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The Liberal Protestant Future of Catholic Dissent
Crisis Magazine ^ | August 13, 2013 | Tom Piatak

Posted on 08/13/2013 4:42:02 AM PDT by NYer

One of the many memorable scenes in David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago features Zhivago’s family fleeing the ugliness and brutality of Moscow after the Bolshevik Revolution for the tranquility of the family’s country estate in Varykino. Upon reaching the estate after an arduous journey, Zhivago’s father-in-law, Alexander Gromeko, finds the main house boarded up, with a notice affixed to the door. After reading the notice, he cannot contain his exasperation: “A body, styling itself the Yuriatin Committee of Revolutionary Justice, has expropriated my house. In the name of the people. Very well. I’m one of the people, too!”

I know how Gromeko felt. I recently attended a lecture at the Cleveland City Club by Helmut Schuller, a dissident Austrian priest who just finished touring the United States to promote his plan to dramatically refashion the Catholic Church so that it is more in line with Schuller’s opinions. Schuller claims to be acting in the name of “the People of God,” a phrase he repeated many times in Cleveland. As a baptized Catholic, I’m one of the People of God, too. But I no more gave Schuller authority to speak in my name than Gromeko gave the Bolsheviks authority to steal his house. And despite fawning coverage from such venues as The New York Times, NPR, Reuters, and the National Catholic Reporter, most of Schuller’s speeches were attended by crowds of no more than a few hundred, or less than the number who attend Mass each Sunday at a typical suburban parish.

It is clear why the media is so excited about Schuller. His talk featured nothing indicating that Schuller believes that the Church is right about anything of importance or that it has anything to teach the world. Instead, Schuller said the Church should learn from the world, and he repeatedly stated that the Church needs to conform to the opinions of “the people of our time.” So much for tradition, Chesterton’s “democracy of the dead.” Indeed, Schuller presented the Church as an oppressive institution, advocating disobedience by priests because Germans and Austrians have learned that obedience is dangerous and stating that change can come to the Church just as change came to the Soviet Union in 1989. In other words, a priest’s vow to obey his bishop is the equivalent of the oath of a soldier in the Wehrmacht to obey Adolf Hitler and the Vatican is the equivalent of the Kremlin. No wonder the City Club presented Schuller’s talk as part of “The Karen Faith Witt and A.H. Weinstein Memorial Forum on the Persecution of Peoples.”

What Schuller told the City Club he wanted was democratic governance in the Church, women priests and married priests, a “renewal of our moral teaching” so that homosexual acts are sanctioned and divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion, and “a new language … for delivering the Gospel to human beings today.” Schuller didn’t go into detail about this last point, but his later reference to “his or her mind,” in speaking of the Holy Spirit, perhaps gave a hint about what Schuller wants.

Needless to say, most of what Schuller advocates is contrary to the New Testament and authoritative Church teaching. The New Testament condemns homosexual acts, and one of the ways Christians stood apart in antiquity is that they avoided such acts. Although a current talking point among some on the Catholic Left is the claim that Jesus never explicitly condemned homosexuality, Schuller’s advocacy for Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics shows just how much such an explicit denunciation by Our Lord would have meant to Schuller and all the others who long for the Church to submit to the Zeitgeist. After all, Christ was quite clear about divorce: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” The Church accordingly has maintained that marriage is indissoluble from the earliest times, and another way that Christians stood out in antiquity is that they did not divorce. The prohibition on receiving Communion while engaging in adultery or any other serious sin is not an imposition of the Vatican, but a teaching of St. Paul: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. It is apparent that Schuller does not regard Scripture as being authoritative in any meaningful sense.

Nor does Schuller regard Church teaching as authoritative. He campaigns for women priests even though John Paul II declared that “in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” Although Schuller wants bishops to be removed from office as a result of popular demand, this is exactly what Saint Clement warned against in his widely read Letter to the Corinthians, written in the first century: “It is disgraceful, beloved, very disgraceful, and unworthy of your training in Christ, to hear that the stable and ancient Church of the Corinthians, on account of one or two persons, should revolt against its presbyters. … The result is that blasphemies are brought upon the name of the Lord through your folly, and danger accrues for yourselves.” Schuller’s faith, then, is wholly subjective, and not bound by the Bible, the Pope, or Tradition. The only imperative is to bow to the demands of today as interpreted by Schuller.

