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Via Media


Because…

posted by awelborn

…what everyone really wants in religious education is to sit around discuss What the Bible Means to Me and (wait for it) share our storiespre-publication sales of the Compendium of the Catechism are quite brisk, thanks.

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church seems to be on the way to becoming a publishing success, says the U.S. bishops’ conference.

More than 40,000 pre-publication sales of the Compendium have been recorded — and the number is steadily climbing, says the bishops’ Web site.

The 200-page Compendium summarizes key points of the 1992 Catechism. Available March 31, it is being published in the United States, in English and Spanish, by USCCB Publishing.

Pre-publication sales usually amount to one-third of the first-year sales, according to Patrick Markey, associate director for marketing, sales and inventory. At that pace, the Compendium is expected to sell between 120,000 and 200,000 copies in its first year, he said.

I can think of quite a few professional religious educators I’ve known who will be driven to drink by this news. Why won’t you get it? Why won’t you understand that this need for black-and-white answers is so pre-Vatican II? What’s wrong with you people? Why are you so stubbornly unthinking, unnuanced and immature?



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Maclin Horton

posted March 26, 2006 at 2:48 pm


Thanks for the Sunday afternoon chuckle, Amy. You bring back now-amusing memories of the attempt my wife and I made to show some good will and participate in Renew back in the late ’80s. I remember saying after it was over that I never again wanted to hear a Catholic say anything about the faith that began with “Well I think…”–it was so often followed with something wholly un-Catholic and sometimes just preposterous. When I remember those sessions I’m not surprised by the Catholic reception of Da Vinci.
To be fair, the sharing-our-stories part was the least worst: it did help to bring home how every single one of us is struggling to make sense of life and to be faithful. It was just the theological reflections that were pretty much a waste.



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 26, 2006 at 3:10 pm


I still twitch at the term ‘faith sharing’.
In my first RCIA class we were made to sit in small circles and ‘share’ our life stories. Some people really didn’t like that, esp. not right off the bat. Others took to it and started crying right away. I wasn’t crying :)
Basically, it was too much too soon.



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katie

posted March 26, 2006 at 5:11 pm


I sometimes wonder if the emphasis on “faith sharing” isn’t somewhat related to the lousy training ANYONE (Catholic) in ministry seems to receive in presenting – whether it be priests who READ their prepared (and way too intellectual) sermon (that would be this morning’s visiting priest!) or DRE’s who have a sacrament meeting to prepare – it is rare to see a Catholic in any setting who can deliver what Protestants do as a matter of course – authoritative assertions of the gospel rendered relevant and accessible to the pew sitter! And so, rather than take responsibility for BECOMING EFFECTIVE in delivering a solid, content laden message we resort to placing the burden on the “small groups” and their facilitators to arrive (more or less) at the conclusion we hope to accomplish. And all this takes an incredible amount of time relative to the actual content discussed. For new religious educators this poses a problem on a couple of fronts because this is the common model other educators are using – A didactic mode is generally discouraged or feared as either inappropriate or risky (as in – who will sit still for that length of time)and no one supports, encourages or trains Catholic educators to present in a dynamic way.
I am shortly attending a workshop for presenting offered by a Protestant publishing group because of my frustration in this regard. I have been the DRE for 2 years in my parish after years of involvement in retreat giving/teaching in one of the movements. My inclination is totally toward the didactic method and that works with motivated learners – but EVERYTHING I see modeled/ am told by mentors is that I can’t do it that way in the parish. AND – it’s a lot less labor intensive to fill time with “faith sharing” rather than preparing content for the whole time slot.



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giahoras

posted March 26, 2006 at 5:14 pm


As I recall from the Bishops’ Our Hearts Are
Burning within Us — the narrative component, here called faith sharing, was a prelude serving
to have the teaching deal with what the others
needed to hear. It need not have been the main
emphasis/content. How sorry!



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NW Clerk

posted March 26, 2006 at 6:11 pm


prepared (and way too intellectual) sermon
Sigh! What I wouldn’t DO for an itellectual sermon!! :-)



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NW Clerk

posted March 26, 2006 at 6:12 pm


That should have been “intellectual” — or maybe not, since all I would probably get is an “itel-lekshul” one!



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TSO

posted March 26, 2006 at 6:28 pm


The Compendium (in English) has been so long in coming that they’ve worked up quite a thirst for it. I was beginning to think that it was being held back like the gnostic gospels or something. *grin*



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Anon

posted March 26, 2006 at 8:06 pm


“v…what everyone really wants in religious education is to sit around discuss What the Bible Means to Me and (wait for it) share our stories…”
Dang, I thought it was only I who cringed at that phrase — “share our stories.”
It’s part of my job, and my bosses and colleagues would think I’m a lost cause and a closet tridentinist if I posted with my name, but I shudder when we gather for a diocesan function and all start warbling, “We come to share our stories… we come to tell our rising from the dead…”
No we DOOOOOOOOOOOON’T, we come to worship God. Share your dang story with me over a martini later.
And is it legal for any Catholic function to NOT break up into “small discussion groups” so that we can share more of our stories?
I and my husband, converts both, LOOOOOOOOVE the CCC, and our RCIA facilitator (“no, this is not a class and I am not a teacher — I have as much to learn from you as you do from me!”) actively discouraged reading it.
Sure, and find out how off base she was?



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Lynn

posted March 26, 2006 at 8:31 pm


How many times I’ve longed for the BALTIMORE CATECHISM of my childhood! The “let’s share how we feel about…” gang may scoff, but at least I actually KNOW something about the teachings of the Church.



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Jon W

posted March 26, 2006 at 8:33 pm


Sigh! What I wouldn’t DO for an intellectual sermon!!
Amen. I’ll trade 15 “Chicken Soup” sermons (told in a lilting, dramatic, story-telling style in front of the altar with a zinger! at the end that dies away into the silence of the congregations’s moment of reflection*), for one, boring, intellectual sermon. (Actually, that’s a great trade no matter what.)
The reading of the intellectual sermon is a problem, though. I think the issue with Catholic homilists is that they’ve had no good role models. For their entire time at seminary, the seminarians should be made to go to mass on Saturday night and on Sunday morning attend the local AME church or something, just so they can see how it’s done.
*Actual reflection during moment of reflection: “That was the freaking lamest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. No wonder men hate the church. It’s only the purest desire to enter into the sufferings of Christ that keeps me from running to the bathroom after the gosp… what the? oh, hey, the creed. [aloud] I believe in God…”



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Katie

posted March 26, 2006 at 8:59 pm


“Sigh! What I wouldn’t DO for an intellectual sermon!!”
I don’t mean to decry an intelligent/intellectual sermon – actually today’s might have been effective if the delivery had been better. And fortunately that is the most significant problem we seem to have in our (Los Angeles!)parish – but it actually undercuts the impact of the solid message delivered. Many times I think my pastor nailed it but when I inquire of friends who are less invested – they didn’t really hear it!
BUT – I also think that there are times when the question to be asked is “what does this mean for my life” or “is this really true!?” we hear a theological/academic exercise that doesn’t impact….



