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Via Media


Hmmm

posted by awelborn

Is there a different, parallel universe of which I’m not aware?

Does former NCR editor Arthur Jones live in it?

It’s a fierce screed. In fact, if you were going to give an example of "screed" to the uninitiated, this would be it. Jones unleashes his fury against John Paul II and Benedict (the "Wojtyla-Ratzinger" response), positing the church he thinks they created against the more authentic "conciliar" church, pre-eminently concerned with the poor. Supposedly. He says that this W-R church, so intent on pomp and ceremony, is ripe for a Francis and Clare, to renew it.

Well, on one hand, the old boy is right. The Church is always ripe for a Francis and Clare, and the US Church, existing in and through the most prosperous society the world has ever known, would be no exception.

However, I have to wonder, if one actually bothered to crunch some numbers, how many members of religious orders and new movements who are perfectly content with the W-R Church (his terms, not mine) are actively serving the poor at this moment (think Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, think Opus Dei efforts around the world…just think), when compared with how many (numbers people, numbers) adherents of his "conciliar" Church are doing the same, actively and consciously in service to Christ through the poor. Somehow, I’m guessing the former would come out on top.

I also think it will be deliciously ironic if, as John Allen implies, Archbishop Romero’s cause proceeds under the Evil Ratzinger. What say you then, Arthur?

Look. The Church of 2005 is not perfect. But it is also not what Arthur Jones says it is. The American bishops are not a flawless group, but who in the world can look them as a group and say that:

Appoint U.S. bishops more Roman than American. So by the 1990s we had the Wojtyla-Ratzinger duo piously dictating a revisionist Vatican II to a body of near-traumatized bishops reduced to a papal claque and demoralized senior bishops

I can think of some senior bishops I wish were demoralized. Then maybe they’d learn about humility. There is quite a bit of Romanitas politicking in bishop-selection, still, and some senior bishops have a surprsing lack of pastoral experience (i.e., outside chancery and curial offices), when you examine their resumes. But in all, they’re just as diverse a lot as they ever have been, taken as a whole. Some smart, some dim, some leaders, some followers, some sued by their employees for sexual harassment, some not.

Another lie – a more serious and laughable one – that Jones presents here is that the Church is now rather radically re-clericalized as opposed to the flourishing of lay ministry post-Council, blah, blah, blah.

Really?

Once again, I’d ask. When it comes to public Catholicism, when it comes to the figures in this country who are representing Catholicism in the media, in books, in print…is that a scene overwhelmed by clerics? Actually – no. Who were the Catholic "experts" all over television in March and April? It was a very balanced crew, with, I’d say, a slight edge going to the laity. Look at the bestselling Catholic book titles. Who’s writing them? The ONLY priest who consistently appears on that list (aside from Benedict) is DEAD.

(Nouwen)

Who are the most popular and sought after speakers on the Catholic speaking circuit? With a couple of exceptions (Groeschel, Corapi) – they’re laity.

And really – I defy you to look at, say, the staff listings for the Archdiocese of Denver, led by a figure I can only assume would fall under the heavy hand of Jones Judgment. The staff isn’t listed all in one place, but quick clicking shows a high proportion of lay staff, even leading the Archdiocese’s highly regarded adult catechetical and formation programs – one would assume that this, of all places, would be wear the Wojtyla-RatzInger Clerical Cabal would show its ugly head, in intense cassock-clad clerics brainwashing the adult laity.

Guess not.

The rest of the piece is ripe for the picking:

John Paul II realized that the U.S. Catholic church — more specifically the renewed women’s congregations, the engaged laity with highly networked women backed by many priests and some bishops — was the only entity in the world loyal enough to the council, energetic and imaginative enough, educated and organized enough, wealthy and capable enough to challenge his pontificate’s intention to undermine Vatican II reforms and reimpose a top-down rule. (Historically there had always been a dash of Euro-deceit within the Vatican and papal hubris: The Vatican may like Americans, but it doesn’t admire them. Add to the late pope’s anti-Americanism the West’s repeated betrayal of Poland.)

The Wojtyla-Ratzinger response to a mobilized U.S. Catholicism was fierce. Oust or demoralize the conciliar Catholics, in America and elsewhere. Appoint U.S. bishops more Roman than American. So by the 1990s we had the Wojtyla-Ratzinger duo piously dictating a revisionist Vatican II to a body of near-traumatized bishops reduced to a papal claque and demoralized senior bishops. The new model is a reclericalized church with little faith in the faithful, none of that sensus fidelium nonsense. Make the educated feel unwanted and unwelcome by reimposing pietistic nonsense and childish attention to ritualized minutiae (the birdie-bobbing heads at Communion?) and bingo! it’s the 19th century of blessed memory again. As a Wojtyla-Ratzinger Eurocentric and Euro-eccentric strategy, it’s successful; as a model of church, it’s pitiful.

It doesn’t matter that JP2 and Ratzinger say that they are about fully and more deeply implementing the vision of V2. No, no, no. Arthur Jones knows better. He knows the real story.

Oh, and do you detect a bit of arrogance in that first paragraph? The "only entity in the world" who really got the Council, these fab Americans?  Ironic, since he flails the popes for Euro-eccentricism. But American-centrism? Now that’s the ticket.

Oh, and Arthur Jones doesn’t like you either:

The Wojtyla-Ratzinger continuum doesn’t play only to empty pews. Hundreds of millions of heaven-bound Catholics just want Jesus. They stand in line and question nothing. As is their right. Others, more pugnacious, Catholics steadfastly loyal and questioning, rooted in their eucharistic communities and New Testament realities, remain to demand better from the institution. People of large heart and devotion still confidently demur from much the Vatican would impose.

You, my friends question nothing. Did you know this? Did you know that your searching, your prayer life, your voracious reading, your arguments in these comments boxes, your dogged, brainy blogging, your magazine and book writing, your intense discussions with friends and relatives about matters of faith, of life and death, is really, in the end…questioning nothing? Did you know that you’re not pugnacious, that you’re not rooted in New Testament realities, that you’re giddily satisfied with the institution (that should make you spit out your coffee right there), and that you have a tiny, cold, rubric-besotted heart?

So there it is, still mired in the Old Dispensation, eye for an eye, screed for a screed. But really – the arrogance, the ignorance, the insularity. God, my prayer this morning is that I learn from this silly, vicious piece of close-minded fantasy, and never fall into the same trap, never cease looking about me and the world and Church I live in with open eyes, with honesty, willing to see things as they are, not as I would like them to be.

Amen.



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Yvonne

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:32 am


What in the world is this guy smokin? SHEESH!



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Bonnie

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:54 am


Why would he keep referring to “Wojtyla-Ratzinger” as opposed to, say, “JP2-B16″ except to emphasize ethnicity? What he deplores is what they did and do as popes but he smears them with ethnic stereotypes. Very cheap and very nasty.
“I was editor when Pope John Paul II made his first U.S. visit. With all bases covered, I told one photographer — he was Jewish, I believe — where he’d be in the best position to get the up-close facial I needed of the pope.
The photog called in when he’d developed his shots. ‘I got it, Arthur!’ he shouted into the phone. ‘I got it. I had to go to Communion five times, but I got it.'” Does he admit here that he instructed a nonCatholic to exploit the service and offend the sanctity of communion in order to get a good photo? Is this an example of the Church he wants?
He says Mass is about “joy”, meaning it should be jolly. Isn’t it about the sacrifice of the cross, for which we are solemnly grateful? And can’t you realize that without thinking Jesus spoke latin? (Of course you can, but he can’t pass up an opportunity to be sarcastic.)
He’s missed the transcendent nature of Mass and of the Church, entirely. Sad.