In this, Schuller is following in the well trod footsteps of liberal Protestantism. Nothing in Schuller’s talk indicated that he would disagree with anything found in liberal Protestantism, and in Austria he has advocated freely giving Communion to Protestants. Liberal Protestantism began, in Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous words, with the belief that “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” Its logical culmination is found in the likes of Gary Hall, the Dean of Washington’s National Cathedral, who just told The Washington Post that “I describe myself as a non-theistic Christian.” Since there is no sin in the world of liberal Protestantism, except maybe holding unfashionable political opinions, and no beliefs that are necessary for salvation, except maybe the current editorial position of The New York Times, denominations that embrace liberalism have a hard time convincing people to get up early on Sundays and go to church, even though they have done everything Helmut Schuller wants the Catholic Church to do. The United Church of Christ has lost half its members since the early 1960s, even though the overall US population has doubled during the same period of time, the Episcopal Church has lost nearly a quarter of its Sunday communicants in the last decade, and the established Protestant churches in Europe have fared even worse. As measured by demography, liberal Christianity is a clear failure.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/13/2013 4:42:02 AM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
For some unknown reason, FR will not allow me to post beyond that last paragraph. Continue reading at The Liberal Protestant Future of Catholic Dissent
2 posted on 08/13/2013 4:43:35 AM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: NYer

“As measured by demography, liberal Christianity is a clear failure.”

A few quick thoughts:

1) The success of Christianity is never measured by demography. The Sovereign Lord does as He pleases and always accomplishes His purposes. All that the Father intended to save from the foundation of the earth will come to Christ and be saved. Large and ever-growing numbers impress men, but they mean nothing. Christ builds His church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Men scheme to grow churches, but Paul explained that one man plants a seed, another man waters it, but it is God who gives the increase. The sovereign God is pleased to use the means of foolish men, and for that we should be thankful not prideful. He should get all credit and glory when a church grows with true believers who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We cannot control the Spirit. We have no idea who will or will not be saved.

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35)

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”
(Psalm 115:3)

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)

From John 3:
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

2) Liberal Christianity was never biblical Christianity. Let it die!


3 posted on 08/13/2013 5:36:39 AM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: NYer

“Schuller displayed similar impatience with younger priests. When an audience member lamented that younger priests were “more official and hierarchical,” Schuller said that for the last 20 to 30 years seminarians have been “interested in the First Vatican Council Church” and that such views represent a “real clash between two visions of Church,” since Schuller sees himself and his confreres as championing Vatican II. The only hope Schuller offered his distressed interlocutor was that younger priests will “gather some experience in life and faith,” the unspoken assumption being that experience will lead ineluctably to holding the same opinions Schuller has. Schuller repeated this theme in Los Angeles, warning his audience there that “The church is more and more led by relatively young priests of these movements, who nobody knows really.”

All really good signs, sounds scared and frustrated that the younger priests don’t seem to be meeting the standards of grey-haired old liberals.

FReegards, thanks for all the pings on FR


4 posted on 08/13/2013 5:54:20 AM PDT by Ransomed
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To: Ransomed

Remember that these “younger priests” that this priest speaks of in question are the legecies of Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus, and in the future, Pope Francis.


5 posted on 08/13/2013 6:37:39 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: .45 Long Colt

“2) Liberal Christianity was never biblical Christianity. Let it die!”

That is what is happening now. What we are seeing is not only a Christian faith which is not only is going back to its Biblical roots, but shows that it is much more conservative.


6 posted on 08/13/2013 6:40:56 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: NYer

Needless to say, most of what Schuller advocates is contrary to the New Testament and authoritative Church teaching


Exactly right but we may ask, how can anyone be so obnoxious as to try to bring in teaching so clearly contrary to what the Bible teaches?

In fact the Church itself has been doing that for hundreds of years, they have opened the door for anti Christs or unbelievers to do just what this nut is doing.

If one man can add to or take away from the scriptures then why not another?


7 posted on 08/13/2013 7:07:02 AM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: ravenwolf
Apparently you don't believe that, as Jesus said, "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13) -- a Scripture which logically entails the development of doctrine.

It is one of the truly wonderful paradoxes of Scripture, that it does not teach the doctrine of "sola Scriptura" --- which is, itself, an unBiblical doctrine of men.

8 posted on 08/13/2013 8:57:10 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("In Christ we form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5)
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To: NYer

Re: women and married priests.

Like the society Schuller wants the Church to mirror, it won’t stop there. And what is intended to be an island of calm and steadiness in a chaotic world becomes the chaos it was intended to offset.


9 posted on 08/13/2013 9:49:46 AM PDT by DPMD
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Apparently you don’t believe that, as Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) — a Scripture which logically entails the development of doctrine.


Yes he will guide us into all truth, what is the truth? is it what Helmut Schuller says or is it what the scriptures say?

Or is it what the Pope says?

Any thing contrary to what the scriptures say is not the truth, regardless of who says it.


10 posted on 08/13/2013 10:10:24 AM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: ravenwolf
"Any thing contrary to what the scriptures say is not the truth, regardless of who says it."

Amen to that.

11 posted on 08/13/2013 10:13:58 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("If they refuse to listen even to the Church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.")
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To: All

http://siministries.org/podcast/fbt-holy-priesthood-and-rebellions/


12 posted on 08/13/2013 10:44:46 AM PDT by AliVeritas (Pray/Penance. Isa 5:18-21,10:1-3 "Tempus faciendi, Domine, dissipaverunt legem tuam")
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To: ravenwolf

What is truth?

