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CHA jumps the shark March 4, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, General Catholic.
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I figured this would happen – the Catholic Health Association, in the form of their nominal chief executive, Sr. Carol Keehan, has finally said it  – if you’re not pro Obamacare, you’re not pro-life.  Forget the fact that whether government provided health care is even the best way to achieve adequate health care for the broadest range of citizens possible, and whether Obamacare is even a good way of achieving “government run health care”, are open questions and prudential judgements.  ‘Pope’ Carol Keehan has just rewritten the Catechism and told us that prudential issues of how to provide social justice now trump intrinsic evils.  This argument, used by those pushing Obamacare for months now, and more so, by those who attempt to deflect their support for Obama by equating the murder of over a million Americans a year with a few percentage points increase in funding for welfare,  is an indication of how bankrupt their ideas are – and how ideological this pursuit is to the management at CHA.  That Sr. Keehan can say this, and never once admit that 1)CHA stands to gain BILLIONS of dollars in funding if Obamacare is approved, and 2) this current bill DOES fund abortion, and any bill passed by this Congress would HAVE to fund abortion, says alot about Sr. Keehan.

Another thing that says alot about Sr. Keehan?  When she appeared on Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over Live on EWTN, she wore her habit.  Try finding another video or picture of Sr. Carol wearing the habit – you won’t be able to. 

There’s playing to your audience, and then there’s being a disingenuous hack.  Which do you think Sr. Keehan is?

‘Theological minimalism’ March 4, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, Lent.
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Dr. Jeff Mirus over at Catholic Culture has a great post up regarding the loss of a corporate sense of Catholicism and theological minimalism.   Theological minimalism is a term Mirus uses to refer to those who reduce the Catholic faith to a few certain points – for instance, those who reject the Church’s doctrine on abortion, contraception, divorce, and other moral issues, but who “believe Jesus was a great guy who loves us all, that we are called to unconditionally love each other,” and who “really love the faith/church.”  This term can apply to modernists or traditionalists – for instance, those traditionalists who reject the Second Vatican Council, and even to the extreme of the sedevacantists.

An excerpt:

The result of all this is a truncated form of Catholicism, characterized by theological minimalism, even among the most traditional of Catholics. The Modernists began it with their arguments in favor of fusing Catholicism with the prevailing attitudes of the Western world. By now Modernists are pretty far away from anything but a frank contempt for Catholic doctrine, but for a long time the Modernist method was to insist that only the great dogmas were essential objects of Faith. Thus Modernists often concentrated on reinterpreting these as necessary, but they did not deny their importance. But everything that wasn’t a great dogma was simply dismissed on the grounds that it did not require the assent of Faith.

Thus the characteristic stance of Modernism is that one is a good Catholic if one minimally adheres to a few very basic points. Within that rather nebulous and sketchy framework, one is free to unroll the form of Catholicism one prefers. For Modernists this typically creates a religion more or less based on “what everybody knows”—a religion congenial to our cultural elites. This same stance was adopted by a great many bishops who, having become freelancers in their individual churches, figured they had to pay attention to only a few minimal points of Catholic unity while largely running their local churches as they saw fit.

Increasingly the rank and file learned that there were only a few immutable points about Catholicism (none of them, apparently, moral), and that anyone could claim the name of “good Catholic” as long as he described himself as caring about the faith, believed that Christ loves all of us, and affirmed that the Church is “very important in my life.” Based on theological minimalism, who could judge among the competing forms of Catholicism? The case against contraception? Not a dogma! Opposition to abortion? Mere politics! Soon, in fact, it became widely apparent that only those who did presume to make such judgments could safely be described as bad Catholics.

Such minimalism has also afflicted those who, rejecting ecclesiastical chaos and infidelity, have erroneously concluded that this crisis was caused jointly by the work of the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent popes who have defended it. Desperate to preserve their own peace of mind as believing Catholics, such persons have been psychologically compelled to argue—like the Modernists they hate—that, fortunately, only a very few dogmas and definitions require our assent and obedience. The idea here is that everything thought to have contributed to the ecclesiastical collapse can be proved to be non-authoritative, and so it can be safely ignored. Way too much of what it means to be Catholic is reduced to the question of infallibility. On this basis, the whole thrust of an ecumenical council can be dismissed as a “bad option”, and it becomes possible to embrace and affirm a contrary Program of Our Own.

Go read the rest.

