Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Catholicism, “Updated”
Catholic Exchange ^ | August 18, 2005 | Rich Leonardi

Posted on 08/18/2005 5:23:45 AM PDT by Desdemona

If you’ve spent time in an RCIA group, walked through your parish community center, or requested an explanation of some Church teaching, chances are you’ve come across a “Catholic Update.” Produced by Cincinnati’s St. Anthony Messenger Press with the imprimatur of the archdiocese, these short tracts have spread like kudzu in parishes throughout the US.

They cover a wide range of topics and are written at an accessible, Reader’s Digest level of sophistication. A quick survey of Catholic Update titles suggest they provide Catholic answers to the faithful’s questions: “We Believe in the Resurrection,” “Eucharist: Food for Mission,” and the “Scripture from Scratch” mini-Bible studies. Many of the tracts are good, featuring, for example, pastoral letters from Cardinal George or explanations of Church teachings on euthanasia by Bishop Gregory.

But all too often, what’s inside is more likely to sow confusion than provide clarity. And you can seldom go more than a few paragraphs without reading some forced contrast between a musty, preconciliar Church and the très moderne, spring-like Church brought about by Vatican II.

Take, for example, Fr. Stephen Doyle’s “Jesus Christ: Why the Word Became Flesh.” You’d expect Father Doyle to present the Catechism’s four-fold explanation that Christ came (1) to reconcile sinners to God; (2) to show the depth of God’s love; (3) to establish a pattern of holiness; and (4) to allow us to partake of the divine nature (CCC 456-460). Doyle touches lightly on the first two of these, but spends most of his time musing on the development of Pauline theology, ending, on a bizarre environmentalist note, with a call to “live the vision of Christ” by “treating the earth with reverence.” Given a simple task, he treats it like a creative writing assignment.

Fr. Lawrence Mick’s July 2005 update “Finding Jesus in the Eucharist: Four Ways He Is Present” gives equal footing to the “various modes” of Christ’s presence during the Mass while failing to note that only in the Eucharist is He substantially present. What difference does it make? The presence of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist is why the Catechism calls it the “source and summit of the Christian faith” and it is why Catholics are to make a “profound bow” of reverence at the head of the Communion line before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. At a time when various polls show clear majorities of Catholics doubting the Real Presence, Mick’s omission is all the more culpable.

Authors known for speculative, free-wheeling theology seem right at home in these publications. Cincinnati's Fr. Thomas Bokenkotter is one such contributor to “Catholic Updates.” His book A Concise History of the Catholic Church finds him lauding both the violent Sandinistas and discredited elements of Liberation Theology. In the Cincinnati Enquirer, Fr. Bokenkotter criticized Pope John Paul II by casting doubt on the Magisterium's teachings on contraception, accusing the late Holy Father of chilling theological "creativity," and smearing Opus Dei as purveyors of “cheap grace.”

Another contributor is the collarless priest-theologian Fr. Kenneth Overberg of Xavier University. In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Catholic Telegraph, he urged the Church to recognize freedom of “genital expression” among homosexuals. Citing the Vatican-disciplined Schillebeeckx and Rahner, Overberg also recently denied the Father’s redemptive plan at work in Christ’s suffering and death. His Catholic Update was a highly-opinionated piece about “the countercultural message” of the Church’s teaching on the death penalty.

”Catholic Updates” by writers like these too often present teachings that are in conflict with what the Church teaches. Consider Fr. William H. Shannon’s “The Resurrection: How We Know It’s True.” Here is an excerpt from the section called “The Resurrection: An experience of faith”:

The point which I am trying to lead up to is the realization that seeing the risen Jesus was not an experience of empirical data; it was an experience of faith. For the very best that empirical experience might have achieved was an experience of resuscitation, not resurrection. Think of Lazarus in John's Gospel (Jn 11:1-45). He was mortal and he died. He was resuscitated and therefore was living again, but even after his resuscitation he was still mortal. Hence people could see him before and after because in both cases he was mortal. Lazarus was as much a subject of empirical data after his resuscitation as before his death.

