, the relationship of man to his body necessarily changes too.
This change is described as a liberation, when compared to the
relationship obtaining until now, like an opening up to a freedom
long unknown. The body then comes to be considered as a
possession which a person can make use of in whatever way seems
to him most helpful in attaining “quality of life.” The body is
something that one has and that one uses. No longer does man
expect to receive a message from his bodiliness as to who he is and
what he should do, but definitely, on the basis of his reasonable
deliberations and with complete independence, he expects to do
with it as he wishes. In consequence, there is indeed no difference
whether the body be of the masculine or the feminine sex, the body
no longer expresses being at all, on the contrary, it has become a
piece of property. It may be that man’s temptation has always lain in
the direction of such control and the exploitation of goods. At its
roots, however, this way of thinking first became an actual possibility
through the fundamental separation—not a theoretical but a
practical and constantly practiced separation—of sexuality and
procreation. This separation was introduced with the pill and has
been brought to its culmination by genetic engineers so that man
can now “make” human beings in the laboratory. The material for
doing this has to be procured by actions deliberately carried out for
the sake of the planned results which no longer involve interpersonal
human bonds and decisions in any way. Indeed, where this kind of
thinking has been completely adopted, the difference between
homosexuality and heterosexuality as well as that between sexual
relations within or outside marriage have become unimportant.
Likewise divested of every metaphysical symbolism is the distinction
between man and woman, which is to be regarded as the product of
reinforced role expectations.
It would be interesting to follow in detail this revolutionary
vision about man which has appeared behind our rather haphazardly
concocted litany of objections to the Church’s teaching. Without a
doubt this will be one of the principal challenges for anthropological
reflection in coming years. This reflection will have to sort out
meticulously where quite meaningful corrections to traditional
notions appear and where there begins a truly fundamental opposition
to faith’s vision of man, an opposition that admits no possibility
of compromise but places squarely before us the alternative of
believing or not. Such reflection cannot be conducted in a context
which is more interested in discerning the questions which we have
to pose for ourselves today than in looking for the answers. Let us
leave off this dispute for now; our question instead must be, how
does it happen that values which presuppose such a background have
become current among Christians?
It has become quite evident at the present time that our
litany of objections does not turn upon a few isolated conflicts over
this or that sacramental practice in the Church, nor is it over the
extended application of this or that rule. Each of these controversies
rests upon a much more far-reaching change of “paradigms,” that is,
of the basic ideas of being and of human obligation. This is the case
even if only a small number of those who mouth the words of our
litany would be aware of the change involved.
They all breathe in, so to speak, the atmosphere of this
particular vision of man and the world which convinces them of the
plausibility of this one opinion while removing other views from
consideration. Who would not be for conscience and freedom and
against legalism and constraint? Who wishes to be put into the
position of defending taboos? If the questions are framed in this way,
the faith proclaimed by the Magisterium is already manoeuvred into
a hopeless position. It collapses all by itself because it loses its
plausibility according to the thought patterns of the modern world,
and is looked upon by progressive contemporaries as something that
has been long superseded.
We can then give a meaningful answer to the questions
raised, only if we do not permit ourselves to be drawn into the
battle over details and are able instead to express the logic of the
faith in its integrity, the good sense and reasonableness of its view of
reality and life. We can give a proper answer to the conflicts in
detail only if we keep all the relationships in view. It is their
disappearance which has robbed the Faith of its reasonableness.
In this context, I would like to list three areas within the
world-view of the Faith which have witnessed a certain kind of
reduction in the last centuries, a reduction which has been gradually
preparing the way for another “paradigm.”
1. In the first place, we have to point out the almost
complete disappearance of the doctrine on creation from theology.
As typical instances, we may cite two compendia of modern
theology in which the doctrine on creation is eliminated as part of
the content of the faith and is replaced by vague considerations from
existential philosophy, the 1973 edition of the ecumenical “Neues
Glaubensbuch” published by J. Feiner and L. Vischer, and the basic
catechetical work published in Paris in 1984, “La foi des
catholiques.” In a time when we are experiencing the agonizing of
creation against man’s work and when the question of the limits and
standards of creation upon our activity has become the central
problem of our ethical responsibility, this fact must appear quite
strange. Notwithstanding all this, it remains always a disagreeable
fact that “nature” should be viewed as a moral issue. An anxious and
unreasonable reaction against technology is also closely associated
with the inability to discern a spiritual message in the material world.
Nature still appears as an irrational form even while evincing
mathematical structures which we can study technically. That nature
has a mathematical intelligibility is to state the obvious, the assertion
that it also contains in itself a moral intelligibility, however, is
rejected as metaphysical fantasy. The demise of metaphysics goes
hand in hand with the displacement of the teaching on creation.
