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Angry, ‘spirit of Vatican II’ type priest – Church focuses way too much on hell, fear August 29, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, priests, sadness, scandals, sickness.
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I don’t know what planet this guy lives on.  A certain Fr. Emmett Coyne, whose name sounds familiar, has written a diatribe called The Theology of Fear, in which he lashes out at the Catholic Church for all its manifold failings low these 2000 years.  Makes you wonder why he stayed a priest for so long – unless it was to infect numerous souls with his views.  Irrespective, I haven’t been a Catholic as long as he has (he’s 73), but in my 15 or so years I can’t recall hearing Hell or “fear-based” teaching at all until I started seeking that kind of thing out 3 years ago.  I think the experience of the vast majority of the people in the pews today is that hell might as well not exist, as infrequently as it is mentioned in their parishes.

The Vatican rules the Roman Catholic Church through indoctrination, control, and fear, rather than through nurturing love, service, and freedom, according to Father Emmett Coyne, a Roman Catholic priest. His new book, The Theology of Fear exposes how far afield the highest church authorities have strayed from the gospel of Jesus Christ….[or, perhaps it exposes how far afield Fr. Emmett Coyne’s self-serving “theology” has strayed from the belief of the Church, which is to say, Jesus Christ]

“I’m on the last lap of life and eternity is facing me. It’s my last chance to speak up and speak out,” said Father Coyne, who was ordained in 1966 and is retired at age 73…….

……He believes Catholics learn more about how to go to hell than how to get into heaven [how does this fit with your experience?], and that, historically, the sacraments were established as a way to control church members through guilt and fear. “Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God. He didn’t proclaim the sacraments,” he said. [Ummm…what was that thing about the Last Supper and “This Is My Body…..do this is memory of me?”  What about “unless you are born again of water and the spirit you have no life in you?”  “Sacraments” just describe specific actions Christ commanded His Church to perform]

Theology of Fear further asserts that seminarians for the priesthood are ordained based on their ability to follow doctrine without question, while activist priests are viewed as risks to church authority. “They [seminarians] drop out when they discover they can’t think for themselves,” said Father Coyne, who once was chastised by his superiors for adding the words, “Jesus, our good shepherd,” to a prayer. [Depends on the prayer.  These statements, so utterly divorced from reality (for “activist” priests are a common occurrence nowadays, sadly), reveal just how radical Fr. Coyne must be]

What does this long-time priest hope to accomplish with his book The Theology of FearThe 50th Anniversary of the Vatican Council will occur in October [so, you can see, this is all about trying to reignite the dying embers of the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd.  These people really think they’ll live forever], and Father Coyne believes change, reform, and transparency of the church’s highest echelons are crucial. He wants everyday Catholics to rediscover Jesus’ teachings that it is the person who is absolute in God’s eyes, not an institution. [Ummm….this is wrong on many levels.  Too much to unpack but wrong] Jesus emphasized the spirit of the law grounded in love, never the letter of the law based on punishment. [Again, where, outside a very traditional parish you intentionally sought out, have you heard any – ANY – “fear-based” or punishment focused talk?  We DO NEED to hear that!  A lot!  But this guy is delusional if he thinks the Church has focused inordinately on what guys like him call “negative ecclesiology”] Father Coyne expects church authorities will not be happy with his book.  “One has to follow the truth wherever it takes him,” he said. [ I doubt the “authorities” will care much about this book at all, which is also sad, because it is just one of dozens others like it, a 325 page temper tantrum by a man who should know better]

These people will not go silently into the night that awaits them.  I pray he has some extreme conversion.

I could write 2500 words just fisking what’s in the little bit above.  Lord, have mercy!  This priest, God bless him, seems to be fighting a battle against a chimerical church of his imagination, the notional church of his youth.  Which, if you embraced the more radical aspects of that spirit of Vatican II, was a terrible, hideous Church that needed total, top to bottom reform.  Meaning, revolution.

