Fri 22nd Aug 2014 | Last updated: Thu 21st Aug 2014 at 16:56pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

People are walking away from Catholicism because they do not understand it

If anything, New Atheists only help a faith in decline across Europe

By on Friday, 22 June 2012

Statio Orbis

I had lunch the other day with an influential member of the Anglican communion, who I really ought to see more of. He told me who is going to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, and more importantly, who is not. Then the conversation moved to matters of general concern, chief of which is why are so few people going to church these days, whether that church be Catholic or Anglican. Was it true, for example, that Catholic practice in Ireland was falling sharply?

The truth of the matter is that religious practice is everywhere in retreat, even in Ireland, even in Malta, even in Poland. And why is this? Well, it is nothing to do with anti-Christian campaigners like Richard Dawkins. If anything they help the cause of Christianity by keeping it on the agenda. So, thanks to Professor Dawkins, rather than otherwise, but he cannot really take credit for the decline in Catholic practice, or Anglican practice either.

Are the scandals to do with child abuse, or the other scandals, the ones to do with P2, the Vatican Bank, Roberto Calvi, the Pope’s butler, the supposed murder of John Paul I, are these to blame? Again, I think not. Both of us agreed that the real reason for the falling off was not rejection of the faith but rather ignorance of the faith. People are walking away from Catholicism and Anglicanism not because they reject it, but because they do not understand it.

The ignorance is gross. And this seems to be a widespread phenomenon. Have a look at this posting by an American priest, here. These sentiments are not uncommon, nor are these examples that are cited of gross ignorance of the faith and the practice of the faith isolated ones.

Once upon a time people did know about the faith, and as I have said before, people were able to understand some quite sophisticated concepts, like transubstantiation, purgatory and the communion of saints. But then two things happened: the collapse in educational standards, and the change in approach in catechesis; that these two things happened more or less at the same time spelled disaster for the transmission of the faith.

In some parts of the world the picture is different: Africa, for example, where, as far as I could tell, great care was taken with catechetical materials, and there was good teaching, and, much more importantly, good learning. When I was in Nairobi I quite often used to be asked to do weekends and days of recollection for young people, and frequently they would ask me to speak on things like the resurrection of the body, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and so on – the sort of interests that you associate with the less frequented paths of theology, or with a great interest in knowing all that there is to know about the faith. But I fully accept that people in Nairobi are different to people in the West. They have fewer distractions, are less materialistic and are more interested in metaphysical subjects.

What then must we do? The first thing is surely to look again at the matter of catechesis, and to encourage the catechesis of adults and children alike. In this regard the recent Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and the World Youth Days point the way forward. And we need a national edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Kenya has one. Isn’t it time other countries followed suit?

  • Ian

     I am Racing Certainty! Don’t ask why the Catholic Herald website wouldn’t accept a registered id, because I don’t know.

    I have to disagree. There are facts which are supported by empircal evidence or there aren’t. You appear to be claiming there are ‘other ways of knowing’, ie as in any religion  which uses faith to by pass logic. And, yes, if you want anyone to accept your faith as truth, it has to pass those tests.

    I have friends in Ireland who have left the RC church not because of pederast priests but becasue they reasoned that if there were a God how could He fail to protect children. Furthermore how could the Pope go out of his way to circumvent due process and bring those guilty of vile crimes against children to book. Jugling priests between unsuspecting parishes in order to protect the RCC has made many many people question the very foundations of Christianity itself and to say that people are leaving the RCC because of ignorance is ignoring the ability of people to think and draw their own conclusions. the isssue of pederast preists is just one issue and ‘Yes’ Catholicism (and all other faiths) are just pooey, if I may borrow your terminology.

    Reading the bible from cover to cover and also the Koran is where I started, and it is as good a place as any to get back on the raod to reason :0)

  • Adrian

    Nice in theory  – but here’s the truth. If you keep people powerless and don’t give them a personal relationship with Jesus, it becomes meaningless and depressing. How long can people stand these counterfeits for the life Jesus had in mind for His people through the power of His Spirit?

    CASE CLOSED.

  • theroadmaster

    One of the chief aims of nazism or communism was to eradicate or neuter religion in order to remove potentially the strongest moral opposition to their evil designs.  While these ideologies had a number o elements mixed up through them, e.g nationalistic/, racist ideology,and  pagan symbolism for nazism, statism and class-based theory for communists, a strong dose of atheistic belief was present in both.  In other words, they proclaimed that God was dead, and that all people had to believe in, was the destiny of the state and man made progress in furthering certain ideological aims.   As these two ideologies were responsible for the greatest number of deaths between them in history, your insistence that atheism played no part in starting wars is very disingenuous. 
    It is a myth to state that the world is overpopulated, and one that is promulgated by the population control lobbies.  The truth is that most of the developed nations and many of the developing nations have shown sharp falls in their birth rates, which have fallen below population replacement levels.  It is forecast by experts in the population field, that the global demographics will peak at around 8-10 billion in around 2030 and then fall back.  The world has the technology to feed a population on this scale, if procedures for ecologically- friendly food production and consumption were followed.  People in developing countries need better access to healthcare, food, markets and jobs and not contraceptive devices and pills, which interfere with their dignity and autonomy to raise families according to their social and religious beliefs.