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Beth

posted March 26, 2006 at 9:06 pm


Once again, I am so grateful that the Dominican Fathers leading our RCIA program are literally walking us (very quickly) of course, through the Catechism. I kept meaning to read it on my own, but never did. I just keep thinking I cannot in good conscience convert as an adult if I don’t know what the Church actually teaches, can I?
If you don’t read the Catechism, what exactly are you learning in RCIA? Or maybe I don’t want to know.



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cradle convert

posted March 26, 2006 at 9:48 pm


It’s all well and good to joke about the ‘share our stories’ bunk that passes for catechesis these days, but we shouldn’t forget how much damage it’s done. My peers and I were fed this mush under the guise of religious instruction throughout my 16 years of Catholic education. We were essentially handed a bunch of feel-good platitudes and thrown to the wolves. I recently attended a high school reunion. The ONLY classmate I could find who hadn’t left the Church did a stint in the Peace Corps, now has a degree in theology, and teaches dissent to seminarians at the theological institute attached to the local Jesuit college we both attended. The rest of us didn’t so much leave, as drifted away.
I will be forever grateful to the Institute of Christ the King priests whose ‘intellectual’ sermons have introduced me to Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Aquinas, and others in the rich intellectual tradition of the Church (my five-year old son is admittedly less grateful). But I can’t help asking, each time (and with a certain amount of bitterness), Why didn’t anybody tell me? What I, and my peers got instead, was my (lay) religion teacher’s reflection on prayer – that her favorite method of prayer was to lay naked on her back on her bed, and close her eyes and ‘feel’ God. (There were nuns at my Catholic high school, but they were too busy ‘team teaching’ the mandatory ‘Global Studies’ and ‘Women’s Studies’ classes to teach us religion). It’s funny, but it’s not.



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Todd

posted March 26, 2006 at 10:55 pm


The real problem, obviously, is catechists who are content to be one-trick-ponies. I suppose some of my musical colleagues are in this boat, too.
The admirable point is not the numbers of Compendia sold, but how many will actually read and absorb it, and put it to use in their own stories–I mean their own lives.
I do hope they include my favorite section, #2478. It’s a struggle for all of us.



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Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP

posted March 26, 2006 at 11:19 pm


All of you wanting something a little “weightier” in the homily area, check out my blogsite and let me know what you think…I’m serious: I need the feedback!
RE: small groups. I was so hoping that this nonsense has died back in the 90’s. When I was in grad school we had this Marxist pedagological junk shrove at us. It’s all from Pablo Friere’s book, “A Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” We de-centered classrooms, deconstructed “banking” metaphors of education, redistributed the wealth of knowledge and never, never, never said that anyone got something wrong. Oh, and we didn’t use red pens b/c they are oppressive. Oh, and we didn’t give grades b/c that’s oppressive too, instead we “normed writing tasks.” Ppphhhbbtttt….nonsense, utter nonsense.
My RCIA program at a Paulist parish (yea, I know…) was a big disaster. We pretty much did nothing by small group. When we did have a lecture it was pretty useless. When we got to Vatican One, our priest said, basically, “This council was held b/c the Pope was feeling a little threatened by the modern forces of progress. They had to end it before anything really damaging was done.” Not a word about papal infallability or the stuff on faith and reason.
Fr. Philip, OP



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Fr. Philip, OP

posted March 27, 2006 at 6:03 am


That should read: “My RCIA program at a Paulist parish (yea, I know…) was a big disaster. We pretty much did nothing BUT small group work.”
I need a better editor! ;-)
PNP, OP



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Ellen

posted March 27, 2006 at 6:12 am


Methinks I see a pattern here. There’s a lot of people out there who want to know and who want sensible answers to their questions.
True story. I was once a teacher at our parish’s RCIA program and a woman asked a question – Why are there statues in the church?
The DRE gave a long and rambling reply that was all about her and her feeeelings and after she finished, I said, “they are to remind us of Jesus, Mary and the other saints as we pray and also to honor them. We have statues of Lincoln, Washington and other great Americans to honor them, it’s the same with the statues in church.” The woman who asked the question thanked me.



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charles R. Williams

posted March 27, 2006 at 7:03 am


My step-daughter is in RCIA right now (hooray! hooray!). In our area (Akron/Canton, OH) RCIA is done mostly by parish priests so everything depends on them. Her instruction is very thin but orthodox. Even for a professional person the Catechism is a little too much. She got a copy of Catholicism for Dummies which is excellent and perhaps the Compendium would be good too.
Amanda was raised in a good pentecostal church. Taking some initiative on her own, she’ll get what she needs. I think RCIA is totally inadequate for a convert coming to Christianity cold.
Some attention needs to be given to the role of sponsor/godparent. Perhaps, these people should be chosen by the priest from among the most knowledgeable and faithful Catholics in the parish. I think it is often a spouse or fiance who fills this role and the sponsor may know little about the faith himself.



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Maureen

posted March 27, 2006 at 7:49 am


There’s nothing really wrong with asking RCIA candidates to share their faith backgrounds, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with small groups. What makes them a problem is treating supplemental techniques like the solution to all ills, and letting them take over.



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little gidding

posted March 27, 2006 at 8:40 am


I think the reason that “sharing our stories” takes over and actual catechesis fades is because of the Gnosticism that has taken over most of Christianity and a goodly portion of the Catholic Church as well. It reckons the material world as a prison–and this includes all the forms of tradition and convention and dogma and authority and hierarchy and distinctions of class and gender–and so sees truth as available only in rebelling against them, or taking apart the “prison” from the inside, and sees those who have “come out” of it and display a sign of “negation” of all particular constraints as heroic saints and exemplars of liberation for those of us too pathetically stupid to grasp it. Proceeding into the innermost holy of holies of the Gnostic temple is enthroned … one’s own “authentic self,” sitting on a Barcalounger perhaps and sipping a cold brewski and blogging that self’s “stories” to the rest of the world. Now *that’s* what I call religious education!



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Donald R. McClarey

posted March 27, 2006 at 9:19 am


About a year after my wife and I married she decided she wanted to convert. This was in the early eighties. She participated in RCIA and got nothing out of it. Everything was too vague in it. Fortunately the priest who married us was quite orthodox and had given her a very good overview of the faith. The Baltimore Catechism, which my wife uses to instruct our kids now, answered any remaining questions she had, and she did convert, but without any real help from RCIA.



