The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


A Catholic mother and “the current church”

posted by jmcgee

Andrew Sullivan has posted this letter from a Catholic mother:

My husband and I are raising our sons in the Catholic Church. We are active in my church, I teach religious education, we perform corporeal works of mercy with our fellow parishioners (our food pantry has added 100 families in the last six months). We are anti-abortion but pro-choice, we support gay marriage and female priests. We are not alone in our beliefs in the parish and we are often at loggerheads with our rather strict constructionist brethren.

I was quite proud of my sixteen-year-old son, who after completing two years of confirmation preparation wrote his letter to the Bishop telling him quite proudly why he did not want to become confirmed as an adult in the current church.

Read the rest and see if you find yourself asking the same question that I do: why do they insist on remaining, at least nominally, Catholic?    



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RobbyD

posted November 15, 2010 at 4:14 am


IMO, pride and ignorance, to answer your question…
Ignorance of why the Church holds fast to the teachings she does…
Pride of thinking they know better and are holders of a divine mandate to change a perceived injustice…
Maybe even some mashocism? They enjoy being the victim?
Or somewhere deep down, they know that in the end, they are wrong and Church is right…



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Gerard Nadal

posted November 15, 2010 at 5:05 am


Misguided as he is, this young man is to be commended for his honesty and fidelity to his principles. He is also to be commended for not making a mockery of the Sacrament of Confirmation by accepting publicly that which he despises in his heart.
His parents are responsible for the rebelliousness that they inculcated in their son. The child evidently believes that this is a democracy.
Ultimately the answer to your question, I believe, is that the parents suffer from the pervasive narcissism that is at the root of almost all of our social ills. They can only respect a magisterial authority that confirms their personal predilections. Therefore they regard themselves as both the origin and arbiters of moral and juridical norms. They don’t leave because they truly believe that it is they who are the voice of magisterial truth.
That’s narcissism, by definition.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted November 15, 2010 at 6:45 am


*sigh*
I would be lying if I did not say that I once felt some similar feelings. Deacon Greg, respectfully to you and your readers, perhaps if they do remain, even if only nominally Catholic, grace persists.
Calling them to question their beliefs in the form of compassionate correction is essential. As for the rest – well, I can only stand in the witness of my own transformational experience. Some of which you have witnessed and some of which you have gratefully aided me with.
It has only been my immersion in the Church that transformed and continues to transform me. That’s all I’m saying.



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Klaire

posted November 15, 2010 at 6:58 am


The scariest thing is that this women teaches catechism! I never understand how “just anybody” can get this job, especially when it comes to shaping our kids. It’s one thing if she and her husband want to become the know it all for their own kids, but how dare she march others off the cliff in such an important time in formation.
Once again, we see an example of the “social justice” being the trump card, making ‘right’ all of the disobedience and disent, as in they would probably not talk anyone out of an abortion (even thought “they” wouldn’t have one) being less important that “feeding the hungry”, which wouldn’t even be there to feed in the first place had they been denied their right to be born.
The fact that the women wrote the letter proves that she well knows the true teachings of the faith, but none the less finds “pride” in being the social justice queen despite her disobedience.
I see it as a public mockery of Catholicsm, and as Gerald wrote, with much narcissism, including the “god complex.”
I would be especially interested in the Bishop’s response. I hope he at least had her removed from religious education, and hopefully reminded her that Jesus never taught we would be saved by “the food bank alone”, which interestesly as the faith gets weaker, is more an more often used as the “guilt (conscience) rationalizer.”



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RomCath

posted November 15, 2010 at 7:35 am


This is sad on a number of levels. Not only does she teach catechism but the DRE uses the letter as an example of seriousness of purpose. She is proud of the son for being nominally Catholic but not upholding its tenets. Huh? And she even advocates an American Catholic Church–schism. Did she ever read the “I am the vine, you are the branches”? Truly sad.



