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There is more to Catholic orthodoxy than being pro-life October 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, sickness, Society.

Over the last couple of weeks, some polls have come out which are deeply distressing to faithful Catholics, including many clergy and religious.   I have heard several reports of local priests trying to shake up their flocks through vigorous homilies, stressing Catholic teaching, since these polls have come out.  Even Bishop Farrell referred to the dire lack of formation during a homily on Saturday.  Unfortunately, Bishop Farrell did not outline any kind of plan to redress this lack of formation, and even seemed to accept it on some level – he stated that while a small number of Catholics are well formed and trying to live the Faith, they tend to isolate themselves (really?), whereas a great number aren’t being well formed and almost certainly won’t be.  That’s quite a damning statement, and one would think that the Bishop of this Diocese would be engaged fervently to correct this lack of understanding of the Faith.  In fact, no one bears more responsibility for insuring that Catholics in the Diocese of Dallas, TX know the Faith than Bishop Kevin Farrell.  Of course, he knows he bears this responsibility, as well, and so the question must be asked – where is the plan?  If Catholics, collectively, don’t know a bull from a bass fiddle when it comes to the Faith, should there not be strenuous efforts to correct this?   I know that Bishop Farrell has tried to encourage greater Faith Formation, but the magnitude of the present crisis would seem to call for drastic, and very public, action.

Be that as it may, there is another aspect that needs to be addressed.  It is a great thing that there were priests moved by these polls to give some really good homilies.  It is not easy saying things that may not be well received by those that listen, even as many may still not be paying any attention.  But even here, there is still something missing.  It is great when a priest says that Catholics have to believe in the Real Presence – that it is an article of Faith, denial of which separates one from the Body of Christ.  But if this same priest, in another context, says that he thinks gays should be able to marry, that separate denial of an article of Faith completely undermines his demand that Catholics adhere to doctrine on the Real Presence.  It undermines his moral authority, and puts in the mind of many Catholics that all of these doctrines are just so many opinions, which one can adhere to if they want, or reject if they want.  Couple this with the widespread misconception of the “primacy of the individual conscience,” that unfortunately worded phrase from Dignitatus Humanae, and we have the seed bed from which so much dissent from Church doctrine grows.  It is both the example given by various priests, religious, and even bishops, in seemingly rejecting various aspects of Church doctrine, even, nay, especially those that seem counter to the dominant culture, and this confused sense that, since Vatican II, Catholics are able to, guided by their conscience, arrive at conclusions on issues of doctrine opposed to that of the Church, that causes so few Catholics to understand or accept much of the Doctrine of the Faith.  I must remind readers that we have examples of recently invited speakers in this Diocese, who, I have been assured, were thoroughly vetted and reviewed by the Bishop himself, who depart from Church Doctrine on any number of subjects.  On top of those philosophical reasons, are of course bad catechesis which is distressingly widespread, such as people involved in adult faith formation stating that various protestant heretics had it right all along!  It is little wonder, then, that so few Catholics accept all the Doctrine of the Faith.

I don’t want to sound overly negative.  Priests that have been motivated by this recent unveiling of the lack of adherence, or understanding, of the Faith by Catholics to strive to correct these problems must be applauded.  It is great to see the Holy Spirit working in them in this manner.  But it is critical to note that, in trying to instill the Faith into others, this places a great onus on them to lead by example, that they cannot publically deny any article of Faith, especially those that are at present controversial, or even imply that perhaps the Church before such and such a time was somehow deficient, an unfortunately common trend among some, who convey, intentionally or not, that there is a marked dichotomy between the pre- and post-Vatican II Church.  Even speaking personally, stating that this is just “my personal opinion that women will be ordained as priests,” or that “priestly celibacy should end,” or whatever…..any of these statements undermine not only the Church’s teaching authority, but also that of the priest.  If a priest seems to reject Church doctrine on one issue, why should the Faithful listen to them on another issue for which the priest demands adherence to the Magisterium?

We are, collectively, in a pickle.  The Catholic Church in the North America and most of Europe is in really tough shape.  It didn’t get in this shape overnight (although, it was amazingly quick), and it will take a long time to correct.  It’s going to take the concerted efforts of everyone who loves the Church –  bishops, priests, religious, laity – to even begin to turn the status of the Church around.  Many in the Church today did not create these problems, but they have to deal with them.  It is only through complete adherence to the Truth revealed by Christ through His Church that we can please God and win those Graces from Him that will allow this desperately needed re-construction of the Church to occur.   It will not be easy, but we will in the end, win out.  God Wills It.


1. UD Ministry Conference – some speakers reject Church doctrine « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - October 11, 2010

[…] some areas, in others they appear to hold views that are contrary to the Doctrine of the Faith.  Given my last post, in which I discussed some of the reaction within the Diocese to the news that most Catholics fail […]

2. Drew - October 12, 2010

One of the Deacons at St. Thomas Aquinas Church has preached the homily for the last two years on Trinity Sunday and on both occasions he declined to even define what the Trinity was, saying that he thought everyone was too smart and already knew what it was already and he would not be able to add anything to it, so he would just preach on something else today.

These were tremendous opportunities wasted. I do not understand why clergy are afraid to just simply explain the Faith. It makes no sense to me.

3. Mary - October 12, 2010

is it because they DON’T KNOW the faith?

4. Colleen Hammond - October 13, 2010

The Trinity is one of the mysteries of our Faith that we’ll contemplate for all of eternity! How sad, Drew…

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