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Socius

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:01 am


What a REACTIONARY! A typical liberal reactionary, stuck in the 1970’s.
While Amy aptly wonders whether Jones inhabits a “parallel universe,” I am afraid that his worldview is shared by many who still dominate much of the Church in the large Midwestern Archdiocese where I live and work. It also characterizes the worldview of many religious orders, which though they still milk the pious for donations, educate their handful–er, teaspoonful–of seminarians (and those brought in from the third world for feminist indoctrination) at theological unions characterized by this worldview. (Someone I know saw picture of John Paul II that was up on a bulletin board at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago: over a couple of weeks, more and more holes were poked in the Pope’s image until my acquaintance finally took it, since no one at CTU had bothered to do it.) And such is the worldview of nearly every Jesuit university in America. Needless to say, such is the worldview of the wonderfully “renewed” women’s orders, which have rendered themselves spiritually sterile and unable to attract and retain new vocations.
What is astounding, on the other hand, is how isolated this “old establishment” is from the kind of faithful, vibrant lay leadership Amy cites. Fortunately, in archdioceses steeped in world view of Arthur Jones, the archbishops connect and are encouraged by the Amy Welborns of the world, but it takes time for them to understand, get a handle on, and then reform an official Church bureaucracy dominated by those for whom the columnists of NCR are great heroes: has Amy had invitations from “theology on tap” and similar programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Chicago.
But there is still hope for the likes of Arthur Jones: perhaps someone should invite him to spend some time with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in the Bronx: he does claim that he is looking for another St. Francis.



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Samuel J. Howard

posted September 11, 2005 at 2:34 am


Shortly after I became Catholic, I, having seen the movie Romero, read the published diaries of Bishop Romero. He was fascinated with this organization I had heard only a few whispers about, Opus Dei.



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Todd

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:32 am


I confess I didn’t much like the Jones piece and stopped reading early in. But it doesn’t read too much differently than what the Angry Right writes at times.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted September 11, 2005 at 5:56 am


Almost all angry young radicals, if they live long enough, eventually turn into bitter old reactionaries.
I found the Saint Francis and Saint Clare reference unintentionally humorous since they worked hand in glove with Innocent III a pontiff who, I assume, is not on the top ten list of Mr. Jones.
As to heaven-bound Catholics, I pray we are all in that number.



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Jeff

posted September 11, 2005 at 6:04 am


Todd!
You just got finished telling me on another blog that you “wouldn’t take [my] word for it” that many liberals believed Ratzinger to be “bellicose + divisive.” But you express no surprise at this typical rant.
But then again, I thought your response there even sillier than your refusal to endorse de fide Catholic doctrine about women’s ordination or your generous embrace of dissenters.



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Dan Crawford

posted September 11, 2005 at 6:51 am


Jeff, Todd! Cool it.



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Tim Ferguson

posted September 11, 2005 at 6:55 am


Amy, you’ve got it dead on right (as we’ve come to expect from you!) – especially your last paragraph. One of my daily prayers is that I not allow my opinions, preferences and hopes about the Church blind me to whatever the Holy Spirit is doing. As a “victim” of priests and professors who knew absolutely what Vatican II was all about and would lash out at anyone who disagrees, I hope that I never turn out like them, and if the exchange the reality of the Church and the world for some fantasy construct. God keep us honest, holy and humble!



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Stacey

posted September 11, 2005 at 7:38 am


“the renewed women’s congregations”
Because, of course, pagan goddess worship is a sign of renewal.
“…reimposing pietistic nonsense and childish attention to ritualized minutiae (the birdie-bobbing heads at Communion?”)
Because showing even such a miniscule amount reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is nonsense? Apparently he believes that believing in the Real Presence is childish. After all, a True, Questioning Concillar Catholic (TM) is much too intelligent to believe in such fairy tales.



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Plato's Stepchild

posted September 11, 2005 at 7:45 am


Quick translation:
NCR’s subscription rate is not #1 with a bullet, Fr Richard McBrien was not made a Cardinal, and Arthur Jones is lying awake at night with nightmares of declensions and conjugations under the reign of Pope B16 and Fr Reginald Foster.
Vae victus.



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al

posted September 11, 2005 at 7:46 am


Translation: We need women priests and sodomy is good.



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Jason

posted September 11, 2005 at 7:56 am


This rant reminds me of a scene in the movie “Good Will Hunting”. Robin Williams is telling Matt Damon how, if he asked him about war, he might quote him Shakespeare, or if he asked him about love, would quote him a sonnet. But he’s never held a dying man in his arms, or given himself completely over to another person in love.
The fossils from the 70s can shout the slogans and spread the ideology abroad. But they don’t know the first thing about the Second Vatican Council. Wojtyla and Ratzinger lived the Council (Wojtyla in particular). They were actually involved in shaping it.



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:25 am


Nice outline for your next book, Amy. Please write it. I loved Here, Now.
Todd you are clearly coming along compared to your posts of a year ago. But when will you stop the trolling? I hope you keep reading. God bless you.



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Gerard E.

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:28 am


Stuck in in his tiny little world and angry that we’re not joining him in it. Of course, he would be angry if there were more company- outside of his little clique of aging angry 1960s rebels. Would love to see a demographic study of NCR’s subscribers. To see how many are outside that increasingly narrow base. Of course, those of us in a certain political camp see the same phenomena with mainstream daily newspapers. As in why the Hollywood studios want to cut back on full-page, multi-color ads in the NY and LA Times. Won’t reach their audience base. Much younger. And who don’t read those papers anymore. If ever.



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Mississippi Catholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:30 am


God bless you, Amy!



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Lee

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:41 am


“But it doesn’t read too much differently than what the Angry Right writes at times”
When you get caught red-handed, you deny that you were there. Piffle!
This captures the essence of the NCR attitude throughout the years, since its founding, and is nothing new.
I read “Gaudium et Spes” last night because I doubted it called for attitudes and positions claimed by Jones; it doesn’t. You can read it online (it’s about 100 pages) or find it in the Basic Sixteen Documents at the library.



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Judy

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:51 am


“Whom the gods would destroy
They first make angry.”



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Cornelius

posted September 11, 2005 at 9:26 am


Amy re Is there a different, parallel universe of which I’m not aware?
I’m not so sure that he’s in a different, parallel universe. The man is manifestly angry at the direction the Church is headed these days. But that direction is toward a return to right belief, a shedding of the post-VII distortions and craziness that infected the U.S. Church in the last 30+ years.
This regained sense of balance is what I call the “Holy Spirit’s counterattack”: young fogies and old fogies, scores of young priests faithful to Church teaching, etc. Jones sees this, and it angers him. His characterizations of it are vicious and unbalanced, but he does see it. He lives in the same universe and Church that we live in.



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Kenny

posted September 11, 2005 at 9:50 am


“The U.S. church’s current vibrant center is those young Catholics who flesh out the Gospel and deepen their appreciation of the Jesus who began with the poor by serving the poor and continuing to demand systemic change. They and their involved and demanding parents and grandparents, and the supportive nuns and priests, they’re the candles — soon to be relegated to backwaters in this new Dark Ages.”
ROTFL!!!!
This is the prize winner for “Most Willfully Obtuse and Self-Deceiving”! I am constantly amazed at these peoples’ ability to either:
a) pretend that the 150 kids who come to the CTA yearly conference represent a “movement” in the church
b) be utterly incredulous as to why their movements do not attract young people (I mean, for 40 years we’ve been teaching them that THE CHURCH is not as important as their own personal model of “church”, so why aren’t they all Catholic?????)
I have this image of Mr. Jones living in an NCR farmhouse in the country, with a staff of old NCR hands around, making fake newspaper articles and fake radio broadcasts to keep him under the illusion that the drivel he’s peddling here is what’s really going on.



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SJM

posted September 11, 2005 at 10:02 am


BRAVO, AMY! The one major consolation we can all receive from this is that the voices of this angry, embittered minority in the Mystical Body of Christ are dying out, literally. Alas, our convent chaplain subscribes to NCR, and then passes on the issues (thinking we sisters would read them). I quickly take them and use them to line the garbage. I just wish we had a cat so I could place the NCRs in a litterbox!



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Rosemarie

posted September 11, 2005 at 10:10 am


+J.M.J+
If people like that are angry at the direction the Church is headed, that is cause for joy and hope for us giddy non-questioning dolts with birdie-bobbing heads. We lovers of “pietistic nonsense” who don’t matter one bit to the modernist know-it-alls who are ever-so-smart and oh-so-superior to us 19th century throwback neanderthals, who stamp their little feet in impotent rage at our dear Christ on earth because he doesn’t share their vision of the “spirit of Vatican II.”
We don’t matter because we “just want Jesus.” What a terrible thing to want!
And has this guy ever noticed that those “renewed women’s congregations” are all dying?
In Jesu et Maria,



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Lickona

posted September 11, 2005 at 10:11 am


I imagine Jones would characterize me as a bobble-headed NDA (New Dark Ages) Catholic, but I did have an interesting conversation with another young Catholic awhile back, one whom Jones might call “progressive.” He told me that as far as he could tell, the only energy among young Catholics was among the NDA-types and those taking up radical service of the poor and needy. (Of course, I would hope that there was no necessary division between the two.) Just thought I’d add that to the mix.
New Dark Ages. Hoo!



