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Cities suffering pain of loss (RC Diocese of Albany releases list of 33 parish closings)
Times Union ^ | January 18, 2009 | Marc Parry

Posted on 01/18/2009 4:19:43 AM PST by NYer

ALBANY — Cities across the greater Capital Region will bear the brunt of a massive plan to close 33 worship sites throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Bishop Howard Hubbard announced Saturday.

Troy will be ground zero in an unprecedented consolidation the 14-county diocese is undertaking to cope with shifting demographics and a shortage of priests.

Hubbard, despite lobbying to change the outcome, decided to close six of the Collar City's dozen Catholic churches. That is more than any other city. And the list of soon-to-be-shuttered Troy churches includes St. Peter's, the state's third-oldest Catholic parish.

Elsewhere, St. Teresa of Avila and Holy Cross will close in Albany. In Cohoes, St. Bernard's, St. Joseph's and St. Rita/Sacred Heart will all shut down. And in Schenectady, St. Mary's, St. John the Baptist and Immaculate Conception also will close.

Altogether, the diocese is closing just under 20 percent of its 190 worship sites, a historic downsizing that is comparable to other consolidations in the dioceses of Buffalo, Syracuse,and Rochester.

The decisions announced Saturday culminated a 2 1/2-year planning process, known as Called to BE Church, that involved thousands of Catholics and 38 local planning groups making suggestions to the bishop.

Parishioners attending Masses on Saturday took the closings with mixed emotions: acceptance, nostalgia, disbelief, resignation, anger.

A livid Dorothy Mall lingered in her pew after the 4:30 p.m. Mass at one of Troy's doomed churches, St. Patrick's. Mall described Called to BE Church as "a farce" whose outcome was known from the start.

"The politics and the hypocrisy of this diocese leaves a lot to be desired," said Mall, 65, of Niskayuna. "This Called to BE Church did nothing but pit priest against priest, parish against parish, and parishioners against parishioners."

Hubbard has publicly rebutted the claim that he knew all along what he planned to do. On Saturday, he empathized with the "painful adjustments" the closures will require of many of the sprawling diocese's 400,000 upstate Catholics, who began to learn the fate of their parishes during Masses on Saturday and will continue to get the news in churches today.

"In fact, my own home parish of St. Patrick's in Troy will be closing — the church where I grew up, went to school, celebrated my first Mass as a priest of the diocese, and buried my parents," Hubbard said in a prepared statement.

"But we as a church must acknowledge the social and demographic changes that require change, and remember our church must adapt, just as our ancestors' church adapted to rapid changes in society throughout the 19th and 20th centuries."

Hubbard, who made the rounds of media outlets this month ahead of the plan's release, kept a low profile Saturday. He was unavailable for an interview. He did not attend any public events, said diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb. Hubbard will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. today in the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.

The closure of so many neighborhood landmarks isn't just a Catholic issue. Empty churches create "a hole in our community," said Lynn Kopka, a non-Catholic who heads the Troy's Washington Park Association.

The longer they sit vacant, the more deterioration makes it hard to find other uses for buildings that make economic sense, Kopka said.

The former St. Jean's, closed under a previous bishop some 35 years ago, sits vacant in the block south of Washington Park, Kopka said. Now the diocese plans to close St. Mary's as well.

"It's one more wallop in the head for urban areas that are trying to move forward," Kopka said.

Goldfarb responded to that concern by saying nearly all vacated church buildings have found other community uses and are no longer vacant. He sent the Times Union a church-by-church list of those uses, from a shelter for homeless women to a community arts center.

Other cities beyond the Capital Region's four-county core will also lose churches, including Glens Falls in Warren County, where St. Alphonsus will close.

In Montgomery County, three Amsterdam worship sites will close: St. Casimir's, St. John the Baptist, and St. Michael's.

Some churches, like St. Francis de Sales in Troy, will close as early as next month.

The calendar for the other closings will unfold over three years.

The closures will disrupt important traditions at two Troy churches. The Latin Tridentine Mass will move from St. Peter's to St. Joseph's in Troy, Hubbard announced Saturday. And the Perpetual Adoration Chapel will go from St. Paul's to the chapel at St. Mary's Hospital, also in Troy.

The diocese described Called to BE Church as a project created to realign resources to serve the greatest number of Catholics.

With the exception of Saratoga Springs, the majority of cities in the Albany Diocese have lost between 25 and 39 percent of their population since 1960. Suburban towns have grown by 50 percent or more, according to the diocese.

In Saratoga County, only one church — in Mechanicville — will close.

Many city churches were built at a time when they served separate ethnic communities whose members walked to worship in buildings only blocks from each other. Today, the combined weekend Mass attendance is about 1,300 at six urban churches in Troy whose total seating capacity is 3,200. A single parish in Ballston Spa or Glenville gets the same attendance.

Still, some fault bishops for neglecting newer immigrant groups who don't come from traditional European Catholic countries.

For example, Pentecostal churches are pulling in large numbers of Latinos, said Peter Borre, chair of the Council of Parishes, a Boston-based advocacy group for parishes in danger of closing.

"This is a massive failure on the part of bishops serving urban areas in the Northeast," Borre said.

The Albany Diocese maintains what Goldfarb described as "a significant outreach program to the Hispanic community." It offers a Spanish language Mass in areas with substantial numbers of Spanish-speaking Catholics: Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Amsterdam Stuyvesant Falls. None of those locations will close, Goldfarb said.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: albany; churchclosings; hubbard; ny; troy
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1 posted on 01/18/2009 4:19:43 AM PST by NYer
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To: NYer

Sad. I’ve gone to the Latin Mass in Troy...what a beautiful church!

Hubbard has presided over the destruction of his own diocese.