Gratitude August 29, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, religious, Saints, Virtue.
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From Divine Intimacy, day 283 or the Wednesday of the 13th Week After Pentecost:

St. Bernard says, “Ingratitude is the enemy of the soul, the destroyer of merit and virtue, causing the loss of favors. It is a burning wind which dries up the fountain of piety, the torrents of Grace.”  Gratitude, on the contrary, attracts new graces, new gifts: it draws down upon souls the infinite liberality [of God]. But this gratitude should be sincere and cordial, and should extend to all of God’s gifts. “Every gift of God, whether great or small, should be gratefully acknowledged; not even the least grace should be forgotten.” This sincere gratitude flourishes only in a heart that is humble, convinced of its own poverty, and thoroughly aware that it is nothing and can do nothing without continual help from God. It is not impossible, in fact, to thank God with the lips, while in the heart, one attributes the graces received to one’s own merits. Such was the false gratitude of the Pharisee……this proud man was far from recognizing his own nothingness and attributing to God alone the little good that might have been in him.  A humble man has an entirely different attitude; if he has done some good, or practiced virtue, he is convinced that all is the fruit of Grace, and therefore, not only God’s great gifts to him, but even the least of the good works he performs, are opportunities for giving continual thanks to God, whom he recognizes as the source of all good. Who, then, can express enough gratitude for every Mass, every Communion, for every confession?…….And the truth is this: each sacrament, each divine succor, each actual grace, each spiritual or material help, brings with it newness of grace, of spiritual life, of love; blessed the soul who realizes this and praises God for it! If the multitude of divine benefits do not produce in us proportionate fruits, the reason probably lies in our want of gratitude, and if we want to look more deeply at the root of this evil, almost always we shall find that it is a lack of humility. [In other words, our pride drives our lack of humility]

[The amazing St. Catherine of Siena adds……] I give you thanks, O eternal Father, because You have not despised Your creature, nor turned away Your face from me, nor ignored my desires. You, who are light, did not despise my darkness; You, who are life, did not go far away from me who am death; nor did You, the physician, fail to heal my wounds…Your wisdom, mercy, and infinite Goodness have not looked with scorn at all these and the infinite number of other evils and faults that are in me. What forced You to love me and to grant me so many graces? It was not my virtues but only Your Charity. May I always keep Your favors in mind, and may my will burn with the fire of Your Charity.

O inestimable Love, how admirable are the things You have done in Your creature! O my wretched, blind soul, where is your cry of gratitude, where are the tears you should shed in the sight of your God who is unceasingly calling to you? [We must lose our love of selves to have true, fitting gratitude for God’s manifold benefits to us] Where are all my yearning desires in the sight of Divine Mercy? They are not in me because I have not yet lost myself, for if I were lost and had sought only You, my God, only the glory and praise of Your Name, my heart would have thrilled in a hymn of gratitude.

Thanks be to You, O eternal, most high Trinity! I am she who is not and You are He Who Is. Glorify yourself by enabling me to praise you. Pardon me, O Father, pardon me who am miserable, and ungrateful to You for the immense benefits I have received. I confess that Your Goodness has preserved me, Your spouse, although because of my many defects, I have often been unfaithful to You.

Awesome but sad article that confirms what I’ve said about low birth rates August 29, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Demographics is destiny, people.  The vast majority of Americans are too busy being worldlings to contemplate having more than a child, or two at most.  And many – a steadily growing many –  don’t have time or interest for any.  Here is an awesome article from OpenMarket.org that makes many of the same points I’ve made on this blog over the past couple of years, but with much better writing!