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Eileen R

posted September 11, 2005 at 10:33 am


I have this image of Mr. Jones living in an NCR farmhouse in the country, with a staff of old NCR hands around, making fake newspaper articles and fake radio broadcasts to keep him under the illusion that the drivel he’s peddling here is what’s really going on.
Malcom Muggeridge wrote in one of his books about his former employer, Lord Beaverbrook, who would write articles to assuage his doubts about current issues, have them printed as newspaper editorials in his newspaper, then read them and be convinced thereby that everything was just as he thought it was.
NCR has functioned like that for decades.



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Ed the Roman

posted September 11, 2005 at 10:49 am


I think we need a convention to keep the Reporter and the Register straight – they both get abbreviated NCR, which required me to think.
That is SO not fair.



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Mark Shea

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:11 am


Look at the bright side, Amy. People talk this way when they are losing.



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CB

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:40 am


Pretty uniform tone among these comments. So once again I think
of the adage ‘When everyone thinks the same, no one is thinking.’
The defensive tone Amy takes is striking!
Best receipe for humble bishops is humility modeled in
the Vaticn. That wasn’t JPII,
lads! For crying out loud, he
remodeled the ROSARY. When the 50 year interval before sainthood consideration got in
his way, he junked it. And on
and on. L’eglise, c’est moi.



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Richard

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:41 am


What a river of hate.
Mr. Jones – let us pray for him – seems to be a man mainly consumed by anger. As much if not more than any Williamson or NovusOrdoWatch.
Your point is dead on, here, Amy:
However, I have to wonder, if one actually bothered to crunch some numbers, how many members of religious orders and new movements who are perfectly content with the W-R Church (his terms, not mine) are actively serving the poor at this moment (think Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, think Opus Dei efforts around the world…just think), when compared with how many (numbers people, numbers) adherents of his “conciliar” Church are doing the same, actively and consciously in service to Christ through the poor. Somehow, I’m guessing the former would come out on top.
More to the point, indeed: why is it that the numbers of the former are GROWING and the numbers of the latter are SHRINKING and GRAYING?
A la Gamaliel, will Mr. Jones consider that his preferred Church and the one he dislikes are both being judged by their fruits? Why is it that, say, a Chaput or the FSSP or Groeschel’s friars or the Nashville Domincians are overrun with vocations while, say, Jesuits (with some exceptions, lest Bellarmino think I am on an anti-Jesuit crusade here), dioceses such as those of Mahoney or the late Untener, and certain aging women’s orders are pulling in virtually no one?
Mr. Jones speaks to “social justice” and “social change” and disputes with those, he claims, say the Gospel isn’t about that. Well: It is about that. But it’s about a great deal more. And this is why the Spirit of Vatican II Template oftens ends up being little more than glorified social work. It may feed bellies but it doesn’t nourish souls. Which may be the real reason – along with growing affluence – why the pews he speaks of emptied out in places like Ireland. And why, when the Church “opted for the poor,” the poor in Latin America all too often opted for the Pentacostals.
And apropos Stacey’s comments above, it is dismaying to see Jones’s dismissive attitude toward to reverence that some Catholics offer to our Lord and Savior. Somewhere I have heard this sort of thing before: “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”



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Todd

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:41 am


At the risk of being characterized as a hot-headed troll, let me say Arthur Jones is the Terrell Owens of the theological world. His teamies are wincing over this like endzone-signed footballs.



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Richard

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:49 am


Hello Todd,
I confess I didn’t much like the Jones piece and stopped reading early in.
This is – at the end of the day – what I think sets you apart from the crowd at NCR.
But it doesn’t read too much differently than what the Angry Right writes at times.
You would have to define “Angry Right” and who is included in that. But I can think of some hardcore RadTrad commentary I have read that seems to fit the bill. Lots of anger.
But the latter don’t have near the power and influence (however diminishing) that the former still do.



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L.T.

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:52 am


Problem is, Mr. Jones’ aesthetics still reigns triumphant in the liturgies of St. Joe Average Parish and the Diocese of Boredom. And since aesthetics is catechesis, I don’t think we can discount him or his ilk at NCR that easily.



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meg

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:53 am


When Todd critiques the RadTrads, does he compare them to the Angry Left?
I doubt it.



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Richard

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:54 am


“Pretty uniform tone among these comments. So once again I think of the adage ‘When everyone thinks the same, no one is thinking.'”
Amy charges extra when she catches wind of any congition going on here, obviously.



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BA

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:09 pm


This explains the denial I’ve seen in some older priests with whom I’m acquainted.
It’s ironic that this screed comes out about the time that the theme for the “post-conciliar” Sunday Mass readings is: don’t judge your neighbor: you’re a schmuck too ;-)
Of course, only the unthinking, unquestioning, drool-eaters at open book would take that kind of message seriously, what with its overtones of guilt and individualistic piety and all.



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Todd

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:09 pm


meg, usually I stay on point, but to answer the gist of your question, I do recognize that silliness is not monopolized by either left or right, so in that sense, I’m not surprised where I find nonsense sometimes.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:12 pm


Thank you, Amy, for putting Arthur Jones in his place. I can only hope that, after Jones’ grand middle-finger salute to the Catholic Church, we will never hear from him again.



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Plato's Stepchild

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:16 pm


NCR
National
Catholic
Rapture
Please, oh lord, deliver us from our sins and rapture us away before the Right Wing Catholic Uruk Hai sack our city and our women and children at Helm’s Deep.
Please, oh lord, take us away On Eagle’s Wings just like you did for Gandolf versus Saruman.
We Are Church!



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Rich Leonardi

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:34 pm


Look at the bright side, Amy. People talk this way when they are losing.
Right. It’s one long, shrill whistle as he strolls past the graveyard.



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Rosemarie

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:45 pm


+J.M.J+
>>>Pretty uniform tone among these comments. So once again I think of the adage ‘When everyone thinks the same, no one is thinking.’
So if “I think, therefore I am” is true, are you saying we don’t exist? :-)
Just because we happen to generally agree with each other doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking or don’t/can’t think. It just means we agree. Most people agree that the earth is round rather than flat; would you accuse them all of “not thinking,” and say that flat-earthers are the only people who think for themselves?
IF the tone of my comment above is a bit strident, it’s because I’m sick of how the Left (both secular and religious) seems to think that the ultimate argument in favor of their position is: “If you disagree with me, you’re stupid!”. That’s not an argument, it’s an insult, and I’m tired of the arrogant insults the Modernists keep throwing at us.
In Jesu et Maria,



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Rich Leonardi

posted September 11, 2005 at 12:50 pm


Re: uniform tone
At the etymological root of the word catechesis is the word “echo”.
But I suppose if one’s vision of Catholicism is a polyglot Tower of Babel, so many Catholic voices saying Catholic things naturally causes nervousness.



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David Kubiak

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:03 pm


As someone noted above, I wish the condition of the Church were as “bad” as this comic piece suggests, since it would mean that everyone in its middle management who shares the author’s views would be fired forthwith. Alas, it remains true that both Chanceries and Catholic institutions are still full of these types. The ultimate solution to the problem is the fact of human mortality. I suppose they must exist, but I cannot say that I know a single serious Catholic — someone who actually goes to Mass on Sundays — in his or her twenties who has the religious attitudes of Mr. Jones. Perhaps this is the essence of the generational difference. Catholics who start to think like Mr. Jones now join one or another Protestant sect, which is regrettable, but surely preferable to boring Catholics with your angry heterodoxy.
I wish Pope John could get permission to start appearing to these people (wearing the camauro of course) and set them straight once and for all.



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Gregg

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:41 pm


There have been other articles published recently that have also expressed alarm regarding the return of adoration and worship amongst young Catholics. The articles suggest that instead of worshiping and adoration, they should be helping the poor. This may sound stupid, but I think what really worries these writers is the thought of a new generation of Catholics who accept the teachings of the church. If you are a pro-abortion, gay marriage, women priests, whatever – that must be disheartening.



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Kevin Jones

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:44 pm


I’m surprised at the “more Roman than American” line. Is the NCRep a nationalist rag, now?