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Michael

posted November 15, 2010 at 7:36 am


This young man is to be saluted for his honesty. As another poster said, the majority of young people make confirmation then leave the faith, perhaps returning when someone dies, or for their wedding, or when a baby is born. In these instances, there is a connection to Catholicism, but not true membership in the Church. “Cultural Catholicism” is how I’ve heard it described, and that seems to fit. Many members of my own family fit this profile.
But your question, Deacon, is why do they remain nominally Catholic? Well…because they ARE Catholic. They instruct the ignorant, help the poor, support their parish, etc. Isn’t that orthopraxis instead of orthodoxy? Is it more important to ‘do’ the work of Jesus than to share the positions of the Church on issues like homosexuality and abortion? I have always found that faith is a do more than a have. What I believe is between me and God, not me, God, and the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps we would all be better Christians if we spent more time encouraging people to do the work of God and less time worrying about what they think.
Of course, it’s much more satisfying to point out the speck in our brother’s eye than it is to actually work with the poor, or teach the young. Perhaps God will judge us on how fervently we condemn others, even those who actually do what Jesus told us to do. Something about sheep and goats comes to mind…
[Good points, Michael. But why belong to a Church -- even the one to which you were baptized -- if you stand in opposition to key teachings and, in fact, embrace and support positions that the Church considers sinful? There seems to be a disconnect here. Dcn. G.]



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Singe Mansoor

posted November 15, 2010 at 8:54 am


Most Catholics and overwhelmingly most younger Catholics believe exactly what this young man believes. Lots of priests believe this way too.
In the end, the Church is a democracy. It will change. It may need a few hundred years but it will change.
If you can’t accept the changes coming, maybe you should be the one to step aside and leave the Church. Nothing is stopping you. I’m sure you’d be more comfortable among those who believe only what you do. The Church may be too “Big Tent” for you.



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Dave

posted November 15, 2010 at 8:59 am


Deacon G: Your comments to Michael hit it square. There is a disconnect and there is confusion. Abortion is WRONG! But when it is you neighbor’s daugter who was raped the issues do get confused. Living together is wrong before marriage! But priests & decons do marry couples who are and contunue to live together prior to marriage yet attend the pre-marriage classes and this is common knowledge to all attending the marriage. I could cite other “confusions” and “disconnects” that appear in the bo\logs daily. As a back pew Catholic, I and others have to struggle with these confusions daily and yet retain our faith and hope. Pray for us. And pray the God does have a sense of humor for his children.



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F C Bauerschmidt

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:03 am


I consider him a good Catholic – in fact a better Catholic than I – because I had doubts as a teen but got confirmed anyway because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.
I have a sneaking suspicion that mother and son are perhaps not all that different. She got confirmed because she knew that doing do would please her parents; he did not get confirmed for the same reason. It sounds like it pleased his confirmation teacher as well. And also Andrew Sullivan. With kudos all around, why wouldn’t he not get confirmed?



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s

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:37 am


I agree. Why do they bother to remain Catholic?
And as a side note, I think the woman and her son have also fallen into the trap of seeing confirmation as an adult affirmation of faith instead of a gift of the Holy Spirit and the bestowal of a special character (for example, from the prayer over the candidates in the Rite of Confirmation “Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their Helper and Guide” or from the Anointing at Confirmation, “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” cf. ccc 1302), as a completion of the work begun in Baptism, or as a gift of grace, strengthening the recipient (see for example article 1 of question 72, of the Third Part of the Summa or CCC 1304-05.
It seems that the mother and the son are here seeing Confirmation as an opportunity for the boy to say yes to the faith or make it his own.
While confirmation is not necessary for salvation, one cannot help but wonder why the boy would not want to receive a sacrament that gives him the special gift of the Holy Spirit and strengthens him, especially if he means to reform the church. Surely he should at least be able to say yes to the questions posed in the renewal of the baptismal vows? I imagine that perhaps there may be questions of the fruitfulness of the sacrament received by him, but I don’t understand why he would avoid the grace given if he sees himself as a Catholic in any way? Probably something to do with poor catechesis(maybe from his mother).
So yeah, I dont know why the family bothers to remain Catholic. However One should indeed pray that there continued presence in the Church will be an opportunity for them to have their hearts moved to conversion.