Matthew 16:18-19

BTW, why do you trust the scripture that you have today and how did that come about?

And what do you think they did before the NT letters circulated?

Paul spoke of a rock following the Jews through the Sinai in 1 Cor. and Jannes and Jambres opposing Moses in 2 Tim.... do you think they jumped down his throat because they couldn’t find it? Gee Paul, how did you know the magicians names? We’re leaving because we can’t find it.

Would you also tell the Lord that making wine in ceremonial jars (really big deal) at Cana and telling a man to pick up his mat and walk after a healing was out of line and he lacked authority, because it was against scripture?

The Oral tradition has always been around longer than the written.

Would you say to Jesus, I need to see it in scripture you’re the son of God; Yeah I see your miracles and you talk the talk but is it written down... and can you prove they’re talking about you?

As John said, if everything was written down the world couldn’t hold the books.


13 posted on 08/13/2013 11:54:27 AM PDT by AliVeritas (Pray/Penance. Isa 5:18-21,10:1-3 "Tempus faciendi, Domine, dissipaverunt legem tuam")
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To: NYer

Too late. When the Catholic Church adopted liberal Protestant Biblical criticism it boarded the liberal Protestant train. And now any hesitation to kiss the ring of historical criticism is met with accusations of (of all things) Protestantism.


14 posted on 08/13/2013 12:52:50 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: AliVeritas

What is truth?


The truth? Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

The gospel of Jesus is the truth.

The resurrection Of Jesus was witnessed by the 12 Apostles, and they did write it down or had it wrote down, Their word is good enough for me.

What is truth?
That is the first sentence i heard an atheist say about 50 years ago when he was attempting to prove Jesus as no more than a man.

That was his mistake because it was part of the reason a few years later i started reading the bible to prove his point, it did not work out that way.

And No, i do not believe you are an atheist, i am just saying that even though i was not a believer at that time it did bring my thoughts to the Gospel of Christ.

Matthew 16:18-19
Is this going to prove that the Pope is the vicar of Christ and that he took over from peter? if so then it would have to be proven by Gospel which did not get into the scriptures, very handy.

As for the other questions you are asking me, i recognize Jesus as lord so why would i question him on anything he did?

Paul? i do wonder at times if i rightly understand every thing he says but he seems to be excepted by the Apostle Peter, other wise i don,t know if i could except him or not.


15 posted on 08/13/2013 2:28:31 PM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: Zionist Conspirator
When the Catholic Church adopted liberal Protestant Biblical criticism it boarded the liberal Protestant train

Huh? Where did you get that idea?

16 posted on 08/13/2013 2:31:51 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: Zionist Conspirator; NYer

Listening to opinions from someone who is anti-Christ, anti-Christian, and who claims that Christians are all ignorant suckers who have fallen for a scam based a fraud named Jesus Christ commenting on Christianity is like listening to Himmler’s opinions about Jews.


17 posted on 08/13/2013 4:12:10 PM PDT by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: NYer

He is bitter over certain interpretations/explanations of Genesis 1-11 and Joshua 10 that some Catholics believe are the true and correct opinions.


18 posted on 08/13/2013 8:17:25 PM PDT by ronnietherocket3 (Mary is understood by the heart, not study of scripture.)
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To: ronnietherocket3

The Gospels came from the Catholic Church. Not the other way around. There were Christians before the Bible ever existed.
End of story. That’s Catholic Christians, not PROTESTants.


19 posted on 08/16/2013 6:05:08 PM PDT by NKP_Vet
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To: Mrs. Don-o; ravenwolf
"Any thing contrary to what the scriptures say is not the truth, regardless of who says it."

Amen to that.

Need a little definition of terms here, you just previously said:

It is one of the truly wonderful paradoxes of Scripture, that it does not teach the doctrine of "sola Scriptura" --- which is, itself, an unBiblical doctrine of men.

But, when Ravenwolf stated what is the real meaning behind sola Scriptura - that anything contrary to what the Scriptures say is not the truth - you gave an AMEN. What IS the definition of sola Scriptura then? Nobody says that ONLY the Bible can be used to understand the tenets of the Christian faith, just that as, for example, Cyril of Jerusalem states:

"For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures." - Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, 4:17)

20 posted on 08/16/2013 9:12:05 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums

“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech,


What Cyril said is what i believe if i understand it right.

If i build my message around a scripture, i need to be able to prove my message by that scripture and other scripture which are of the same text.

As i heard a preacher say once.
( i believe many things but you will never hear me speak of them because i can not prove them by scripture )

That is what i believe.

Thanks for the message from Cyril of Jerusalem.


21 posted on 08/17/2013 5:52:20 AM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: boatbums

That’s well said -— by you and by Cyril of Jerusalem. I’ll embrace your definition even as I reject the ones proposed by — hmm -— several FReepers who shall remain unnamed :o/


22 posted on 08/17/2013 7:12:10 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("OK, youse guys, pair off by threes." - Yogi Berra)
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