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reluctant penitent

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:45 pm


“The Vatican may like Americans, but it doesn’t admire them”
Some ways in which the Vatican can express its admiration for Americans:
1. Play the Star Spangled Banner at the elevation. (Walker Percy’s American Catholic Church minus the Latin Mass.)
2. Replace the second reading with a number of snappy one-paragraph quotes from famous americans–e.g. Maya Angelou, Jerry Springer, Hugh Heffner, Arthur Miller, Abraham Lincoln, the first woman astronaut, the first black astronaut, the inventor of the Poli-Grip Super Denture Adhesive Cream, and, of course, Arthur Jones. (This is by no means an exhaustive list since there will be countless great Americans whom everyone in the Vatican will admire.)
3. When entering the Church the priest should be accompanied by a high school marching band and football team in full uniform.
4. Ban liturgical ballet dancing and replace it with mandatory liturgical tapdancing or breakdancing.
5. Parishioners should ‘lay each other five’ instead of shaking hands as a sign of peace. Each parishioner must do so to every other parishioner or risk being voted out of Church.
6. Parishioners should not only hold hands during the our father but do the wave continuously from one end of the church to another.
7. All liturgical singing must in some way be based on a Broadway show tune or a Peter Paul and Mary melody. (Most Americans will not notice any difference when this one is implemented.)
8. The Pope must wear a Superman cape at all times.
9. Relics of saints should be replaced with antiques from the American colonial period.
10. The credo will be replaced by a recitation of the Promise Keepers’ Seven Promises. (http://www.promisekeepers.org/faqscore24)



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reluctant penitent

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:48 pm


CB cries out loud: ‘For crying out loud, he
remodeled the ROSARY.’
You are free not to pray the mysteries of light. I find them quite luminous.



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The Curt Jester

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:56 pm


Retrospective: The Roman imposition

It is a rare thing to see Amy Welborn fisking something, but in this case also a thing of beauty…



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Charlotte Allen

posted September 11, 2005 at 1:56 pm


Folks, fear not–I finally read Jones’s NCR article, and he’s so out to lunch that you can’t take him seriously. I liked the bit about the “floor-length dresses,” though. When shamans, rabbis, imams, Hindu priests, and Buddhist monks wear robes, that’s “inculturation.” When Catholic clerics wear them, they’re “dresses.” Arthur Jones got onto the train in 1964, and unfortunately, the train has made quite a few stops since then. He seems quite put out, doesn’t he, that people nowadays show reverence to the Eucharist. Honestly, he’s just an old guy who needs our prayers.



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Rick Lugari

posted September 11, 2005 at 2:09 pm


Jones has been spewing this junk for the last years. Am I the only one who was incensed about his taking delight in a non-Catholic going (most likely per Jones’ instruction) to Holy Communion five times to get a close-up of the pope? I thought that to be more scandalous than his usual heretical utterances.



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Katherine

posted September 11, 2005 at 2:30 pm


It seems to me that Catholicism demands a level of unquestioning obedience, not only in action but in belief, that seems very wrong to me and many small-l-liberals. But I don’t think Pope Benedict XVI or Pope John Paul II made it up. One of the tenets of the religion is that the Church hierarchy is infallible in certain situations; another is that they must be obeyed even when they are not teaching infallibly.
This is why, even if I were Christian, I could never be Catholic.
But yes: you guys are obedient to authority. You do not question the Church and the pope as much as the liberals. For a lot of people who post here, a lot of the complaints are that they’re too easy on the liberals, on homosexual seminarians, etc. etc. And then the liturgical stuff. The possibility that the Church’s moral teaching on a subject could be wrong, is not one that is taken very seriously
But by your lights that’s a good thing; a requirement in fact. So while clearly he meant it pejoratively, and clearly “questioning nothing” is so exagerrated as to be provably false, I’m not sure why you take it that way and why it leads to such a defensive, hostile reaction.



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mark j

posted September 11, 2005 at 2:46 pm


Pretty uniform tone among these comments. So once again I think
of the adage ‘When everyone thinks the same, no one is thinking.’

That’s just silly. When Amy posts a story about Darfur, and the comments are uniformly critical of the situation there, are we a bunch of unthinking automotons?



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Cacciaguida

posted September 11, 2005 at 2:48 pm


Strange idea of “clericalization.” When lay people think they’re being holy and esteemed when they take on clerical roles, I call that clericalism. Jones seems to think we have clericalism when lay people don’t take on clerical roles.
And the other way around too. When clerics get into politics and start woo-hooing about social justice, that’s Jones’s “Francis-Clare church.” I’d call it — clericalism.



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amy

posted September 11, 2005 at 2:54 pm


Katherine:
You’re wrong. Flat out wrong.
Not that “questioning” is in itself a virute paramount to charity, the seeking mind is an aspect of traditional Catholicism, and in particular, Jone’s assertion is that The Catholics He Doesn’t Like are unquestioning assenters to whatever the Clerical Cabal have to serve up, and that is total nonsense. Do you want a partial list of aspects of JP2’s papacy that drove some of those Catholics mad, at least some of the time, aspects which they seriously questioned?
1)His ecumenical activities with non-Christians
2)The permission for female altar servers
3) His stance against capital punishment
4) His lack of enthusiasm for the US war effort in Iraq
5) The Vatican’s relations with Israel
6) The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary
7) The Theology of the Body (Not universally beloved, as some might think)
8) Various things like the Indult, Ex Corde Ecclesia, liturgical matters in which, it was seen, JP2 did not go “far enough” in acceding to “conservative” wishes or did not see to the enforcement of what came from Rome in local dioceses
And even now, with B16, please witness the hair-tearing that accompanied the appointment of Levada to CDF.
No, Katherine, the image Jones -a nd apparently you – would like to paint of unquestioning sheep, eager for the next episcopal or papal decision to throw a party for is just totally off.
there’s a lot of stuff that drives me wild – mischaracterization of reality is very high on the list.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:19 pm


Socius,
Pet peeve–pious and sickly sweet donation requests from old religious orders (esp. one in particular) known to be implicated in corruption and dissent to the highest degree. I’m always tempted to write something or other meaningless and slip them into the mailbox to use up the return postage :D But that would be FRAUD, wouldn’t it?
“Renewed womens’ orders”? You mean the ones who now have 2 members clad in gardening clothes, dancing–ahem–wheeling their chairs in the moonlight? Hey, don’t laugh, we got em. Sufi spirituality and all.



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Art Deco

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:20 pm


Katherine writes:
It seems to me that Catholicism demands a level of unquestioning obedience, not only in action but in belief, that seems very wrong to me and many small-l-liberals.
But yes: you guys are obedient to authority….
The possibility that the Church’s moral teaching on a subject could be wrong, is not one that is taken very seriously.

I and I supect others here are doubtful that you:
1. Conduct productive discussions without agreed premises or subject matter;
2. Believe nothing you do not submit to tests of empirical instrumentation; or
3. Routinely reconstitute the first principles which guide your thought and action.
This is a Catholic blog, maintained for a certain type of intramural discussion. If you are repelled by the premises and the subject matter, read The American Prospect and you will be free of both.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:21 pm


Katherine says:
‘One of the tenets of the religion is that the Church hierarchy is infallible in certain situations; another is that they must be obeyed even when they are not teaching infallibly.’
The Catholics Jones dislikes question the ‘hierarchy’ all the time–especially American Bishops–and support other members of the hierarchy whom they see defending and promoting the true teaching of the Church. At the risk of blasphemy I will compare it to something that might be closer to your own world-view: Some democrats don’t like Hilary Clinton because they think that she is not left of center enough–because she is not pro-abortion enough, not fanatical enough about euthanasia, stem-cell research, support for Planned Parenthood, etc. Such people might prefer Nancy Pelosi. Does that mean that they are the mindless automatons of Nancy Pelosi? No. They support her leadership because she reflects the moral and political good as they see it. Of course the analogy is deeply flawed because in the case of critics of liberal bishops we are talking about absolute moral and religious truth and in the case of the Nancy Pelosi democrats we are talking about a hedonistic culture that worships death, but it’s the best analogy that I was able to come up with given the time constraints.