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Klaire

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:38 am


I’ve been on this blog long enough to know that many of us were once lost Catholics who found our way back, even after many years. In addition to the faithful prayers of my parents, I also suspect most of us had the grace and sacrament of confirmation on our side to help us back, thanks to the obligation of our parents to ensure that we had the formation and the sacraments, despite our free will as adults.



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BobRN

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:38 am


Singe,
Don’t hold your breath on that Church changing thing. St. Jerome complained way back in the fourth or fifth century about how few Catholics practiced the Church’s teaching against the use of contraceptives.
My take has always been that there are far too many areas of my life that I’ve yet to turn over to Jesus to be recommending that other people leave the Church.
Michael,
Orthodoxy and orthopraxy is not an either/or proposition, but a both/and. The Church does not have “positions” on homosexuality and abortion, as if it were a political party. She has teachings which, if we take St. Paul seriously in describing the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth,” reflect the revelation of God. Your claim that what you believe is between you and God has no foundation in the Scriptures or in the Fathers. The Church’s faith is the faith of the Apostles.
Other than that, I would second Gerard’s and Fran’s comments.



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Singe Mansoor

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:51 am


BobRN,
My point exactly. Isn’t that what Deacon Greg is recommending, that this lady, her husband and son, should leave the Church?
Thanks for deleting my comment, Deacon. That further proves my point about your intentions here.
You are no man of the Church. Likely not much of a man at all.



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Michael

posted November 15, 2010 at 10:11 am


Deacon, I agree: there is a disconnect. With that said, my practice of my faith is between me and God. Like many people who struggle with some of the teachings of the Church, I believe I can be faithful to Jesus without believing all of the teachings of the Catholic Church, and remain Catholic. With that said, my dissent from the teachings of the Church is between me and God. There is certainly an issue of ‘public scandal’ to consider: whatever I belive about gay people (for one example) I am not going to wear a rainbow sash to mass. The Church teaches what She teaches; it’s not going to change because I disagree. But my disagreements are personal; it is a matter of conscience, between me and God, not me and the people sitting next to me in the pews.
What is difficult is deciding if Catholicism is something I am going to pass on to my children.
(I like your blog, by the way. Thanks for the discussion, and your generous response). :)



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Young Canadian RC Male

posted November 15, 2010 at 10:33 am


Aggreing with the other posters who said at least this teen, whether he has been heavily influenced by his liberalized parents, at least he knows what the responsibilities are when accepting confirmation and is rejecting them for reasons. Sadly many youth in developed nations get confirmed just because everone’s doing it, are poorly catechized to know what it’s about, and then go off and sin like hedons come high school. I’m guilty too on the part on not knowing what the Sacrament was about, but thankfully my Basillian all-boys private high school kept me in line.
I however cannot be leinient to this family. These parents should be stripped of their positions in the church and have whatever other canonical law penalties that can be imposed on a lay person be brought down for their erratic teaching. Also, becuase of their teachings and disobedience, have they committed any mortal sins? Do they even care that they are sinning or apostazising? It should either be respect the magisterium or get out and go join the Episcopelians where they cater to you.



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Jimmccon

posted November 15, 2010 at 11:58 am


The question is who’s Church is it. There are many of us Catholics who are aligned with core precepts and values of the Church. However, it doesn’t take much digging in history to see how Rome and the hierarchy have made or held to stupid decisions. The motivation for many of these decisions (honest ignorance to blatant self interest) can lead to hours of interesting debate.
When they hold to a position such as opposing female priests and deacons, which is purely an outgrowth of an outmoded cultural model and try to justify it scripturallly, it compromises their standing to speak authoritatively on matters that do count, like abortion.
What really gets the average Catholic can be summed up by this isn’t your Church this is our Church.