2 posted on 01/18/2009 4:21:50 AM PST by Claud
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
For those with ancestors or relatives that were baptized, married or buried from these parishes, here is the complete list.


Albany County

City of Albany:

St. John's/St. Ann's and St. James will merge by July 1, 2010, with both worship sites to remain open.

St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena will merge by Oct. 1. St. Teresa's worship site will close.

Holy Cross and St. Margaret Mary will merge by Oct. 1.

Holy Cross worship site will close.

St. Teresa's School and Holy Cross School will merge on July 1 at the Holy Cross School site.

Elsewhere in Albany County:

St. Bernard's (Cohoes) will close by Feb. 25.

St. Joseph's (Cohoes) will close by Feb. 25.

St. Rita/Sacred Heart (Cohoes) will close by Feb. 25.

St. Michael's (Cohoes) to become a territorial parish, will remain open.

St. Bernadette's Mission Church (Berne) to close by Dec. 31, 2010.

Columbia County

St. Mary's (Hudson) and Resurrection (Germantown) will merge by July 1, with both to remain open.

St. John Vianney (Claverack) and St. Bridget's (Copake Falls) will share a pastor, and conduct feasibility study on possible merger and worship site. The findings of the feasibility study are to be submitted to the diocese by Dec. 31.

Nativity/St. Mary's (Stuyvesant Falls) and Holy Family (Stottville) will merge by Dec. 31, with both remaining open.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Our Lady of Good Counsel Mission Church (Roxbury) will close immediately.

Fulton County

St. Mary of Mount Carmel (Gloversville) and Sacred Heart (Gloversville) will merge by July 1, determination of which worship site will close to be made by July 1.

Holy Trinity (Johnstown) to determine by July 1 which one of its three worship sites will remain open.

Greene County

St. Patrick's (Catskill) to conduct feasibility study of parish facilities by Dec. 31; At that time the diocese will revisit possible merger with St. Patrick's (Athens).

Immaculate Conception (Haines Falls) and Sacred Heart (Palenville) will merge by July 1, with both to remain open.

Herkimer COUNTY

No church closings

Montgomery County

St. Casimir's (Amsterdam) to close by May 3.

St. John the Baptist (Amsterdam) to close Feb. 25.

St. Michael's worship site (Amsterdam) to close by Feb. 25.

Sts. Peter & Paul (Canajoharie), St. James (Fort Plain) and St. Patrick's (St. Johnsville) to merge by July 1. Recommendations on worship site(s) to be submitted to the diocese by July 1, 2010.

Otsego County

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mission Church (Edmeston) to close by July 1.

St. Mary's Mission Church (Sharon Springs) to close by Dec. 31.

Blessed Sacrament Mission Church (Springfield Center) to close by Oct. 18.

St. Thomas (Cherry Valley) to become mission church of St. Mary's (Cooperstown) by July 1, 2010 with both to remain open.

Rensselaer County

City of Troy:

St. Patrick's to close by July 1, 2010.

St. Peter's to close by May 31 (Tridentine Mass will move to St. Joseph's in Troy).

St. Paul the Apostle to close by May 31 (Perpetual Adoration Chapel to move to Chapel at St. Mary's Hospital in Troy).

St. Francis de Sales to close by Feb. 25.

St. Mary's to close by July 1, 2010.

St. William's to close by Feb. 25.

Elsewhere in Rensselaer County:

St. Joseph's/St. John's (Rensselaer) will determine one worship site for parish by July 1, with other worship site to close by July 1, 2010.

St. Bonaventure (Speigletown) and Holy Trinity (Schaghticoke) to merge by July 1, 2010, with both remaining open.

St. John Francis Regis (Grafton) and Sacred Heart (Berlin) will merge by Sept. 1, with both remaining open.

St. George Mission Church (Pittstown) to close by July 1.

Saratoga County

Assumption/St. Paul (Mechanicville) will determine one worship site by July 1.

Schenectady County

Our Lady of Assumption (Rotterdam) and Immaculate Conception (Schenectady) will merge by July 1 2010; Immaculate Conception worship site to close by January 1, 2011.

St. John the Baptist (Schenectady) to close by Feb. 25.

St. Mary's (Schenectady) to close by July 1.

St. Margaret of Cortona (Rotterdam Junction) will become a mission church of St. Joseph's (Schenectady) by July 1.

Schoharie County

St. Joseph's (Schoharie) and St. Catherine's (Middleburgh) to merge by July 1. St. Joseph's worship site to close by July 1.

St. Mary's Mission Church (Schenevus) to close by Feb. 25.

St. Anna's (Summit) to close by July 1.

Warren County

St. Alphonsus (Glens Falls) will close by July 1, 2010.

Immaculate Conception (Corinth) and Holy Infancy (Lake Luzerne) will merge by July 1, with both to remain open.

St. John the Baptist (Chestertown) and Blessed Sacrament (Hague) will merge by Dec. 31; both to stay open.

Washington

County

St. Joseph's (Fort Edward) and St. Mary's/St. Paul's (Hudson Falls) will share a pastor in July 2010, with both remaining open.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Granville) will close by April 13.

Here are definitions of some terms, provided by the Albany diocese:

Church: A building in which Catholics worship.

Parish: The geographic area or population served by a church or churches. A parish may include one or more churches or worship sites.

Merged: Two or more parishes joined to become a single parish.

Territorial parish: A parish in a specific geographical territory.

3 posted on 01/18/2009 4:21:57 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer
THis is an ongoing process for the Caholic church. Here in Cleveland there are empty buildings scatterered all over town, owned and maintained by the diocese until some use is found for them. Not just churches but former residential buildings and schools.
4 posted on 01/18/2009 4:23:05 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Claud
I’ve gone to the Latin Mass in Troy...what a beautiful church!