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CV

posted March 27, 2006 at 9:45 am


I once heard a priest tell the following (I’m paraphrasing of course):
“Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…and to the sheep at his right hand he will say, ‘come with me into eternal life.’
To the goats at his left he will say….
‘The rest of you break down into small groups.”
:-)



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Dina Swift

posted March 27, 2006 at 9:56 am


“The real problem, obviously, is catechists who are content to be one-trick-ponies.”
Is that a problem!
And as we all know, there are many tricks but one sideshow* (*a rejected text from the Lectionary for Children — they decided to go with that many gifts, one Spirit thing.)
I think the problem is not that we are all one-, or at least limited-number-of-tricks ponies, (yes, even you, Todd, even I, even the Holy Father for all the enormous number of gifts he has displayed so far,) the problem is that the only tricks that are welcomed in many places are the ones that appeal to, and might be instantly understood by the youngest, shallowest, laziest and least interested among us among us.
Baby food, snack food and pre-digested formulae when strong meat is wanted and needed sometimes.



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Adam

posted March 27, 2006 at 10:53 am


You beat me, CV, I was going to tell that joke!



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 27, 2006 at 11:22 am


Not everything in life is another blow in the culture wars, folks. A good deal of this is personality driven. The overwhelming majority of those who comment on blogs are introverts but the majority of the population at large is extroverted and that means that talking is a critical part of most people’s learning needs.
Our experience of teaching the gifts discernment process to over 21,000 adults in a live setting has been interesting. After personally reading over 10,000 evaluations, I can sum it up as:
1) You must recognize that most people are reasonably intelligent and can and must wrestle with big ideas but they are *not* intellectuals. Those among us who regard the Summa as light bed-time reading are *very* odd. So your content can only involved 2 or 3 really substantial ideas at any given time and you need to make clear why the ideas are relevant to their lived experience of life to this point.
People often tell us that they are stunned by the amount of content that we offer in our presentations. We are able to do so because we try to be very savvy about it.
When presenting a new abstract idea, the most powerful ways to do so in order of effectiveness: are 1)drawing upon personal experience; 2) drawing upon vicarious experience (the stories of others): 3) straight presentation of the idea. Most adults begin with the concrete and only then comprehend the universal behind it. Hence, the necessity of not being a one-trick pony and approaching a significant idea from many different directions – while also stating clearly what the bottom line is.
We use many re-inforcing modes of communication at the same time: written materials, Powerpoint slides, an inventory which gets people into their life experience, multiple teachers who play off one another and keep the energy high, short segments (5 – 25 minutes), loads of pictures, contemporary and historic stories, lots of humor, discussion, and then sum it all up clearly. We’re after the “aha” when “if this is true, this is how it could change my life or speak to my burning questions”.
Our teachers go through teacher training where we spend 8 hours covering the theology behind the workshop *and* teach them how to teach adults. We emphasize: story, story, story, concrete, concrete, concrete, funny, funny, funny. Make the point, tell a joke, tell a relevant saint story, tell a contemporary story, make the point again and you only have 5 minutes to do it all while also using pictures and Power point illustrations.
I’ve had to teach every OP and priest who has worked with us how to teach successfully at a popular level because what works for a 10 minute homily doesn’t not work for a 6 hour workshop. Most priests have only experienced two models: a dry academic style that is all content and a somewhat less dry homily style that is often content poor. All the priests/religious who have worked with us have become much more effective teacher/preachers as a result.
And I should mention that our experience in working with clergy in general is that they are only a half-step ahead of their parishioners in sophistication and respond to almost all the same stories and jokes. We just change the content but the principles are the same. We have to answer their three most common questions: 1) Is this relevant to my current pastoral and life concerns? 2) Does it work? (And the corollary, how much work will I have to do?): 3) Is it Catholic? If we answer all three questions as quickly as possible, they’ll continue to listen. Otherwise we’ve lost em.
We had to learn that priests are intelligent men with a very specialized formation and life experience but very few are intellectuals who are drawn to ideas for their own sake. When we started out, we worked on the assumption that they were all intellectuals and shot way over their heads. As one priest friend of mine put it so memorably “Most priests have the attention span of gerbils”.)
Despite all our efforts, we still get a number of comments after every event that “I wish there could have been more discussion”. Part of it is a social need to connect with others present, part of it is a hunger to talk about what they are learning and see if their experience is different from others. Even though discussion is very central to the post-workshop discernment process, people don’t want to wait. They want to talk now. (Once in a blue moon, someone says “thanks for not making me share in a small group.”) We now have a completely small-group version of the discernment process that uses cd’s for the teaching content and it is selling like hotcakes.
Because of the constraints involved in having a teaching team swoop in and give a group of mixed adults from ages 18-80 enough information to begin their discernment today, we choose to stay with our current format which is very content heavy. In terms of adult learning theory, we are like the bumble-bee that shouldn’t be able to fly but does anyway.
But we refuse to compromise on essential content because communicating revelation is critical to forming adult apostles. Because we go to such lengths to make it high-energy, fast-paced, relevant, and fun, the overwhelming majority learn a lot and love it.
It can be done. It does take pre-planning, creativity, energy, and a passion for both the truth to be communicated and its possible impact on those who will be learning. It also helps enormously if those planning the training and leading the event have a charism of teaching.



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Fr. Totton

posted March 27, 2006 at 11:36 am


I am beginning to wonder if the Compendium isn’t really just a hoax – you know, like moonhshot! – We have been hearing about it for over a year now, the release date has been constantly changed and people “in the know” (gnostics) talk about how much a benefit it will be. I would be happy to use it, if only it was for real. As it is, we will probably use Catholicism for Dummies – which is not bad at all – for next year’s RCIA class.
(and, yes, you can be certain I was joking about moonshot)



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Fr. Philip, OP

posted March 27, 2006 at 11:50 am


“1) Is this relevant to my current pastoral and life concerns? 2) Does it work? (And the corollary, how much work will I have to do?): 3) Is it Catholic?”
Hi Sherry! Lord, I hope OP’s aren’t asking questions one and two. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they are. Intellectual curiosity is part and parcel of being a Dominican. Who give a dern if it’s relevant or if it works?! We’re exercising ourselves as the Image and Likeness of God when we exercise our intellect!
I often find a great deal of anti-intellectualism among my brother priests. I don’t mean just anti-academic sentiment, but strong, active loathing for anything that requires them to think much beyond “what’s the pastoral solution?” This is absolutely deadly to our spirits. I am all in favor of relevant and practical intellectual activity, but sometimes you just need a good book of poems or a good literary novel to bring you to think artfully about life.
I am delighted to hear that the priests you work with want to know if the info you’re presenting is Catholic or not! This is an excellent sign.
Fr. Philip



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 27, 2006 at 12:03 pm


Rest your fevered brow, Fr. Philip:
I thought it went without saying that OP’s are the exception to every rule! Alright, maybe not *every* OP . . . .
But as a group, Dominicans are definitely more intellectually oriented than many other male religious and most diocesan priests. Certainly the students that I met in the Western Province have a strong intellectual orientation but even among Dominicans, there are “tracks” and those for whom the life of the mind is paramount often go into academic teaching.
What is rare, in my experience, is for a priest to combine a strong intellectual orientation with a strong pastoral focus. Michael Sweeney, OP, my original partner-in-crime, was such a man and I’ve met some young diocesan priests about the country who operate on both tracks at once as well. Those who combine the two ask all three questions but don’t stop there.
The “Is it Catholic?” question doesn’t always mean “is it accurately reflecting the mind and tradition of the church?” Sometimes it just means “is this culturally foreign?” – i.e., Protestant, etc.