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PeterG

posted November 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm


“The reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.”[88] For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they’re, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”[89] (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1285)
Gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel,fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord



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Mike L

posted November 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm


When I left the seminary after a year, I realized having experienced the day to day liturgy that if I left the Church that there was no other place to go. As it happened I did leave the Church for a short time, but there really is no other place to go. The Church has made mistakes, after all it did at one time approve of torture, now considered an intrinsic evil, should the people who disagreed with that have left the Church?
As I struggle with my faith and my relationship with God, I need the Eucharist to grow closer to him, and only the Church provides that. Some here seem so smug as members of the Church that I wonder if they think they need this Sacrament. Others, including some clerics seem to think that the law is overpowering and ignore the attraction of the Eucharist. Sadly, without example many laymen follow the same example set for them. I suspect that this family has not left the Church because Christ has bound them to it. Unlike Klaire, I think their teaching and example will attract others to Christ and to the Church.



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Michael

posted November 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm


Young Canadian RC Male writes: “These parents should be stripped of their positions in the church and have whatever other canonical law penalties that can be imposed on a lay person be brought down for their erratic teaching. Also, becuase of their teachings and disobedience, have they committed any mortal sins? Do they even care that they are sinning or apostazising? It should either be respect the magisterium or get out and go join the Episcopelians where they cater to you.”
Here is a nice example of Taliban Catholicism. It doesn’t matter what these people do, it’s that their beliefs are offensive to this man. How dare someone feed the hungry when they don’t believe as you do? You would have made an excellent Pharsisee.



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Ed

posted November 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm


I think with all sincerity and with my opinion that it is “intellectual dishonesty” to call one self “Catholic” but do not believe or practice the Catholic faith. Only in relativism does 2+2=5. We all fall short of our baptismal promises but our Savior has either established a church with the means of sacramental grace for us (MT 16:18) or He hasn’t.
The scandals are horrible and the heresies abound but I believe this is the time where Catholics must choose that “fundamental option” of whether they are truly Catholic or not. I remind myself of Rev 3:15. We must all pray. I love Chesterton’s quote “Christianity hasn’t been tried and found unworkable, it’s been found difficult and left untried”.
Forgive me if I offend anyone.



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romancrusader

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm


If I’m not mistakaen, there are several private prophecies that state that people will claim that they don’t need baptism prior to the age of Antichrist. Just saying.



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Joyce

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm


I wonder exactly what this mother means when she says they are raising their sons “in the Catholic Church” ?
I know many good people who feed the hungry, but who do not agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church. They also do not claim to be “Catholic”. Just going to Mass does not make one Catholic.
We all need to ask ourselves the question: Do I follow the teachings of the Church, or do I really believe that my intellect is greater than the Word of God? Satan seems to undermine us where we believe our strengths lie…



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Mareczku

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm


Mike L, thank you for your beautiful comments. I have never left the Church but I am in agreement with what you have said here. Peace and blessings.



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romancrusader

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm


“Here is a nice example of Taliban Catholicism. It doesn’t matter what these people do, it’s that their beliefs are offensive to this man.”
Sir, are you Catholic? How can you claim that the Parents in this situation are justified in teaching heresy?



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Fran Rossi Szypylczyn

posted November 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm


I also agree with what Mike L and Mareczku said – and I basically said something similar in my prior comment. My dedication to stay and be one with the Body is what causes change. Maybe I was not that out there and seemingly arrogant as this family **appears** (and I say appears for a reason.)
Wasn’t it just two or three weeks ago that Zaccheaus was called out of the tree so that Jesus could go to *his* house?



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kenneth

posted November 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm


It’s sort of a chicken and egg question. Regardless of how people identify themselves, the Church will always consider them “nominally Catholic.” Even if you renounce everything the Church stands for, it will still count you as a member and act in your name. Turnabout is fair play, it seems to me.