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:25 pm


I agree with part of what Mr. Jones wrote:
“”The U.S. church’s current vibrant center is those young Catholics who flesh out the Gospel and deepen their appreciation of the Jesus who began with the poor by serving the poor and continuing to demand systemic change. They and their involved and demanding parents and grandparents, and the supportive nuns and priests, they’re the candles…”
Jones goes on to claim that these young ones will be relegated to the backwaters in the new Dark Age. Actually, Mr. Jones, they are right out in front, in the light: I saw them, by the tens of thousands, all from the US [and Canada, and Britain, etc.] in Cologne, Germany last month! The young people I saw [and who are part of my parishes here in what Mr. Jones would no doubt term a "liturgical backwater" which is south central Michigan] want systemic change, away from the namby-pamby nonsense which has characterized the highly vaunted “American Church.” These young people are much like those who first heard Jesus, who marvel at someone who speaks with authority, not like the pharisees. They have encountered Christ in His Church, in His sacraments, in service to the poor, and yes, even in His popes, Wojtyla and Ratzinger. You should see how these WYD pilgrims have given themselves in service to the hurricane victims! These young people see the connection between their devotion to Christ and His Church, and service to the poor and needy among us. Mr. Jones: OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE!
As my fellow WYD pilgrims learned to say, “Viva il Papa!” And to the consternation of B16’s many detractors, may we add this healthy bit of Polish to that Italian chant: “Sto lat!”



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:28 pm


Hey, Plato. What page is that on in the missalette? I think we sang that today.



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Katherine

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:33 pm


I am not saying “unquestioning” and “blindly obedient to authority”. I called those “so exaggerated as to be false.” I am saying “less questioning” and “much more obedient to authority.” And I stand by my assertion that “The possibility that the Church’s moral teaching on a subject could be wrong, is not one that is taken very seriously” with a caveat that you do take seriously the possibility that a judgment on a prudential matter could be wrong–in fact some, though not you (at all), seem not to take the prudential teachings very seriously at all. Luckily for you guys, when the Church disagrees with conservatives the teachings are generally labeled as “prudential matters.” (Those that are not, such as the teaching on torture, seem to receive far less emphasis, at least in this country).
There are certain areas about which the Church does not allow challenges–in which the Church says its teachings are either infallible or authoritative and binding even if not infallible. If you, personally, think those teachings, or the teachings about the Church’s authority itself, are wromg, you are going to find yourself challenging, questioning, disobeying, etc. far more often and at a much more fundamental level than those who do not think that. For decades–with some exceptions like the Society of SP XII–this has happened much more to liberals than conservatives. Which opens up the chance for more obedient Catholics to characterize the less obedient ones as–well, look on your comment threads for examples. Which equally opens up the chance for less obedient Catholics to characterize the more obedient ones as blind sheep.
As I understand it, orthodox Catholics believe that this level of obedience is required by the religion–is commanded by God–and that the Church’s teachings should not be questioned because they are TRUE.
As far as whether Catholicism demands that level of obedience, I think the more orthodox have the better of the argument. But as I said, that’s part of why I’m no longer Catholic.
BTW, I think that’s what’s going on with the younger generation–it’s not that overall they are more orthodox; if anything, the opposite. It’s that the ones who are not orthodox are less likely to stay with the Church despite their differences. That’s definitely how it’s played out in my family. It’s stereotypical: devout grandparents, parents who consider themselves Catholic but have issues with it, children who were baptized and maybe got first communion but who weren’t confirmed, and the next generation will overwhelmingly not even be baptized Catholic. From my point of view, people like the National Catholic Reporter staff are clinging by their fingernails to a center that is not holding. As Mark Shea said, people don’t write articles like that when they’re winning.
Amy–on a more personal note, I hope that despite my own religious affiliation it’s apparent that I wouldn’t bother posting here if I didn’t have a healthy intellectual & moral respect for the Catholic Church, including the current and recently departed popes, as well as you personally. The Catholic Church played a role in an awful tragedy that nearly destroyed my family but my grandmother’s Catholic faith was a bulwark of strength that more or less saved it.
I am not seeking to portray you as a blind sheep. It’s not true for one thing; for another I don’t have as much stake in this as Jones. I am saying that the Catholic Church demands, and most of the people here give, a higher level of obedience than I either want to give, am capable of giving, or think it is morally right to either ask for or give.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:44 pm


Katherine, there is nothing magical about questioning authority for its own sake.
Suppose I said:
Authorities claim that gravity exists. Therefore gravity can’t exist. Would that miraculously make it not exist?? Can you fly now?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking reality is a head-trip. Nasty surprises can result, esp. in heavy traffic. :o



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Katherine

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:46 pm


oh, one more thing: I hope it’s clear that I’m not doing the “it must be true to have hit such a nerve & made you so defensive” shtick. People get upset about criticism because it’s true; they also get upset about criticism because it’s blatantly, offensively false. What they, or at least I, don’t usually get defensive about is being criticized for something they see as a virtue.



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sj

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:50 pm


Jones is a familiar type to many of us who have older relatives. The only real shocker here is that the NCR decided to publish Pop-pop’s talk without an attempt to interpose a mediative influence.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 3:56 pm


You do point out something interesting however, Kathleen, but it’s something of which most practicing Catholics are well aware.
We are losing, not the center, but the fringe. The center will hold because the center is truth, which is and cannot be otherwise. There will always be some whom God holds there–even Scripture guarantees this.
The Church welcomes anyone who wants to cling to this truth in the center–however, it is not my truth nor yours, but THE truth and it has demands–do not neglect this.
The fringe? We cannot hold what we never had. There are many who were “raised Catholic” who simply aren’t. There are some who were and are no longer, because something else draws them more. It is a decision that every human being on earth must make, minute by minute. I see that you are making yours. You are free to do that.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:02 pm


Katherine, in this case if anyone is offended it’s because your criticism is so far beside the point that it comes off as “blatantly offensively false.”
I guess the proper rejoinder to your observatioin that we agree is “yah, so what?” Except it’s you who’s attaching a perjorative connotation to that observation.
If we agree that day is light, does that make it worth a perjorative comment too? If authorities agree that day is light, does that mean it cannot possibly be so, simply because of their accord?



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Katherine

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:09 pm


michigancatholic–no disagreement there. I hate that bumper sticker. I’d say obedience to authority is good when the authority is right, and bad when the authority is wrong, and whether the authority is right or wrong it gives the authority more power.
I don’t believe there exists among human beings an authority that is incapable of error, though.
Anyway, I should go, because I strongly suspect people would rather I spare them the Why I Am Converting spiel. In addition to it being a total self-indulgent threadjack, you won’t convince me, I won’t convince you, the gulf is too wide and deep.
I’m just saying: the gulf is real. Underneath his caricatures is a real dispute about the extent to which obedience to the Church’s hierarchy is (A) required of Catholics, and (B) an instrinsically good thing. He’s exaggerating it to the point of falsehood, but he’s not just making it up.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:14 pm


Oh….you want to be Catholic but dissent. Ah.
Some converts are afraid to step in with both feet. Pray hard and this will get better. ;) I know this, errr, first hand. Heh.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:17 pm


Well, you see, I’d tell you my little self-indulgent story if you’d tell me yours. I am a convert, but over 20 years ago now. But everyone else would probably throw the August zucchinis at us. =)



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Katherine

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:17 pm


No, sorry, I wasn’t clear: I was baptized Catholic (though raised sort of heterodox, and I got my first communion but was never confirmed.) I’m converting to Judaism.



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F. C. Bauerschmidt

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:20 pm


I skimmed Jones’ piece and can’t say I thought much of it. But I should also add that I was once interviewed by him and found him to be extremely pleasant personally. Of course, we weren’t discussing JPII or B16.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:25 pm


Ah ok, more clear now. I work with a lady who did the same. Did it for 2 reasons. She didn’t understand the Church (from the inside, sort of) very well, and she also wanted to marry a Jewish guy. Didn’t see what the big deal was.
To make a long story short, she’s divorced now (odds being what they are), and she still doesn’t *get* what the Church is all about. It’s hard on her. And sad.
Interesting thing, being Catholic is. When I converted, I didn’t understand what was inside until I *was* inside. I think people inside don’t understand what’s outside because they’ve never *been* outside….Just an observation, but I’ve seen it over and over.



