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Modernism and the Magisterium
gkupsidedown.blogspot.com ^ | Monday, November 23, 2009 | Fr. Longenecker

Posted on 11/23/2009 9:20:18 PM PST by GonzoII

Modernism and the Magisterium


After analyzing the modernism in the Anglican Church it was pointed out that there's plenty of modernism in the Catholic Church too. True enough, and because blog posts should be short and punchy, I left this issue for another day.

It is true that all the problems I outlined in the post on Modernism in the Anglican Church are present in the Catholic Church. In many ways the effects have been even more devastating. At least the Anglicans with their good taste have preserved beautiful liturgy, architecture and sacred music in the midst of the modernism. Many Catholics have been even more gung ho on the dumbing down of Christianity, the vulgarization of the liturgy, art and architecture that is the philosophical offspring of modernism. The moral crisis among Catholic clergy which has caused so much pain and scandal is the direct effect of mixing clerical celibacy (which modernists simply cannot understand) with modernism and the moral relativism of the sexual revolution. The resulting cocktail was disastrously poisonous.

However, there are two distinct differences in the circumstances of Anglicanism and Catholicism. The first is that, while the Catholics have fallen into the same moral morass as Anglicanism, what they are doing has not been condoned and sanctioned by the Church. Yes, there are Catholic homosexual priests, Catholic bishops and priests and people who support women's ordination, Catholic people who favor abortion, remarriage after divorce etc. etc. The Church teaching, however, is clear and uncompromising. So in the Catholic Church you find Church teaching which is firm and clear and traditional, but some Catholics dissent and have their own opinion which is liberal. In the Anglican Church is is virtually the reverse: the Church teaching is either non existent, open ended or actually sanctions the modernist stance but you have individual Anglicans who choose to hold to the traditional, historic faith.

The second fact, on which the first is built is that while Catholics are besieged by modernism, we still have the magisterium of the Church which repudiates modernism and offers the guide for authentic historic Christianity in the world today. We have a Catechism which states the church's teaching clearly and positively. The Popes hold the line, defending, defining and teaching the faith in the face of modernism, and in opposition to it. The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church defends historic Christianity and those of the faithful who go adrift do so knowingly. They are sheep who have strayed from the fold and from the Good Shepherd.

Individual Anglicans, on the other hand, are sheep without a shepherd. Without a clear authority structure they must make up their own minds, and while there is certainly some value in such independence of mind and action, it must be said that if one is going on a journey it would be possible to wander to the destination asking directions along the way, but it would be more sensible to use a map.

This brings me to the accusation that many non-Catholics make about Catholics: that we are unthinking zombie clones who are drinking the Kool-Aid and marching in lock step behind the Master. To be sure there are some Catholics who switch off their brains (as do many modernists) but this is not the expectation or the ideal. What is the proper relationship to dogma and infallible authority? It must be that the dogma, the moral code and the infallible authority are means to an end--they are not the end in themselves.

For a Catholic the dogma and the moral code which is given by the infallible authority of the Church is simply the ladder on which we climb. They are the map for the journey; the signposts on the way. They are vitally important, but it is the pilgrimage to heaven which is most important, and the final goal in this life is to get to the point where we walk on this pilgrimage so formed and guided by the dogmas and moral code that we no longer rely on them. We have learned to run on the path of God's perfection with the perfect delight of love, doing all those things which were once burdensome with the simplicity of freedom and the beauty of holiness.


TOPICS: Catholic; Mainline Protestant; Theology
KEYWORDS: anglican; catholic; frlongenecker; modernism
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"The Church teaching, however, is clear and uncompromising. So in the Catholic Church you find Church teaching which is firm and clear and traditional, but some Catholics dissent and have their own opinion.."

And so it has always been, Father, and the doctrine will never change.

1 posted on 11/23/2009 9:20:20 PM PST by GonzoII
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To: GonzoII

Today’s Catholic Mass in the stock-in-trade neighborhood parish is banal, drained of its richness, sacred music, and rituals. The bishops and cardinals must fully shoulder the blame for this. Tens of thousands (myself included) now find it hard to attend Mass and experience the Divine.

How in God’s name was Mahony allowed to build the kind of Catholic Cathedral he did? The devolution of authority to local bishops post Vatican II was an error of incalculable consequences.