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AB

posted November 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm


Those Cafeteria Catholics please read! We love you and want you to come back to the truth, we are all sinners and need the blood of christ to live, but we must live his way not your way. It is not about you it is about God.
Please read below, and answer “Yes” or “No” are you a true Christian or a Counterfeit Christian
Again this is a yes or no question.
What is a counterfeit christian?
They are self deceived.
A) They are unwilling to lose their old life for God’s sake.
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. –Matthew 10:37-39
B) They are not truly believers as shown by their falling away due to worldly pleasures, ridicule, or the like.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” — Matthew 13:18-23
A contempt for the Word of God, and the Name of God, as shown by its disuse or misuse. This is rampant in today’s church: preachers and teachers who casually invoke God’s name to justify wrong ideas and ignore, water down, or misuse Scriptures to make the message conform to their own ideas and desires. Beyond church leaders, casual misuse of God’s name (even as an exclamatory phrase) has become an epidemic — not to mention houses full of Bibles that rarely see a page turned.
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. — Psalms 139:20
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. — Philippians 3:18-19
No fruit of the Spirit, rather continued evidence of being a slave to sin. While a Christian may fall into sin for which they will repent, the counterfeit Christian lives in sin. There is a big difference between the saint who struggles to not sin and the sinner who sins.
Worldly pleasures, lust and desires are more important than Gods law .The acts of the sinful nature are .: sexual immorality, practicing homosexuals, pro-abortion, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. — Galatians 5:19-23
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. — John 8:34-36
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. — 2 Peter 2:19
Guilt and regrets. The counterfeit Christian, as with all the unsaved, have no means to ease their guilty conscience. In contrast, while a Christian may struggle (as with any sin) with feelings of guilt and regrets, the Christian has assurance by the Holy Spirit that our guilty conscience was cleansed and our failings and past sins are forgiven and forgotten (see Psalms 103:12, Jeremiah 50:20 and Micah 7:19). The counterfeit Christian often looks to a counterfeit solution for the guilty conscience, training themselves to ignore it, and ending up with a conscience that is seared.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.– 2 Corinthians 7:10
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. — John 9:41
… let us [Christians] draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience… — Hebrews 10:22
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. — 1 Timothy 4:1-2
False assurance. When their assurance of salvation rests in false belief the individual gains a personal complacency. The strength of this false assurance and complacency is show by the fact that many will even come before God, claiming Him as Lord, and try to justify themselves…
For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. — Psalms 36:2
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ — Matthew 7:21-23
For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. — Romans 10:2-3
False assurance allows churches to be full of religious people who have persuaded themselves (or worse still, have been persuaded by their leaders, see 2 Timothy 4:3) that they’re okay and have no need to change.



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Michael

posted November 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm


@RomanCrusader,
You wrote: “Sir, are you Catholic? How can you claim that the Parents in this situation are justified in teaching heresy?”
I am Catholic, sir, or at least, I do my best to be. People like you, and many others on this thread, make it difficult. Thankfully, again, my faith and my salvation are between me and God, not me, God, and people like you.
What we believe is our business. What we do is much more important. The woman in this article feeds the poor, teaches children, and tries to raise her children as Catholics despite what are obvious disagreements with the magesterium. Conservative Catholics need to spend less time feeling smug and more time serving the least of these, as Jesus commanded us.



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Mareczku

posted November 15, 2010 at 7:44 pm


I hear what you are saying, Michael. I get more inspiration from people that are doing good works and trying to live a Christian life than I do from those that condemn and vilify those they dislike and don’t agree with and then claim that they are “admonishing the sinner” and “telling the truth in charity.”