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michigancatholic

posted September 11, 2005 at 4:29 pm


So you could leave the house entirely. Or you could get off the darned porch and come inside. It’s not so bad in here at all. ;)



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Katherine

posted September 11, 2005 at 5:08 pm


mc–Thanks for the courteous response. I already married to a Jewish guy, and that obviously plays a role. But this was my decision, not his–there has been close to no pressure from him or my in-laws, though they are happy about it. It was important to him that his kids be raised Jewish, but I would have agreed to that in any case even if I’d had no desire to convert myself. I don’t want to be an agent of the destruction of the Jewish people. (Of course, if I were a Catholic or Christian of strong faith I would not see having kids raised Catholic as entailing a rejection of Judaism & a destruction of the Jewish people. But I wasn’t that before I met him.)
I am trying not to be driven by a caricature of the Catholic Church, which is part of why I hang out here. But I don’t think I am. I’ve read a fair bit of the late Pope’s writing. I think he makes the best case imaginable for a lot of the teachings I have the most problems with, but in the end I am left thinking: no. That’s a lovely way of putting it, but that’s not right.



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Stacey

posted September 11, 2005 at 5:20 pm


But by your lights that’s a good thing; a requirement in fact. So while clearly he meant it pejoratively, and clearly “questioning nothing” is so exagerrated as to be provably false, I’m not sure why you take it that way and why it leads to such a defensive, hostile reaction.
I don’t know about “defensive” but I think that the reason that it gets such a negative reaction is that most “liberals” seem to assume that no one who accepts, in their entirety, the Church’s teachings on matters of faith and morals, could possibly have come to that position by actually thinking. No, they seem to believe that anyone who agrees with, say, Humanae Vitae (not to mention Casti Connubii, which was much more direct on the same subject) or Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, could not possibly have a single brain cell in their head.
So it’s not that anyone bristles at being considered obedient, rather, they bristle at being considered stupid. For people who believe so firmly that the Pope cannot be infallible on anything, they seem awfully convinced of their own infallibility…as evidenced by the fact that they appear to believe that anyone who disagrees with them could not possibly be right, but must be merely an uneducated idiot.



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revert2saved

posted September 11, 2005 at 5:23 pm


I think in practice the disagreement centers less on obeying vs. questioning authority, but rather on which authorities one accepts as valid. Political liberals and liberal Catholics tend to believe that PhDs, tenure, and articles in peer-reviewed journals confer authority, and are the best guarantee that someone speaks the truth. Notice how defensive they get if someone dares to question their established orthodoxies on evolution or global warming. Why do they insist that dissidents on matters of Church teaching always deserve a fair hearing and an opportunity to engage in “dialog”, while proponents of Intelligent Design should be silenced and their views barred from school textbooks? Because they believe that science professors speak with authority, but bishops and popes do not. This is also why Cardinal Ratzinger’s (occasional) censure of dissident theologians while head of the CDF upset them so much, because they see it as a case of a lesser authority (Rome) imposing on the rights of the true authority (professors of theology).



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Septimus

posted September 11, 2005 at 5:25 pm


Going back to the NCR chant of hate against the holy father…
So let me get this straight: being committed to social justice, the preferential option of the poor, the dignity of humanity worldwide, is incompatible with being committed to the Church’s moral teaching, including sexual morality, the worthy celebration of the liturgy, and tradition in general?
Hmm. Were Dorothy Day and Oscar Romero aware of this? I think they messed up and tried to do both. (Hm — and Blessed John XXIII, too.)
D’oh! I know what they did wrong — they failed to read the Nat’l Catholic Reporter!



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julian

posted September 11, 2005 at 5:36 pm


Most young Catholics I know have absolutely no interest in Vatican II. For them, it is another ecumenical council, up there with such landmarks as Lyons II and Lateran V. If I asked them to summarize Gaudium et Spes, they’d stare at me as blankly as if I asked them to quote the first sentence of Munificentissimus Deus. It’s all ancient history to them.
Popes John Paul the Great and Benedict do not represent an anti-conciliar tradition. They represent a mindset that seeks to place the council in line with the Church. The specious and spurious idea that Americans were suppressed because they understood Vatican II shows how feeble the author’s understanding of Vatican II is. Just because some Americans, as a rule, aren’t always interesting in what Rome has to say doesn’t mean that they possess(ed) a great store of conciliar wisdom. It means that they are contrarians.



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Venerable Aussie

posted September 11, 2005 at 7:12 pm


Katherine writes:
“That’s definitely how it’s played out in my family. It’s stereotypical: devout grandparents, parents who consider themselves Catholic but have issues with it, children who were baptized and maybe got first communion but who weren’t confirmed, and the next generation will overwhelmingly not even be baptized Catholic.”
OK, let’s stand back and analyze this familiar tale. Katherine herself has pinpointed where it started to go wrong.
The dissenters will have us believe that once Vat2 turned Catholics into “thinking” Catholics, then the “old” Church had to fall.
Of course, “thinking” meant NOT entering deeper into the mysteries of our faith, but picking “issues” with whatever aspect cheesed us off.
Far from remaining central to our entire existence, infusing the activities of our daily lives, the Catholic faith was marginalized by so many “parents with issues” as Katharine describes them, and the fate of the succeeding generations was sealed…
It’s not a refusal to be obedient.
It’s a REFUSAL to say: “Yes, I want to understand. I DESIRE to live the Faith in its totality.”
That’s what Arthur Jones and the NCR crowd fail to understand.



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Donna

posted September 11, 2005 at 7:54 pm


Katherine: I know most Jews (in America, at any rate) do not follow the laws of kashrut, but what do you say of those who do? Surely that is an example of obedience to God’s Laws that has nothing to do with rational considerations? There is no “rational” reason for refusing to eat pork and shellfish and passing up a cheeseburger (no meat and dairy at the same meal); it comes straight from Leviticus. Now, I admire and respect those who take the kosher laws seriously, but aren’t they, according to your lights, just as “unquestioning” and “unreasoning” as a Catholic lighting votives?
Hundreds of millions of heaven-bound Catholics just want Jesus.
Excuse me, but isn’t this at the heart of it all? The point of everything we do? Mr. Jones makes it sound like, yeah, wanting Jesus is O.K. and everything, but it takes a back seat to being a questioning intellectual type.
Jones yammers on about helping the poor, but he seems to hold the faith of the poor in a great deal of contempt. Has it ever occurred to him that that Peruvian peasant humbly asking St. Rose of Lima for her intercession, or the Ugandan mother praying the Rosary before an icon of Our Lady, might know Jesus better than he does? Excuse me if I don’t hold “Spirit of VII” types up as the highest and most perfectly evolved Christians on the planet.
Furthermore, I’ve found that the “Spirit of VII” types want to have it both ways. Their leftist political leanings tell them that greedy, capitalist America is responsible for all the world’s ills, but at the same time, they think (liberal) American Catholics should be at the head of the parade in the Vatican.
Appoint U.S. bishops more Roman than American
That sounds exactly like the complaint of some “Know Nothing” circa 1850- those creepy, unAmerican RC’s, getting their marching orders from dadgum furringers. Who’s sounding 19th century here?
reluctant penitent: Your parody of “The American Catholic Church” was terrific – worthy of The Curt Jester (which I consider a great compliment).
3. When entering the Church the priest should be accompanied by a high school marching band and football team in full uniform.
LOL!



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Marianne

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:29 pm


Rick:”Am I the only one who was incensed about his taking delight in a non-Catholic going (most likely per Jones’ instruction) to Holy Communion five times to get a close-up of the pope?” It was noted by Bonnie, at 12.54.
Also noted was the scurrilous use of Polish & German names. I’m surprised that went by. Would he call Arinze “the Nigerian” or the French Cardinal “the Jew”? No, ’cause he’s pc more than anything and suggesting someone is a Nazi is okay in his world.



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Lois

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:34 pm


Katherine, please re-read John 6. The questioners walked away. The dissenters grumbled and called names as they left. The Apostles said “this is a hard saying” but followed anyway.



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Anonymous Teacher Person

posted September 11, 2005 at 8:40 pm


Here’s where I am confused. I thought we of the NDA were setting up a “parallel magisterium” with all of our laity-led book-writing and speechifying. But apparently we’re all being muffled by the chilling effect of the dress-wearing Romans?
Interesting.
I’m not sure I understand what Jones’ version of the Church would be like. I mean, I can think of lots of flippant remarks about liturgical dancing and whatnot, but ultimately – there’s more to his vision of what the Church should be, isn’t there?
What is he *actually* mad about?