Their place has been taken by a philosophy of evolution (which I
would like to distinguish from the scientific hypothesis of evolution).
This philosophy intends to discard the laws of nature so that
the management of its development may make a better life possible.
Nature, which ought really to be the teacher along this path, is
instead a blind mistress, combining by unwitting chance what man
is supposed to simulate now with full consciousness. His relationship
to nature (which is, to be sure, no creation) remains that of one who
acts upon it; it is in no way that of a learner. It persists as a relationship
of domination, then, resting upon the presumption that rational
calculation may be as clever as “evolution” and can therefore lift the
world to new heights. The process of development up to this point
had to struggle along without human intervention.
Conscience, to which appeal is made, is essentially mute, just
as nature, the teacher, is blind, it just computes which action holds
the best chances for betterment. This can (and should, according to
the logic of the point of departure) occur in a collective way, for
what is needed is a party which, as the vanguard of history, takes
evolution in hand while exacting the absolute subordination of the
individual to it. Otherwise, things occur individualistically and
conscience then becomes the expression of the subject’s autonomy
which, in terms of the grand world picture, can only seem absurd
It is quite obvious that none of these solutions is helpful, and
this is the basis for the deep desperation of mankind today, a
desperation which hides behind an official façade of optimism.
Nevertheless there is still a silent awareness of the need of an
alternative to lead us out of the blind alleys of our plausibilities, and
perhaps there is also, more than we think, a silent hope that a
renewed Christianity may supply the alternative. This can be
accomplished, however, only if the teaching on creation is developed
anew. Such an undertaking, then, ought to be regarded as one
of the most pressing tasks of theology today.
We have to make evident once more what is meant by the
world’s having been created “in wisdom” and that God’s creative act
is something quite other than the “bang” of a primeval explosion.
Only then can conscience and norm enter again into proper
relationship. For then it will become clear that conscience is not
some individualistic (or collective) calculation; rather it is a “consciens,”
a “knowing along with” creation and, through creation,
with God the Creator. Then, too, it will be rediscovered that man’s
greatness does not lie in the miserable autonomy of proclaiming
himself his one and only master, but in the fact that his being allows
the highest wisdom, truth itself, to shine through. Then it will
become clear that man is so much the greater the more he is capable
of hearing the profound message of creation, the message of the
Creator. And then it will be apparent how harmony with creation,
whose wisdom becomes our norm, does not mean a limitation upon
our freedom but is rather an expression of our reason and our
dignity. Then the body also is given its due honor: it is no longer
something “used,” but is the temple of authentic human dignity
because it is God’s handiwork in the world. Then is the equal
dignity of man and woman made manifest precisely in the fact that
they are different. One will then begin to understand once again that
their bodiliness reaches the metaphysical depths and is the basis of a
symbolic metaphysics whose denial or neglect does not ennoble man
but destroys him.
2. The decline of the doctrine on creation includes the
decline of metaphysics, man’s imprisonment in the empirical, as we
have said. When this occurs, however, there is also of necessity a
weakening of Christology. The Word who was in the beginning
quite disappears. Creative wisdom is no longer a theme for reflection.
Inevitably the figure of Jesus Christ, deprived of its metaphysical
dimension, is reduced to a purely historical Jesus, to an “empirical”
Jesus, who, like every empirical fact, contains only what is
capable of happening. The central title of his dignity, “Son,”
becomes void where the path to the metaphysical is cut off. Even
this title becomes meaningless since there is no longer a theology of
being sons of God, for it is replaced by the notion of autonomy.
The relationship of Jesus with God is now expressed in terms
such as “representative” or the like, but as regards what this means,
one must seek an answer by the reconstruction of the “historical
There are today two principal models for the alleged figure
of the historical Jesus: the bourgeois-liberal and the Marxist revolutionary.
Jesus was either the herald of a liberal morality,
struggling against every kind of “legalism” and its representatives; or
he was a subversive who can be considered as the deification of the
class struggle and its religious symbolic figure.
Evident in the background are the two aspects of the
modern notion of freedom, which are seen embodied in Jesus; this
is what makes him God’s representative. The unmistakable symptom
of the present decline of Christology is the disappearance of the
Cross and, consequently, the meaninglessness of the Resurrection,
of the Paschal Mystery. In the liberal model, the Cross is an
accident, a mistake, the result of short-sighted legalism. It cannot
therefore be made the subject of theological speculation; indeed it
really should not have occurred and a proper liberalism makes it in
any event superfluous.