2 posted on 11/23/2009 9:27:53 PM PST by Steelfish
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To: GonzoII; Dr. Eckleburg; Gamecock; HarleyD

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. . .

and the fantasies persist.


3 posted on 11/23/2009 9:28:31 PM PST by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Steelfish
"Tens of thousands (myself included) now find it hard to attend Mass and experience the Divine."

Look for an Eastern Rite parish. "As Catholic as the Pope," but the liturgy is reverent, worshipful, traditional, and ceremonial. Besides that, it's very beautiful.

4 posted on 11/23/2009 10:15:40 PM PST by redhead (They are running SCARED, folks! :o) Check out the Halfbaked Sourdough at mukluk.wordpress.com)
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To: GonzoII
For reference,

Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists) September 8, 1907

5 posted on 11/24/2009 3:38:17 AM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley; Steelfish; Amityschild; Blogger; Brad's Gramma; Cvengr; DvdMom; firebrand; ...
Mark, steelfish,

RE: Today’s Catholic Mass in the stock-in-trade neighborhood parish is banal, drained of its richness, sacred music, and rituals. . . . Tens of thousands (myself included) now find it hard to attend Mass and experience the Divine.

###

I realize . . . that as a Pentecostal, I come at "experience the Divine" from a different set than the average Vatican co-hort.

However, I'm a bit mystified at what "experience the Divine" has to do with ritual.

I understand that in the Old Testament, in the Holy of Holies . . . EXPERIENCING GOD'S MANIFEST PRESENCE had a lot to do with a very precise ritual.

I do not find ANYTHING similar in the New Testament.

Actually, I find a lot of evidence in the New Testament and certainly from my experience that more than suggests God has a strong hostility to efforts to reduce TOUCHING HIM, TOUCHING HIS HEART, FACILITATING HIS PRESENCE

. . . BY . . . RITUAL.

Pentecostals can get caught up in such efforts very easily and humanly. And I've NEVER seen God tolerate such very long. Usually, even though a given sequence of worshipful actions, focus, whatever has been "successful" . . .

i.e. God has responded powerfully and dramatically . . .

say 2-4 times or so . . . THEN OR VERY SHORTLY THEREAFTER, GOT WILL CUT THE STRINGS, THE BUTTONS. HE WILL INSURE IT WILL NOT WORK AGAIN.

HE REFUSES,
ABSOLUTELY REFUSES

to have
INTIMACY
WITH HIM
reduced
to a formula.

HE
IS
SOOOOOOOOOOO
MUCH
BIGGER THAN THAT.

There were even hints in the Old Testament that ritual was not, per se, HIS cup of tea. It often seems to me that ritual was more like training wheels . . . teaching respect for the ALMIGHTY-NESS, HOLINESS OF GOD.

Yet His delight was to say "Y'all come on over to the Tent of Meeting and we'll chat."

AND THEY WOULD HAVE NONE OF IT. They escaped into their fear and into the comfortable, familiar mundaneness of detached pseudo-manipulatable ritual.

Gag.

No wonder the veil in the Temple was rent asunder.

I know folks who have a routine in their "secret place" prayer time alone with God . . . wherein their focus or sequence of prayers or worship and prayer or whatever is standard and that God always meets them intimately in that secret place and time quite routinely and faithfully in very tangible, PRESENCE sorts of intense ways virtually daily.

And, I suppose some could say--you're not doing it right.

It just has never worked that way for me. He comes and manifests HIS PRESENCE according to HIS priorities, timing, goals, something. I can fast, worship, pray long or short, prostrate myself, stand on my head, whatever . . . to no avail, essentially. And, often enough, at other times, just lay out my random thoughts and heart in a virtually casual, chatty way and WHOOM, HE IS THERE.

And, I recall the time I lived literally a couple of blocks from the Episcopal Cathedral in Spokane and worshiped there. There was a certain majesty and grandeur to the architecture and service form and ritual. And, on occasion, I felt God's subtle touch there. On the whole, it was just nice pomp and circumstance. OK if that was your taste and maybe God was meeting with and touching individual hearts according to their candor and openness to Him . . . . all quite more or less independent of all the pomp, circumstance and ritual.

I don't understand how one . . . being human and all . . . can engage in a ritual--particularly over a very long period of time . . . without the ritual becoming THE focus--or at least, the death-grip-clutched crutch. . . . that particularly God . . . is not very interested in, any more. He wants our hearts, heart to heart dialogue, intimacy, NOT ritual.