  • JessicaHof

    That’s an excellent reminder; thank you.

  • Adrian

    “And the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

    Why?

    The old male priesthood model was finished when Jesus died and the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. All over, red rover.

    All may now enter the presence of the Holy covered by the blood of the lamb – regardless of gender.

    WE are the temples, containing the Holy one, and we are members of the royal priesthood – again, regardless of gender (Hebrews).

    It is the HOLY SPIRIT who does the work at consecration.

    Anyone can pray and ask the HS to come and change the gifts. Male priest, female priest, male laity, female laity – it doesn’t matter.

    What matters is what the Holy Spirit does. A male or female priest does not have the power to perform that change, and never will.

    We are all (priests and laity alike), impotent in that respect.

    One can of worms, please. Opened. See funny pic.

  • theroadmaster

    Could it be that the promiscuous behavior of millions of men in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions of the world may have something to do with the spread of AIDS in those areas?  Might-self control and faithfulness to one’s party help to arrest it’s influence? I have already cited the evidence of one of world’s leading experts on this virus, who agreed with the words of Pope Benedict XV1, in relation to the ineffectiveness of an over-reliance on condoms on a practical and moral level.  A well-funded education program on the inherent dangers of promiscuous sex in such an environment is both reasonable and necessary.  Do you think that people are so enslaved to their animalistic instincts that they cannot master certain behaviors that are proving to be dangerous to them on a number of levels?   You mention that millions of children are left to struggle or die as orphans.  But what world body that is widely recognized, is continuously on hand to to shelter, feed and clothe them?  You’ve got it, the Catholic Church.

  • theroadmaster

    If one took follow the timeline from the Reformation, through the Enlightenment to today’s post-modernism, one can see the rise of a scientific rationalist approach to defining the world and man’s place in it.  But this has not improved the morality of mankind, as evidenced in the terrible destruction of human lives and societies wrought by 2 world wars in the 20th century.  Man-made constructs like capitalism and socialism, have been found wanting and do not provide any concrete solutions to the eternal questions surrounding the why and wherefore of human life?  You have a very stereotypical narrow-minded opinion of those who profess a religious belief, depicting them as naive, and susceptible to brainwashing.  Were great scientists like Newton, Paschal, Galileo, or Pasteur so naive as to believe in a Creator God, despite their rock-solid scientific credentials?  I don’t think so.  Was George Lemaitre, the Belgian priest- astronomer, who proposed the “Big Bang” theory in relation to the origins of our universe, in the early part of  the 20th century, also so gullible and easy-led?  The more that their research uncovered about the wonders of the world, the more they realized that it was not all down to unguided, blind chance.

  • Alan

    You seem to be one of those people who think “humanism, science, philosophy and the enlightenment” are somehow incompatible with religion (though they are certainly incompatible with “primitive superstition”, something totally different from the Christian faith).  To suggest that we are “brainwashed from birth” is arrogant in the extreme (I became a Catholic at 29).  You have yet to learn to respect the views of those who differ from yourself, but do keep trying.

  • JessicaHof

    Really enjoyed your blog and the argument there. Thank you for such a stout defence.

  • nytor

    I think that’s true. There are very few actual Swedes who are Catholic. In fact there are very few ethnic Swedes who practise anything.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Ian, you’re putting rather a lot of criticisms together without much attempt to think through them. Let me try to help you out.

    1) One element of your critique appears to be based on the existence of evil a) within the Church and b) within the world. It’s rather an odd aspect of New Atheism such as yours that it possesses almost no historical or cultural awareness. Do you think that Catholics have only just noticed that either of these forms of evil exist? The general problem of evil has been well discussed in the philosophical literature: it can hardly be said that the responses are irrational or lacking in intellectual force whatever your final view of them is. The specific issue of child abuse is of course a source of shame for the Church; but to think that it, in some way, raises any new rational objection to the Church is simply foolish: the Church has never claimed that its members, clerical or lay, are without sin. If anyone has suddenly dropped Catholicism because of these issues, it reinforces the point of this article: no well catechized Catholic  would ‘suddenly’ come upon these points as an adult -they are well known issues which they should have been prepared to meet.

