"He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood."
Today is Wednesday 22nd of May 2013 09:44:53 PM
The Way, The Truth, And The Life
News from the Knights of Columbus
Transcript's from the Supreme Knight's Book Club Discussions
Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
Updated: 15 hours 19 min ago
Being a 65-year-old curmudgeon, I sometimes have to be reminded that social media has its uses, despite the fact that CatholicCulture.org maintains two different Facebook pages (see www.facebook.com/catholicculture and www.facebook.com/liturgicalyear). Heck, I even tweet the appearance of most of the things I write here (or at least I have twooted them in the past). But do I follow the tweets of others or “friend” people on Facebook? Do I respond to Facebook and LinkedIn invitations? Well no, no I don’t.
Pope Francis has begun his assault against the secularization of religious life, attacking the late-20th century tendency to separate religious commitment from the Church in order to serve the spirit of the world. We have seen this tendency in the shift to purely secular service among women religious, accompanied by New Age spirituality and feminist careerism. We have seen this tendency in the penetration of Modernism into religious formation, the fostering of homosexuality in religious life and, among male religious at least, also pornography and even sexual abuse.
The late Fr. William Most—the theologian and Scripture scholar represented in our special Most Collection—influenced me in many ways. One of the most valuable lessons he taught me was a fundamental principle of theological method in resolving apparent differences in Magisterial teachings over the centuries. It is a lesson I’ve repeated many times in my writings here; it apears in the sixth position below.
Pope Francis recently insisted once again on the importance of implementing the renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council. Unfortunately, every time I insist (with the last five popes) that the Second Vatican Council gave us the program of Catholic renewal that we are supposed to be following, I receive messages which (usually at great length) run something like this: “If the Council was so great, why has the Church suffered so much since that time? I’m tired of hearing about the Council. Clearly we need to go back before the Council to find authentic Catholicism.”
Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of women in the prison in which he celebrated the Mass of the Last Supper has created a bit of a stir, especially among liturgically-conservative Catholics. Critical responses have ranged from a mild concern about the larger impact on rubrical observance of the Pope’s decision to outright condemnation of the Pope, as if he has somehow revealed “his true colors”. The former reaction is reasonable; the latter is not. There are simply too many aspects of this issue to consider for anyone to be jumping to conclusions.
When a serious Catholic talks about liberalism, he is not referring primarily to a political preference but to a philosophical outlook. For example, the Catholic is far more interested in whether the fundamental principles of liberalism conflict with a Christian worldview than in whether many liberals happen to favor extensive government programs to support the poor. In exactly the same way, the Church’s official condemnations of liberalism have not centered on specific social policies but on general attitudes toward religion and supernatural truth.
I love the Church so much, and in fact so intimately, that I can hardly express it. Many people seem to accept the Church as a sort of necessary evil, putting up with its hierarchical structure, its authority, its sacramental system, its Magisterial teachings, and so on, because they suppose, after all, that Christian life has to be organized and perpetuated somehow, and the Church is what has evolved to play that role over a long period of time. Such persons very frequently work out justifications for selectively ignoring the Church, forming an incongruous and even incompatible set of values and commitments while remaining nominally Catholic. But not me. To me, the Church is Christ.
We are now between popes, and that is certainly an occasion to reflect deeply on who we are and where we are going. This is also an appropriate Lenten task for all of us, and the present circumstances suggest that we ought to consider how faithfully we have responded to the Petrine ministry in the past, and what we need to make that ministry more effective in the future. For “he who hears you hears me” and “he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk 10:16). Though Christ said this of all the disciples, it applies preeminently to Peter and his successors, for whom Our Lord prayed, that they might confirm their brethren in the faith (Lk 22:32).
Catholics who have made a deep commitment to their faith find the modern world puzzling. Every time they try to argue a position they are met not so much by counter-arguments as by ridicule. This ridicule takes the form of dismissing out of hand all those who permit a religious authority to “control their lives”. And so Catholic puzzlement arises from simple incredulity: How can anyone be so foolish as to refuse religious authority on principle?
I read two rather strange articles in the February 2013 issue of First Things last night, and all I can say is that I am grateful to the authors for stimulating thought. That’s an important function of a magazine which explores religion and public life in an ecumenical setting. Very often, probably most often, one learns from each article. But sometimes all one can say is that the authors have stimulated thought. So be it, then. This, unvarnished, is what I thought.
Elder Council 1195
Daily Readings Feed
One Bread, One Body (Reflections on the Daily Readings)