Until recently, the United States was famous for bucking the plummeting birth-rate trend that has haunted other advanced countries for years. But apparently Americans are now caving to the peer pressure (“Come on, Yanks! Everyone’s — not — doing it!”). According to a recent report in newgeography.com:

“…the 2010 Census showed that in the past decade America’s birthrate slipped below at least one European country (France) and under the pace necessary to replace our current population.” [In fact, the US birth rate is now below at least a couple of European countries, but only because those countries have huge muslim minorities]

Never mind, you say, immigration can make up the difference, right?  Maybe not:

“Immigration, both legal and illegal, is also slowing, in part due to plunging birthrates in Mexico and other Latin American countries.”   [And it will continue to drop, as the excess population in Mexico that fed the immigration boom is a thing of the past. We won’t see another wave like that any time soon, and the rest of the world outside parts of Africa are in the same boat]

True, the dip in birth rate has a lot to do with the recession: Young people burdened with high credit card and student loan debt and faced with dismal employment prospects are understandably choosing to put off marriage and childbirth. But that creates a dangerous and self-reinforcing loop — bad economies encourage bad demography, which weakens the economy further, etc. They don’t call it a death spiral for nothing. Again from newgeography.com:

“…we need an increase in younger, working-age people to make up for our soon to be soaring population of retirees. Young people are the raw capital of the information age and innovation, and new families are its ballast and growth market.”  [Amazing that secular sites are finally catching on to this extraordinarily important phenomenon – if we don’t increase our birth rates, this country and the entire Western culture will collapse]

As governments across the developed world face shrinking, aging populations, already onerous entitlement promises become bonafide budget killers, leaving politicians without the stomach to reform or repeal entitlements (read: most politicians) with one choice — raise taxes. Indeed, it’s already happening: Japan, which unhappily is well ahead of the curve in the downward death-spiral race, this summer approved a plan to double its national sales tax in a desperate attempt to shore up its finances. Unfortunately, it won’t be enough. As The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The tax increase…will slow the rate of issuance of Japanese government bonds. But the new revenue will quickly get consumed by projected growth in retirement-program spending for the country’s rapidly growing population of seniors.”

In many respects, Japan is the canary in the coal mine for all of Western Civilization. In 2007, for the first time (excepting World War II), the number of deaths was larger than the number of births in what has been aptly rechristened “Land of the Setting Sun.” High debt, low growth and no babies equals a one way ticket to the ash heap of history. Once a people can no longer see a bright future past the mountain of debt in front of them, they lose all interest in fecundity. And when they can’t conceive (see what I did there?) of babies in their future, they quite naturally lose interest in each other:

“Among [Japanese] males 16 to 19 year old, 36% have no interest in sex, and some even despise it. The figure is even higher (59%) for females in the same age category. These respondents often cite greater interest in comics, computer games and socialising through the internet.”

Indeed, so unappealing has sex and procreation become in Japan that adult diapers sell more than the baby kind.

The dangers of low fertility have long been understood. In the last years of the last millennium B.C., the Emperor Augustus fretted that Roman citizens — especially the elites that made up the senatorial and equestrian classes — were too busy enjoying their own lives to make new ones. Augustus correctly understood that Rome would need legions of soldiers and bureaucrats to administer its recently codified empire, and legions of new taxpayers to pay for it all.  So he pushed a series of laws — the Lex Papia Poppaea – designed to encourage marriage and childbearing.

It didn’t work. Nor would it have – the Augustan government gave political and economic advantages to Roman couples who bore three children. But in that age of high mortality, to merely keep the population in equilibrium would require an estimated five or six children per woman. Unable to meet even the Emperor’s modest birth-rate goals, the fertility rate of the Roman aristocracy continued to stagnate, and eventually it crashed.

It’s why there are no Romans anymore. They literally bred themselves out of existence. The Huns and Goths who overran the Empire in the Fifth century A.D. were able to do so in large part because there were few native Romans left to stand in their way.

Demography foretold Roman destiny. Will it foretell ours?

It foretold more than Roman destiny – the Spartans, the Greeks in general, some Chinese empires, the Assyrians, the Mayans, and many others were doomed by demographic collapse.  Many of these collapses occurred after periods of great power, wealth, and comfort – the people became too fat, dumb, and happy to be bothered to reproduce.  Sound familiar?