    2) You seem to think that Catholicism teaches belief by blind faith rather than reason. Again, this is simply a misunderstanding. As I’ve posted in my last blogpost, it is the teaching of the Church that the existence of God is apprehended by natural reason, and this emphasis on the role of reason is continued throughout, eg, the teachings on natural  law.

    You mention your reading the Bible and the Quran as a way back to reason. The Quran is of course irrelevant to Catholicism. And whilst reading of scripture is of course to be commended, if your difficulties with Catholicism are primarily rational, it is not the best place to start. The Catechism is of course a reliable source for what Catholics actually believe (you seem to have some odd ideas on this) but you should also look at some more philosophical treatment of the key metaphysical issues. I’d recommend Smart and Haldane’s debate ‘Atheism and Theism’ and Ed Feser’s ‘The Last Superstition’ as starting points.

  • Alan

    If the enormous amount of good (charitable works etc.) done by the religious, BECAUSE they are religious, were withdrawn, the welfare state could not begin to cope.  You are simply making up stuff to support your anti-religious prejudices.

  • Adrian

      OOPS should have put the reply here:

    “And the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

    Why?

    The old male priesthood model was finished when Jesus died and the
    veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. All over, red
    rover.

    All may now enter the presence of the Holy covered by the blood of the lamb – regardless of gender.

    WE are the temples, containing the Holy one, and we are members of the royal priesthood – again, regardless of gender (Hebrews).

    It is the HOLY SPIRIT who does the work at consecration.

    Anyone can pray and ask the HS to come and change the gifts. Male
    priest, female priest, male laity, female laity – it doesn’t matter.

    What matters is what the Holy Spirit does. A male or female priest
    does not have the power to perform that change, and never will.

    We are all (priests and laity alike), impotent in that respect.

    One can of worms, please. Opened.

    Adrian

  • Simon Strickland

    I apologise as I have not had time to read all the comments below. I educated three children at expensive Catholic boarding schools (St Mary’s Shaftesbury & Ampleforth) and they both failed to teach the Catholic faith to my children. Both places have dire recruitment problems and I have long put this down to these issues.    

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Thank you!

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    I AM SAYING, PLEASE, YOU ARE A FEE MAN.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    OUR PEOPLE, AT LEAST SOME, ARE BECOMING OPEN TO THE WORD OF CHRIST  THE LORD AND SO THERE IS CERTAINLY HOPE.

    BEYOND A POINT UNDERSTANDING IS ONLY A HINDRANCE.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    QUOTES:

     1.”Priests have been forced to be celibate. Why?”

    ARE YOU AN EX-PRIEST?

    OR A  DISGRUNTLED PRIEST IN HIDING CRAVING FOR SEX AND MARRIAGE? IF THE LATTER IS THE CASE WHY DON’T U JUST LEAVE WHEN  THERE IS  TIME YET AND DO YOUR OWN THING?

    IF YOU ARE HUMBLE AND HONEST THE CHURCH AUTHORITIES MAY EVEN HELP YOU FINANCIALLY TO TAKE TO YOUR RIGHTFUL PLACE.

    IN PRESUMING THAT THE CHURCH HAS FORCED HER PRIESTS TO BE CELIBATES, YOU ARE VERY WRONG, SIR.

    THE CHURCH DOES NOT FORCE ANY BODY TO BECOME CELIBATES OR CELIBATE PRIESTS.

    THE CHURCH HAS MADE A RULE OF CELIBACY FOR HER PRIESTS. IT IS WITHIN HER RIGHT TO DO SO.

    IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE BEST IF THE CHURCH FOLLOWED STRICTLY THE WAY OF CHRIST THE LORD  IN CALLING AND TRAINING HER PRIESTS; IN THIS CASE THEY WOULD HAVE  BEEN ALSO APOSTLES AND NOT MERE PRIESTS.

    JESUS THE LORD CALLED HIS TWELVE TO BE WITH HIM AND TO PROCLAIM HIS WORD AND NOT JUST FOR PERFORMING SOME RITUALS.

    PRIESTS ARE FOUND ALSO IN PAGAN RELIGIONS. WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT IT? MOST OF THEM JUST PERFORM THE RITUALS OF THE DEAD.

    “Other denominations allow married clergy and if anything, this aids them in their work.” 

    LAUGHABLE.

    YOU MEAN IN DOING THIS WAY THEY ARE FOLLOWING CHRIST!

    AND THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO BE A PRIEST OF CHRIST IN HIS CHURCH!

    VERY SAD FOR YOU.

  • karlf

    Thanks. I replied to your blog.

  • C_monsta

    Transubstantiation is just more medieval nonsense along the lines of alchemy

  • C_monsta

    Yes, it’s very medieval. I love the way that the bread and wine doesn’t appear to change at all in the process though – that is really laughable.