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RP Burke

posted March 27, 2006 at 12:24 pm


It wasn’t all that long ago that ALL religious education was based on a long Q-and-A book, the Baltimore Catechism. The only small group was in the confessional: you and the priest.
The pendulum swung all the way to the opposite pole, and maybe, just maybe, the Compendium represents an attempt to find a point of equilibrium, for as we all say, “In media stat virtus.”



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RP Burke

posted March 27, 2006 at 12:27 pm


It wasn’t all that long ago that ALL religious education was based on a long Q-and-A book, the Baltimore Catechism. The only small group was in the confessional: you and the priest.
The pendulum swung all the way to the opposite pole, and maybe, just maybe, the Compendium represents an attempt to find a point of equilibrium, for as we all say, “In media stat virtus.”



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RP Burke

posted March 27, 2006 at 12:28 pm


It wasn’t all that long ago that ALL religious education was based on a long Q-and-A book, the Baltimore Catechism. The only small group was in the confessional: you and the priest.
The pendulum swung all the way to the opposite pole, and maybe, just maybe, the Compendium represents an attempt to find a point of equilibrium, for as we all say, “In media stat virtus.”



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Mike Hayes

posted March 27, 2006 at 1:21 pm


Yes..faith sharing is dumb because nobody should ever dare to be vulnerable. We should all just care about our own salvation and not be concerned about anybody else or grow closer with one another.
Once again…the conservatives and their trickle down theology try to shut everyone up and make “the need for black and white answers” seem like its the ONLY thing we should strive for.
The truth (and I use that word purposely here) is that we need to be about BOTH! We need to unapologetically teach the wisdom of our tradition and speak with one another about the application of it in our daily lives–and especially talk about the struggle to do so.
Gen Xers seemed to grasp this idea nicely perhaps with a bit of the communal preference over the intellectual. The Millennials do the reverse–preferring the intellect over the community.
We have an opportunity to merge both of these ideas and actually form people–but instead we have people like half of you involved in this discussion who are serving merely to alienate half of the crowd!
I pray today that we might eventually get it right together instead of throwing mud at one another.



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Christine

posted March 27, 2006 at 1:27 pm


Well, I have to say that my upbringing in the Lutheran Missouri Synod, which highly stressed education, wasn’t too formed in my “lived experience” but some pretty heavy and hard hitting memorization and drilling on the apostolic foundations of the faith plus the teaching of some excellent Scripture scholars. If it hadn’t been for that, I might also have fallen for the “my truth is just as valid as your truth” that I heard at RCIA.
Quite a few noted Lutheran theologians have converted and are now teaching at Catholic institutions of higher learning.



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mt

posted March 27, 2006 at 1:36 pm


Yes..faith sharing is dumb because nobody should ever dare to be vulnerable. We should all just care about our own salvation and not be concerned about anybody else or grow closer with one another. Once again…the conservatives and their trickle down theology try to shut everyone up and make “the need for black and white answers” seem like its the ONLY thing we should strive for.
Mike, you must have only skimmed what was said above. This was a really unfair strawman attack, not to mention a false dilemma that NO ONE was for.
While everyone understands that sometimes sharing is good,the pendulum has swung SO INCREDIBLY FAR over to the sharing side, the anti-intellectual side, the anti-foundation side, that of course people want to stress what has been lacking. Without the content of the truth, all that’s left is personal babbling.
You really should reread the posts above. You are being unfair to some incredibly thoughtful posts.



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Christine

posted March 27, 2006 at 1:42 pm


Mike,
I grew up in a family of Lutherans and Catholics. I married into a family of “cradle” Catholics. I have seen first hand the damage of the past 30-40 years on the Catholic side.



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Peter

posted March 27, 2006 at 4:51 pm


I went all through Catholic school–a traditional grade school and Modernist high school. Our Retreat program had small groups and large groups where everyone had to “take off their masks” and “share their stories.” People were pressured to share intimate details of their lives with random classmates. Post-retreat, all the dirt was gossiped to the whole school. It really strengthened everyone’s faith…
I was raised in an uber-Catholic home and my faith was challenged. My catechesis from my parents included statements like, “Your teacher is evil and deserves a millstone around her neck.” If you have kids in a similar Catholic school–I recommend you tell them the same.



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Lynn

posted March 27, 2006 at 5:17 pm


I wasn’t implying that nothing except the Baltimore Catechism should ever be included in religous education. Hearing of the faith of others can be helpful, even for us introverts.
However, as several commenters above noted, the pendulum has swung so far to the “cutesy” side that no one seems to even know what the Churches teachers (From a convert: I never said I’d go to Mass every week)! When how I feel about abortion becomes more important than what the Church teaches on abortion, something is seriously wrong. I am very grateful to have the foundation of the Baltimore Catechism. Without a foundation, the entire building falls down.



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Scherza

posted March 27, 2006 at 6:12 pm


I’m Catholic and my husband isn’t — he’s a nice Southern Baptist gentleman who attends a nondenominational Christian church that’s basically Southern Baptist without the Southern Baptist Convention.
He attends Mass with me, and I attend church with him. One of the programs that his church (which is quite large) advocates and supports is a small group program for adults. The church trains leaders, and groups meet for a year – 18 months on a weekly basis before splitting off into other small groups.
What works well about this program, besides the fact that it helps to make a very large church seem smaller and more personal, is the fact that the meetings are focused on study. Sure, there are social times, but the group chooses a study that can last from 4-12 weeks and ranges from straightforward Bible study to Biblically-based financial and marriage studies. People do “share their stories,” but it never has the sort of unfocused group-therapy feeling that I got from the infernal group work we did at my Catholic youth groups and college.
I frequently find myself wishing that a Catholic church near us would start such a program — I’d love to study the CCC or Theology of the Body with a small group of Catholic couples. Alas, no such luck thus far.