In the second model Jesus is the failed revolutionary. He can
now symbolize the suffering of the oppressed class and thus foster
the growth of class consciousness. From this viewpoint the Cross can
even be given a certain sense, an important meaning, but one which
is radically opposed to the witness of the New Testament.
Now in both these versions there runs a common thread,
namely, that we must be saved not through the Cross, but from the
Cross. Atonement and forgiveness are misunderstandings from
which Christianity has to be freed. The two fundamental points of
the Christian faith of the New Testament writers and of the Church
in every age (the divine sonship understood in a metaphysical sense
and the Paschal Mystery) are eliminated or at least bereft of any
function. It is obvious that with such a basic reinterpretation all the
rest of Christianity is likewise altered—the understanding of what
the Church is, the liturgy, spirituality, etc.
Naturally these crude denials, which I have described here
with all the severity of their consequences, are seldom spoken of so
openly. The movements, however, are clear and they do not confine
themselves to the realm of theology alone. For quite some time they
have entered into preaching and catechesis; on account of the ease
of their transmission, they are even more pronounced in these fields
than in strictly theological literature. Quite clearly, then, the real
decisions today fall once again in the field of Christology; everything
else follows from that.
3. Finally, I should like to refer briefly to a third field of
theological reflection which is threatened by a thoroughgoing
reduction of the contents of faith, namely, eschatology. Belief in
eternal life has hardly any role to play in preaching today. A friend
of mine, recently deceased, an exegete of note, once told me of
some Lenten sermons he had heard at the beginning of the 1970s.
In the first sermon, the preacher explained to the faithful that Hell
does not exist; in the second, Purgatory went the same way; in the
third, he eventually undertook the difficult task of trying to
convince his hearers that even Heaven does not exist and that we
should seek our paradise here on earth. To be sure, it is seldom as
drastic as that, but diffidence in speaking about the hereafter has
The Marxist accusation that Christians justified the injustices
of this world with the consolation of the world to come is deeply
rooted, and the present social problems are now indeed so serious
that they require all the powers of moral commitment. This moral
requirement will not at all be called into question by the one who
views the Christian life in the perspective of eternity, for eternal life
cannot be prepared for otherwise than in our present existence.
Nicholas Cabasilas, for example, expressed this truth in a wonderful
reflection in the fourteenth century. Only those attain to it (that is,
the future life) who already are its friends and have ears to hear. For
it is not there that friendship is begun, that the ear is opened, that
the wedding garment is readied and all else prepared, it is rather this
present life which is the work place where all this is fashioned. For
just as nature prepares the embryo, even while it leads a dark and
confined existence, for living in the light and forms it, as it were,
according to the pattern of the life that is to come, just so does it
happen with the saints. Only the exigency of eternal life confers its
absolute urgency on the moral duty of this life. If, however, heaven
is only something “ahead” of us and no longer “above” us, then the
interior tension of human existence and its communal responsibility
are slackened. For we indeed are not “ahead,” and whether this
prospect of what is ahead is a heaven for those others who appear to
us to have gone “ahead,” we are not in a position to determine,
since they are as free and as subject to temptation as we are ourselves.
Here we find the deception inherent in the idea of the
“better world,” which, nonetheless, appears today even among
Christians as the true goal of our hope and the genuine standard of
morality. The “Kingdom of God” has been almost completely
substituted in the general awareness, as far as I can see, by the Utopia
of a better future world for which we labor and which becomes the
true reference point of morality—a morality which thus blends again
Difficulties Confronting the Faith in Europe Today 737
with a philosophy of evolution and history, and creates norms for
itself by calculating what can offer better conditions of life.
I do not deny that it is in just this way that the idealistic
energies of young people are unleashed and that the results are
fruitful in terms of new aspirations to selfless activity. As an allembracing
norm for human endeavor, however, the future does not
suffice. Where the Kingdom of God is reduced to the “better
world” of tomorrow, the present will ultimately assert its rights
against some imaginary future. The escape into the world of drugs
is the logical consequence of the idolizing of Utopia. Since this has
difficulty in arriving, man draws it to himself or throws himself
headlong into it. It is dangerous, therefore, if the better world
terminology predominates in prayers and sermons and inadvertently
replaces the faith with a placebo.
All that has been said here may appear to many to be all too
negative. It was not intended, of course, to describe the situation of
the Church as a whole, with all her positive and negative elements.