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romancrusader

posted November 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm


“I am Catholic, sir, or at least, I do my best to be. People like you, and many others on this thread, make it difficult. Thankfully, again, my faith and my salvation are between me and God, not me, God, and people like you.”
Sounds like you’re a Protestant to me.
“What we believe is our business. What we do is much more important. The woman in this article feeds the poor, teaches children, and tries to raise her children as Catholics despite what are obvious disagreements with the magesterium. Conservative Catholics need to spend less time feeling smug and more time serving the least of these, as Jesus commanded us.”
Here’s an equation for you. Serving the least of these – disagreements with the magisterium = Protestant. So you my friend are NOT CATHOLIC, except legally.



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romancrusader

posted November 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm


Deacon,
I think that you ought to delete any posts that refer to conservative Catholics like me as the “Catholic Taliban” to be deleted.



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Emily

posted November 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm


I don’t get it. You complain that many Catholics are leaving the faith. Then you complain that Catholics stay in the faith, even though they don’t agree 100% with Catholic teaching. Maybe we need to stay out of the beliefs of others and let them make up their own minds about what they believe.



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Tom

posted November 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm


To those who don’t understand why what a catechist believes is relevant, it has to do with a severe conflict of interest. How can someone be trusted to teach youngsters what they believe to be a lie? On top of that, If she were able to pull it off, then what would it say about her character?
I understand why they stay (and it goes along the lines of thinking the church will “reform”; just not by adhering to traditional church teaching). If I thought the Church could be changed from its principal teachings, then I might work from the inside to change it as well. By and large, there are few repercussions (next to nil) for being openly dissident anyway, so why not have their cake & eat it too? All the more power to em I say.



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Emily

posted November 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm


You think there are enough Catholics out there who adhere to 100% of the faith’s teachings who are willing/able to teach catechism? I wouldn’t be so sure.



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Mareczku

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm


Romancrusader, you tell someone that he is a Protestant, that he is not a Catholic and then follow it with your post of 8:05 PM. That post would have had more impact if it had followed your smug reply to Michael. It appears that you didn’t really get what he said to you.



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Mareczku

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm


Romancrusader, I apologize for the error. I meant to say that your post would have had more impact if it hadn’t followed your reply to Michael.



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Eugene Pagano

posted November 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm


Many here may regard the young man as a cafeteria Catholic or even counterfeit Catholic, but his mother’s description suggests that he would make an excellent Episcopalian.
Young man, juut as our signs say, the Episcopal Church welcomes you — as it welcomed me.



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Ellen

posted November 16, 2010 at 12:52 am


I found the letter by the catechist and the comments by the DRE very disappointing. While the attention (and apparently the praise) goes to the youth who rejects the Faith, unfortunately the pain is doubled for those of us who fought just as hard to be confirmed in the Catholic Church, despite the difficulties involved in doing so. There are many inspiring stories of youth who choose to be confirmed and these untold stories are the ones to be lauded.



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foxfan6

posted November 16, 2010 at 1:35 am


Is this woman for real or is this letter just another setup to elicit responses from us “real” Catholics? Is her pastor aware of her anti Catholic beliefs? He must not be, if he allows her to continue teaching religious education classes. Assuming it is not a setup, she seems to rail against some pretty basic church teachings, as well as scandalizing those around her, including her children, which is totally unacceptable. Given her “problems” with Roman Catholic Church teachings, she might find a better fit with the Anglicans, who allow women to become priests and gays to be married. She doesn’t appear to have what it takes to be a Catholic. I would like to know the diocesan Bishop’s take on both her letter and her son’s letter.