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 27, 2006 at 7:25 pm


“In media stat virtus.”
Amen. Let us, by the grace of God, make it so.



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 27, 2006 at 7:30 pm


Yes..faith sharing is dumb because nobody should ever dare to be vulnerable. We should all just care about our own salvation and not be concerned about anybody else or grow closer with one another.
Those penniless nuns who catechized millions of preconciliar Catholics via the compendium-like Baltimore Catechism were surely concerned only with their own salvation.
It’s useful to have folks like Mike posting here. It reminds us of how much work remains to be done, and how merciless are those who stand in the way.



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jane M

posted March 27, 2006 at 11:04 pm


Scherza…. Start one. ;)



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Dina Swift

posted March 28, 2006 at 12:00 am


“The overwhelming majority of those who comment on blogs are introverts ”
Really?
Is that anecdotal, an educated impression or something statistical?
As that most pathetic of creatures, a loud-mouthed introvert, I am fascinated by this stuff.



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 1:33 am


Dina:
It is based on several things:
1) An interesting survey of Catholic bloggers a couple years ago that showed that 78% of those who responded were introverted – the complete opposite of the population at large. In fact, the majority were introverted thinkers – who make up a small minority of the overall adult population. My friend, Mark Shea, was one of the very few extroverted feelers, the most relational personality type, in blogging circles. The internet is an introvert’s tool. Extoverts would rather spend time face to face with people.
2) I once set out to master all the professional journal literature on the Myer Briggs. It was while wading through my 50th article, that I came across studies that showed that Protestant ministers and Catholic priests are mirror opposites. Protestants pastors are majority extrovert; Catholic priests are overwhelmingly introverted. I can say that after 10 years of working closely with Dominicans, I can count the number of extroverted Dominicans I’ve met on the fingers of one hand.
3) Catholicism as a culture (speaking broadly, of course) is deeply introverted and has long associated real holiness with inward things: monastic life, the prayer of quiet, etc. Evangelical Protestantism, as a whole, is an extroverted Christianity, expressive, extremely verbal, focused outward and tends to associate holiness with evangelical effectiveness and impact on the world. Pentecostal Christianity is even more so – and 60% of Reformation heritage Christians in the world are now heavily pentecostalized in their spirituality and worship.
To put it very crudely, evangelicals/Pentecostals tend to look at Catholics and think they are dead. Catholics tend to look at evangelicals and dismiss them as stupid. These are classic reactions of extroverts to introverts and vice-versa.
Obviously, there are many extroverted Catholics and introverted Protestants – but I’ve noticed that introverts often find it easier to become Catholic and may feel enormous relief when they no longer feel pressured by evangelical culture to “witness” aggressively and their preference for study and quiet meditation is understood and honored.
Meanwhile, extroverted Catholics often become evangelicals/Pentecostals because they need “fellowship”. I.e., their need to talk about their relationship with God with others, to evangelize, to pray and worship in expressive ways, and their outward focus is understood and honored there. This is one reason (which I have never seen discussed anywhere) why I think that the large numbers of former Catholics who have become evangelicals/Pentecostals will probably never return to the faith – because Catholic culture – as opposed to the faith itself – runs so counter to their deepest, non-negotiable, nature.
The Catholic intellectual tradition is tailor-made for introverts who form the majority of graduate students and academics. (Realizing this helped a brilliant but extroverted scholar of mine grasp why he struggles with academic culture – he is an emotional and relational outsider.)
3) Endless complaints on blogs about the very things that are life-blood to most extroverts: the desire to completely eliminate the interpersonal and emotional from the liturgy in the name of reverence; a easy contempt for the emotional expressiveness of evangelical Protestants who are culturally extroverted; intense dislike for small group sharing to the point that it becomes a caricature, etc.
It comes across as the revenge of the introverts (As one introverted friend liked to say to me “Your people have been oppressing my people for generations”)



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anon4

posted March 28, 2006 at 4:48 am


Well, there is emotional, and then there’s emotional. I want both the introverted and the extroverted if the latter are those with deep, active passions, like St. Francis. If “extroverted” is synonymous with “brain dead” or “whining” or “Oprah-type-spill-your-guts,” then no thanks.
I took a great seminary course called “Emotions, Passions, and Feelings,” and I still distinguish among the three; and even if we go with emotions, then I think we should remember that emotions do not have to be irrational. There are appropriate and inappropriate emotions. It is only the people completely gulled by the Enlightenment who set up a false dichotomy between the heart and mind. The great Medieval thinkers had no such problem.
So – give me St. Teresa of Avila’s “emotions” and passions, but please spare me the pseudo-emotions, the saccharine emotions, the pathologically-oriented, “therapeutic” emotions of our psychobabble culture! The kind of “emotions” most of us have had to deal with at the parish level leave much to be desired, and tend to devolve into “It’s all about ME and my FEELINGS.”
BTW – there are plenty of opportunities in the world and church, from prayer meetings to retreats to parties and other get-togthers, etc. ad infinitum, for “sharing,” singing pop music, hugging, laughing, crying, dancing, etc. No one is saying eliminate these ENTIRELY. It’s just that at Mass, it is not unreasonable that we worship God instead of ourselves.



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Fr. Philip, OP

posted March 28, 2006 at 7:25 am


Sherry,
It’s hard being an introverted preacher and blogger! :-)
My current job as a campus minister in charge of outreach (volunteer programs) truly tests the limits of my sanity. I am particularly challenged by the logistical needs of the job, i.e. organizing schedules, arranging meetings, reserving facilities, etc. I love the spiritual direction, the teaching, the sacramental celebrations, and the reading.
Oh, and yes, I really hate all the emoting, navel-gazing, sharing, and especially the tendency in modern Catholic to privilege “experience” above all else.
Now, having said that, I also constantly push my spiritual directees to explore affections/passions and to share their experiences of the Divine–I usually put this is terms of paying attention to how each of us is a unique revelation of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to one another.
So, I guess what I really hate is the particular way in which we have been browbeaten in the last few decades to “share our feelings.” I once told my CPE group, after having been browbeaten by a Feminazi sister, that I did not accept the Canonical Emotions of the Left and wouldn’t express them simply to appease the ideological needs of oppressive pastoral practice. Sister was not amused! However, I still chuckle about that scene. :-)
Fr. Philip



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Marion (Mael Muire)

posted March 28, 2006 at 8:30 am


Isn’t it that the gifts of both – the extrovert and the introvert – are to be cherished and lovingly shared within the community so as to help draw oneself and others more and more into the body of Christ?
And are we not to rejoice in and give thanks for one another’s gifts, as well as for our own?
And is it not the height of unholy arrogance and disprespect to God’s providence to pressure a brother or a sister in the way I think she ought to go, or to try to make another feel “less than” so as to puff myself up?
Can a form of small group sharing be designed so that the gifts of all – all – may be nourished, nurtured, and celebrated?