  • C_monsta

    Transubstantiation is just more medieval nonsense along the lines of alchemy

  • nytor

    That’s a shame, and in the case of Ampleforth rather surprising. The St. Mary’s houses are terribly chi-chi but also run by the very modernist Congregation of Jesus, so it doesn’t surprise me. However, the people I have met from these schools do have at least a working knowledge of the faith – something which just simply cannot be said for their peers from the state sector.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     MR.LONDONER, SEEMS TO BE A HURT MAN WHO CAN’T OBJECTIVELY APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST THE LORD, BECAUSE  OF ITS SOME FOIBLES DUE TO HUMAN FRAILTY AND SINFULNESS WHICH IS UNIVERSALLY OBSERVED ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE.

    CHURCH OFFICIALS DO NOT MAKE THE CHURCH, THEY ARE ONLY PART OF THE CHURCH. ANY MEMBER OF THE CHURCH CAN BE HIMSELF/HERSELF IF HE/SHE DEPENDS ON THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS. TOO MUCH DEPENDENCE ON THE OFFICIALS AND TAKING THEM FOR THE CHURCH IS THE PROBLEM. AND THEN WHOSE IS THAT PROBLEM?

  • JoshuaFrySpeed

    Blame Vatican II and the so called “Spirit of Vatican II”
    which sent the Church of Rome into a nosedive! The
    so called Springtime has turned into a NUCLEAR
    WINTER.  

  • JoshuaFrySpeed

    “Everything rises or falls with the Liturgy.” Benedict XVI. When the
    Catholic Church changed its Liturgy into a hybrid Protestant-
    Catholic mix, things began to FALL.

  • londoner

    ‘Beyond a point understanding is only a hindrance’ – what a very revealing comment! you are presumably bemoaning the fact that people tend to be more questioning these days and have less reason to trust priests. Of course the Church would prefer its followers to be sheep-like and unquestioning, especially as many of its doctrines are incomprehensible.. no-one has ever explained satisfactorily the ideas of a 3-in-1 deity or transubstantiation, for instance (see the Wikipedia entries for a laugh!). Any awkward questions (why one woman’s prayers for a sick child’s recovery should be answered while another’s are apparently not, for instance). The word ‘faith’ is repeated so often in the Christian churches with the implication that faith is a virtue. No it is not! Where’s the PROOF?

  • londoner

    It seems to me that both the teaching of restraint and the availability of condoms is the answer, since human nature being what it is, there will never be a guarantee of 100% of the population being celibate/faithful! What about the innocent victims of AIDS, who have no choice if they are unlucky enough to have a partner who already is HIV-positive, whether they know it or not?

  • londoner

    Because so many priests have behaved appallingly, you are downplaying their importance. In predominantly Catholic places such as Ireland, priests have enjoyed great respect, trust and status for hundreds of years, until recent revelations. The betrayal of their victims is therefore all the greater and more damaging. They man be ‘human and frail’ but we expect them to behave better than the average man, not worse! If no good example can be expected of the Church’s officials, what is the point of religion? If it does not make people better, it is pointless! I admire Jesus and most of his teachings, although he did not claim to be God (or rather 1/3 of God!) Are you saying we should ignore the Catholic Church and get back to basics by following Jesus’ example? I’m with you there!

  • londoner

    By the way, I am not a man and I am not hurt – just angry at injustice, ignorance and superstition.

  • londoner

    Are you saying ‘we behaved badly but they behaved even worse?’ Does that excuse the millions who died in religious wars and the Inquisition, genocide in South America, those burned at the stake for reading the Bible, not being Catholics and a miriad of other reasons for torture and bloodshed that are part of the Catholic Church’s shameful history? This is an organisation that claims, surely, to set an example and teach people to lead better lives.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    IN THE CHURCH (OBSESSION WITH CATHOLIC VS. PROTESTANT, THIS VS. THAT ETC ARE THE PRIVILEGE OF THOSE WHO HAVE CRUCIFIED CHRIST THE LORD AGAIN AND AGAIN OVER THE PAST CENTURIES; THEY HAVE DIVIDED HIM UP INTO PIECES; IN THIS THESE HAVE GONE BEYOND THE HIGH PRIESTS, CHIEF PRIESTS, PHARISEES, SCRIBES, HERODIANS, ELDERS AND OTHERS OF THE GANG PUT TOGETHER) OF CHRIST THE LORD IN WHICH JESUS HAS GIVEN A SPECIAL OFFICE TO ST. PETER, IT IS NOT PRIESTHOOD THAT NEEDS TO BE STRESSED BUT APOSTLESHIP.