We can all fall prey to this.  But this is more than mere tribalism, of which I am sure many would accuse me.  This is reducing the faith, and the beliefs you are willing to accept, to a narrowly defined set whose chief characteristic is that they appeal to you.  I’ve had to deal with this – there are areas of Church teaching where I’ve had to come around quite a bit.  Unfortunately, some of our Church leadership has also fallen into this habit of perhaps preferring some aspects of Catholic doctrine over others, so that they may push an angle, be it anti-abortion or pro-social justice, to a degree that tends to minimalize other aspects of Catholic belief.

It’s an interesting read, and something to think about this Lent. I think the points on the loss of a corporate sense of faith are especially poignant – while we like to think of the Church as One, to some extent, it’s become fragmented.  There is probably less unity of belief among rank and file Catholics than at any other time in the last 5-600 years, at least.  That’s another reason I disagree with national conferences – there is now such a thing as “Austrian Catholicism” or “French Catholicism,” and what is emphasized in those two areas doesn’t always correspond either with Rome, or with the USA or Mexico or Argentina.  You can read about the Dutch bishops doing so and so, and the US bishops doing something else – I just don’t see the need for it, and I don’t think it helps the Church as a whole.

A great resource for catechesis and apologetics…. March 4, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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….or, if you just want to come to understand your faith in a much deeper, richer way.  One frequent complaint made against the Church is that alot of its doctrines are highly erroneous or “just made up.”  This is a very common misunderstanding, and completely false.  Every major dogma the Church espouses has a strong basis in the Bible – without it, it would not hvae become a dogma. 

I think every Catholic serious about their faith should acquire John Salza’s truly excellent book, The Biblical Basis for the Catholic FaithThis is a simply fantastic book.  John Salza, an attorney by trade, constructs the case establishing the biblical basis for all key Catholic dogmas just like a laywer – in depth, and with an incredible amount of supporting evidence.   This book is excellent for apologetics and catechesis.   I and others have been using this book to teach such courses at St. Mark in Plano for a couple of years now.  I haven’t found any other single, brief (~250 pages) book that packs so much information as The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith.  Reading this book as a Lenten spiritual exercise would be a fantastic way to form your faith and grow closer to Christ and His Church.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Fr. Corapi on the state of the Church March 4, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic.
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Alot of people, myself included, absolutely love Fr. Corapi.  Some people detest him, and try to pick apart details of the talks he gives.  None of that matters, because he’s probably the most orthodox well known Catholic preach speaking today.  Thus, the hate.

Below is a video from an episode of EWTN Live that ran several months ago.   Fr. Corapi and Fr. Mitch Pacwa are discussing moral leadership in the Church today.  Fr. Corapi doesn’t pull any punches.   Starting with the reaction of the Canadian Catholic Bishops to Humanae Vitae (they essentially rejected the doctrine promulgated therein on contraception), and going forward to discussing the moral leadership in our Church today, Fr. Corapi expresses the concerns of a great many Catholics that this leadership is by and large, lacking.

Help defend the Faith at Catholic Universities March 4, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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I’ve commented recently that most nominally Catholic Universities are doing little to support, defend, and grow the Faith, and in most cases are actively working against it.  While there are still some good Catholic universities, most have left our faith in all but name.  The reasons for this are many, but primarily come down to the foolhardy Land O’ Lakes conference and the mentality it spawned, that for a University to be serious about ‘open inquiry,’ it had to constantly challenge fundamental precepts of the faith.  In addition, the tendency among scholars at the most well known Catholic institutions to want to be liked and accepted by their peers at secular institutions has led most of them to abandon the doctrine of the faith. 

And so we have professors at colleges like University of Detroit Mercy writing that Jesus wasn’t conceived by the Holy Spirit, but was the result of rape.  You see, in order to get published and be seen as “groundbreaking” in academia, you have to be controversial, really out on the edge.  What better way to do that than to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and denigrate the Mother of God?  Of course, being a radical feminist doesn’t hurt on that pathway towards losing your faith.   Like silly little Amanda Marcotte, who wrote pornographically about the Incarnation being a God-rape.  Embracing the radical feminist ideology really helps grease the skids of blasphemy.

TFP Student Action Network is trying to work some fundamental change at University of Detroit Mercy. In addition to employing the professor mentioned above, UDM also lists Planned Parenthood and NOW, the gold standard of abortion supporters, on the career and professional resources website as good employers for people with a degree from a Catholic college.  TFP has an online petition/protest requesting University of Detroit Mercy to remove these groups completely against Catholic moral doctrine from the university’s career planning website.  It may seem like a small thing, but small changes like this can begin to have an impact on the outlook, the mindset of Catholic colleges and universities across this nation. 

If you are concerned about the way the Catholic faith is portrayed and lived on many Catholic college campuses, I encourage you to go to the TFP website and sign the petition.