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little gidding

posted March 28, 2006 at 8:41 am


All that “small group work” inflicted by Carl Rogers on the IHM worked out really well for them, didn’t it? Most of the participants got educated right out of the order–not surprising, given the goal of “self actualization.”



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 8:55 am


Fr. Philip:
What I find fascinating is how so many Catholic bloggers conflate bad experiences they may have had with an iron-willed, dissenting sister *and* sharing in a small group for instance.
I mean, I entered the Church in Seattle in the midst of the civil war around Archbishop Hunthausen! Yikes! It’s my experience of graduate school that Mark Shea wrote about in his rather famous piece on “Apostate U”. It was my graduate ceremony at which the campus minister urged us to pray to “The Spirit of the Great Northwest”!
But I never once was tempted to conflate holding hands during the Our Father (and here I’m not addressing the liturgical issues)or small-group sharing with a particular agenda. It’s always been clear to me that the two are completely separate issues. Talking to one another in a group about the faith or even our (gasp!) “experiences” is not automatically heterodoxy although you’d never guess it from reading blogs.
As an extrovert, talking and relating and contemplating the world about me are my life’s blood. But extroverted natural preferences are so scorned on most Catholic blogs that those of us who enjoy and find faith-sharing groups spiritually nurturing hardly let ourselves be known. And try being an extroverted, intellectual female Catholic convert who both thinks and feels in today’s climate when the ability to know what you feel and to grasp the wisdom often contained in our feelings is regarded as deeply suspect from the very outset.
The cheering news for extroverted Catholics is that the majority of Catholics (like the majority of the American population) are extroverted. Hence, the staggering gap between the world of St. Blog’s and the world of the average parish, which I find so jarring everytime I come home from another trip.
It is Church teaching that the ordained priesthood exists for the sake of the baptismal priesthood and the baptismal priesthood exists for the sake of the world. It is Church teaching that evangelization is the single most important service we can offer the world. That means, the Catholic church’s fundamental stance in time, in history, is “outward” not inward, toward people as individuals and the communities, cultures, and structures that people create.
Theologically, Catholicism is fundamentally extroverted. But you’d never guess it from hanging out at St. Blog’s.



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 9:06 am


Marion:
“Can a form of small group sharing be designed so that the gifts of all – all – may be nourished, nurtured, and celebrated?”
Great question. And the answer is “of course”. It happens all the time in our small discernment groups and in evangelizaton retreats and small Christian communities around the country.
St. Blog’s is the only place in the Church where I have encountered this visceral loathing of small groups. In healthy, unpolarized communities, these differences in personality are handled by skilled, non-agenda-driven facilitating.
I myself am part of a very fine small Christian community for women where a lovely balance between sharing and silence and content and personal experience is maintained and most everyone present is an intentional disciple. It’s hardly rocket science but it does take some skill.



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 9:19 am


“It’s just that at Mass, it is not unreasonable that we worship God instead of ourselves.”
Ahem. News flash. Relating to others at Mass is not necessarily about worshipping ourselves rather than God – although this belief that it is seems to be axiomatic at St. Blog’s.
This is an introvert’s perspective that has been repeated so often in certain circles and become so exaggerated as to be proposterous. For the majority, who are extroverted, you can’t really encounter God apart from other people and encountering others is a critical part of worship.
For instance, I find hyper-silent, solemn Masses deeply depressing, empty, and distracting. And I am not 1) an alien from another planet; 2) a cretin; 3)mentally ill; 4) secretly dissenting.
Catholic worship can’t just be a club designed around the preferences of frustrated introverts. If we are truly Catholic, there has to be room for all of us.



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Marion (Mael Muire)

posted March 28, 2006 at 9:41 am


Hi, Sherry!
Speaking as a person who consistently tests right on the cusp of the intro – extro scale, I appreciate both styles very much.
I would like to tell you a story about my little niece, Deborah. When she was 4, her mom (my sister) enrolled her and her sister, Dorian(3 yrs) in a pre-school. The sister Dorian seemed to take to school very well, but the teacher kept sending home comments that Deborah seemed withdrawn, silent, not wishing to interact with other children. But at home with her family, Deborah was playful and active and having a ball.
After some weeks, the comments from the teacher grew so alarming (Deborah was just “shutting down” at pre-school) that my sister took a day off from work to observe the classroom. What she saw was that in the classroom, things were very noisy, very active, and indeed, there was a preponderance of quite active little boys who really dominated the scene – roaring, jumping, leaping, yelling, “sword play” for much of the day. And Deborah couldn’t deal with it. It was sensory overload for her.
So she would “shut down”, and wait until school let out, when she could go home to her own family, and there come alive and “be herself” in a quieter, gentler environment.
But Dorian did fine in that environment. Needless to say, my sister arranged for Deborah to go into a classroom with quieter, more low-key children.
The girls are a senior in high school and a freshman in college now, and doing fine. But Dorian gravitates toward having a ton of friends and loads of activities, whereas Deborah has just a few close friends, and concentrates on a small number of interests.
They’re both wonderful, healthy, beautiful and adorable.



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Christine

posted March 28, 2006 at 9:49 am


Sherry, your stereotyping is really leaving me cold. I will freely admit that in my deepest part I probably am an introvert, but it’s only a part of me. I am extroverted in some situations and introverted in others. Yes, you are absolutely right, the Catholic tradition is very congenial to introverts who are deeply drawn to the mystical and contemplative side of the Church. Please don’t ask us to apologize for it.
The sister who ran the RCIA program at the parish where I entered the Church (and am no longer a member) is also a member of FutureChurch in Cleveland so she had an agenda of her own. There are many like her and I am simply not going to do the “small group thing” with someone who is teaching heterodoxy.
To boldly proclaim that Catholicism is theologically extroverted is to proclaim only part of a very rich tradition.
I remember a lady at my former parish who proudly proclaimed to me that yes, she attends Mass here but she also worships with her Lutheran friend and receives Holy Communion there because “there really is no difference.” These are the people who end up leaving the Catholic Church because they didn’t really know their identity to begin with.
The Liturgy is the Church’s greatest treasure and we need to re-teach the people to think, live, and view their lives liturgically, from the Scriptures to the Mass and then we will have that continual dialogue between God and humanity that will result in renewed lives at all levels. The emotion-laden wordiness of some Pentecostal/Evangelical worship just doesn’t cut it sometimes.
The worship of the early Christians was based on the liturgy of the synagogue and the temple. Those are our roots.



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Christine

posted March 28, 2006 at 9:55 am


And it bears remembering that in the Eastern Christian tradition, especially Eastern Orthodoxy, Monasticism is highly esteemed by the laity who look upon monastics as valuable spiritual guides.