    APOSTLESHIP IS THE BEST GIFT JESUS HAS LEFT FOR ANY OF US : ST. PAUL IS THE MODEL IN THIS FOR ALL.

    WAS HE AMONG THE TWELVE? AND YET HE IS THE BEST KNOWN APOSTLE FOR HIS LOVE, WORK AND SUFFERING FOR THE LORD.

    IF APOSTLESHIP IS CRAVED FOR AND PRAYER FOR AND THEN EXERCISED BY ALL, THEN YOU AND I SHALL SEE THE RESULT!  WE ALL NEED TO PLAY OUR ROLE RESPONSIBLY  IN FOLLOWING THE LORD AND DOING HIS HOLY WILL.

    WE CANNOT BE BYSTANDERS AND MERE OBSERVERS OR MERE CRITICS. WE ALL MUST BECOME APOSTLES LIKE ST. PAUL. THE RESULT WILL BE – NO OTHER RELIGION WILL BE LEFT ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH. THE WHOLE WORLD WOULD BE EVANGELISED, IF WE ARE TO USE CHURCH CHURCH LANGUAGE.

    IT IS NOT WE BUT THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WHO DOES THE WORK WITH OUR CO-OPERATION.

    THERE WOULD BE NO PLACE FOR BISHOPS, ARCHBISHOPS, PRIESTS (A PAGAN REALITY AS WELL!), RELIGIOUS ETC, ETC. SO MANY DIVIDED OFFICES….

    THE “NETAS” TOOK APOSTLESHIP, DIVIDED IT INTO  PRIESTHOOD AND APOSTLESHIP FOR ATTAINING THEIR GOAL, TO DIVIDE AND RULE!

    BY RELATIVISING CHRIST THE LORD AND HIS TEACHINGS THE LEADERS OF (DIFFERENT) CHURCHES HAVE  ATTAINED THEIR HIDDEN URGE TO LIVE A MERE NATURAL LIFE – I THINK OUR POPE HAS REFERRE IN THIS CONTEXT TO “NATURALISM” (WIFED – OFFICIAL OR UNOFFICIAL, CHILDED, FORNICATED, PEDOPHILED LIVES ARE ONLY THE RESULTY OF IT ALL).

    PEDOPHILE CASE IS TOO MUCH EXAGGERATED IN IRELAND AND MAY BE ELSEWHRE ALSO, BECAUSE OF THE ENEMITY THE CHURCH (OFFICIALS) HAVE CREATED AMONG IT’S OWN CHILDREN MAKING THEM ENEMIES. OTHER EVIL FORCES WERE STANDING IN READINESS TO POUNCE ON THE CHURCH AND HERE WAS THE OPPORTUNITY, TAKE IT AND HAVE IT TO THE FULL.

    BUT THEN, OUR POPE HAS DONE WHAT HE COULD. UNLESS ONE FOLLOWED HIS INTERVENTIONS, ONE WENT ON BLINDLY ACCUSING HIM.

  • theroadmaster

    It does not excuse those who used religion as an excuse for awful deeds in the past.  But one has to put those in perspective against the unbelievable hundreds of millions slaughtered by evil nazi or communist regimes.  Christ promised that He would be with His Church until the end of time and would protect it from error through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  But as the Church is made up of human beings, and sin therefore is never far away.  We have to be realistic about that but we must always strive to perfect ourselves in the manner that Jesus wants.  The Church has always reformed Herself and will continue to do so under this present pope.

  • theroadmaster

    As I have demonstrated to you, an expert in the treatment of AIDS, like Edward Green the ex-head of the AIDS program at Harvard university, backed the pope in his assertion that condoms were not a satisfactory solution to the viral epidemic.  People have to be educated in the physical and moral harm that they do to others by their reckless, promiscuous behavior.  Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, that employed policies that emphasized faithfulness to one partner and with less stress on condoms, have experienced the greatest improvement regarding the reduction in  infections
    You bring up the question of partners who have to face the prospect of having relationships with people infected by AIDS.  Indeed this is a very difficult and horrific situation that people find themselves in.  I do not believe that lives are at risk here and an women must be protected from the potential risk of grave illness and death  But this is not to back the use of condoms as a rule as they seem to encourage promiscuity and reckless behavior, and thus are morally objectionable in that regard.

  • theroadmaster

    I must clarify a typo error in the last commentary.  I mean’t ‘I do believe that lives are at risk here and women must be protected from grave illness and death.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    PARTIAL TRUTH IS NOT THE TRUTH NOR THE WHOLE TRUTH.

    ANY INSTITUTION OR INDIVIDUAL HAS  THE RIGHT TO LIFE  AND SELF DEFENCE.

