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Where are they? January 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.

Fr. Z, who probably wouldn’t appreciate me calling him my blogfather, but he is, has a post up linking and commenting on an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.   This op-ed discusses the fact that those dissident theologians which seemed such an unstoppable force in the Church 40 years ago have not birthed a 2nd generation of destructive heretics similarly dissenting voices, but are instead steadily dying out.  At the end, the op-ed opines why this has come to pass (Father Z’s emphasis and comments in red):

So where is the second generation of brilliant progressive Catholic theologians? There are plenty of liberal lay Catholics. [Who really don’t know why they are ‘liberal’, but… they are.  And they are of a certain age.] The church’s ban on artificial birth control is nearly a dead letter, a majority of Catholics say they believe their church should ordain women, and 40% have no moral objections to abortion, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. But dissident Catholicism seems to have lost steam as an intellectual movement, and not only because the issues relating to sex and papal authority that originally sparked Catholic dissidents have not changed in nearly 50 years.  [And they are dying off.]

The first-generation dissidents were products of a strong and confident traditional Catholic culture against which they rebelled, one whose intellectual standards grounded them in the faith they later came to question. Sister Schneiders, for example, earned four degrees from Catholic institutions, including the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Yet most Catholics of her generation have not passed on the tenets of their faith to their children[I think we have to say “most dissenting Catholics” didn’t pass on the faith.] the offspring of the Vatican II generation tend either to be churchless or not to go to church—or, in the case of academics, to their students. It’s hard to rebel when you don’t even know what you are rebelling against.

I think that’s it, in a nutshell.   But there is also this: Another reason for this phenomenon described above is that the efforts of these dissenting theologians have so weakened the faith of similarly minded individuals within the Church that that faith is little more than an appelation for many.  The very pool from which these dissenting theologians should have drawn has been vastly reduced by the contraception and abortion they have argued in favor of, and at the same time the faith of those dissent-type Catholics is so weakened that it is unlikely they could be bothered to become a theologian in the first place.  It’s a self-terminating cycle.  A very strong, confident faith bred a generation of intellectuals who sought to engage in an emotionally charged rebellion against the parent (the Church) that had nurtured them.  Just as many of a certain generation similarly rebelled in more secular areas. 

An interesting tie in to the Memoral Mass today prior to the March for Life.  During some comments at the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Farrell, in a fairly lighthearted manner, charged that the faithful have been remiss in providing vocations for the Church.  That it’s not his job, it’s the job of parents to form their children to produce vocations.  Sorry to say, but I couldn’t disagree with the Bishop more.  He is the shepherd of this Diocese.  It is under his authority that standards for adult and child formation are set, that curricula are formulated, and that instructors are credentialed, trained, and reviewed.  If the last 40 years have taught us anything, it is that nothing produces vocations like orthodoxy. 

 We have gone to huge parishes in the northern part of the metroplex that have been around several decades and  produced  0, or 1, maybe 2 priests in their history.   Meanwhile, a parish perhaps 1/10th the size has produced a couple of priests, some religious, and has several in seminary right now – all in the last few years.  Why?  Because that parish is probably the most orthodox in the Diocese. 

So, if you want to increase vocations, I highly recommend you increase orthodoxy.  Things like perpetual adoration, Baltimore Catechism for youth programs, highlighting the critical nature of the confessional (and having more than a paltry 1 hour of confession each week), encouaging priests to give challenging sermons, not homilies, on Catholic moral teaching, and, yes, even the dreaded and feared Latin Mass. 

If you want parents to form children for vocations, you must give them the tools to do so.  Watered down homilies and a general fear to challenge the faithful to live according to the precepts of their faith isn’t going to get it done.  We need your leadership.  We need to build up our Catholic identity, to distinguish ourselves from the protestant sects and to highlight what it is that makes being a Catholic so uniquely wonderful.  You can make a big difference by insisting on orthodoxy within your diocese.

UPDATE: Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy add his thoughts, and they’re funny!


1. On that Memorial Mass for victims of Roe v. Wade….. « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - January 18, 2010

[…] foolishness. trackback ………I have several comments.  I already alluded to the Bishop’s comments after Mass about vocations.   I wanted to touch on a few other aspects of the Mass, as […]

2. LarryD - January 26, 2010

Thanks for the copious links! I’m glad you like my blog. I’ll add you to my catablogue.

If you haven’t checked out “And Sometimes Tea” (linked in my catablogue), you should – she’s practically a neighbor in the Ft Worth diocese. Excellent blog, too.

Good work on the Sr Rupp fiasco – don’t get too discouraged. As St Theresa of Calcutta used to say – ‘God expects us to be faithful, not successful’.

God bless!

3. tantamergo - January 26, 2010

Thanks, Larry! BTW, I like your name…..:-)

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