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Christine

posted March 28, 2006 at 10:06 am


And just one more thought, Sherry. I’ve walked alongside Christians of many traditions. Because so many Evangelicals/Pentecostals thinks of themselves as “People of the Book”, almost in the same sense as Muslims that every word of Scripture was literally dictated by God, whereas Catholics recognize that there is really only one true living Word, Jesus Christ, Catholics who have not been well schooled in this are very impressed when they come into contact with Evangelicals who begin to spout scripture as a sort of spiritual manual for living. I saw it happen to a Catholic friend who was “evangelized” by a Pentecostal woman during a short jail stint.



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 10:06 am


Christine:
“Yes, you are absolutely right, the Catholic tradition is very congenial to introverts who are deeply drawn to the mystical and contemplative side of the Church. Please don’t ask us to apologize for it.”
Who’s asking you to apologize for the richness of the tradition? I became Catholic because of it. What I am asking is that we don’t conflate introverted preferences and that tradition in a way that makes it nearly impossible for non-introverts to breathe spiritually and benefit from that richness. I mean, God obviously thinks rather highly of extroverts. Like the poor, he made so many of us.
“To boldly proclaim that Catholicism is theologically extroverted is to proclaim only part of a very rich tradition. I remember a lady at my former parish who proudly proclaimed to me that yes, she attends Mass here but she also worships with her Lutheran friend and receives Holy Communion there because “there really is no difference.” These are the people who end up leaving the Catholic Church because they didn’t really know their identity to begin with.”
This is a brilliant example of the conflation so prevalant at St. Blogs.
If we acknowledge that fundamental mission of the church in history is outward-focused, evangelizing, is therefore essentially extroverted, somehow what we’re *really* talking about is a confused Catholic lady who takes communion in a Lutheran church because she’s lost her identity.
Implication: To be extroverted is to be theologically and spiritually suspect, fuzzy, shallow, witless, dissenting, etc. And somehow to to be introverted is deep, rich, trustworthy, and part and parcel of Catholic identity?
Nonsense. The Church is the sacrament of salvation for all and the sacrament of unity for the whole human race. It isn’t a club for a certain sliver of the human race.



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Christine

posted March 28, 2006 at 10:22 am


Sherry — you can’t ask Christians of any stripe to evangelize until they have been *evangelized* themselves. If this woman doesn’t understand her own heritage how is she going to convey it to someone outside?? I nowhere implied that this was a matter of “extro” or “intro-version.” Remember how John Paul II stated that many Catholics still need to be evangelized? And I don’t think he was referring to “group sharing.”
For people like you who need the small group thing and faith-sharing, etc. etc. have at it. Just don’t badger the rest of us who feel all the unity and connection we need during the Liturgy. There’s room for *us* too, you know.



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 10:54 am


Christine:
herry — you can’t ask Christians of any stripe to evangelize until they have been *evangelized* themselves. If this woman doesn’t understand her own heritage how is she going to convey it to someone outside??
You are preaching to the converted here. I haven’t racked up a million air miles because airports are such fun places.
I’m not badgering you to join a group of any kind or to cease being a happy introvert.
I’m asking St. Bloggers to examine their knee-jerk reaction that anything that is more extroverted, feeling-oriented, or inter-personal than they are personally comfortable with is somehow not authentically Catholic.



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Christine

posted March 28, 2006 at 11:23 am


Sherry, long before I formally became Catholic I was surrounded by a sacramental, Catholic ethos in my wider family. Even as a Lutheran liturgical language came to me early and intensely and my worldview of the physical being informed by the spiritual was very deep. I resent you labelling me an introvert because of that. Many of us have felt at home and walked gracefully in our Catholic milieu for quite some time. My own personal checklist in my walk with God is: does Sunday Mass attendance guide me into a deeper daily prayer life, thirst for encountering Christ in his Word, encourage me to reach out to a hurting world –if that’s introverted, so be it.
I wasn’t referring to you as needing to be evanglized, I was referring to the woman in my former Parish. There was plenty of extroversion in that place, I can assure you, and along with that some of the most blatant ignorance of what it means to be Catholic I’ve ever encountered. The pastor almost bent over backwards to apologize to a woman in RCIA who asked why the Church doesn’t ordain women.
I have no axe to grind with either intro or extroverts. Neither one guarantees fidelity, only proper formation can do that.



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Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2006 at 11:31 am


Christine:
I had no intention to label you and certainly not because of your interest in history and spiritual things. I interpreted your previous post as indicating that you were saying that you were introverted. No offense intended.
My last sentence has been my point throughout. It is not aimed at you personally.
I’m asking St. Bloggers to examine their knee-jerk reaction that anything that is more extroverted, feeling-oriented, or inter-personal than they are personally comfortable with is somehow not authentically Catholic nor is it the inevitable sign of ignorance, doctrinal confusion, dissent or spiritual poverty.
And that’s my last comment on this subject for the moment.



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little gidding

posted March 28, 2006 at 11:38 am


Okay, I’ll share my experience.
I would guess that most of us who find little of use in “small group” discussions have no problem with discussion in small groups per se or one on one, and so I believe the distinction between “introvert” and “extrovert,” while perhaps valid in itself, has little to do with the pedagogical issue here.
As far as I can tell, the “small group” phenomena is a very specific thing, with a particular history and set of assumptions. It arose out of a tradition of analytical psychology that was very deliberately humanistic. It has historical roots and branches on the religious and philosophical Left among groups that have used it for public “self-criticism” to insure ideological uniformity.
Many of us find ourselves required at work to attend mandatory educational sessions at which we are expected to get our consciousness raised about equal employment opportunity, sexual harrassment, etc., and at which we are required to break into small groups and “share.” We soon learn that sharing non-harmonious views is acceptable only as long as we are prepared in the end to dissolve such views into those of the group. The point of small group sessions is therapy, after all, and social realignment.
The last small group session I attended was a series of “Landings” meetings. This was a group of about ten adults who were interested in reverting to the Catholic faith that they had left long before. I was one of them. We shared and shared. But I soon realized that I was alone among the group in that I felt amazed and overjoyed in having come to my senses finally and being blessed to find myself back in the Church again. The problem that most of the others had was whether they could bear to forgive the Church for what they regarded as her shortcomings in doctrine or practice–whether they could find a way to compromise their beliefs so that they could come back to the Church, which they regarded as retrograde in one way or another. (“Is it okay if I don’t believe in Hell?” etc.–and here, photocopies of Von Balthasar’s famous speculation on whether anyone is actually in Hell were handed out in order, I think, to help everyone find their loophole and feel all right.) They all wanted to air their feelings of past betrayals or hurt with the Catholic Church.
I don’t begrudge that opportunity to them, especially since I can testify that the Lord works in mysterious ways to bring people into the Church. Nevertheless, I think a subtle but very important misunderstanding about our relationship to the Church was left unaddressed. If you’re interested in a fuller explanation of what that misunderstanding is, please read Al Kimmel’s much-talked-about piece here:
http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=1492