St. Peter's is a beautiful church. The Latin Mass will now move to St. Joseph's which is equally beautiful. I hope you have the opportunity to attend mass there some day. What is quite upsetting, however, is this.

St. Paul the Apostle to close by May 31 (Perpetual Adoration Chapel to move to Chapel at St. Mary's Hospital in Troy).

My pastor serves as one of the chaplains at St. Mary's Hospital. On the one hand, having an adoration chapel is a blessing for those confined to the hospital. However this is the only adoration chapel in the entire diocese.

5 posted on 01/18/2009 4:28:41 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: hinckley buzzard
THis is an ongoing process for the Caholic church.

This is only true in certain parts of the country. What's interesting to note is which shepherds are closing their churches and ask yourself what programs are in place to encourage Catholics to come home. Two years ago, this same bishop closed 5 of the 6 churches in nearby Watervliet. It was a painful slap in the face for that community. Since then, many of those parishioners have left the Catholic Church and now attend local Evangelical Churches. No effort has been made to call them home.

6 posted on 01/18/2009 4:34:03 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Where there is good, orthodox Catholicism, there is NO shortage of seminarians!


7 posted on 01/18/2009 4:36:17 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified DeCartes))
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To: Kolokotronis

fyi ping


8 posted on 01/18/2009 4:39:34 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

My own Church here in Southern Md., where the first mass in this country was said in 1640 is closing it’s school and we will be lucky to save the Church, The Jesuits have owned large tracts of land here since the 1600’s and are selling it to the state.

Dwindling enrollmen and the lack of Nuns to teach the schools hasn’t helped, but even the Church has a dwindling attendence at Mass.

The priest scandals cost the Catholic Church horribly ,not only financially but also spiritually, the cost of a decision to hide pedophile priests instead of kicking them out years ago. Somebody sure screwed up with that decision.


9 posted on 01/18/2009 4:42:49 AM PST by Venturer
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To: SumProVita
Where there is good, orthodox Catholicism, there is NO shortage of seminarians!

You've got it! This diocese has been rocked by scandal, most of it attributable to those candidates approved by this bishop and his predecessor. The current number of priests are aging. The more orthodox among them have had their parishes taken away, replaced by lay ecclesial ministers. The few stalwart 'orthodox' catholics are counting down the days until this bishop's retirement - 5 years away. The next bishop will have his hands full trying to undo the damage from 35+ years of this bishop's destruction.

10 posted on 01/18/2009 4:45:10 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

You know, I don’t think a lot of Catholics REALLY understand just how important it is to pray DAILY for their pastors and bishops. We need to continually ask God to bless them and to remove or change those who are not anointed and appointed by HIM and replace them with those who are. The Lord DOES answer those prayers, sometimes very quickly and more often, after a great deal of time, but He does answer. ;-)

Regarding your comments about the huge job the next bishop will have, it is all the more important to pray for the soul of the present bishop for, as Jeff Miller has stated: “I have often heard the quote of St. Athanasius who said, “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” What is not normally emphasized is that they have plenty of company with the skulls of the laity who failed to pray for them in the first place.”


11 posted on 01/18/2009 5:02:23 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified DeCartes))
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To: SumProVita

a falling away?


12 posted on 01/18/2009 5:04:16 AM PST by FES0844 (FES0844)
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To: FES0844

Not sure what you refer to here....

I am only sure that there is a great need for those who have not fallen away to intercede for those who have.....and to ask God to grant a new and great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.


13 posted on 01/18/2009 5:10:54 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified DeCartes))
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To: NYer; Claud; hinckley buzzard

“Called to BE Church”

Pure, phony, Kumbayaism! Up here there was a similar process and now all five parishes in the town are merged into one with a dwindling Sunday attendance. None of my oldest son’s (age 28) contemporaries, all Roman Catholics, attend Mass. The masses are populated with the 50+ and older crowd.

What’s growing are the fundy protestant groups (well, we are growing too though not with Roman Catholics, except through marriage). They are popping up like mushrooms and the congregations are full of former Latins. The sex scandals and trendy theology delivered by a series of looser bishops with openly gay minions has all but killed Roman Catholicism here. There’s a reason why it is said that the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.


14 posted on 01/18/2009 5:22:15 AM PST by Kolokotronis ( Christ is Born! Glorify Him!)
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To: SumProVita; Kolokotronis; Claud
it is all the more important to pray for the soul of the present bishop

He's on my list, along with the Catholics who are suffering here and around the country. What bothers me most, though, is a comment he made in a recent interview. Confronted with the suggestion that closing so many inner city churches might be unnecessary since Catholics are beginning to return to the cities, he said he would build new ones. The existing churches are magnificent architectural masterpieces, replete with hand-carved pews and elaborate marble altars. Newer structures in this diocese are cement boxes, decorated with felt banners and devoid of sacramentals.

To cite an example of how poorly this is being managed, my Maronite Catholic pastor approached the diocese to acquire a closed church. He was given the run around and eventually purchased a boarded up Methodist Church. It is a long, tedious and costly process to restore the building and convert it into a Catholic Church. Meanwhile, the diocese sold one of its properties to an Evangelical minister who is desperately trying to sell the gorgeous stained glass windows. It makes no sense.

15 posted on 01/18/2009 6:12:17 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

I say let’s get some of that “stimulus” money for some spiritual recovery. These churches are landmarks and have to be saved.


16 posted on 01/18/2009 6:14:22 AM PST by jackofhearts (Unko bachana kaun chahega (Who will want to save them)??)
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To: NYer

“Meanwhile, the diocese sold one of its properties to an Evangelical minister who is desperately trying to sell the gorgeous stained glass windows. It makes no sense.”