    THE TRUE PROBLEM WAS INSTITUTIONALISATION AND THEREBY BRINGING THE LORD AND THE INHERITANCE FROM HIM UNDER HUMAN CONTROL.

    IN HIS OWN PHYSICAL DAYS THEY TRIED TO “TAKE CHARGE OF HIM” BUT OF COURSE AT THAT TIME IT DID NOT WORK WITH HIM.

    EASY WAY IS NO WAY; CUT OUT GOD-GIVEN HUAMN BODY PARTS; PUT ON A RUBBER TUBE AND DO YOUR THING, SO VERY EASY AND FOR THE MOMENT ONE LOOKS A WINNER, GREAT! DOES’T  THE WHOLE THING DEGRADE PURE HUMANITY? WHEN THE TIME COMES IT REWEALS ITS HOLLOWNESS, UGLINESS AND LACK OF GOOD SENSE.

    IF ONE WENT BY EASY WAYS, THE LORD COULD’T KEEP HIS OWN CROSS AND THERE WOULN’T  BE SALVATION FOR THE WORLD!

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    THE PROBLEM IS THAT INSTEAD PROCLAIMING THE GOODNEWS, THE CHURCH WENT IN AN EXAGGERATED WAY INTO SOCIAL SERVICE.

    JESUS SAYS OF SOMETHING VERY VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM, “THIS IS WHY I HAVE COME, LET US GO TO OTHER VILLAGES ALSO.”, BUT OF COURSE THEY WANTED HIM TO DO SOMETHING ELSE.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     RELIGION HAS BECOME TOO MUCH OF A BUSINESS.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     

    WHEN FAITH THROUGH LOVE TAKES OVER UNDERSTANDING IS SET ASIDE, (IT IS LIKE SELF DENIAL WHICH JESUS THE LORD DEMANDS).

    IT  IS BEING IN THE LORD : “TO BE IN JESUS CHRIST” MEANS WHAT, THEN?

    THOSE WHO DON’T PURIFY THEIR HEARTS AND MEDITATE ON GOD’S WORLD REGULARLY HAVE ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS. THEY ARE LIKE DOGS FOUND IN STREETS CHASING ITS WHAT : TAIL, BOTTOM OR A FLY, GOING IN CIRCLES… AND CIRCLES…!

    THE ONLY DIFFERENCE THAT COUNTS IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DOGS AND CHILDREN.

    ONLY CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO SIT AT THE TABLE OF THE LORD; OTHERS EAT CRUMBS UNDER THE TABLE. WHO OR WHAT ARE THEY?

    GOING BY THE INTELLECT TOO MUCH HAS IT’S PROBLEMS. WHERE DO SUCH PEOPLE END UP? ORGANISED RELIGIONS ARE MANAGED BY SUCH PEOPLE : “NETAS”!

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     

    INSTITUTIONAL VOCATIONS ARE DIFFERENT. THEY ARE NOT APOSTOLIC IN PRACTICE; ARE MOSTLY JUST RITUAL BOUND OR EVEN END UP PERFORMING ONLY THE RITUALS OF THE”DEAD”.

    JESUS SAID ON A VERY IMPORTANT OCCASION, “LET US GO TO OTHER VILLAGES ALSO. I NEED TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS THERE AS WELL. IT IS FOR THIS THAT I CAME (THAT I WAS SENT)….

    THEY TRIED TO IMPOSE THEIR OWN PRACTICAL DOGMA OF DOING GOOD…, DOING MIRACLES,…, GIVINF PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANTED…. ON THE LORD, BUT THE LORD JUST IGNORED THEM AND WENT AHEAD WITH DETERMINATION, WITH HIS OWN WORK AND PLAN IN TUNE WITH HIS FATHERS’ WILL.

    JESUS CALLED THE TWELVE, AND  FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF THE LORD THEY GAVE TOPMOST PRIORITY TO THE PROCLAMATION OF HIS WORD : “IF YOU WANT PLAN DO AMONG YOURSELVES THE WORK OF DISTRIBUTION OF MERE BREAD….AS FOR US….

    HERE DECONS WERE BROUGHT IN TO DO THAT SORT OF WORK.

    AND THEY THE APOSTLES  WENT AHEAD PROCLAIMING TO PEOPLE THE WORD OF CHRIST.

    EVEN THE SEVENTY TWO DISCIPLES DID THE SAME.

    LATER, THE DECON STEPHEN TOO DID THE SAME.

    LOOK AT WHAT JESUS SAID TO THE YOUNG MAN HE CALLED SETTING ASIDE ALL HIS DELAY TACTICS: ” AS FOR YOU, COME, AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD….LEAVE THE DEAD TO BURY THEIR OWN DEAD…..