It was rather a case of setting out the obstacles to the faith in the
Within this limited theme, I have not claimed to present an
exhaustive analysis. My sole intention was to examine, beyond the
individual problems which are constantly surfacing, the deepest
motives which give rise to the individual difficulties in ever
Only by learning to understand that fundamental trait of
modern existence which refuses to accept the faith before discussing
all its contents, will we be able to regain the initiative instead of
simply responding to the questions raised. Only then can we reveal
the faith as the alternative which the world awaits after the failure of
the liberalistic and Marxist experiments. This is today’s challenge to
Christianity, herein lies our great responsibility as Christians at the
The Pope is a fucking hypocrite - he rants & raves about abortion, teh EVUL gayz, blah blah, blah, etc., then turns around & congratulates the Queen on her reign:ReplyDelete
## I know these gits live on another planet in a parallel dimension not yet discovered by the "Enterprise", but really - he cannot:
1. attack the "culture of death"
2. congratulate a monarch who has helped to propagate the "culture of death" by giving the relevant bills the Royal Assent
3. Complain of the evils of relativism
These actions are not compatible or consistent. If she can OK gay rights, why the hell can't other politicians, whether Obama (who is no more a Catholic than the Queen is), or Catholic politicians ? Yet they are denied the Eucharist, or demonised in the neo-Cath media, for doing no more than the Queen has done. Yet she is praised.
Just to clarify I am a great admirer of the the Queen - but not of Catholic irrationality. By any reasonable standard, if Obama is President Evul, the Queen must be *much more* Evul. Reason & logic are essential to daily life, however much current Papal ideology may demand they be beaten to a pulp.
I'm pretty sure that the Queen is equally denied the Eucharist.Delete
No. She is not a Catholic - see the post. That does not affect my point: the Papacy exercises jurisdiction over all the baptised, at least implicitly.Delete
She is not in good standing with the Church, because she is not a Catholic. Don't forget to go back to the root. This is all.Delete
How do you deal with the fact the both JPII and Pope Benedict have shared the Eucharist with AB Rowan Williams? Rat's point is valid, Pope Benedict is either a hypocrite or has a curious double standard--one for when he is acting as the Vicar of Christ and one for when he is acting as head of the Holy See.Delete
As far as religion and logic goes Rat, the two do not go hand in hand. The ability to compartmentalize contradictory perspectives is essential for the conservative mindset. I don't even know how to explain this phenomenon in coherent terms. Some of the most brilliant people I've met have been utterly convinced their religious principles are right even though their own research contradicted those principles. Pope Benedict, who has pretty much lived through the same historic events and is the same age, is demonstrating the same kind of phenomenon because it is essential he support a fellow monarch. I would say it's crazy, and it is, but really it's just sad.ReplyDelete
What the Pope says here is all about his world view in black and white and nothing in between. He is utterly confusing and sees the world upside down. He may as well carry around a pole with a swastika on top rather than a crozier.ReplyDelete
You have a lot of anger and resentment, Butterfly.Delete
Well, Invictus, yes I do as a matter of fact. Anger for all the right reasons and resentment too.Delete
Yes butterfly it is about a rather restricted world view. One thing that is for certain when we deal with metaphysics on any level is that it is connected with epistemology or the ability to learn and learn again what he know. The idea that an authoritarian is connected to the ultimate truth because he is an alter "Christus." is an example. This leads us to the idea that what is important in understanding of the world and the soul is obedience to the authoritarian not independent thought and action. This can not be true. What leads to authentic authoritative teaching is the ability to recognize what we know is limited. It was Einstein who said something like this, "The more we know, the more we know very little and have a lot to learn." Ratzinger however takes not an authoritative approach that recognized epistemology but tyrannical approach that since God has shown Himself to the world, only the beliefs of the past are expectable. He completely leaves out of the picture that epistemology or new learning is what is important to any metaphysics.ReplyDelete
Ratzinger mistakes the use of myth as concrete fact. Myths are indeed beliefs that we live by, but it is the ever changing ideas of what myth means that allows men to grow and develop in mind and soul. Myth leads men to learn and more fully understand from wench they come and are going, but the understanding of each generation is always a little different and the ideas of myth change a little. God is truth, this is true but humanity is finite an always must be prepared to re-examine the fullness of what we understand as true.
For Ratzinger's way of thinking, there is no growth and development in societal standards or morals. This simply has proven false. It is true today that some "reactionary conservatives" wish society to return to a more greedy society of the past and are in fact doing all they can to accomplish just that. They are reducing the middle class numbers etc... but that will not and can not last. The French Revolution proved that and I hope that the class warfare that these reactionaries are following does not lead to hundreds of years of blood shed, but it is most likely for the growth of humanity that the results eventually will be similar to those experienced in France. Bloody, sometimes unjust but in the long run most just. Ratzinger is a proponent of Revolution returning a small oligarchy to lead a fundamentalist religious world state emulating from the Vatican.. The most likely result of his nonsense will be a Rome and and Italy that gobble up the last of the Vatican states to help pay their tax bills. For this result I cheer! For a catholicism independent of Vatican tyrants, I cheer!!