The whole idea of "experiencing the Divine" IN ritual, through ritual sounds very very mutually exclusive, to me. It's really very difficult for me to wrap even my intellectual understanding around.

I know C.S. Lewis felt otherwise. As I recall, he felt that ritual sort of freed him from paying attention to the tangible earthly present--rather paradoxically--allowing him somehow to focus on God more freely and directly.

I gathered that the ritual was sort of the cart or enclosed carriage, that carried him along in some sort of isolation from 'the world, the flesh and the devil' . . . enabling a more focused attention to God. That sounded to me like utter nonsense. One focuses on a very repetitious manifestation of the tangible world MORE in a way to reach the INTANGIBLE??? That's too jangly a paradoxical contradiction to wrap my sensibilities around. He wasn't very convincing for me, either.

I'm really not trying to be contentious. I really am trying to understand HOW ritual COULD POSSIBLY be a vehicle for "experiencing the Divine."

All my experience fiercely suggests that ritual virtually always and ALWAYS WITHIN A FEW REPETITIONS--becomes a DEADLY PREVENTION of EXPERIENCING GOD.

I suppose it's quite possible, plausible that God just wired me differently for His purposes. Yet, I don't think that's it--though it certainly could be.

It's just mystifying, to me.

So, if ANY of y'all can enlighten me on the issue, I'd be thankful.

If any of the rabid clique appear and choose to display their usual derisive attitudes etc. I shall do my best to totally ignore them.

6 posted on 11/24/2009 5:06:27 AM PST by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Quix; Steelfish

Quix,

I can appreciate how a charismatic, such as yourself, would not fully appreciate the ancient liturgies used by both the eastern and western (particular) Churches.

I thank God that you have a means of worship that allows you to experience a closeness with God.


7 posted on 11/24/2009 5:30:35 AM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

Thanks for your kind reply.


8 posted on 11/24/2009 5:51:16 AM PST by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Quix

This all seems somewhat like “angst” to me.

When God is truly the focus of our lives, He is there in prayers, works, joys and sufferings; He is there in liturgy (public worship) which, to me, is not the same as “ritual” ; He is there in good times and bad.

We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, because He promised to come-—He and His Father-—and abide in us who believe; He is there when we are awake or asleep, knowing or not knowing His presence.

To me, this is practicing the presence of God and is true worship, day in and day out.


9 posted on 11/24/2009 6:20:55 AM PST by Running On Empty
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To: Quix; markomalley; Steelfish; Amityschild; Blogger; Brad's Gramma; Cvengr; DvdMom; firebrand
Mark>RE: Today’s Catholic Mass in the stock-in-trade neighborhood parish is banal, drained of its richness, sacred music, and rituals. . . . Tens of thousands (myself included) now find it hard to attend Mass and experience the Divine.

All my experience fiercely suggests that ritual virtually always and ALWAYS WITHIN A FEW REPETITIONS--becomes a DEADLY PREVENTION of EXPERIENCING GOD.

Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
An invitation to come and know by reading the Word of G-d.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
10 posted on 11/24/2009 7:25:52 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: GonzoII; vladimir998; Pyro7480
Unfortunately, Father Longenecker refuses to acknowledge the twin fountains of all modernism--"demythologization" of the Bible and evolutionism--perhaps because he feels he has to make up for his Southern Fundamentalist origins.

For Catholics to boast of their church's "unchanging" nature while defending Biblical criticism and evolution is sickening.

11 posted on 11/24/2009 7:56:06 AM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Vayachalom vehinneh sullam mutztzav 'artzah, vero'sho maggia` hashamaymah . . .)
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To: Quix
I'm really not trying to be contentious. I really am trying to understand HOW ritual COULD POSSIBLY be a vehicle for "experiencing the Divine."

From my time as a Catholic, I found the Mass to be very inspiring when I applied the "ritual" with my heart and not switching to automatic. Just like the Lord's Prayer, you can say it or you can SAY it.

12 posted on 11/24/2009 7:57:54 AM PST by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: UriĀ’el-2012

You misread. This is not about “burnt offerings” It’s all about the soul being exalted and giving thanks and praise to the glory of God by sacred reverence and songs of praise. This is the RITUAL we are talking about.


