Acquiescing to Alternative Voices

July-August 2015

We’ve written at length in these pages about the substandard quality of religious education since Vatican II, and we’ve blamed this dispiriting phenomenon (which, happily, is being shored up in many areas) on the abundance of poorly formed Catholics in our time who bend like reeds in whatever direction the winds of social change are blowing. But the spectacle of Catholics supporting same-sex marriage, abortion, and other social movements that run counter to Catholic teaching can’t be blamed entirely on poor catechesis. Rather, based on the findings of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), explored in the preceding New Oxford Note, it is due to the absence of catechesis.

Catholics, especially young Catholics, whose opinions and attitudes don’t align with the tenets of the faith they claim to profess aren’t necessarily dissenting from or rebelling against what they’ve been taught; they simply haven’t been taught what the Church teaches. And what they do know about Church teaching has been filtered down to them through the media, traditionally no friend of Church teachings.

This might go a ways toward explaining the conundrum of Irish Catholics voting overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage on the Emerald Isle. On May 22 a full 1.2 million voters, out of a total of 1.93 million voters, cast their ballots in favor of amending the Irish constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry. According to the National Catholic Reporter (June 5), “More people voted in the marriage referendum than in any previous referendum in the history of the Irish state.” This in a nation where eighty-four percent of the population self-identifies as Catholic, and where forty-one percent of the population attends weekly Mass.

The campaign captured the interest of young voters, thousands of whom registered to vote for the first time in order to ensure the legalization of same-sex marriage. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin described the outcome as a “reality check” for the Irish Church. “It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people,” he said, “then the Church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general.”

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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2015

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Regarding the approval of same sex marriage in Ireland, this is what happens when the Shepherds are all moral cowards or worse. Where one Irish Bishop says Catholics should "reflect" on their vote, another says "I will not tell Catholics how to vote" and a third says "Catholics can vote yes in good conscience".

Through its meekness and inaction to boldly Speak Out and to also fiercely but peacefully resist, the Irish Catholic Church has no one but itself to blame for this same sex moral travesty. The Church failed to rally its forces in the name of God as it should have. Irish Bishops did not immediately speak out from the pulpits with one voice, and continue to speak out unceasingly - week after week after week. Irish Bishops did not organize and personally lead ongoing pro traditional marriage marches throughout Ireland and especially at the foot of the Irish government in Dublin. And worse of all, these weak Irish Bishops abdicated their sacred duty to protect their flocks by consciously choosing to be silent on the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage and homosexuality and the moral consequences. Every one of these Bishops should have been sending the same message to their flocks. That same sex marriage is a grave sin, why it is a grave sin, and why no Catholic can vote for same sex marriage and remain a Catholic in good standing. And yet they didn't.

Perhaps the reason is that the Irish Church is suffering from the same moral malaise as the rest of the Church in the West. A diabolically induced disorientation where sin becomes blurred, watered down, and minimized. Where the consequences of sin, especially everlasting hell, are downplayed and avoided. Where feelings of universal lovingness for everyone and everything becomes the new moral code. Where the Old Testament, the New Testament, and 2000 years of Church history are replaced with a new anything goes utopian theology based on the infinite loving forgiveness of Jesus.

That under the banner of this new moral order, everyone, both the good and the bad, the just and unjust, Catholic and non Catholic will through God's infinite love of man, be forgiven of their sins and allowed everlasting entry into heaven. Even if the bad and unjust never repent of their transgressions while living.

That the Church's prime directive of converting the world and saving souls should be replaced with one that is more compatible and acceptable to the rest of the secular and religious world. One that is justified on the morally false assumption that in these modern times the Catholic Church needs to accept that it is just one among many. That the Church is not special and unique. That the Church is not the One True Religion. That the Church is not the only Certain pathway to heaven. That the prime focus of the Church should be coexistence, equality, congeniality, and mutual respect instead of conversion.

The Catholic Church has blurred and homogenized its uniquely Catholic teachings and beliefs so as to be little different from other religions or benevolent institutions. The result is that the Catholic Church has made itself irrelevant and sadly it doesn't even know it, or perhaps in its current state of diabolical disorientation it doesn't even care. That it actually believes that this is what God wants. To throw down its weapons and make peace with the world. As a Catholic it is embarrassing to see how spiritually weak today's Church has become.

If you want to know why the Church in the West is withering away, this is it!
Posted by: dagbat1
July 31, 2015 04:50 PM EDT
Timothy Cardinal Dolan has admitted twice, on national media, that our bishops haven't taught Humanae Vitae for decades. They had "laryngitis" (WSJ 033112), especially after the scandals, he said.

He later boasted that "rare are the times" in his [then] 37 years as a priest that he'd preached on contraception, abortion, and homosexuality (Meet the Press, 120113].

When the bishops met in Dallas in June 2002, over half of them had covered up for abusers. Had they all quit and let law enforcement take over, we would be much better off. But they didn't, so now Bishop Conlon, their prelate in charge of "Child Protection," tells the laity that it's up to us, because the bishops' credibility is "shredded."

Our bishops and priests need to be urged to get over their laryngitis and their fear. It's the age of the laity, so that's our job. But only they can do theirs - as LBJ would put it, "they're the only bishops we've got."

Pope Francis is the only pope we've got. Well, look at the bright side: he knows that we're at war with the devil, and Satan has his mask off.
Posted by:
August 25, 2015 12:10 PM EDT
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