It makes perfect sense, NYer. The Roman Catholic hierarchs both thoroughly dislike and at the same time fear priests like your abouna and parishes like yours. Its been true for over 100 years. The priests of Non-Roman particular churches in communion with Rome here in the States are a threat and a challenge to the Roman straps. The history of +Alexis Toth and his Ruthenians is instructive in this regard. The evangelical minister isn’t viewed as a threat (though he should be)while your abouna is (and shouldn’t be).


17 posted on 01/18/2009 6:18:58 AM PST by Kolokotronis ( Christ is Born! Glorify Him!)
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To: Claud

Reminds me of the Parable of the Talents....with Hubbard representing the servant who buried his talent. Matthew 25.

May God have mercy on him.


18 posted on 01/18/2009 6:24:21 AM PST by tioga
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To: SumProVita

When there is 35+ years of bad or no teaching it’s hard for me to blame the laity. One of the things that makes it so hard for a good bishop to try to reclaim such areas is the lack of Church teaching that went on for GENERATIONS.

I blame the Vatican for letting areas like this twist for 30 years. When such free reign of bad bishops is allowed in areas with a much less dense historic Catholic population, the effect is even more grim. After a couple of decades of such sheparding the folks don’t really even know they are Catholic much less what the Church teaches.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t pray for our bishops and priests.

Freegards


19 posted on 01/18/2009 7:10:28 AM PST by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed Says Keep the Faith!)
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To: Ransomed; tioga; SumProVita
I blame the Vatican for letting areas like this twist for 30 years.

That's a perfectly normal reaction and representative of our poor understanding of the Vatican's responsibility. The following article provides a better perspective.

Why Doesn't the Pope Do Something about "Bad" Bishops?

That said, however, this bishop might just as well erect a

Going Out Of Business

sign. He has done nothing to reclaim the Catholics that have left the fold.

20 posted on 01/18/2009 11:00:29 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: Kolokotronis
To cite an example of how poorly this is being managed, my Maronite Catholic pastor approached the diocese to acquire a closed church. He was given the run around and eventually purchased a boarded up Methodist Church. It is a long, tedious and costly process to restore the building and convert it into a Catholic Church. Meanwhile, the diocese sold one of its properties to an Evangelical minister who is desperately trying to sell the gorgeous stained glass windows. It makes no sense.
**********
From an Orthodox perspective, I too lament your loss of such gorgeous churches that were built with the pride and financial sacrifices of generations of faithful.

Here in WV, the bishop of Wheeling simply closed an Italian Roman Catholic Church after there was some damage from mining subsidence, and kept the $1,000,000 insuance payout, for his own needs. It has been destroyed, of course. I also lament the attempt to homogenize the church. (You should see the horrible architecture at the new "award-winning" gray box of a Roman Catholic church in the next town.)

In the next town over, his predecessor closed the Polish/Slovak Catholic church for no known reason, and went so far to tramp out any sense of heritage that he forbade the Polish and Slovak ethnic associations ever to meet there in the future even after it had been closed as a church and was being used for community meetings. It is now a beautiful concert hall, used several times a year for concerts.

And who can forget the historic Croatian Catholic church on the north side of the river across from downtown Pittsburgh, the earliest such church in the country, which the bishop of Pittsburgh closed against the protests of the faithful, despite no falloff in either attendance or donations; and insisted on proposing to tear down despite its historic landmark significance being recognized by generations of Pittsburghers.

21 posted on 01/18/2009 11:10:53 AM PST by wildandcrazyrussian
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To: NYer
No effort has been made to call them home.

First, let me say that while I'm a former Catholic, I do feel for those who are experiencing the loss of familiar places, and of churches that are important in their family history. A couple of years ago, I drove through my old childhood neighborhood in Gary, Indiana, and I swear I could not even recognize the front of the house I used to live in. It was very disorienting to have such a bedrock piece of my memory to have seemingly vanished, so I do empathize with those seeing their churches being turned over to other uses.

That said, in addition to the deleterious changes that have taken place in the Catholic Church over the last forty-plus years (most noteworthy among them the lawsuits the RCC has had to settle) there is also the fact that many of us have left that church permanently. Some have gone to other denominations or religious traditions, and many, like me, have just abandoned the idea of organized religion altogether.

We are home, although it's not one that you would necessarily recognize as your home. We wish you all well, but we are not coming back.

22 posted on 01/18/2009 11:59:14 AM PST by hunter112 (We seem to be on an excrement river in a Native American watercraft without a propulsion device.)
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To: NYer

Hey NYer, I re-read that old thread.

To: NYer
“The gradualist approach may turn out to have been a mistake, but I don’t think so.” (a quote from the article)

The problem with the gradualist approach is that the longer you allow bad Bishops with their bad teaching (or lack of any teaching) to inflict themselves on a diocese the less the laity even know that something is wrong in their diocese. Is this guy saying that the areas with craptastic Bishops are just unlucky, and ultimately there is nothing the Church can do for years and years until the bad Bishop kicks it or retires?

Freegards

23 posted on Friday, July 20, 2007 3:53:58 PM by Ransomed

I’m still not convinced that the Church can do nothing about bad bishops and their bad teaching/lack of teaching for 30-40 years at a clip. It has never been easier for the Church to monitor bishops than it is today. You can only run from the fear of schism so long before you’re in one anyhow.

Do you think the Vatican really did all it could do?

Freegards, thanks for all the awesome pings!


23 posted on 01/18/2009 12:47:05 PM PST by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed Says Keep the Faith!)
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To: wildandcrazyrussian; NYer

Did you mean for post #21 for NYer?