    THE POINT HERE ALL OVER IS APOSTLESHIP.

    ST.PAUL…….!!!

    THOSE WHO CLAIM TO HAVE INHERITED THE OFFICES OF THE APOSTLES, MUST BE BE APOSTLES THEMSELVES, OTHERWISE…….., GET GONE ONCE AND FOR ALL. LET THE WORLD BE SAVED. OTHERS WILL TAKE OVER FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF ST. PAUL, IF ANY EXAMPLE IS NEEDED.

    IF THE WORLD IS NOT SAVED AND IT IS GOING TO JOIN ANT-GROUPS AND PAGANS, ATHEISTS, MATERIALISTS, AND MERE PLEASURE SEEKERS, CHRISTIANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT, ESPECIALLY THEIR LEADERS WHO ARE NOT APOSTLES THEMSELVES. LIKE POLITICIANS THEY KEEP THE PEOPLE OCCUPIED WITH……..SO THAT MEANWHILE THEY CAN LIVE THE KIND OF LIFE THEY WANT : NATURALISM?

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    QUOTES FOLLOW,

    YOU SAY :

    A.”I admire Jesus and most of his teachings…”

    SOMETHING LIKE THE DISPOSITION MAHATAMA GANDHI  OF INDIA HAD!

    BUT, THEN WE HAVE THE GREATEST OF ALL INDIANS HERE (TO MY LIMITED KNOWLEDGE OF COURSE) : SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :

    HE SAYS:1. “IF YOU WANT SALVATION KEEP CLOSE TO CHRIST”

    2.”THE SOONER YOU STOP WORSHIPING OTHER GODS AND START WORSHIPING CHRIST THE BETTER FOR YOU”.

    3. “IF YOU BELIEVE CHRIST IS ONLY A MAN THEN DO NOT WORSHIP HIM”.

    4. ” CHRIST IS HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER GOD..”

    B.”….although he did not claim to be God (or rather 1/3 of God!”

    YES, OF COURSE JESUS CLAIMED TO BE GOD. AND ALSO SHOWED HIMSELF TO BE GOD.

    TO FIND IT OUT ONE NEEDS TO BE A TRUE SEEKER  OF TRUTH OR GOD AND PRACTISE SPIRITUAL MEDITATION ON GOD’S WORD, ESPECIALLY THE HOLY GOSPELS.

    MANY CHRISTIANS ARE LIKE YOU ONLY. THE RESPONSIBILITY  FOR THIS IS ON THE SHOULDERS OF PRIESTS WHO TAKE UP PRIESTHOOD TO EARN THEIR BREAD AND THE REST…

    C “…..ignore the Catholic Church….”

    NO. NEVER.

    OFFICIALS OR LEADERS ARE NOT THE CHURCH; SOME OF THEM ARE FOOLISH AND ARROGANT ENOUGH TO CLAIM TO BE THE CHURCH.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    BY KNEELING DOWN TO MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS THE SON OF GOD, THE SAVIOR OF MANKIND, WE ARE ONLY RESPECTING AND OBEYING JESUS HIMSELF WHO GAVE HER TO US AS OUR MOTHER.

    TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY TAKES US TO JESUS THE LORD.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     

    YOU ARE ASKING TOO MANY QUESTIONS.
    BUT AT TIMES OR LET US SAY MOSTLY YOU SOUND SINCERE.VERY GOOD.

    ASKING QUESTIONS TO GOD (WHO HAS REVEALED HIMSELF IN JESUS HIS SON)  OR TO THE TRUTH (BOTH ARE  ONE AND THE SAME) OR TO YOURSELF WITH THE HELP OF THE HIGHEST REALITY…. IS THE BEST – THIS REQUIRES THE HUMILITY, HONESTY, OPENNENESS, AND THE PERSISTENCE OF A TRUE SEEKER.

    I HAVE NO DESIRE TO TAKE UPON  MYSELF “GURUDOM”, FOR JESUS THE LORD HIMSELF IS THE ONLY ONE TRUE “GURU”, THE TEACHER OF ETERNAL LIFE.

    ABOUT LEAVING ASIDE UNDERSTANDING IS ALREADY ANSWERED ELSEWHERE HERE.

    QUOTE:

    “you are presumably bemoaning the fact that people tend to be more
    questioning these days and have less reason to trust priests.”

    QUESTIONING IS GOOD. IT CAN BE THE SIGN OF A TRUE SEEKER OF TRUTH.

    GO AND FIND OUT MOTHER MARY QUESTIONED ANGEL GABRIEL.
    A GOOD EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW.

    THE HUSBAND OF ELIZABETH ALSO QUESTIONED BUT GOT PUNISHED FOR IT. THE DIFFERENCE IS EXPLAINED BY THE PRESENCE OR ABSENCE OF DIVINE FAITH IN THE PERSONS CONCERNED.

