Skip to comments.The Catholic Position [why the Church is blamed for everything]
Posted on 04/20/2002 5:56:22 AM PDT by heyheyhey
A few weeks ago I tried, in my feeble way, to express why I fell in love with the Catholic Church. I received many gracious and grateful responses from others who felt the same way, some of them converts like me.
Inevitably, there were also a few jeers, directed not so much against me as against the Church. Some dredged up old scandals of wicked popes, or supposedly shocking utterances of Catholic saints, or mere clichés of traditional anti-Catholic polemics. Most of these were meant to embarrass, not to persuade; the usual ahistorical nuggets.
What is startling is the perpetual passion of anti-Catholicism. Youd think that by now people who reject Catholicism would calmly ignore its teachings as old and irrelevant superstitions. After all, the Church has none of her old political power, adherence is now totally voluntary, and she has enough trouble getting her own children to listen to her.
But Catholicism still has a strange moral authority, and many people are unable to achieve a calm and assured disbelief. They are still driven to discredit the Church - perhaps for the same reason so many of us believe in her.
Catholicism offers a complete and comprehensive morality, one which most of us still recognize as the faith of our fathers. Bit by bit, the world, including other churches, has abandoned much of this morality; the Church continues to teach it, even when some of her own priests scandalously violate it.
A few generations ago, nearly all Christians shared the same sexual morality. They abhorred artificial birth control, for example. Many state laws banning the sale of contraceptive devices in this country were passed by Protestant majorities while Catholics were politically weak.
Gradually, however, Protestants ceased to oppose contraception, and Catholicism almost alone continued to condemn it. What had long been a consensus became censured as a "Catholic position." We now see the same process well under way with abortion and homosexuality.
If cannibalism ever becomes popular, and the rest of the world, led by its progressive-minded intellectuals, decides that anthropophagy is a basic constitutional right, opposing cannibalism will become a "Catholic position" too. Catholics will once more be accused of wanting to "impose" their "views" on everyone else (even when they are far too weak to do so), and the reformers will cry, "Lets keep government out of the kitchen!"
I dont defend the Churchs morality because I am a Catholic. I became and remain a Catholic because the Church maintains a consistent morality - while the rest of the world keeps veering off into moral fads. My conviction that she is right is only strengthened by the worlds strident demand that she change along with it, as if it were a sort of moral duty to change ones principles, like underwear, with reasonable frequency.
"The world" includes many nominal Catholics who side with the secular world against their own Church. These are the Catholics you are most likely to see in the major media. They deny the Churchs authority to keep teaching what she has always taught, yet they cant rest until she approves their pet vices - contraception, sodomy, same-sex marriage, and all the rest.
Notice that the proposed reforms usually have to do with sex. When the Church refuses to change, she is accused of being "obsessed" with sex, when its really her critics who are obsessed with it. Catholic morality recognizes seven deadly sins, of which lust is only one; but this happens to be the one the modern world cant stop thinking about. Nobody demands that the Church "change its outdated teachings against sloth."
At any rate, the Church cant change. She can no more change her teaching about lust than her equally emphatic teachings about pride, gluttony, and sloth, because God has made the world as it is and no human will can repeal its moral order. These arent the Popes personal opinions; they are objective truths.
Powerless, hardly able to keep her own flock in line, and betrayed by many of her shepherds, the Church is still treated as a threat. All she really threatens is the false comfort of the dormant conscience; but this is enough to make bitter enemies.
After all, her Founder warned her not to expect gratitude from men for trying to save their souls. She is the mother of Western civilization, and to this day, all too often, she is blamed for everything and thanked for nothing.
I think you hit on the key concept, and one which has been ignored by the American seminaries: that is, that there should be absolutely ZERO toleration of any kind of homosexual practice by the priests. I've read that there are at least 2 seminaries where teachers and seminarians alike flaunt their gayness, dress in drag, and go down to gay bars together (I believe I read this from a snippet from "Goodbye Good Men"). I'm not entirely certain that you can also say that a person who would otherwise be homosexually inclined, but has worked through prayer and devotion to Jesus to control those urges and aberrant appetite so as not to either act on it or indulge in the thoughts, should be declared ipso facto to be unfit for the priesthood; after all, on the other side of the coin, heterosexually-inclined priests aren't automatically adulterers just because they're heterosexual. However, if they cavalierly flaunt and exhibit the attitude that they think it's OK to break their vows of celibacy, then they too should meet with an immediate dismissal from the priesthood.