24 posted on 01/18/2009 1:35:18 PM PST by Kolokotronis ( Christ is Born! Glorify Him!)
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To: Ransomed
The problem with the gradualist approach is that the longer you allow bad Bishops with their bad teaching (or lack of any teaching) to inflict themselves on a diocese the less the laity even know that something is wrong in their diocese.

Agreed. That is what happened in several dioceses as Catholics got sucked into a constant stream of gradual liturgical changes. They questioned nothing, trusting their shepherd would not mislead them. After a while, they expected it was like this in all RC dioceses. I also fell into this trap. It wasn't until I stumbled upon this Religion Forum that I discovered otherwise. That's when I began to fight back at the parish level, calling the priest on liturgical abuses. Sadly, I was the lone voice.

Is this guy saying that the areas with craptastic Bishops are just unlucky, and ultimately there is nothing the Church can do for years and years until the bad Bishop kicks it or retires?

He is saying is that, short of the bishop introducing heretical teaching into the diocese, the bishop remains in charge. Let's take that down to the parish level. Are you familiar with the events that took place at Corpus Christi parish in Rochester NY, back in 1999? Rather than reposting it, here is a link. In this situation, the parish priest stepped over the bounds while the bishop winked. It went from dissent into sacrilege and Bishop Clark did not act until directed to do so by the Vatican. The pastor, his associates and members of the parish community were all excommunicated.

The sad collapse of an apostate church

Notice that the Vatican did not remove Bishop Clark. A similar scenario is now playing itself out in Australia where another priest has threatened to separate from Rome. I posted a thread on this earlier in the week. It falls under the Bishop's jurisdiction and he must act. The Vatican, however, keeps a watchful eye. These problem parishes are worldwide.

Do you think the Vatican really did all it could do?

I do know that the Vatican has a massive dossier on Bishops Hubbard and Clark but this is probably true for bishops in other countries as well. Perhaps the better question is what can the Vatican do to get their attention. The US bishops were all present for the Vesper Service in DC at which time Benedict XVI addressed them. Judging from the pope's address and his personal, private meeting with victims of the sex-abuse clergy from the Boston diocese, I KNOW the Vatican is doing what it must to ensure the health of the Catholic Church worldwide.

One probelm is the unwieldly size of the Latin Church. These problems don't exist in the Eastern Catholic Churches. This is probably due to several reasons: 1 - their liturgies are fixed and not open to novelties; 2 - their communities are much smaller and the bishops are chosen by their Patriarch or Metropolitan. All of the Eastern Catholic bishop selections are approved by the Vatican before announced. This is more of a courtesy than a requirement.

The Latin Church, on the other hand, is so massive that the Holy Father must rely upon nuncios to recommend candidates prior to their approval. In the case of Bishops Hubbard and Clark, Archbishop Jean Jadot was Pope Paul VI's apostolic delegate to the United States from 1973-1980 and he has no regrets about the spate of bad bishops he inflicted on the Catholics in this country.

Still Proud Of Bishops He Gave U.S.

The Archbishop just turned 99! I posted a thread on this earlier in the week. As one poster commented, the good Lord has given him time to repent.

Prior to relocating to Albany, a LI neighbor pulled me aside. He had been a seminarian in the Albany Diocese but left it when he saw what was going on back in the early 90s. He cautioned me about what to expect. At the time I thought he was exaggerating the situation. But it came at me like a locomotive once I arrived here. 5 years ago, spent from personally battling liturgical abuse in the diocese, I knelt in prayer before the Tabernacle and asked our Lord to guide me to - 'a holy priest, a reverent liturgy and a community where whatever my God-given abilities, could be of service to them'. That same day, I compiled a list of 5 RC parishes. Another freeper reminded me of the Eastern Catholic Churches, suggesting that I research these and add them to the list. Over the next several weeks, I attended Mass at a different parish in nearby Watervliet, always repeating that prayer. After several weeks, one of the Eastern churches surfaced on the list. That Sunday, I stepped into a small church in Troy and attended the Maronite Divine Liturgy for the first time. The prayers grabbed my heart! The Consecration was chanted in the words and language of our Lord - Aramaic. It was as if I had been transported through time back to the Last Supper. A thought crossed my mind: "I will help them build a new Church". (From where did this though emanate?) But when I left the church that day, I felt a sense of peace unlike anything I had ever experienced. The following Sunday, I pulled out the list and looked up the name of the next parish. It just happened to be my birthday and, as a personal gift, I decided to return to the Maronite Church. I was immediately immersed in the rhythmn of the chanted liturgy. Children waved to me as they passed - me - a total stranger! Again, an overwhelming sense of peace enveloped me but now I recognized it! "Peace be with you!", the priest says before reading the Gospel. This is the greeting of our Lord. Peace ... here it was, the answer to my prayer. It is nearly 5 years now and each Sunday I leve that church in peace. The priest is truly holy and frustrated wih the members of his congregation who don't show up for Holy Days or neglect their Sunday obligation.

Our Lord said: "Ask and you shall receive!" Now I pray that Cathoics in those parishes about to close will come to our small community and discover the beauty of the Maronite liturgy. They need us as much as we need them. Please pray for all of us!

25 posted on 01/18/2009 3:29:02 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: hunter112
That said, in addition to the deleterious changes that have taken place in the Catholic Church over the last forty-plus years (most noteworthy among them the lawsuits the RCC has had to settle) there is also the fact that many of us have left that church permanently. Some have gone to other denominations or religious traditions, and many, like me, have just abandoned the idea of organized religion altogether.