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Klaire

posted November 16, 2010 at 6:32 am


Mike, Fran, Mareczku, and others who advocate “change.”
Do you even realize that the church dogma can NEVER be changed, for the simple reason that it was Christ who instituted the Catholic Faith? Why would any of you think that you know better than Jesus Christ? It’s a head spinner as you all seem to be good and reasonable people.
Even if the church did cave and change, it would no longer BE the Catholic Chruch, simply because the Catholic Faith is no more and no less that the “keeper and teacher” of the teachings of Jesus Christ (with no watering down). It’s also the reason we for the almost 4000 Protestant demoninations, all who found Christ’s teachings too hard to live by, subsequently, in one form or another, watered the original teachings of Christ down to fit lifestyle and or the culture.
You don’t have to look far to see what happens when even one of our closest Protestant neigbor’s “go with the culture.”
As for women priest, Pope John Paul II spoke definitely on it, case closed. As for women deacons, there is no evidence anywhere that any of the early women deacons were ordained. As for homosexuality and celibacy, the church has MUCH to teach on that too, especially with the advent of John Paul II”s Theology of the Body, which take us even deeper into the Christ’s teachings.
Here’s a link I shared with Panthera a while back, which I think is a good start to realizing that the church DOES know what she is talking about.
http://www.christopherwest.com/article8.asp
Mike L as for the “mistakes made by the Church”, do realize that it was man, in man’s fallen humanity, that “made mistakes.” In over 2000 years of history, the church has never taught in error, never (albeit plenty of screw ups from men who, like some of you seem to want to do, “did it their way.”
If for all the time people like you spend fighting the church, you would put into learning and understanding “WHY” the church teaches what she does, we could all benefit. I say this as someone who once had the same attitude. Believe me when I tell you that no one in 2000 has been able to either change the CC dogmatic teachings, bring it down, or find error in their dogmatic teachings (not to be confused with disciplines which are man made and do change with the times).
Lastly I hope you never lose sight of the end game, which is of couse salvation, not food kitchens and making everyone feel good. The more we stray from core teachings, the more perilous our salvation, and those to whom we are responsible, becomes.
God Bless



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted November 16, 2010 at 7:00 am


Klaire, you may misread me when you say that I advocate change. I simply say that we do not know what the Holy Spirit has in store for us. There are indeed 2000 years of ever deepening Church history and wisdom to reveal that to us. That is why we are a Church, thanks be to God, that is not sola scriptura but rather one that has the dogma, doctrine and teaching that actually reveal themselves further over time.
Jesus Christ is indeed first, last and the ultimate revelation but the beauty of our faith is our certitude in that and our waiting in joyful hope for what is to come.
No disrespect to you Klaire, who I have come to know and appreciate over these couple of years with the Deacon, even when we disagree. However, to say that everything is known, I am not so sure. Everything is revealed; I am not sure that it is known. Things have changed and they may yet change again.
It certainly about more than food and kitchens. It is certainly not about “feeling good.” That said, I tend to see things through a lens of both/and and not either/or. I appreciate that your concern is based on our mutuality and our responsibility to one another in community. It is that which is the Body of Christ.
What I am ultimately saying here is that who knows what change may take place in this woman, her family or others like them? There is, as I often say here and elsewhere, no accounting for grace.
Thank you and God bless.



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Michael

posted November 16, 2010 at 7:01 am


@romancrusader, you are correct. My comment was uncharitable. I apologize. I’d go back and edit it myself if I had that ability.
My point remains that one can disagree in the depth of one’s own heart with the magesterium of the Church and still remain Catholic. Isn’t there a doctrine called ‘the primacy of conscience’? I do not advocate for people ‘protesting’ the teachings of the Church, but I do believe that my faith, and my relationship to God, is my business, not the business of the person sitting next to me. God knows our hearts, my friends. It is up to Him to judge, not you (or me).
@Klaire, the Church used to allow for married priests. Now it doesn’t. There is no reason to think that she couldn’t again. The Church used to tolerate slavery. Now she doesn’t. We’ve been through historical periods where there have been more than one Pope. The Church may have been instituted by Jesus, but it’s been run by very fallible human beings from the beginning. I wouldn’t be so certain that what is unchageable truth in the eyes of Mother Church today will always be so tomorrow. History has shown that I am right.
Self-righteousness plus legalism equals Pharisaism. A famous Rabbi was once asked what the most important part of the Torah was. He replied, “Love God, love your neighbor. The rest is commentary.” Jesus said the same thing.