The mortal Jesus — the Jesus before His death — could, like the mortal Lazarus, have been experienced as a fact of empirical data; the risen Jesus, however, could only be experienced by faith. For resurrection is not returning from the dead. It is a leap beyond death to an entirely different kind of existence. Such a leap cannot be empirically verified. Father Shannon’s speculations run counter to Pope John Paul II’s orthodox description of the Resurrection: Christ's Resurrection is the strength, the secret of Christianity. It is not a question of mythology or of mere symbolism, but of a concrete event. It is confirmed by sure and convincing proofs. The acceptance of this truth, although the fruit of the Holy Spirit's grace, rests at the same time on a solid historical base. (From remarks given before praying the Regina Caeli on Sunday, April 21, 1996) Thus, it simply isn’t consistent with Catholic teaching for Father Shannon to state that the Resurrection “was not an experience of empirical data” and that the risen Jesus “could only be experienced by faith.” Instead, in the pope’s words, it was a public, “concrete event” backed by “convincing proofs” and resting on “a solid historical base.” No later than 15 years after Christ’s earthly ministry, St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians that 500 “brethren” saw the risen Jesus “at one time.” He did not write, as Shannon would have it, that they just sensed Him spiritually. As the Vatican wrote just last winter, “the appearances of the Risen Lord and the empty tomb are the foundation of the faith of the disciples in the Resurrection of Christ, and not vice versa."

Am I making too much of a fuss about this? I don’t think so. Let’s remember who reads these Catholic Updates — RCIA candidates, participants in adult faith formation groups, perhaps someone shaky in his faith who wants to be certain of what the Church teaches. That they should be handed something like Father Shannon's wrong musings on the Resurrection is a shame. That his musings bear the imprimatur of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is, well, something worse.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; History; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/18/2005 5:23:45 AM PDT by Desdemona
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: NYer; Salvation; sandyeggo; ninenot; ArrogantBustard; Siobhan

Any comments? I think there are some valid points.


2 posted on 08/18/2005 5:25:32 AM PDT by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona

I learned about 20 years ago that ANYTHING from "St Anthony Press"--US Catholic, St Anthony Messenger--is usually just garbage.

At that time, Leonardi was about 15...


3 posted on 08/18/2005 5:31:13 AM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, Tomas Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona
For the very best that empirical experience might have achieved was an experience of resuscitation, not resurrection

Completely false, and borders on the heretical. Christ raised himself from the dead, regardless of the word, and had restored his glorified Body.

Empirical data be damned, common sense would lead any person to think Christ would not take on the fallen body of man, but the glorified body of pre-fall Adam.

Tracts like these often get muddled in some little ax the writer has to grind while missing the fundamental question of the writer. This is why I think people like Keating, Madrid and Hahn are geniuses in apologetics, they keep the message simple, short, and to the point.
4 posted on 08/18/2005 5:42:44 AM PDT by Dominick ("Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." - JP II)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona

Who reads them? No one except the postmenopausals that actually run our parishes. And they do so with the same glee that they sing the Jesus Christ Superstar "hymns" at Mass. Ugh!


5 posted on 08/18/2005 7:19:43 AM PDT by sanormal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona

Bump!


6 posted on 08/18/2005 7:29:06 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole
Abp. Pilarczyk turns 75 on August 12, 2009.

When we note the 75th birthdate of a Bishop, you know something is wrong...
8 posted on 08/18/2005 8:42:28 AM PDT by Dominick ("Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." - JP II)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona

I picked that particular issue up in the vestibule and found it rather disappointing. I expected something else from the title.

I've been a sponsor at RCIA for several years and have seen a number of Catholic Updates over the years. Fortunately, the RCIA team doesn't hand them out willy-nilly. They actually read them and not every Update makes the cut.


9 posted on 08/18/2005 10:16:27 AM PDT by siunevada
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona

I was told at my old university center that I could call on these for any of my Sunday School lessons. I NEVER did. All I had to see, was that the esteemed, Remert E. Weakland wrote one, to know that I wanted nothing to do with them. Instead, I used the Catechism, the Bible, and the Midwest Theological Forums "Intro to Catholicism."

Too many of these "theologians" are dissenters in sheeps clothing and I am a little sick of giving them aid and comfort.


10 posted on 08/18/2005 10:23:25 AM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dominick

Speaking of turning 75. Is McCarrick still around? I thought his resignation was expected immediately, I was looking forward to finding out his successor.


11 posted on 08/18/2005 10:25:39 AM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: StAthanasiustheGreat

Dear StAthansiustheGreat,

Cardinal McCarrick has submitted his resignation. Rumor has it that it will be accepted within the year, which I am to understand is relatively speedy for a cardinal.

However, I doubt that Pope Benedict XVI desires to intentionally slap Cardinal McCarrick in the face, so I doubt that any announcement regarding the appointment of a successor will occur much before late Autumn or even Winter.