That was my original belief before all of this mess started (that any form of sexually deviant behavior should be automatic grounds for dismissal from seminaries; and that the seminaries should be tightly controlled to be on the lookout for anyone exhibiting suspicious behavior -- hetero or homo); however, I recently was aware of a still-standing Church decree that any seminarian who is found to be homosexual-inclined is automatically unfit for the priesthood (I'm sure a knowledgeable Catholic can cite it here: it was from the Congregation on Divine something or other, circa 1960-something).
If that's the case, then maybe it's just better, as a rule, to just bar all homosexually-inclined men from the priesthood, even if they are able to control their thoughts and actions, just because of the potential danger of just one of them slipping up.
Of course, even as I say this, it seems incongruous in that would it be any less damaging for a heterosexually-inclined priest to molest a young girl, or to indulge in a sexual affair? My viceral reaction though, even though I know it's absent any logic, is to say a homosexual molestation is worse. I don't know why; it just feels worse.
In light of Mike Fieschko's post #73, would you care to amend this statement? (Assuming you actually read what you linked us to.) Do you agree that you were incorrect in your statement, at least according to the source you cited?
If you do agree that you were incorrect, did you just not read the entire passages where you linked to?
Well said. Amazing how even a place of refuge such as FR has sunk so low. Very Sad.
Yes, and the news media and the entertainment culture are the biggest child abusers of all because while they abhore bad priests they preach the doctrine of anything goes as far as sex and morals. In this secualr world they teach that immoral behavior,(if it is politically correct) is not immoral unless they say it is.
That's actually standard practice among some antiCatholics. Most of the groups claim to have "former priests" on staff, whom they quote as sources for their distortions. When one objects that it is impossible for even the most poorly educated of priests to believe what they publish, they reply that there is really a secret conspiracy to keep the "real" (i.e., demonic) Catholic teachings from the laity, and that any published documents are merely for public consumption. What "really" goes on in the Vatican is known only to a select few, among whom is the "priest" they have on a leash, so to speak.
It's standard conspiracy-theory kookery, of course, but that's an inherent part of antiCatholic bigotry. You may recall the rumors these people were propagating around JFK's candidacy (and Al Smith's, but he was before my time) that the Pope would push a button, and the secret Vatican decoder-rings which all Catholics receive at their antiBiblical confirmation would glow Marian blue, the signal to mobilize an army to subvert the sovereignty of the United States.
Some of this stuff can be partially penetrated by asking one's interlocutor to submit to a little quiz. I usually ask one who expresses outrage at an out-of-context passage from the Catechism how many Biblical citations, roughly, say order of magnitude, are to be found in that document. They're never anywhere close to a correct answer, because they don't actually read the full 700 pages or so; instead they get passages exerpted and distorted through the lens of one bigoted organization or another.
It helps to know a bit about the tactics you're up against.
Astute observation...like their revisionist histories they can't prove because "the Catholics destroyed all evidence that the baptists existed from the time of the Apostles and were the only true Church." Its kinda like historical gnosticism..."only us fundamentalists know the Real history of Christianity...come join us and we'll fill you in..."
I saw a journalist on TV the other night who was spinning this whole thing in the direction of - "the Church will lose its credibility with its members" - (on sexual and reproductive issues was the implication). There definitely seems to be a slightly demonic scenario going on which is to extend and expand the scandal as a wider assault on the Church and its teachings. The sins, mistakes, errors, or crimes of SOME clergymen in no way justify an assault on the moral or spiritual teachings of the Church. Why liberals in the media see an opening for this leap is beyond logic. They reveal their own bias. Cardinal Law, for instance, even if he is to blame in any way, did not invent the Church's teachings. Mike Barnicle is one who has tried to imply that the scandals should justify questioning other Church teachings. This does not make much sense. If anything the scandals support Church teachings by showing that sin and evil remain serious problems.
LOL! I apologize, but that is just ludicrous. As any Catholic knows, the Marian (spiritual) weapon of choice is the Rosary. I just read Our Lady of Fatima's Peace Plan from Heaven (Tan Books, ISBN 0-89555-217-5) and will try to improve my efforts.
The moral authority of the Church hasn't and will never change because she derives that authority from the Son of God. The fact that there are sinful people in the Church who hurt other people doesn't decrease the teaching authority of the Church. Those people have to be dealt with and do penance for their sins, but the Church carries on, no matter how many of her members turn away from God from time to time.
I noticed you posted a perfectly newsworthy article about a CATHOLIC WATCHDOG GROUP which was pushed "out of the way." I think your "marketing" theory is correct.