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Kathryn Lopez on why people leave the Church May 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Kathryn Jean Lopez has a long post at Inside Catholic exploring the reasons why people leave the Church.  I’m sure there are as many reasons as there are people, but she identifies a few key reasons.  These include the usual – the Church isn’t with the times on any of a number of subjects, they find Mass boring, the priests don’t inspire with their homilies,  the scandals, and the one that drives me nuts, the Church isn’t ‘Bible based enough.’  So, leaving aside the scandals, which are probably just a proximate excuse for someone long having problems with the Church, these issues come down primarily to formation.  In a nutshell, there isn’t nearly enough formation in the Church, and of what there is, most of it isn’t much good.

As a protestant coming into the Church in the post Vatican II era, I have been shocked at the lack of formation for Catholics, both youth and adults.  In a protestant Church, in my experience, a great deal of formation occurs simply by attending church every week.  Sermons are much longer, generally 3-4 times the length of a five minute Catholic homily, and protestant ministers are far more willing to go more deeply into theology and Scripture, and to bring up moral subjects that may be controversial.  Having said that, protestants have their deficiencies, too – the mainline churches are becoming increasingly weak on both faith and morals, and virtually no protestant church will discuss contraception or divorce as a serious moral problem.  But all in all, the average sermon given by a protestant minister will be memorable, more detailed, and more enlivening than the average Catholic homily.  In the Church, there are exceptions – where I celebrate Mass on Sunday, the sermons average about 30 minutes, and moral issues are frequently engaged in a thoroughly (and orthodox) Catholic manner.

The idea that the Church is not ‘Scripture-based’ drives me nuts. I’m sure there are parishes where this is the case, and there may be a few priests running around telling people not to read the Bible, although that sounds more like bad anti-Catholic propaganda than a serial issue.  But all one must do is crack open a resource like The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith, by John Salza, and the spurious nature of such charges becomes instantly apparent.  The problem is, few Catholics do so, because few parishes have serious programs of faith formation like the Wednesday night Bible studies prevalent in protestant churches.  Children’s formation in Catholic schools or CCD is also sadly lacking – so many parents think they have done all they need to do by sending their kids to Catholic school, trusting that the school will handle the formation.  This abrogation of a fundamental parental responsbility leads to a great deal of angst when Junior becomes a protestant or pagan while at university. 

Another factor that does leap to mind when reading the Lopez piece, which is well worth your time, is that the post-conciliar excesses and the watering down of the Liturgy in an attempt to appeal to protestants in an ecumenical sense has backfired terribly.  People, young people in particular, are drawn to authenticity.  Paper mache puppets and clowns celebrating Mass don’t ring true for them, and even if such egregious abuses are relatively rare, a Church that allows such things to occur without consequence raises questions in their minds.  Alot of people approximately my age and younger have a very strong desire for timeless, true, beautiful, God-focused Liturgy.  It’s shocking that people find Mass boring – they completely misunderstand the point of Mass.  It’s not a rock concert for us, it’s a Sacrifice honoring and worshiping God – it’s the only Sacrifice acceptable to God.  That is why there is a steady rise in the interest in traditional forms of worship, and I’m not just talking about Latin Mass.  There have bene great increases in demand for Adoration, for Processions, for Novenas and devotionals – all the panoply of worship that is clearly and distinctively Roman Catholic.  That is what Pope Benedict has been working so hard to achieve in his pontificate – a reinvigoration of the Catholic identity.

Pray God he may be successful.  The people leaving the Church are walking away from so very, very much – it’s a tragedy they don’t even know what they have.  Pray for their reconversion, and for a great evangelization of true Catholicism in the Church. 

Dominus Vobiscum!

Church of England moves closer to ordaining women ‘bishops’ May 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, Society.
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Sorry, I had to use the scare quotes.  Another nail in the coffin?  CNA reports that the Church of England has introduced draft legislation to allow for the ordination of women ‘bishops.’  The article is badly mangled – the Church of England already allows for women to be ordained as priests, but the article makes it seem that this is not so.  What CoE is contemplating, and, according to some reports, has already decided to do, is to ordain women ‘bishop’s,’ making them the third major Anglican conference to do so, following the USA and New Zealand. 

Anglicanism is fundamentally different from Catholicism on the issue of Authority.  There is no overarching authority in the Anglican Church – it’s more faux-democratic, where national conclaves of bishops, clergy, and even laity get to vote on issues major ecclesial and moral import.   In Western countries, these conferences are dominated by progressives who take the view that ‘Truth’ is a moving goalpost defined more by the vaguaries of the times than by anything fundamental and unchanging.  In Africa and South America, however, the members of the Church that make up the national conferences tend to take a far more traditional view of Truth.  Having said that, the Church of England has always had a hugely influential role in the Anglican Church, since it is the ‘mother church’ of Anglicanism.  With CoE moving towards ordaining women, and, I’m sure, gay and bi and whatever bishops later, it will be interesting to see how the more traditional conferences react.  I can’t see the Nigerians thinking this is a good thing.  Perhaps Cardinal Arinze should pay them more visits. 

Does anyone still think the legacy media meme about the Vatican rapaciously stealing away poor innocent Anglican lambs will hold water?  It’s been laughable from the start. 

The photo below makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  I keep thinking of the scene from Carrie

h/t Fr. Z

Babies know the difference between good and evil at six months, study reveals May 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, Society.
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Welly welly wellity……

At the age of six months babies can barely sit up — let along take their first tottering steps, crawl or talk. But, according to psychologists, they have already developed a sense of moral code — and can tell the difference between good and evil.

An astonishing series of experiments is challenging the views of many psychologists and social scientists that human beings are born as ‘blank slates’ — and that our morality is shaped by our parents and experiences.

Instead, they suggest that the difference between good and bad may be hardwired into the brain at birth.

Could it be, just possibly, that it’s because GOD’S WORD IS WRITTEN ON THEIR HEARTS? 

Is it just me, or are there certain forms of scienc-y-ism that have a habit of revealing the absolute obvious as some kind of penetrating realization? 

Yes, that is rather like my blogging, thanks for noticing.

h/t http://proteinwisdom.com