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anon4

posted March 28, 2006 at 12:35 pm


This is an introvert’s perspective that has been repeated so often in certain circles and become so exaggerated as to be proposterous. For the majority, who are extroverted, you can’t really encounter God apart from other people and encountering others is a critical part of worship.For instance, I find hyper-silent, solemn Masses deeply depressing, empty, and distracting. And I am not 1) an alien from another planet; 2) a cretin; 3)mentally ill; 4) secretly dissenting.Catholic worship can’t just be a club designed around the preferences of frustrated introverts. If we are truly Catholic, there has to be room for all of us.
Not even REMOTELY what anyone has said or implied; false dilemma, big time. At our Masses we shake hands, we smile, we have our solemn times, we encounter other people, as we do at the Communion breakfasts, working in prisons, endless hours of volunteer work with the youth group etc. – so, essentially, what the heck are you talking about?
Again (duh), St. Teresa and St. Francis would never look to anyone like “frustrated introverts,” yet they were passionate without falling under the asinine label of “introverted.”
I find the psychological categories of “introvert” and “extrovert” useless in this conversation; or worse than useless – destructive, especially as they end up in utterly nonsensical attacks like those in italics above.
Sherry, you have no idea who you are talking to. For all you know, the people who are so blithely shoving into secular, pigeon-holing, psychobabble categories ARE friendly, outgoing people. You simply have no clue, so you try to force everything everyone says into this ludicrous “introvert-extrovert” box.
Sorry, human beings, in all their complex freedom and dignity, cannot be reduced to dichotomoies of the social sciences. That’s what is REALLY preposterous.
You’re flogging a dead horse on this one. Go on believing that everything is black and white and everyone can be labelled and then dismissed.
Logging off this thread permanently – have a nice day.



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Marion (Mael Muire)

posted March 28, 2006 at 1:45 pm


Well, we’re in the middle planning phase of putting together a small group Bible sharing program in our parish, sponsored by the Domincan Third Order. Several of us are students and lovers of both Sacred Scripture and of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
You want orthodox? How about:
“The Summa Theologiae says it.
I believe it.
That settles it.”
From what I’ve read in this thread today, I’m thinking that this project needs to be watered with prayer and fasting . . . much prayer and fasting.
Won’t all of you pray for us? Thank you.



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Fr. Philip, OP

posted March 28, 2006 at 4:29 pm


Marion,
A suggestion from a fellow Dominican?
Try reading the lectionary readings for the day along with the Patristic readings from the Office of Readings (the second of the two readings offered in the breviary). They don’t always match perfectly, but I’ve been very surprised at how often the Fathers have something profound to say about the daily Mass readings…
Fr. Philip, OP



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Christine

posted March 28, 2006 at 4:46 pm


“Try reading the lectionary readings for the day along with the Patristic readings from the Office of Readings (the second of the two readings offered in the breviary).”
Ah, the Divine Office! One of my greatest treasures since becoming Catholic (along with the lectionary/Church Year, of course!)



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Marion

posted March 28, 2006 at 5:34 pm


Thanks! I will do so.
Thanks for your encouragement and your prayers.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 29, 2006 at 11:02 am


Most traditionalists loathe small group encounters because they are overwhelming a “consensus-engineering” exercise designed usually to manufacture acceptance via pathos of some innovation which could not be promoted successfully through logos or ethos.
Make the person educated on an issue within a group the outcast by making their knowledge exceptionable (by separating them from reinforcement by others), and you can do pretty much anything with a group you like.
PVO



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Charles R. Williams

posted March 29, 2006 at 5:16 pm


Small groups is not an introvert-extrovert issue. It is a matter of whether we think with the church or not on issues that divide the church from the secular culture. A person preparing to join the church needs to listen to what the church authoritatively teaches and receive it with a docile spirit even when the church contradicts the culture. Sharing is fine, coffee and donuts is wonderful. Holding hands and praying together is nice. We introverts are used to accomodating the tastes of others in these matters.
But a convert must accept that the church speaks for Christ. There is no need to delve deeply into the hypostatic union or to give all the scriptural arguments for interpreting John 6 as we do. The convert needs to understand the creed, understand the basics of the sacraments and understand what the church teaches about the Christian’s daily life and, in the contemporary context, this means Catholic sexual morality in explicit detail.
Instruction for converts has to cover this basic material and do it in a didactic manner because the church is our teacher.
The mass and the rest of the liturgy is not intended for us to feel anything at all and we should not celebrate the mass with the intention of inducing people to feel close to God. There is a legitimate role here for traditional devotions, prayer groups and the like. By conforming our hearts and minds to the church’s worship we learn how to pray and are transformed. Because of what we are, the church’s public worship may seem alien to us. This is not a reason to accomodate the liturgy to our tastes rather than doing it by its internal logic.
Those who are introverted have to accept that the liturgy is a communal exercise. Those who are highly intellectual have to accept that much of the mass is poetic. The best of the Eucharistic canons (number 1 of course) is not didactic at all. It is highly repetitive and has an incoherent, prayerful quality about it, rich with allusions.
I guess what I am saying is that this is not an introvert/extrovert or intellectual/sentimentalist issue at all.



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Mike Petrik

posted March 30, 2006 at 3:34 pm


“Most traditionalists loathe small group encounters because they are overwhelming a “consensus-engineering” exercise designed usually to manufacture acceptance via pathos of some innovation which could not be promoted successfully through logos or ethos.
Make the person educated on an issue within a group the outcast by making their knowledge exceptionable (by separating them from reinforcement by others), and you can do pretty much anything with a group you like.”
I have had this maddening experience several times. It can drive one bonkers, unless one has an extremely well-developed sense of humor. There is a special place in purgatory for such “facilitators.”



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T. Chan

posted March 30, 2006 at 9:05 pm


Compendium apparently is available for order at Amazon now, info says it ships within 24 hours (if one can believe it)…



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Judy

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:25 am


Sherry, have you considered the possibility that your style of worship/interacting have been shaped more by your former protestanism rather than your extroversion?? If you miss that more emotional style of worshiping, then the Catholic charismatic movement (although it is shrinking) is probably for you. But I think it is devisive and unhelpful to assume that the introvert/extrovert model is driving everybody and everything in the Church. This approach discounts the uniqueness of each person. We can play the introvert/extrovert game all day and at the end of the day all that matters is holiness – ie: PJP the extrovert & BXI the introvert.



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posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




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