If Catholicism in the U.S. and worldwide presents the appearance of a hierarchical leadership which has lost credibility with much of the laity, the most important cause of this is the failure to rethink its teaching on sexuality and birth control.Yawn. So, let's change the teaching (and become like good old liberal Protestants), 'cause then everyone will come flocking to us. Sure. Like doctrine is entirely about utility. Has she paid any attention whatsoever to what the Holy Father has said this whole week? Quite possibly not. Her template is set. And it will be repeated, like a broken record, no matter who is listening, while God's truth marches on.
Silence? Like the Church's teaching is secretly buried somewhere? (It's another issue altogether that in most US parishes one will rarely hear this issue addressed from the pulpit, but I seriously doubt that this is what she means) Or silence like Pope Pius XII was allegedly "silent" about the Holocaust?
Or is she simply mad that the Pope didn't thunder against contraception, so that she could gleefully trot out the outrage? Well, he didn't thunder. At all. He spoke in the most gentle manner, yet most forcefully, about eternal truths. Perhaps that might be why she isn't happy. He blasted the stereotype to smithereens. Yet, the outrage had to be trotted out.
Of the 14 comments so far in response to her post, most are overwhelmingly from people who are living the Church's faith. They take her, rightly, to task. Here's a fantastic sample:
"Over 600 theologians signed a statement rejecting the encyclical. Many lay people simply decided that this was a teaching they did not need to follow in order to be Catholic. Yet the Vatican under Pope John Paul II, as well as Benedict XVI, has continued to insist that the teaching is unchangeable."And here is a paragraph from another commenter that echoes my own sentiments closely:
If the Church were a democracy, it would have dissolved into the oblivion of irrelevancy long ago. The Catholic Church's greatest strength is its unfailing fidelity to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Praise be to God for these faithful Popes!
As a practicing Catholic who is not yet thirty, born ten years after Humanae Vitae was promulgated to a woman who took the pope's teachings seriously, it is sometimes difficult to suppress feelings of bitterness against those forces in the Church who have systematically taught the practice of disobedience to my generation. Rather than shepherd us toward holiness, they have spent their careers advocating new dogmas based on their own questionable authority- opinions which directly contradict the teachings of the legitimate shepherds- and they continue to insist that they speak for the future of the Church. As someone who will be a member of the Church for the next forty years, I think it is about time they surrendered the floor.Amen! It's uncharacteristic of me to be so explicit on here, but I am sorely tempted to say: your generation had your time. You created a mess. Every attempt of yours to be "up to date" simply let the spirit of the age more and more into the bosom of the Church. With the Scriptures, you taught us to question the reliability of everything (except your own wildly contradictory theories). With the Church you taught us to distrust this "male, celibate leadership" and kept on and on about how they were out of touch, while all around you, the faith was imploding, and you kept (and keep) going on and on about "relevance." With sex you taught us that everything that was modern was good, and that all that had gone before had been darkness and repression, and that we were no better than our animal instincts. With catechesis you boiled down the faith to some version of "be nice," the results of which I saw every day and every year with the college students I was so privileged to work with. With architecture you deified the most spectacular ugliness in the name of the new revolution. With Christ you suggested he was a sweet guy, or a revolutionary, or a gay rebel, or really one who talked the same line that any liberal academic at an American University would. You went so far as to suggest that, really, God was unnecessary, as long as we had "love" or the "values of the kingdom." With the liturgy you suggested that the Church really began in the 1960s. With everything you suggested that Pentecost actually occurred in 1965 when the Council ended, and would continue to occur only when the Church was remade into this weak, anemic, hollowed out, empty shell, a veritable shadow of anything substantive, and then, with everything perfectly ordered, with all the correct, inclusive formulas, with all the proper correct demographics mentioned (and all the wrong ones suitably suppressed), finally, they'll all come flooding in.
And you know what, when I first came into the church some 14 years ago, I bought it. (My catechesis in the year leading up to baptism, was based on Richard McBrien's Catholicism, the 1960s Dutch Catechism, and scripture-study classes that used the Jesus Seminar for their text), I bought it. Hook, line and sinker.
It is a miracle that my faith survived. That is a separate story, of deeper conversion, of the wonders that prayer, and the grace of the Lord have wrought over the past decade, that lead to a real submission to the Lord, that invited him into every part of my life (a process that continues, for sure), that lead me to understand that I was called (to echo my hero St. Paul), to the "obedience of faith."
I cannot convey just how much hope the Holy Father's visit gives me, (and I suspect many of my generation, and more so, the one after me). Hope that the Church in this country might finally be turning a corner, and stemming this destructive, corrosive tide of accommodation, surrender and defeat that is eating it from within.
I am tempted to shout, and I pray the Lord forgive my lack of charity, in that sarcastic Hindi idiom, Chullu bhar paani me doob maro! (May you go drown in ankle deep water!)
Let those who followed, pick up the pieces, and pick up their crosses, and follow in this great adventure that is discipleship, and learn how to die to self, so as to rise again to new life in Him, who is indeed, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Far away from your latest relevant fad.
[End of rant.]
:: UPDATE :: Welcome, readers from "Charlotte was Both." I just put up another post, qualifying these thoughts a bit in a little less rant-like mode. :)