    JESUS  THE LORD HIMSELF ASKED QUESTIONS. GO TO THE HOLY GOSPELS.

    TRUE SCIENTISTS KEPT ON ASKING QUESTIONS TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH OF THINGS THEY EXPLORED.

    IF I NEVER QUESTIONED IN ACTIONS AND WORDS, I WOULD HAVE REMAINED A  BIG SPIRITUAL IDIOT AND WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PERSECUTED THROUGH AND THROUGH. BUT THEN FOLLOWING JESUS IS THE MOST JOYOUS THING IN THIS PASSING LIFE.

    “ideas of a 3-in-1 deity or transubstantiation, for instance (see the Wikipedia entries for a laugh!).”

    “ideas of a 3-in-1 deity

    IF U CAN TRUST THE WORDS OF JESUS, HERE U GO :

    “HE WHO SEES ME SEES THE FATHER

    “I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE

    “THE FATHER IS IN ME AND I IN THE FATHER

    GO THO THE SCENES OF JESUS’ BAPTISM IN THE JORDAN AND HIS  AND WATCH THE DRAMA THERE, PLUS THE WORDS OF THE FATHER COMING FROM FROM ON HIGH, THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    AND YET ANOTHER SCENE: ON MOUNT TABOR JESUS’ TRANSFORMATION IN FRONT OF PETER, JAMES AND JOHN; WITNESS THE SCENE AND HEAR THE WORDS SPOKEN THERE.

    (AS FOR HIS DIVINITY: HIS CLAIM TO COME ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH ALL THE GLORY OF HIS HEAVENLY FATHER TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD ON THE LAST DAY.)

    FOR TRANSUBSTANTIATION,  I MYSELF HAVE GIVEN MY OWN EXPERIENCE HERE ON THIS VERY WEBSITE  SOMEWHERE AS TO WHAT HAPPENED DURING MY RETREAT AS AN OBSERVER IN THE DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE, MURINGOOR-POTTA, CHALAKUDY, KERALA, INDIA.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     

    FOR OTHER PROBLEMS :  POOVAMFUTURE@YAHOO.COM

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    PLEASE REMEMBER, I MEAN TO BE NOBODY’S TEACHER. JESUS HIMSELF IS ONLY TRUE TEACHER.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     

    PRE VAT. II AND POST VAT. II ???????

    GENERATION GAP?

    WHAT IS YOUR  TRUE AGE? I MEAN NO OFFENSE TO YOUR PERSON, PLEASE.

    WHO  SIAD, ” A WISE MAN BRINGS OUT FROM HIS STOREHOUSE THE NEW AND THE OLD…

    IF ONE IS NOT ENSLAVED TO HUMAN POLITICAL GROUPS LIKE: CONSERVATVE, LIBERAL, MODERN, ANCIENT ETC. EVERYTHING HAS  IT’S OWN VALUE.

    “EVERYTHING WORKS UNTO GOOD TO THOSE WHO……

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    PLEASE REF. : THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA – MAYAVATI MEMORIAL EDITION VOLUME NO. 8, PAGE NO. 190-191: “INCARNATION OR AVATARA”.

    ADVAITA ASHRAM, PUBLICATION DEPARTMENT, 5, DELHI ENTALLY ROAD, KOLKATA – 700 014

    E-MAIL: MAIL@ADVAITAONLINE:disqus

    .COM

  • P Shafton

     You are quite right Daclamat, Jesus did not ask the apostles if they were in a stats of grace, perhaps this was not necessary under the circumstances. There was an instance when He was criticized for allowing His followers to break a Jewish religious rule. His answer in Luke 5:34 – “Can you make the children of the bridegroom fast, whilst the bridegroom is with them?” – could I suppose, be applied to your question, did Jesus ask if his apostles were in a state of grace.

  • P Shafton

    Fascinating stuff Cestius. You have hit the nail on
    the head. But, isn’t it interesting it appears that many of the most,
    enthusiastic Catholic catechists, and evangelists are ex atheists and non-Catholic
    converts. My favorites among them are Tim Staples, Jimmy Akin and Dr Scott
    Hahn. And who can forget St Paul himself?

    It just goes to show that a careful study of the
    Church can uncover its truth and beauty. The dreary and disillusioned Catholics
    of today sure need the new understanding and fervor brought to our faith by
    folk like you; the same way I suppose, our fledgling Church needed the fire of
    St Paul. Keep up the good work.    

  • Mike

    The adjective does not automatically attach to the word “atheist” – it’s a qualifier. Less aggressive atheists doe not engage in attacks and mockery; only the aggressive ones do.