The metaphor for epistemology = the whispers of (a feminine) Spirit. Ratzinger does not take seriously the need to listen to the Holy Spirit because he does not recognize the authenticity of the feminine mind in the human being. dennisReplyDelete
Oh, Colkoch I do want to talk to you... As a Roman seminarian, former priest of St Helena Cathedral, openly gay man and a therapist, I think we have lots to discuss.ReplyDelete
As my confessor once said; priests who leave the Church invariably do so for two reasons.Delete
To have sex with a woman.
To have sex with a man.
This is not wise of your confessor. "Often" - yes. Invariably - no, not at all. The answer has the advantage of not requiring the Church to examine itself. This is no advantage, because a Church that can plume itself on its freedom fromn any need to correct anything amiss in it is a Church that is saving up for a very nasty shock. But asking itself why priests leave - priests, of all people ! - would save it a huge amount of self-made misery. It expects others to examine themselves from time to time - so why is the prospect of self-examination so unwelcome to it ? If ever your confessor should leave, would he judge himself as he judges others ? *If* not, then he cannot be sure that only those motives lead priests out of the CC. When we pass judgement, we always put ourselves under judgement. So the Church can't, in reality, stand on the sidelines aloof from those it criticises; it is one of those it cruticises. As are we.Delete
For the CC to put the needs of the many above those of the few, is very unwise - it leads logically to sacrificing *everyone* to the Ideal Form of the Church, AKA the Church; for everyone becomes dispensable. That the Church is capable of this very attitude is proved by its recent behaviour. But such behaviour is totalitarian, in a bad way - it is no different from the behaviour of the USSR.
I88, did you even consider your confessor was mindlessly telling you his own issues? Not all priests leave for sex. Some leave because they have fallen in love and for many of them the love came way before any thoughts of sex. Some leave because they find the faith maturity level that led them into the priesthood didn't suffice and some just burn out.Delete
As Rat say, blaming those who leave for leaving without asking what the Church might have contributed to the leaving is not a very functional strategy for a healthy organization.
I bet we do have a lot to talk about. Great blog of your own by the way.Delete
And as for the previous comments- I didn't leave the priesthood to have sex, I left the priesthood to live an open and honest life.
Plenty of priests have sex.
DG, I wish more priests had the integrity to understand how living a dishonest life with compromised integrity is not spiritual in any sense of that word. That could start with the head honcho in the Vatican.Delete
Love is not incompatible with the priesthood, but allowing yourself to because a fertile place for the growth of lust - toward man or woman or whatever else - is not really safe, and is outright damaging when that lust and intensity leads one to forsake the Church in the pursuit of satiety.Delete
It is not unique to priests and religious though, obviously. Married life is likewise not really compatible with intense and lustful feelings which pull one away from the firm ground of one's vocation, one's vows.
Obviously, we need to be loving and sympathetic to those who fall prey to these dangers, but that loving sympathy is not the same thing as pretending that it is right to leave your marriage for an attractive boy/girl or your priestly or religious vocation for a sex life.
Simply, however much it is to be regretted and guarded against at all times, it can be forgiven. Such is God's love.
I have heard rants like that in my own field of science. They typically came from people who had at one time been smart young scholars with good ideas. By the time it was shown that their ideas were after all wrong, they were tired old men who lacked the mental flexibility to reply in any way other than ranting about the wrongs of the new ideas.
The ones who remained nice and friendly were tolerated by their colleagues with a smile, the ones who turned into obnoxious you-know-whats were simply shunned. Pick your own category in the above case...
Ratzie is shunned by more people every day, and he should be. I don't see anything depressing about shunning such an anti intellectual. I think it is up to the people of God who wish to follow Christ and listen to the Spirit to ignore him and work in their own independent Catholic Churches. Spiriitus Christi in NY is is a good example. They continue their wonderful social service to the poor and have ordained some women priests. This is a very active parish that was once Roman. dennisReplyDelete
There is much here, and much seems to be self serving.ReplyDelete
However, I was struck with this line: "No longer does man expect to receive a message from his bodiliness as to who he is and what he should do, but definitely, on the basis of his reasonable deliberations and with complete independence, he expects to do with it as he wishes.
Benedict already walled off any discussion of homosexual orientation when he labeled the orietation in 1986 as "intrinsically disordered".
It seems to me that it is precisely, and I'll stick with Benedict's gender exclusiveness, a man who does listen to his bodiliness about who he is and discovers that his sexual orientation is gay does receive a message from his body and from the depth of who he is. I happen to think that that man, if he would want to mature, will with reasonable deliberation and with complete independence seek to live out the truth he has discovered himself to be. Benedict has insured that this search will take place with no help from him.