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Klaire

posted November 16, 2010 at 7:59 am


Fran thanks for your most respectful reply, and sorry for any misunderstanding. I also agree that all has been revealed, however it’s impossible that a core teaching of Christ will ever be changed. It certainly can be understood more deeply (TOB is an excellent example), as are the Marian dogmas, but that is totally different than changing a core teaching like marriage or confirmation. That said, I totally agree with you in regards to what the Holy Spirit can do, although that has much more to do with “the will” and openess to grace than a change in core teachings.
Mike you are misguided that the church no longer allows married priests, it does. However it can’t (theologically), and will never allow married priests AFTER ordination. Celibacy and the priesthood are not the same thing, albeit both are callings. You are also misguided about slavery. The “church” never allowed it, only fallen men allowed it. Sorry to say Mike that history has NOT proven you right, only that men have been wrong, NOT the church.
In regards to our discussion, you may both find today’s mediation in the Magnifact especially interesting today.
God Bless both of you!



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Kate

posted November 16, 2010 at 8:07 am


I can’t believe that the priest in this woman’s parish is allowing her to serve in such important ways while not following the Church’s basic teachings. I don’t follow all the teachings, even though I strive to, BUT the problem is with me, NOT the Church. Just because I or other humans can’t follow everything perfectly doesn’t mean you change things to suit your own fancy of the world. It is a sin to divide the body of Christ so the comment about the American church becoming a separate Church is heresy. If this woman and her family have such issues with the Church then there are plenty of churches of other faiths they could go to and participate in whole heartedly like the Episcopalians, or some Lutherans. The Catholic church has always been a bastion of sound teaching and conservative Christian values. There are so many other liberal avenues now to express spirituality, I would never want the Church to compromise it’s values. It’s getting to be there is no place for true moral conservatives.



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JIM

posted November 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm


FRAN ROSSI S
In the words of reformer MARTIN LUTHER : The doctrine of sola scriptura means that ” what is asserted without the scripture or proven revelation may be held as opinion, but need not be believed. ”
RCC flatly rejects this principle, adding a host of traditions and church teachings and declaring them ” binding ” with the threat of eternal damnation to those who hold contradicting opinions.
RCC believes the infallible touchstone of truth is the church itself.
RCC places an undue stress on ” human ” works.
As long as the RCC continues to assert its authority and bind its people to ” another gospel ” EVANGELICALS must oppose a system that mingles works with grace.
For if meritorious righteousness can be earned thru the sacraments : ” then CHRIST died needlessly. ” GAL 2 : 21



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Mark

posted November 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm


@Jim
If any of the New Testament existed before the Church did, you might have a point. As it happens, we have the Bible because of the Church – not the other way round. Jesus didn’t write a book – he founded a Church on Peter, and gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. He didn’t write the combination to the Gates of Heaven anywhere.
And the Catholic church places no more stress on works than does the Bible itself. Read the letter of James.



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JIM

posted November 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm


@ MARK
The RCC has completely misrepresented that PETER was the 1st POPE , head of the whole church and the author of papal succession. The trth is : PETER ( petros / small stone ) upon this PETRA > ROCK bed of the reality of JESUS CHRIST.
PETER is small stone, but its on the ROCK BED OF WHO I AM THAT I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH.
Lets hear from PETER himself : ” I am an apostle of JESUS CHRIST and a fellow elder ” ( 1 PETER 1 // 1 PETER 5 )



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Michael

posted November 16, 2010 at 8:01 pm


@Klaire, God bless you, too. It’s pointless to continue arguing. :)



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Frank

posted November 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm


Deacon,
Why belong to a Church you don’t believe in or respect? Because popes and other tyrants die. We’ve seen that this pope kowtows to Nazi sympathizing bishops and protects pedophiles. Perhaps the young man believes that this is just one in a long line of evil popes. Perhaps he believes that there’s more to being a good Christian than being a good German.
The Church once supported slavery. That changed. Perhaps, one day, it will stop believing that the suicide of the young is merely collateral damage that it FORCES society to tolerate.



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