It is interesting that Russia has managed to turn its demographic future around, at least somewhat.  I think that is much less due to Putin’s tax breaks and other incentives to have children, than it is to the growing revitalization of the Orthodox Church in Russia.

But some people don’t like that.

About last night……. August 29, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, priests, Virtue.
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….I’m glad my discussion on the radio show last night triggered some responses, both here and in the chat room during the show.  I wanted to add a bit to that discussion.

Changing parishes is a difficult thing.  And, because I am a convert, I may retain certain un-excised protestant sensibilities that may incline me to be less loyal than many cradle Catholics.  I did not mean to imply last night, if I did, that I regard this changing parishes lightly.  Far from it.  In fact, I should have added that I am opposed to changing parishes for trivial reasons, and especially if one is confronted with the converse situation than the one I described – fleeing a holy, reverent, orthodox priest or parish in search of one that is more “affirming,” that tends to leave people in their sins.  And as DDLG pointed out in the comments, things can change for the better at times.  It’s a judgment call.

What I was trying to address is what I sense is, at times, a sort of reflexive, perhaps even unthinking “my parish right or wrong” mentality I’ve run across in some faithful Catholics.  That comment is not directed at any regular readers at all, but I have sensed it.  I have known people who groused at length about problems at their parish, but refuse to do anything about it.  You can either stay and fight and try to improve things, which most of the time won’t effect much if any change, or you can try to find a place more conducive for your own growth in the Faith.  Meek acceptance may have its place, as well, especially for someone advanced in the interior life who has a very solid grounding in Church Dogma and spirituality, but it’s a dangerous path.

It’s especially dangerous if you have children.  If one attends a problematic parish, one where there are liturgical abuses or error is proclaimed from the pulpit (or school, or RCIA, etc.), even if you try to “correct” the errors the children may be exposed to once you get home, there is no telling what kind of impact that exposure may have.  While an adult may be able to see and recognize a bad practice in the Mass and know that it is wrong, a child may not.  The acorns don’t tend to fall very far from the tree, which is to say, we often tend to mimic, to some degree, in our adult life what we were exposed to in our childhood.  It is something to consider.

We live in a time and culture where trying to raise children to be faithful Catholics in their adulthood is incredibly difficult.  Many good people lose their children to the world, the flesh, and the devil, at least for a while.  It’s a miracle of Grace when they return.  There are so many temptations our there, so many enticements to lure children from the faithful Catholic life.  It’s so easy for a friend or even some silly thing like trying to emulate famous movie stars in appearance or those seen in fashion magazines to start a young person down a path in life that will lead to rejection of much, if not all, Catholic belief.  Like the woman I mentioned in the post yesterday, who seems incredibly set in her worldly ways, hating the Church and Jesus Christ.

That’s not to say that if you stay in a parish with problems, that you or your children are doomed.  Some people manage to do so with few if any negative effects.  Some might even be able to transform such a situation into a mortification, a joyful offering, that helps them to grow in cooperation with Grace. But, having said that, I would say this: if it is possible to find a much better parish within a reasonable distance, why would you not?  What are you missing out on by not having that exposure to a very reverently offered Mass, by not having awesome sermons that could inspire you to change your life or may help dig out sins or errors you weren’t even aware of?  What about interaction with other people who are as motivated, or even more motivated, to try to grow in the Faith, as you are?  What benefits might you derive from that?  Yes, you might be able to do pretty well in a parish that is just OK, or even somewhat problematic, but how might you grow in the Faith in a really holy, faithful, orthodox parish?  You might become a great Saint!

Yes, there are definitely reasons to stay where one is at, warts and all (and, let’s face it, no parish or any other human construct is, or ever will be, perfect).  I guess the question comes down to each person prayerfully considering whether the good that could come from staying put outweighs the good of moving on.  It’s a very personal decision, obviously, one that doesn’t necessarily have a “right” answer.  But I wanted to get some of the arguments for moving out there, to perhaps stimulate some thinking.

Thanks for listening, last night’s show was a lot of fun!