Benedict has so closed this circle that he can go on to write on and on about the horrors of this age.
A fun item about the hypocritical & inconsistent rubbish that passes for Catholic morality in some quarters:ReplyDelete
In short: gay sex = EVUL !!!!
but: straight adultery (& other disgusting behaviour) = knock yourselves out.
Relativism is therefore A-OK - as long as it's in a good cause.
" This reflection will have to sort outReplyDelete
meticulously where quite meaningful corrections to traditional
notions appear and where there begins a truly fundamental opposition
to faith’s vision of man, an opposition that admits no possibility
of compromise but places squarely before us the alternative of
believing or not."
He started it. I'm not the one saying my way or the highway.
Benedict XVI seems to either contradict John XXIII or proves The Good Pope's point "We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand... The Church has always opposed errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She consider that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations..."ReplyDelete
Ratzinger identifies the litany, or tedious recital of progressive demands (contraception, end of sexual discrimination, admission of the remarried to the sacraments, and the ordination of women) he intends to refute by "...the logic of the Faith in its integrity, the good sense and reasonableness of its view of reality and life".Delete
In the 1970's Mrs. p2p well remembers another priest and theologian of Ratzinger's generation who told his female students that they were not capable of understanding philosophy and could not expect to do well in his course. A female's anatomy, her brain, was not able to handle the task. He was the President of a Catholic University and a distinguished scholar! He believed that according to the religious teachings, based upon natural law, women were inferior. Period! So Cardinal Ratzinger remains enmeshed in patriarchal assumptions that date back to Aquinas and Augustine that are not true. His misogynistic world view is mistaken for faith. What seems reasonable and a realistic view of life is simply wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Scientifically wrong. He is so blind to this fact that he does not even address it in his argument. He accepts the woman as the "weaker vessel", the ground in which the seed of life is planted. Women play the supporting role.
Ratzinger's sister was devoted to her brother in such a way all her life. (She was unmarried and kept his household.)
... to be continued
I often wonder what went on between their parents that two boys became priests and their sister stayed a spinster on behalf of the boys. Something isn't quite right here.Delete
Ratzinger grows wear of progressive demands to change church teaching on contraception, sexual discrimination, admission of the remarried to the sacraments, and the ordination of women. He argues the first two pertain to sexual morality and the last two are issues of sacramental order. Ratzinger says the issues are otherwise unrelated.
Medieval science showed that ours is a heliocentric universe, a revelation that was vigorously rejected by church scholars because it contradicted scripture. That was only the beginning.
Those pesky scientists and engineers have become more and more predominant in society and they don't base their work in scripture. (See: Price, Derek "Science Since Babylon" 1961) Price observed that "80 to 90% of all the scientists that ever lived are alive today."
Is Catholicism a faith of "...good sense and reasonableness of its view of reality and life.” today? Teachings that make good sense in a pre-literate, pre-scientific rural world, one where the life expectancy is less than 40 years and most children die before age 5 may not be relevant for most people today.
Using birth statistics Dr. Hans Rosling makes an interesting observation; since 1960 religious belief has had no effect on the average number of children born per woman. See (13 minute video):
As infant mortality drops, regardless of income level, the number of babies per woman drops too. In 1900 the average life expectancy was less than 40 years, now it approaches 80.
For most of history women and girls spent their days struggling for survival, collecting firewood and water, cooking, cleaning, and reproducing. Many still do. There are still places where it makes sense for fifteen year olds to marry and reproduce often because they know they will die before 40 and many of their children will not survive.
... continued p2pDelete
There were exceptions, of course, but what was exceptional for women will become the norm, as it is in the West. There are more women than men enrolled in post-secondary education in North America. The average age of first marriage continues to climb and now approaches 30. That means there is an almost 20 year gap between puberty and church sanctioned sexuality for every Western Christian. Does that seem a reasonable view of the reality of life today?
Church fathers have failed women ignoring Genesis 1:27 "God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." preferring more paternalistic verses. Furthermore Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus
How long will it be before the universal, catholic church realizes that humanity has progressed, that science, especially social science, has revealed truth that must be acknowledged just as it once conceded to the heliocentric universe? How long will it be before the church realizes that the foremost issue of the day pertains to the status of women? How long before the church acknowledges that better health, better education, better opportunities for all, will require a re-examination of scripture for relevance in today's world?
We don't live by Leviticus anymore.