13 posted on 11/24/2009 8:01:13 AM PST by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish
You misread. This is not about “burnt offerings” It’s all about the soul being exalted and giving thanks and praise to the glory of God by sacred reverence and songs of praise. This is the RITUAL we are talking about.

It is a metaphor.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
14 posted on 11/24/2009 8:05:29 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Quix
I understand ritual as a manifestation of the lust for certainty that we have been warned about. It comes from a holy motive--to be sure that we are saved--but leads to complacency ("now I have completed the ritual according to the letter and am therefore in a state of grace"), whereas the certainty should be within ourselves, as we live with Him always in mind and continually seek His guidance and our improvement in all things.

I hope it does not sound condescending to say this (I have been both places), but I believe God may accept the offering, even if it be of ritual if that is as far as we have gotten, and ever faithfully seeks an opportunity to bring the believer into a more vital form of relationship with Him.

15 posted on 11/24/2009 8:06:28 AM PST by firebrand
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To: UriĀ’el-2012; Steelfish; markomalley; Petronski
It is a metaphor.

Really? The burnt offerings in the Old Testament were metaphors?

Was the ram that Abraham and Isaac offered as a burnt offering in Genesis 22 (after God allowed Isaac to be spared) a metaphor?

Was Creation a metaphor?

What about the Flood, was that a metaphor?

It's disturbing to watch what happens when people deny the teachings of the Church and opt for their own personal interpretations. EVERYTHING they don't like gets dismissed as either a metaphor or outdated. Modern moral relativism/secular humanism certainly got its start during the Reformation.

16 posted on 11/24/2009 8:39:50 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

:-)

I think I understand the concept of “ritual” in the right useage, after reading a few good posts here.

I see more clearly that ritual and liturgy are very interconnected and I was thinking more with liturgy, which is the community gathering for public worship.

I continue to learn.

Thanks for your post.


17 posted on 11/24/2009 9:06:31 AM PST by Running On Empty
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To: wagglebee; UriĀ’el-2012; Steelfish; markomalley
U-2012>It is a metaphor.

Really? The burnt offerings in the Old Testament were metaphors? Was the ram that Abraham and Isaac offered as a burnt offering in Genesis 22 (after God allowed Isaac to be spared) a metaphor? Was Creation a metaphor? What about the Flood, was that a metaphor?, It's disturbing to watch what happens when people deny the teachings of the Church and opt for their own personal interpretations. EVERYTHING they don't like gets dismissed as either a metaphor or outdated. Modern moral relativism/secular humanism certainly got its start during the Reformation.

I urge you to reread Hosea 6 for context.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
18 posted on 11/24/2009 9:22:07 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: wagglebee
It's disturbing to watch what happens when people deny the teachings of the Church and opt for their own personal interpretations. EVERYTHING they don't like gets dismissed as either a metaphor or outdated. Modern moral relativism/secular humanism certainly got its start during the Reformation.

This is in no way an apologia for Uriel, with whom I disagree profoundly, but I find it strange and ironic that a Catholic is attacking metaphor when the Catholic Church has exalted metaphor over literal meaning for two thousand years, to the point that nowadays its clergy, theologians, and laity more often than not dismiss the "old testament" as "mythology."

True, higher criticism was invented by liberal Protestants. However, for some reason Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have taken this Protestant-invented theory to their hearts almost to the point of insisting on it as "proof" that one is not a "fundie."

Come on now, you don't interpret Genesis literally. Admit it.

19 posted on 11/24/2009 9:31:26 AM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Vayachalom vehinneh sullam mutztzav 'artzah, vero'sho maggia` hashamaymah . . .)
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To: UriĀ’el-2012

Of course these were not metaphors.

But ritual is a form of language that takes it color, content, and meaning from culture and tradition. And with the passage of time and the progress of civilization societies mark distinctions between various forms of rituals which while accepted at an earlier time and age are no longer considered proper.

The supreme sacrifice of the Son of Man on the Cross brought forth for the ages the Holy Eucharist, the bloodless sacrifice at the Catholic Mass. The celebration of this sacrifice through the rituals of sacred and celestial music, and forms of worships uplifts the soul and allows us to glorify our God. Thus soaring architecture, stained glass windows, sculptures, paintings, and Gregorian chants are all part of this rich tapestry of acknowledging and giving thanks to God in the context of the Mass. Everything else is drivel.


20 posted on 11/24/2009 9:37:42 AM PST by Steelfish
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