Thank you for the post and ping! That is a very interesting statement but you have provided no rationale for the decisions. We are witnessing a similar phenomenon here in this diocese. I would truly appreciate your insight into how and why people leave the Catholic Church. Thank you again.

26 posted on 01/18/2009 3:42:31 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer
I attended a retreat this weekend called "Christ Renews His Parish." It was very helpful. I would say probably 2/3 of the women (men will have their retreat next weekend) were cradle Catholics.

We had sections today on the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary, as well as discussions on other important Church Feasts. Imagine my amazement when CRADLE CATHOLICS did not know the following:

Who Saint Faustina was.
What the Mysteries of the Rosary were.
The story of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Why you should pray the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
What the Fatima prayer is, or where it comes from.

These all were explained, and I tried to offer information in a friendly manner, but my heart sank. These were people who sincerely wanted to draw closer to the Lord, but they didn't have the tools. They simply had had poor teaching in their formative years

Four years ago I was a Methodist, and yet I knew all of these things! These ladies were happy to learn, but I am appalled! It is a disgrace that they never were taught!

THIS is what I think is wrong with the Church...the members don't know the spiritual weapons they have, nor do they know the rich history of the Church. It is so sad!

27 posted on 01/18/2009 4:50:00 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: NYer

Prayers for all of you back there. When Bishop Hubbard retires, I believe many of these churches will re-open.


28 posted on 01/18/2009 6:43:58 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

**It was a painful slap in the face for that community. Since then, many of those parishioners have left the Catholic Church and now attend local Evangelical Churches. No effort has been made to call them home.**

There are several evangelical programs with Lenten schedules that could be used in the existing prarishes. Then people could evangelize/reachout to those who wandered and invite them back.

And, of course, pray!


29 posted on 01/18/2009 6:46:31 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: hunter112

You are always welcome back. Just because a few priests or bishops made unwise decisions, doesn’t mean that the entire Catholic Church is bad.

Compare with a few bad teachers does not make the entire school district bad.


30 posted on 01/18/2009 6:52:29 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: hunter112

You are still a Catholic.


31 posted on 01/18/2009 6:53:23 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Miss Marple

**THIS is what I think is wrong with the Church...the members don’t know the spiritual weapons they have, nor do they know the rich history of the Church. It is so sad! **

You are so right!


32 posted on 01/18/2009 6:55:06 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
Thank you for the post and ping! That is a very interesting statement but you have provided no rationale for the decisions. We are witnessing a similar phenomenon here in this diocese. I would truly appreciate your insight into how and why people leave the Catholic Church. Thank you again.

You're welcome. I only posted to indicate that those waiting for people to come flocking back to the Catholic Church should have a "plan B" backup, because I don't think it's going to happen.

In my case, after drifting around through a variety of other Christian denominations and non-Christian faith traditions, I just decided about a dozen years ago that it was all completely unreliable. I see the various religious traditions of the world fractionalizing more and more as time goes on, and have concluded that it's all because of the need to run religion as a business, or some sort of power trip. Every denomination of a similar religious tradition has built up it's own fiefdom, and consolidation with reconciliation would knock some from their privileged positions within the hierarchy.

After taking into account the sheer unreliability of ancient texts that were canonized more for political purposes than anything else, I decided that no present day religious sect could have possibly gotten even a glimmer of the truth, if it is even discernable. What seemed even crazier to me was a deity that needed me to not eat or drink certain things in order to run a universe, and who needed me to perform meaningless acts or utter certain words in order to assist in this task. I can fathom that being good to each other will make the world a better place, but ethical people do not need an ancient book of interpreted rules to do this.

That's my journey, but others have found what they seek in the teachings of other faiths. As an American, I celebrate people's ability to take their own journey any way they want to that does not violate the laws of our land.

33 posted on 01/18/2009 7:21:59 PM PST by hunter112 (We seem to be on an excrement river in a Native American watercraft without a propulsion device.)
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To: hunter112

** I see the various religious traditions of the world fractionalizing more and more as time goes on,**

That’s what is so wonderful about the Catholic Church. You can go to Mass anywhere, and even though the Mass might be in a different language and there might be a few local customs, the Mass is basically the same worldwide.


34 posted on 01/18/2009 7:45:38 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: hunter112

**After taking into account the sheer unreliability of ancient texts that were canonized more for political purposes than anything else, I decided that no present day religious sect could have possibly gotten even a glimmer of the truth, if it is even discernable.**

On what authority are you basing this statement? Your own judgement? A Protestant sect? Source please.


35 posted on 01/18/2009 7:47:12 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: hunter112

**What seemed even crazier to me was a deity that needed me to not eat or drink certain things in order to run a universe, and who needed me to perform meaningless acts or utter certain words in order to assist in this task. I can fathom that being good to each other will make the world a better place, but ethical people do not need an ancient book of interpreted rules to do this.**

What ancient book are you referring to here? What deity? God?

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the only deity that I know of within the Catholic Church.


36 posted on 01/18/2009 7:49:18 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
What ancient book are you referring to here? What deity? God?

Please, I did not post on this thread to get into religious arguments with people, I just wanted to express that there are not a big bunch of people out there waiting to "come home", any more than the Heaven's Gate people's spaceships were coming from the other side of the sun to pick them up.

There are countless "ancient books", and there are also many names for the deities found in their pages. You reject all of them except one, I add that one to my list. That's all.

37 posted on 01/18/2009 7:58:46 PM PST by hunter112 (We seem to be on an excrement river in a Native American watercraft without a propulsion device.)
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To: hunter112

Merely trying to point out the truth. Sorry you think it is argumentative.