Paul your information on longevity and the dropping infant mortality rate is never brought up in the contraception argument concerning the 'selfishness' of today's Catholics. There is no economic or survival reason to have a dozen kids per family. Such numbers are just not realistic, and they actually become counterproductive in terms of survival for the rest of the family.Delete
And then the failure to incorporate science in favor of mythical interpretation is another problem the Church refuses to address, probably because to do so would call into question some fundamental belief structures such as original sin, or the existence of a 'heaven up there' and a hell 'down below'. The frustrating thing is most thinking Catholics have a completely different understanding of doctrine like original sin, but this doesn't mean that understanding doesn't lead to the same need for Jesus's definitions of healing.
OK Invictus, ask me what I mean by a different understanding of original sin.
I can't see how it's relevant. Have I missed something?Delete
... "You talkin' to me?"
1. Yes you have missed something.
2. It is relevant.
Pay close attention. I have your best interests in mind. Consider this analysis and advice as coming from someone who wants to help you.
Your comments here and on other sites around the internet show that you do not pick up on social cues. Admittedly these cues are more difficult to ascertain when there are no other clues, such as body language or voice intonation, as to the writer's or speaker's intention. More than once commentators here have called you a troll and I have had unkind words for you too. In other words your social interaction skills leave something to be desired. You have my empathy and sympathy if you struggle with an anxiety disorder like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or Asperger's syndrome. I apologize, in advance, for these ad hominem remarks but a different type of social interaction, if you are capable, would be much better for all. I have reflected on the possibility that you may have difficulty on an American blog because you grew up in some other culture where norms are different. Even so your style of interaction seems to point to something different.
I pray to God that you are not a seminarian intent on chastising and castigating people as your life work. But if you are... Widen your scope of interest. Listen more than speak. Try to understand rather than preach. Read widely. Engage in polite respectful conversation without condemning those who express contrary views. By engage I mean follow up on responses to your comments, don't just leave people hanging. They become angry and alienated, much less likely to be influenced by your argument.
You said you are a young person. More life experience, I hope, will round you out a bit.
My point about natural law? Mary would have been visited by the angel when she was 12 or 13, at the time of puberty. She was married and gave birth within the next couple of years. Sexual morality based upon natural law makes perfect sense when physical sexual maturity arrives at approximately the same time as the opportunity for sanctioned sexuality in the form of marriage. It doesn't make sense now.
If you're replying to Colleen, aka Colkoch, the author of this blog, then consider was original sin sexual?
I may have been a little obscure Paul. By the way, I'm pretty sure I88 is Brit trying to deal with Yanks. Us Yanks have a tendency to use our own logic which does not completely translate on Brit blogs. We can be quite abrupt and assume connections others don't see. I don't thing I88 saw my abrupt hook.Delete
As to original sin: In JPII's opus Theology of the Body, original sin plays a huge role. That whole Eve ate the apple and seduced Adam into it as well, and out of the garden they went. I see original sin in different OT terms. I am not going to look up the original verses because I am too tired, but it essentially says the sins of the fathers (and mothers) are passed through the sons (and daughters)for seven generations. Interestingly enough, Native Americans have the same insight. I see this as ignorance and abuse are passed through family structures and young children get their brains entrained in this kind of dynamic. About one in seven get over it, the rest don't. In the meantime it's perpetuated through families and institutions and military structures and clerical systems.
Humanity has to see the truth in this and get over our dysfunction. Africa is going to be a nightmare if and intervention can't be done. Amen and out.
Given you dedicated your first ~300 words to irrelevant personal conjecture of a patronising and insulting nature, and just 90 to answering my question, perhaps I'm not the one who needs socialisation or 'rounding off'?
Just a thought.
I'm not really sure. Not having been to seminary, I've not studied the matter in enough detail to comment with any confidence.
If you want the answer, perhaps ask your local parish priest? If he is not sure, he could at least point you to a good authority on the matter.
But me? No, I don't know. And as before, I'm not sure how it's relevant to this blog post or anything I've said here anyway.
Just trying to help.
As soon as I read your words I know who is going to be hurt by them and why, something you never seem to consider. Unless it is deliberate. Is there any other possibility?
So in 24 hours you have had strong negative reactions from Butterfly, Michael Ferri, Dennis rdp46, and me.
The creation of woman passage I believe Colleen was referring to is Genesis 2:24.
A mathematician friend once told me that most PhD's in the subject show signs of Asperger's. Here's a joke he likes to tell at conferences:
Q. How do you know the extroverted mathematician in the group?
A. He's the one looking at the top of someone else's shoes.
I88, the concept of original sin being passed on through concupiscence makes sex the vehicle by which original sin is passed on. This patristic notion has led to all kinds of 'inventions' such as Limbo, to account for the problems this notion has inherent with in it. Interestingly enough, this problem with fetuses infected with original sin, (and not baptized) caused all kinds of issues before, now it seems to have mysteriously disappeared in the abortion debate. Wonder why that is.Delete
My idea is that original sin is really original ignorance in that as new borns we are at the mercy of our family stuctures, beliefs, and interpersonal dynamics. We become our parents, and if they are dysfunctional and abusive, we will pass down the same dynamics in our own families. Unless, for some reason or another, we step outside our original training and see things from a different angle.