In the Archdiocese of Washington, we wait with bated breath.


sitetest


12 posted on 08/18/2005 10:30:55 AM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: sitetest

Ok, I was just wondering. Thanks. By the way, you know me, I used to be NWUArmyROTC.


13 posted on 08/18/2005 10:32:40 AM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: sitetest

Ok, I was just wondering. Thanks. By the way, you know me, I used to be NWUArmyROTC.


14 posted on 08/18/2005 10:33:05 AM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: StAthanasiustheGreat

Dear SATG/NWUAROTC,

Okay, looks like you got a "promotion." ;-)

I'm personally hoping that Cardinal McCarrick's successor is someone like Archbishop Burke, Archbishop Chaput, or (dare I hope???) Bishop Fabian "Excommunicate ALL the Heretics, Let God Sort 'Em Out" Bruskewitz (I know, I know, that's a bit beyond hoping).

However, I'm concerned that rather we may get a clone of, say, Cardinal Keeler (due to retire in 2006), or worse yet, Cardinal Egan.


sitetest


15 posted on 08/18/2005 10:38:26 AM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: sitetest

"However, I'm concerned that rather we may get a clone of, say, Cardinal Keeler (due to retire in 2006)"

Libera nos, Domine.

Currently suffering in one of the worst Archdioceses on the East Coast (Baltimore). I've only lived in Maryland for 5 years, so I don't knwo much about Keeler (public views and such), but Baltimore reeks of liturgical abuses and heterodoxy. Send me a private mail and let me know specifically what is the synopsis of Card. Keeler. Others I have asked give me very vague responses.


16 posted on 08/18/2005 11:23:02 AM PDT by jrny (Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto Decimo Sexto.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: sitetest
I'm glad to see that you realize that you are not allowed to even hope to take Bishop Thomas Olmsted away from Phoenix!
17 posted on 08/18/2005 3:23:08 PM PDT by TotusTuus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Desdemona
Any comments? I think there are some valid points.

Yes he has many valid points.

In the larger picture however, the whole concept of using "dumbed-down" tracts to teach the Faith in RCIA (where the "A" is for "Adults"), is the problem. The Faith should clearly be taught from a serious catechism designed for Adults, if not the CCC.

It is ultimately the responsibility of the bishops in each of their respective dioceses to implement a strong catechetical formation process for RCIA. Allowing this "tract" method allows dissidents power to distort the Faith before those who are inquiring, just as this article discusses.

18 posted on 08/18/2005 3:32:49 PM PDT by TotusTuus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: TotusTuus
Dear TotusTuus,

"I'm glad to see that you realize that you are not allowed to even hope to take Bishop Thomas Olmsted away from Phoenix!"

The thought HAD occurred to me.

But, then I thought, nah, the folks in Phoenix suffered long enough, and Bishop Olmsted probably has just begun on the Aegean Stables out there.

However, if, in the wisdom of the Holy Father, Bishop Olmsted is the right man for the job, I'M NOT GOING TO OBJECT!!!

;-)


sitetest
19 posted on 08/18/2005 4:18:49 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: sitetest
"...Bishop Fabian "Excommunicate ALL the Heretics, Let God Sort 'Em Out" Bruskewitz..."

You know, he would be perfect for DC, the Capitol of our nation, precisely because he is from the Midwest.

The culture shock he would be able to generate with all our federal officials located there would be awesome. The Catholic Faith would be taught to the whole nation through the national press on nearly a nightly basis. (heehee)

Just think of all the potential threads right here on FR....

20 posted on 08/18/2005 5:08:41 PM PDT by TotusTuus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: TotusTuus

Dear TotusTuus,

If he were to do in Washington, DC what he did in Lincoln, Nebraska, it would, indeed, create absolutely national reverberations.

I'm not sure that he could excommunicate the likes of Chappaquiddick Ted and others, as they are responsible to their own bishops. However, he COULD bar them from Holy Communion throughout the Archdiocese of Washington.

I'd be very encouraged by Fabian Cardinal Bruskewitz, Archbishop of Washington, DC.


sitetest


21 posted on 08/18/2005 5:19:37 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: ninenot
written at an accessible, Reader’s Digest level of sophistication.

This is actually where I sensed a problem.

22 posted on 08/18/2005 8:13:10 PM PDT by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: StAthanasiustheGreat
Too many of these "theologians" are dissenters in sheeps clothing and I am a little sick of giving them aid and comfort.

Very true.

23 posted on 08/18/2005 8:14:22 PM PDT by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson