Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birth of a Schism (?)

Hey, maybe I'm wrong, but this is one of those things that you have to think that if it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck . . .

Basically, you've got a bunch of Minnesotans who are organizing a "council of the baptized" that will "to receive input from the people of the Archdiocese, to deliberate on questions of conscience they present, and to prepare and publish consensus statements in their name."

Receiving input doesn't sound so bad. What is all this about deliberating questions of conscience and publishing consensus statements, though? Well, let's take a look at the stated difficulties that have motivated these folks in this direction.

Archdiocesan Catholics want a voice in the direction of their local church. We want a local church inclusive of all age groups, all cultures, and points of view, where communication promotes spiritual growth. We want to manifest God’s love for the world as was Jesus’ mission.

Ah. In all charity, how precisely is Catholicism supposed to accommodate all points of view? We don't ask math teachers to let the kid who says 2+2=5 to just be inclusive of his perspective and let it go. I have absolutely no idea what the "all cultures" bit is about or the thing on communication promoting spiritual growth. In the interest of being fair, I'm not going to guess either.

It’s not that we don’t value the role of the Archbishop as spiritual/institutional leader. We appreciate the value of that role very much.

Well, that's good to know.

The world-wide institutional network of dioceses that is the Roman Catholic Church, with the Bishop of Rome as its symbol of unity and the bishops in regional conferences working together, creates an unparalleled structure for spreading the good news of God’s love for humanity, the message of Jesus.

Ok. Notice the problems here. What is focused on is the network of dioceses and the regional conferences, with the Bishop of Rome as the symbol of unity. Is this really what Catholic ecclesiology is? The Pope (and yes, I noticed they didn't call him that) is just the SYMBOL of unity? I wonder if these folks know how far afield they've gone from Vatican II. Yes, that Vatican II. Specifically, I'm talking about Lumen Gentium and the Nota Praevia that I'm pretty sure none of these people have read.

Through our Catholic practice we have become profoundly aware of the need for institutional change so that the Church can fulfill its mission. We are calling the disconnects we see between the Gospel message and institutional policies and practices “concerns of conscience.” We the people want to partner with the Archbishop and the ordained clergy to voice our concerns of conscience, and to embody the loving community that manifests the Gospel message. We see this as our baptismal responsibility.

"Institutional changes," huh. "Disconnects." Then, of course, the resort to "conscience." I wonder what the reaction of the council will be when their concerns are ignored or perhaps even branded as heretical. Will they obey their bishop? Will they launch some kind of public screed against him? Or will they simply go their own way?

I don't know. I've been worried about this sort of stuff since the Detroit meetings were announced for the American Catholic Council. I hope that our Minnesota brethren are well-meaning. If they are in good faith, then someone needs to get them a better writer for their materials, as this effort is chockful of the code words used by schismatics everywhere.


Smiter the Archdeacon said...

Alas, I can't agree with your pessimism. No, surely this is a good thing. I mean, basically, it's the same agenda as the Estates General of 1789. So how could this one not end just as well as that so-well respected "council of the baptized" did?

Peter Reilly said...

If God had intended Catholics to run things by democratic consensus, He wouldn't have given us Unitarian Universalism to convert to.

Roisin said...

The subtext here is: Social Justice, Women Priests, Homosexual marriage. That's where this is going, I'll bet you anything.

Alexander said...

Democratic Church = Modernism

It’s in the Pascendi.

The blurring of the hierarchal nature of the Church, ministerial priesthood, etc. through the progressive forces during and after Vatican II has cultivated this line of thought. An obsessive focus on the priesthood of all believers and obsessive focus on lay participation in every aspect of the Church implies and tends towards this democratic mindset.

It seems that teaching about the priesthood of all believers and increasing participation in the liturgy are good, but the progressives have used the occasion of the glorious and ambiguous Vatican Council II to take these (and other) concepts and put them on a pedestal above the rest. Instead of properly balancing between primaries and secondaries the whole system is compromised and a radical, heretical shift can now slowly make its way in.

Consider the abandonment of Latin the Liturgy and the increased role of lay participation especially in the sanctuary. It has a psychological impact. The sacramental reality of the priesthood and subsequently the episcopate is hampered. A de-development of the liturgy leads to a de-development of the minds of the faithful.

Is this also Americanism?

Throwback said...

I don't think it's Americanism. My reading of Leo XIII is that Americanism is more about church/state relationships than anything else.