38 posted on 01/18/2009 8:02:46 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: hunter112

A thought to ponder:

God in His infinite goodness sometimes sees fit to test our courage and love by depriving us of the things which it seems to us would be advantageous to our souls; and if He finds us earnest in their pursuit, yet humble, tranquil and resigned to do without them if He wishes us to, He will give us more blessings than we should have had in the possession of what we craved.

— St. Philip Neri


39 posted on 01/18/2009 8:27:04 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

I’ll guess most of these are in black neighborhoods or those with crowds of Muslim immigrants. Why does the Church desert the poor they purport to serve, nor do we evangelize the heathens in our country?


40 posted on 01/19/2009 5:02:45 AM PST by steve8714
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To: steve8714
I’ll guess most of these are in black neighborhoods or those with crowds of Muslim immigrants.

No

Why does the Church desert the poor they purport to serve, nor do we evangelize the heathens in our country?

The Church has not deserted the poor. These 'poor' have deserted the Church. The majority of these churches are in cities that once offered work to European immigrants. The churches were built 100+ years ago. They are large and costly to maintain. The descendants of the immigrants moved away about 50 years ago. Only a handful of families still practice their faith.

You are right, however, in that the diocese has done nothing to evangelize the current residents of these neighorhoods.

41 posted on 01/19/2009 5:40:12 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: Miss Marple
These were people who sincerely wanted to draw closer to the Lord, but they didn't have the tools. They simply had had poor teaching in their formative years.

From your perspective as a convert, it must seem absolutely appalling. In reality, it should not be a surprise. Most cradle catholics inherit their faith. You, on the other hand, have chosen it. I have had a similar experience with the Maronites. Like you, I was stunned that they did not know the Catholic faith or their Maronite heritage. Initially, I was so moved by the depth of their liturgical prayers and surprised by their indifference. Over time I came to appreciate that the ones who showed up for Holy Day masses and were regular attendees at Sunday mass were, for the most part, individuals like myself who had wandered through the desert and found this oasis where God is worshiped in a reverent manner.

We had sections today on the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary, as well as discussions on other important Church Feasts. Imagine my amazement when CRADLE CATHOLICS did not know the following:

In all fairness to these women, the Divine Mercy is relatively new to the US. The devotion is slowly spreading, thanks in great part to exposure through EWTN. Traditionalist catholics are probably the most resistent to its acceptance.

As for the mysteries of the rosary, this popular devotion nearly disappeared post VCII. It wasn't until JPII wrote the Luminous Mysteries that some NO catholics returned to praying the rosary. Traditionalist catholics have always embraced the rosary but I'm not certain they also include the Luminous Mysteries.

As for the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe, it wasn't until the canonization of Juan Diego that any attention was given, outside of Mexico. Once again, it was EWTN that brought this to light through coverage of JPII's visit to Mexico City and the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadelup.

You have been given an extraordinary opportunity to witness a group of catholic women even attending a retreat. Like the rosary, making retreats (or pilgrimages) faded post VCII. It consoles me immensely to know that, in your parish, there is a resurgence of women being drawn to these events. In today's fast paced world, anyone who takes time to go on a retreat or pilgrimage, is one with a sincere interest in developing a closer relationship with our Lord. This is indeed good news!

As you probably know, my 'enthusiasm' with the Maronite Catholic Church led to a deeper desire to grow spritually. That in turn brought me back to the CCC and reading Scripture. Now, as Director for Religious Education, I try to pass along this enthusiasm to parents and children. Alas, it is met with the usual excuses - most of which are offered up by the parents who prefer to sleep in than go to church. With only 15 classes spread out over the year, our concentration must be on the basics of our faith - from Abraham to the ministry of Jesus, His death, resurrection and ascension and the birth of the Church. Each class, we begin with basic prayers - the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. I have discussed the possibility of children's Eucharistic Adoration. Father and I both recognize the struggle to get parents to bring their children to the Sacrament of Confession, much less an 'hour' spent adoring our Lord. So, you can be certain that, despite our best efforts, when these children become adults, they will not be familiar with the Rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet. We took a small group of young adults on retreat last year to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge MA. They enjoyed the day and even asked to return. We will continue to introduce and reinforce these practices despite the struggle. Parents too often mistake footbal practice as being more important than serving God.

I hope you shared your conversion story with the women at the retreat. Your witness to the faith would be a wellspring from which the ladies can draw strength. Pax et Bonum

42 posted on 01/19/2009 6:27:05 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: hunter112

Thank you again, for sharing your faith journey. It pretty much corroborates what I suspected based on experiences from others I have met in this forum. It also parallels my own journey. If you don’t mind my asking, were born after Vatican Council II or do you have any recollection of the church from before the Council. Again ... thank you for the response.


43 posted on 01/19/2009 6:37:45 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer
I will be sharing my conversion when the women I was on retreat with host the next retreat in July. This program relies on the "pass it on" theory. Each group of people who go on retreat host the next.

I will be on Team 24, which means that I will be the 24th group to host a retreat. The men run parallel to us, so they are also going to be hosting in July.

Our parish has been doing this for 12 years. It is an excellent program with an emphasis on deepening one's faith and allowing the Holy Spirit into one's life.

I personally believe this program, along with the Perpetual Adoration chapel we have, has made our parish more involved and also has given us so many vocations for the priesthood (right now we have 10).

44 posted on 01/19/2009 6:55:42 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: NYer
You're very welcome, and I was born back in 1955. I do remember the Vatican Council II reforms, and was not put off by them, I found them rather welcoming. My parents embraced these reforms also, as well as some of the things in the church that the oldtimers disdain, such as the guitar Mass. Mom would play Ray Repp albums on the stereo a lot.

Those changes weren't the problem. If anything, they kept me in longer than I otherwise would have stayed. Again, I did not come here to discuss which book or treatise is better than others, I just expressed my belief that many Catholics are going to have to steel themselves to endure the rounds of church closings that have been going on.