Pope Benedict is refusing to see the Church from a different angle and he is hell bent on perpetuating the same abuse dynamics that have almost destroyed the Church in the West.
Jesus kept pushing Peter to step outside his comfort bubble, because Jesus knew unless Peter got comfortable outside his bubble he was not going to be terribly useful. It was easier for the women around Jesus to get outside their bubble because their original bubble was not particularly comfortable. Peter and the boys weren't very successful and hence Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. But this idea of moving beyond your original bubble is why the Good News resonates with the marginalized and the down trodden. They aren't born into comfortable bubbles.
If you bill yourself as a "Catholic" blogger, why are you so wrapped up in your personal new-agey impressions and 1960s prejudices, and so completely disinterested in approaching a real-life priest for guidance and clarification on points of theology?
Invictus, you should stop making assumptions about me or anyone else who comments on this blog. Real life priests are very often less sophisticated theologically than the laity they serve, and less spiritually adept than the 'new agers' you conservatives are all of a sudden ranting on about. Plus I have had years of interaction with a priest who was a brilliant theologian.Delete
To be honest, some priests are afraid to converse with me because I'm not 15 and my IQ isn't 70 and I don't treat them as if they have the wisdom of the ages and the IQ of Einstein.
In one of my usual serfing expiditions I came across this essay which is in some ways even more telling of Benedict XVI vision for the Church moving forward. It does make for some compelling reading and reflection.ReplyDelete
It did make for some compelling reading. I found the discussion of Hildegard's vision in which the papacy is reduced in influence to that of only Rome very interesting. So was the excerpt from Benedict from forty years ago. Made wonder if this was prophecy on his part, or if the last forty years of his life have been all about 'self fulfilling prophecy'. Not many people get to kind of power needed to bring their hunches to fruition, but he certainly has.Delete
Ratzinger indulges in fear-driven unhistorical Idolatry - he reduces BOTH [a] Bible and [b] Modernity to mere echo-chambers for [c] papal *Tradition*, and refuses to either engage in, or even allow, any Tri-alog wherein ALL 3 are critically re-examined in and by each generation, and involved in mutual interogation. This de-formation has deep roots, and goes back especially to the centralizing *Romanism* of Gregory VII [ Hildebrand ] and Innocent III. This is the sinister anti-theology of this narrow un-re-constructed Bavarian Hitler Youth, being imposed on the whole *People of God*. See Hans Kung *Christianity*  - especially Part III on the roman medieval paradigm. Ratzinger's authoritarian church denies the core Vatican II Principle of an Ecclesia SEMPER Purificanda - a church ALWAYS in need of purification, and the global packing of Bishoprics with supine mediocre nonentities , along with intimidation and silencing of theologians, by Ratzinger and his predecessor, means the rot is now deeply embedded.ReplyDelete
Tom, your idea of a tra-alog clarified something for me. Benedict does bounce back and forth amongst the three taking only what he needs from one to support another. They are never allowed to contradict each other, or for that matter, even have internal contradictions--which all three have.Delete
I still believe that the most honest statement I've seen from anyone in the Vatican came from Cardinal Marc Oullete when he said that the one thing that really disturbed him since he took over the Congregation for Bishops is how many highly qualified pastoral men turn down promotion to bishop. No wonder we have 'supine mediocre nonentities'. The good ones won't compromise their integrity and join the crowd.
Church is in deep deep trouble with this man as it's leader.ReplyDelete
I get no sense of spirituality from him and this diatribe, just listen to me and do as I say!
Read more of his work, then? Some of it is brilliant!Delete
And some of the most brilliant parts of his encyclicals weren't written by him.Delete
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi had a large part in writing Caritas en Veritate, which is why I find it fascinating Pope Benedict has allowed Cardinal Bertone to hang him out to dry and impugn his professional and mental competence. Very Christian that, don't ya think Invictus? Definitely the kind of Christian witness that just begs for us to follow. Oh, but then you do which is why you feel the need to castigate me and others on the basis of assumptions generated in your own mind, having no validity in the real world. A true Benedict follower.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
I wasn't talking about encyclicals, and I'm not going to engage in petty gossip either.Delete
I was talking about his work.
No takers, then?ReplyDelete