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Donna

posted September 11, 2005 at 9:04 pm


I’m not sure I understand what Jones’ version of the Church would be like.
The ECUSA, I guess, or any other of the mainline Protestant churches whose First Commandment has become “Thou Shalt Go With The Flow.”
Those are the very same churches, of course, which have been bleeding members since the ’60’s, at least. But since Jones really doesn’t care for all those bobble-headed proles anyway, I don’t know why he doesn’t make a beeline for the mainline, where he would meet more of “his kind of people.”
Unitarianism might suit him. I once went to a Unitarian church where the entire service seemed to consist of 10 (white and clearly middle class) people telling each other that they didn’t believe in a personal God. Life after death? Well, three of them liked the idea (although they were quick to assert that belief in Heaven and Hell is “childish”), four said no, and a couple said maybe, who knows? Now, contrary to what Mr. Jones thinks, I do like intellectual debate, but this was about as stimulating as watching paint peel. Everyone seemed very nice, but I left wondering why on earth I had bothered to get up out of bed.



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Catholic Pillow Fight

posted September 11, 2005 at 9:37 pm


Former Editor of National Catholic Reporter…

In a very un-Amy-like manner, Amy Welborn picks up a pillow and mercilessly beats Arthur Jones about the head and shoulders.



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RC

posted September 11, 2005 at 9:54 pm


An “NCR editor” is someone engaged in a mission: to remake the Church in the image of an early-20th century ideology: an ambitious task, but one destined for failure, thanks to the Church’s indefectibility.
A “former NCR editor” is someone washed-up from having labored vainly at the previous role.
It’s pitiable in a way.
I had to wince a little at the commenter above who wrote that Amy had put Mr. Jones in his place. As Frank Sheed reminded us, our opponents’ place — the place where God wants them — is in Heaven.



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Curmudgeon

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:12 pm


Head-bobbing? What about active participation in the Mass? Isn’t head-bobbing active participation? Granted it’s not as active as genuflecting or kneeling at communion. It looks silly if every one is doing it, I admit. It doesn’t look so silly when everyone kneels or genuflects.
But, I guess that’s not Jonesy’s point. I take it that his point is we shouldn’t just want Jesus (here a little head-bob, as I ape my rigid, power-hungry sexist traditional pastor—as well as I can without a biretta to tip). Jesus (head-bob) isn’t as important as feeding the poor is he? Jesus (head-bob) doesn’t want any reverence to him until everyone in the country is well fed and has a “living wage” job and free health care and a free apartment (and a free conscience and free condoms), does he?
My Douay Rheims has Matthew 26:1-13 and Mark 14:1-8, which seems to answer the question for me, anyways. Jonesy’s Ecumenical New Living Ungendered Text.



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Donna

posted September 11, 2005 at 11:21 pm


How does that old, Vatican II-era Dylan song go again?
“Something’s going on, and you don’t know what it is, Mr. Jones.”



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Lawrence King

posted September 12, 2005 at 12:28 am


No questions. Cannot question. I have no questions.



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Plato's Stepchild

posted September 12, 2005 at 8:20 am


We seek no “Sieg Heils”. We pray in silence. “Participation” in the Mass does not mean hearing our own voices. It means God hearing our voices. Only He knows who is “participating” at Mass. I believe, to compare small things with great, that I “participate” in a work of art when I study it and love it silently. No need to shout.
Evelyn Waugh, A Little Order – Selected Journalism – Essay Changes in the Church



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bruce cole

posted September 12, 2005 at 8:31 am


Wow, what a piece and wow, what a thread! Sorry to jump in so late. However, two things leap out and bite me on the nose. The first is Jones’ pretensions to intellectuality and the idea that everyone who doesn’t agree with him is a sub-normal dolt. I’ve posted before on this as to why McBrien and Pagels are so popular. Secondly, and sadly, I know an incredible amount of people (very much within an age grouping, too) who would just nod along in fervent agreement with his piece as if it were Just The Most Obvious Thing In The World. Very aad. Now, I am losing too much time at “work” replying to this site. I will try to be a good boy today. Open Book is a near occasion of sin, Amy!
Oh, and by the way, what about the woman in the sari????



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Brigid

posted September 12, 2005 at 8:45 am


Reading Jones’ article reminds me of my elderly German father who rants about a Church that he once knew or wanted or cared about in his youth. The difference is my father is from the far more conservative side.
Let’s be respectful of our elders.
The children are watching!



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Julia

posted September 12, 2005 at 8:52 am


About the “ethnic” thing:
In one of the bios of JPII I read about one of JPI’s predecessors at Krakow. Not only was it expected that the laity kneel before him and kiss his ring, it was also expected that folks along the side of the road kneel and bow their heads when his carriage went by. That is the atmosphere of the Catholic Church in John Paul’s youth. This same man was very brave and a great leader during hard times, but Poland did have a rather extreme reverance for hierarchy.
Germans are known as being more into authority and conformity, in general, than Americans. I talk with a lot of folks from the air base near here who have been stationed in Germany. They all really liked the experience, but never fail to remark that everyone opens and closes the shutters at precise times. If you don’t follow suit, a neighbor will call you on it. My father was German and he had a very pronounced belief in rules and authority. Hard working and honest to a fault, but, yes, he and his extended family were very big on authority.
I don’t think Mr. Jones was implying that B16 was a Nazi or that he had a view of Poles that came from the old dumb Polack jokes. Problem is he exaggerated likely cultural traits way beyond any reasonable degree.
Another angle on some of this: I was discussing this article with choir members after Mass yesterday. One person who had lived in Europe for 8 years remarked that Americans have never had royalty and don’t realize how that history of monarchy still colors how Europeans look at life. It colors the Church which is headquartered in Rome, which had a king until Mussolini. Up until a little over 100 years ago, the Pope himself ruled as a monarch over a good piece of Italy and the remaining Papal royal trappings are still slowly sloughing off. There is probably something to that, and may be part of Jones’ impatience and anger.
That being said, why should we want to turn the Catholic Church into something resembling Protestantism? If it has no real Truth to peddle that others don’t have, why bother putting so much energy into the project? Maybe, late in life, Mr. Jones is realizing how wasted his efforts have been – what he wants already exists in a variety of Protestant churches. Late life regrets can be searing to the soul.



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Christine

posted September 12, 2005 at 10:03 am


Once again I am very grateful for the solid, evangelical and catholic Lutheran pastors who formed me in my youth. I was taught growing up that the gospel is first and foremost Good News, joyful good news of God becoming Man in Christ Jesus, that we are not alone in the universe, that God cares and loves us and will guide his pilgrim people to that eternal Kingdom where he will “wipe away every tear” and we will praise him forever.
Well — fast forward to today and I had a young priest, thoroughly formed in the social gospel tell me that Christianity isn’t all sweetness and light. Well, yeah — I think the crucifixion is pretty good evidence of that. Nevertheless, the history of the Church, the saints and the lives of countless Christians speak of the joy they knew in serving Christ in their fellow human beings, which is the *fruit* of faith in him.
It seems we’ve gone from the excess of “pie in the sky” to the opposite extreme where the Gospel is grounded in this world only.
Jones needs to regain some balance.



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Christine

posted September 12, 2005 at 10:19 am


Katherine,
It seems to me that you are confusing Papal infallibility with impeccability. Do you realize how very few times the Pope has made what are declared infallible pronouncements?
So your family had “Catholic problems.” So did mine. The infighting between my Catholic and Protestant family members was a sight to see.
It didn’t prevent me from seeing that the Catholic Church for me was a completion of what I had already believed as a Protestant.
From my own background of being raised in two traditions I am seeing you repeat some of the very stereotypes that flowed around both sides of my family. If the Catholic shoe doesn’t fit you, don’t wear it. It’s that simple.



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Tom Modl

posted September 12, 2005 at 11:06 am


Good post, Amy. The one thing with which I’d nit-pick: your guess that more people of the “W-R” church are serving the poor than that of the part of the church with which Jones is comfortable. I would guess that if you take all the (admittedly aging) people from the “reformed” religious communities who serve the poor, the people serving the poor through Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, and the young people taking part in volunteer efforts like Jesuit Corp and Maryknoll Associates, that they might outnumber the folks in the rising religious orders.
Committment to social justice ministry is probably all many of these people have left of their Catholic identity, but they still have it, while many of the new younger orthodox I’ve seen do not make it as much of a priority (perhaps because they want to find the “why” behind why service to the poor is important).



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meg

posted September 12, 2005 at 11:09 am


But why are you assuming, Tom, that all of those who are working on behalf of those agencies and groups are in the Jonesian model? I can’t agree.



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Christine

posted September 12, 2005 at 12:06 pm


I also have to question Katherine’s remarks as follows:
“Anyway, I should go, because I strongly suspect people would rather I spare them the Why I Am Converting spiel. In addition to it being a total self-indulgent threadjack, you won’t convince me, I won’t convince you, the gulf is too wide and deep. … I don’t want to be an agent of the destruction of the Jewish people. (Of course, if I were a Catholic or Christian of strong faith I would not see having kids raised Catholic as entailing a rejection of Judaism & a destruction of the Jewish people. But I wasn’t that before) ”
It seems to me that Katherine posted those comments on another thread somewhere else already and I’m wondering what is her point in repeating them.
The threat to the Jewish people certainly isn’t coming from Christian quarters these days. It is militant Islam that wants to obliterate Jews (and Christians, for that matter) from the face of the earth.
Years ago while I was still single I dated a very delightful Israeli gentleman for a time. He was divorced and we knew from the start that should he ever remarry it would be to a Jewish woman because he had a daughter whose ethnic/religious identity was very important to him. I respected that and am immensely grateful because as an older adult I now see what a mistake it would have been for me to marry out of my Christian milieu.
His view of Catholics was far more enlightened that Katherine’s.



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Todd

posted September 12, 2005 at 12:19 pm


I think Tom Modl’s point is well taken. Commitment to justice and charity has a long pedigree, and there’s little doubt the post-conciliar Church was strengthened by the apostolate of the various groups he mentioned. I don’t think piling on Jones for being weak on the j/c front is warranted.
The possible overkill on the Jones essay also makes me suspicious. If everyone is in basic agreement that this guy screwed the pooch for NCR and the liberals, why are we still talking about it?



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amy

posted September 12, 2005 at 12:41 pm


Todd:
Is there like a statue of limitations on how long comments can be posted on a blog post? For the record, I think the number of comments on this post stood at about 84 last night. Fewer than fifteen have been added, and some of those on off-topics, and some by people who just you know, didn’t read the blog yesterday and felt the desire to comment today.
Is that okay with you?



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Christine

posted September 12, 2005 at 12:47 pm


Todd:
“I was editor when Pope John Paul II made his first U.S. visit. With all bases covered, I told one photographer — he was Jewish, I believe — where he’d be in the best position to get the up-close facial I needed of the pope.
The photog called in when he’d developed his shots. “I got it, Arthur!” he shouted into the phone. “I got it. I had to go to Communion five times, but I got it.”
And this is supposed to be amusing?
Jones sounds desperate. He was one of the prime reasons I cancelled a very early subscription to the NCR when I first entered the Catholic Church.



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Todd

posted September 12, 2005 at 1:10 pm


Amy, to answer your questions, no and yes. I’m just making an observation that people seemed to be having a little too much fun, and dismissing some non-echoes a little too capriciously. Is that ok with you?
Christine, I think Amy and others have covered the desperation point quite well. I take your last post to be a concession that Jones is not a product of a peace-and-justice-deficient generation. That’s enough of a reach to be as laughable as Jones. Not everything was hopeless in the 60’s, just as Deal Hudson doesn’t sink the crunchy-cons of the new millennium.
Cheers, all.



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amy

posted September 12, 2005 at 1:25 pm


Todd, your comment implied that the discussion was over the top and unnecessarily extended. I suggest that when 10 or so comments on one post on a blog that’s had almost 5000 unique visitors and 12,000 page views since midnight is not overkill.
Todd, you really are King of the Straw Men.



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Christine

posted September 12, 2005 at 1:28 pm


“Not everything was hopeless in the 60’s, just as Deal Hudson doesn’t sink the crunchy-cons of the new millennium.”
No, Todd, not everything was hopeless. But having been in my late teens in the sixties I sure saw a lot of wreckage left in the trail and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Jones is simply irrelevant to me.



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bruce cole

posted September 12, 2005 at 1:36 pm


“Screwed the pooch”? My, my, Todd, such language…
Incidentally, what about the woman in the sari??



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Jeff II

posted September 12, 2005 at 3:06 pm


Is anyone else creeped out by the use of the plural in the phrase “New Testament realities?”
I thought there was one reality.
Silly me.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 12, 2005 at 3:08 pm


Todd, When the former editor of a major Catholic publication says such bizzare and hostile things some discussion is natural. amy I’m afraid that 6,000 of the 12,000 page views might have been mine.



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Fr. Totton

posted September 12, 2005 at 3:20 pm


As a Kansas Citian I must first say that I am offended by the (rather irreverant) D.G. Mr. Jones muttered upon departing from my fair city.
As a young fogey – and one of the clerical variety at that – I would like to point out that Mr Jones never mentions bobble-heads. He accuses us rather of imitating dippie-birds. An important distinction since the former reference is *relevant* to late 20th century pop culture while the former (Mr. Jone’s chosen analogy) would be better understood by the boomers! That said, such commentary referring to the reverence shown our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is all to commonplace among the generation that Weigel once referred to as “disappointed liberals.” For the record, I have also heard such individuals recently refer to the Corpus Christi Procession as a “wafer parade.” For the record, I would much prefer the faithful engage the whole body in an act of adoration before Holy Communion, by genuflecting!
I will second much of what was said above by Amy’s “dittoheads” who are apparently “substandard doults” This generation is passing away and they will only become more and more bitter as they realize that their revolution is slipping away. Yes, we should pray for them.
Finally, I found the following quote delightfully funny! Biretta tip to whomever penned it (I don’t remember):
“I thought we of the NDA were setting up a “parallel magisterium” with all of our laity-led book-writing and speechifying. But apparently we’re all being muffled by the chilling effect of the dress-wearing Romans?”



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Katherine

posted September 12, 2005 at 4:10 pm


Oh my goodness. I don’t think Christians want to kill Jews! Far from it. But if I did not convert myself, convert my children, or raise them as Jews, they would not be Jewish, and the number of Jews left would decline. And there aren’t that many to begin with. That’s what I meant by “agent of destruction of the Jewish people.”
Am I unusually incoherent or are people assuming bad faith on my part?



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Todd

posted September 12, 2005 at 5:35 pm


Amy, I meant to say what was over the top was not quantity, but quality. The discussion is fine, but I think yours was the last original thought on this thread in the con dept. I’m sure this topic is of great interest to many bloggers. But the telling of this thread is when people attempt to bring a measure of nuance to it, something between, “Oh Arthur Jones is a great guy when he’s had a few martinis and loosens up.” and “Arthur Jones is the antichrist.” Tom Modl and Katherine and even when I agree with the gist of it: these things are not enough.
Not a king, not by a long shot. But glad I have no echoes.



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Joseph R. Wilson

posted September 12, 2005 at 9:21 pm


“Committment to social justice ministry is probably all many of these people have left of their Catholic identity”–Tom Modl
“I think Tom Modl’s point is well taken. Commitment to justice and charity has a long pedigree, and there’s little doubt the post-conciliar Church was strengthened by the apostolate of the various groups he mentioned.”–Todd



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Plato's Stepchild

posted September 12, 2005 at 9:55 pm


Todd is welcome on my blog if he’s finding the heat too tough to take here. I specialize in everything.



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Todd

posted September 12, 2005 at 10:16 pm


Thanks, PS. I’m cool.



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Christine

posted September 13, 2005 at 8:16 am


“But if I did not convert myself, convert my children, or raise them as Jews, they would not be Jewish, and the number of Jews left would decline. And there aren’t that many to begin with.”
I’m afraid I didn’t catch that context first time around, Katherine, because you are addressing so many issues at one time regarding your views of Christianity, Catholicism and desire to convert to Judaism.
Perhaps as a convert you will provide a nudge to a community that is rapidly declining in the U.S., much of it due to intermarriage and the influence of a secular culture.



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Google Guy

posted September 14, 2005 at 4:12 pm


“5000 unique visitors and 12,000 page views since midnight”
Actually, it’s really 5000 visitors, not unique visitors. Thus, the folks who check in 35 times a day get counted as 35, not 1. You need to pay site meter more money to get the unique visitor stats… along with other fun stuff!



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