45 posted on 01/19/2009 7:45:15 AM PST by hunter112 (We seem to be on an excrement river in a Native American watercraft without a propulsion device.)
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To: Salvation

It used to be more wonderful, back when the Mass was in Latin and you heard it in the language that you had been schooled in no matter where you went. Vatican II was a disaster and it has not finished damaging the Church. JMHO


46 posted on 01/19/2009 7:57:21 AM PST by pepperdog (The world has gone crazy.)
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To: hunter112
I did not come here to discuss which book or treatise is better than others

Nor I. What caught my attention in your original post was this comment:

In my case, after drifting around through a variety of other Christian denominations and non-Christian faith traditions, I just decided about a dozen years ago that it was all completely unreliable. I see the various religious traditions of the world fractionalizing more and more as time goes on, and have concluded that it's all because of the need to run religion as a business, or some sort of power trip. Every denomination of a similar religious tradition has built up it's own fiefdom, and consolidation with reconciliation would knock some from their privileged positions within the hierarchy.

It reminded me of Cardinal Ratzinger's homily at the pre-conclave Mass in April 2005. He said:

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.
Full Text

Growing up, I don't recall seeing so many different christian denominations - just the mainline protestant churches. It's only in recent years that so many new branches have sprung from the Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist Churches. Like you, it confused me. I kept wondering why this was occuring. In tracing them back to their origins, I discovered the answer.

Thank you for the feedback. Your journey exemplifies what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. To that he added:

Truth and love coincide in Christ. To the extent that we draw close to Christ, in our own lives too, truth and love are blended. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like "a clanging cymbal" (I Cor 13: 1).

May you find your way to the source of Truth and Love.

Pax et Bonum

47 posted on 01/19/2009 3:08:43 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: hunter112
<1>I can fathom that being good to each other will make the world a better place, but ethical people do not need an ancient book of interpreted rules to do this. With respect, I think this makes no sense at all. Ethics do not come out of thin air, but from a morality. Reading the Pentateuch last year, particularly the part that begins with the story of Abraham, I see how such rules brought order into the lives of some very unruly people. My favorite story is that of Jacob beginning with his cheating of his rather thick-headed twin brother out of his birthright right to the time of his death in Egypt. There is nothing saintly, holy, pious, about this guy. What pulls his life together is his connection with and loyalty to, the god of Abraham and Issac. His sons are a mess, not good guys at all, but then there is Joseph, what the Jews call a "righteous man," what we Christians call saints. And what they provide is a guide to good behavior, and they are all "touched" by the hand of God. Now when one of these men is a Moses, he provide more than just a model: he provides a "way." That way is except for the rare genius, something that is the property of a community. The community provides you with a moral compass, and even if you leave it, it continues to serve you. If you want. For many who do leave, however, it is just something they eventually throw away. I submit that most do.
48 posted on 01/19/2009 6:33:49 PM PST by RobbyS (ECCE homo)
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To: RobbyS
Ethics do not come out of thin air, but from a morality.

I will agree that is where ethics started from, but we have moved beyond that. For instance, slavery is just a "given" in the holy books of every world religion. We have progressed in our thinking to have as part of an ethical code the idea that one person is not allowed to own another. We didn't get that from the ancient texts, we got that from reasoning.

You can argue that the reasoning that led to the abolition of slavery in Western traditions came from re-interpreting the words of the ancient texts. If that's the case, then I submit to you that any part of those ancient texts can be similarly reasoned away from. Christians do that all the time when each sect picks and chooses what parts of the Old Testament to keep, and which ones have been replaced by the New Testament.

49 posted on 01/20/2009 7:06:23 AM PST by hunter112 (We seem to be on an excrement river in a Native American watercraft without a propulsion device.)
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To: hunter112
Ethics is an effort to explain morality, just as theology is an effort to explain a faith. Morality and faith are matters of judgement and action. Reason can guide but not control us. Reason is best established by tradition. The anti-slavery movement historically was an impulse driven by faith, of enlightenment as understood by the Quakers, an impulse that was magnified by the Enthusiasts of the Great Awakening, the evangelicals. But the Quakers and Evangelicals drew from a long-ago rejection of slavery by the Christians of the Middle Ages. They had established the rule that no Christian should be enslaved, a rule that was modeled on the Jewish rule that a Jew could be enslaved only temporarily.
That belief is what tempered the serfdom of Europe, the continuing servility of the lower classes, which prevented the class system of England from being totally inflexible, a caste system.

I suggest you read Halevy’s History of the English People. Anti-slavery and democracy rose on the same tide of sentiment, as his thesis, which I accept, is that not only anti-slavery but social reform in general was driven by this sentiment, and gave great support to rational reforms proposed by Bentham and others. There is no doubt in my mind that Wilberforce was a greater man than any philosopher, or that Christianity contributed far more to the mitigation of this evil than rationalism.

I cannot accept your positivist bent, either that we have somehow grown “beyond” all this. No such impulse arose spontaneously in Islam; when the British more or less demanded of the Turkish Sultan that the slave trade be ended as a condition for aid, the Turks were nonplussed by such an odd “request.” Our experience shows as in the case of Nazi Germany how quickly slavery can be restored, because it IS a natural impulse of men with absolute power. The notion that humanity is now “enlightened” seems to me a dangerous misreading of human nature. Its flaws will remain with us. Cardinal Newman once said that it is more reasonable to expect that a great ship can be moored to the dock by silk threads than to think that human emotion can be secured by reason. With this I heartily concur.

50 posted on 01/20/2009 8:28:57 AM PST by RobbyS (ECCE homo)
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