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Catholics today could see the birth of a new model of Church

The shedding of institutional structures and the diminishing number of priests could, in fact, be liberating

By on Monday, 10 December 2012

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council could not have foreseen how the Church would change (Photo: CNS)

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council could not have foreseen how the Church would change (Photo: CNS)

It is 50 years since the Vatican Council began, and everyone, it seems, has had something to say on the anniversary; what strikes me, rather belatedly, reading the documents again, just how the world has changed since 1962, in a way that the Council Fathers could not possibly have foreseen.

Let me count the ways.

First, back in 1962, the Catholic Church spoke, more or less, with one voice. Something like a papal encyclical, or, on a local level, a bishop’s pastoral letter, enjoyed a clear and open field, relatively free from competition. There simply was not then the vast unregulated river of comment that streams forth day and night from the internet, 24-hour television, and the press. Today, a papal encyclical still packs a considerable punch, but thousands of people, indeed millions, can now publish their opinions on religious matters, who could not in the past. This profusion of voces populi resembles the sort of anarchy that all those who wish to control freedom of expression must dread.

Now, of course, it has to be said that much of this commentary is of no enduring value, but some of it is. When the history of these times comes to be written, some of these voices will be heard still, and future generations will see early 21st-century Catholicism as pluralistic, not monolithic: a cacophony of discordant voices, not a choir all singing from the same hymn sheet. This is not the Church that the Council Fathers foresaw, or the documents of the Council presuppose.

Second, the Council Fathers imagined a dialogue with the world which now no longer seems possible. Once upon a time, Catholics could engage in discussions at official level with polite Marxists from the Eastern Bloc. That bloc no longer exists; indeed, most blocs have crumbled. While the Church may still want dialogue, there seem now to be few worthy partners. Few organised bodies seem interested in reasoned debate. Take the question of gay marriage and the farcical consultation on the same subject. The British Government itself has rejected dialogue with the Church, as Bishop Joseph Devine has pointed out.

As with David Cameron, so with Richard Dawkins, and so Bin Laden’s minions. I am not for a moment saying that all these people belong in the same category, but they all share one thing – they are not interested in talking to the Catholic Church.

Third, the tone of the Council documents, and their emphasis on a knowledge of the Bible, seen, for example, in the introduction of the new lectionary, indicate an expectation that there would be a new flowering of study and learning. Sadly, for reasons largely beyond the Church’s control, the 50 years since the Council have seen a return to the Dark Ages in education. Dumbing down across the board, most clearly evident in the abandonment of the classics in schools, has largely cut theology off from its sources. The decline, too, of a book culture has led to the Bible becoming less accessible to many. What was once the shared patrimony of humanity – the stories of the Bible – has now become the preserve of those who dwell in a cultural ghetto. This collapse in educational standards is something everyone should lament, but few do, preferring to deny that it has happened. Catholicism needs a high culture in which to flourish, and that high culture, in Europe at least, is withering. The Vatican Council was, in some senses, the last hurrah of a high culture that seemed healthy, but was in fact to be dealt its death blow in 1968. Vatican II was supposed to usher in a new age of Biblical knowledge. Instead, the Bible is now less known than it was 50 years ago.

This may sound pessimistic, and in a way it is. The Vatican II Fathers probably, if they thought of the future at all, thought of the Church continuing much as before. In the last 50 years, this has been the unspoken assumption – that the Catholic Church would continue, along the same model as it has since the reign of Blessed Pius IX. But this looks increasingly unlikely. It is more than possible – indeed it seems more or less certain – that the Church of the future is not going to be like the Church of the past. It is going to have to do without the huge number of priests and religious that it once considered normal; it is going to have to do without the institutional structures. But this shedding of an old skin, which may well be deeply painful, could in fact be liberating. We could be on the brink, at last, of seeing the birth of a new model of Church, one that the Council Fathers hoped for, but the exact form of which would have surprised them considerably.

  • aearon43

    Perhaps. It could also have been due to other factors. A few that come to mind are: the general upheaval in culture, whether music (serialism and atonalism) or art (abstraction and conceptualism). The rise of television and popular media. The reactions against the Vietnam War in the US and the remnants of Empire in the UK. The civil rights movement and feminism. The drug culture. The Cold War and Communist infiltration of Western society. The decline of manufacturing and meaningful work. The decline of the traditional family due to contraception. The rise of “scientific” management principles and automated computation. The dispersal of locally grounded communities due to the automobile and airplane. Etc.

    You’ll recall that “post hoc ergo propter hoc” is a fallacious form of reasoning. The world is a complex place, and the 20th c. a very complex century. It does strike me as a bit odd that Catholics would blame the infallible teaching of the Magisterium, rather than many, MANY other factors that could also be at work.

  • Jeannine

    A “…cacophony of discordant voices…” have always existed in the Catholic Church. Years leading up to & including Vatican 2 were no different. There were cardinals in good standing who had doubts about this council from the beginning & then didn’t like the direction it was taking. Wasn’t Marcel Lefebvre one of them? 
    Much dialog & cooperation taking place locally & internationally. I see local Catholic Churches working side-by-side with other churches to shelter, feed & clothe the poor. I am surprised that the pope is able to swap friendly letters with Ahmadinejad. What this exchange has done for world peace, only God knows. That aside, the Vatican has good relations with many countries & other religions. It is very relevant in many parts of the world. We just don’t here about it from the secular press.

    Let’s face it, God is ultimately responsible for the number of priests. We, humans always want more; but; God knows the number that will keep His Church flourishing according to His will. This preceived lack of priests may be God’s way to encourage the laity to take a more active & non-sacramental role.

    The Catholic Church has been preaching about subsidiarity since the beginning. It’s very much related to the Beatitudes. It’s now time for everyone to take a personal & responsible interest in his/her neighbor & local community. Catholic organizations, such as the American Catholic Charities, that are managed locally by each diocese will be forced to forego government money & rely totally on the people’s sincere goodness of heart.——-I believe that is the kind of charity Jesus had in mind when preaching the Beatitudes. And it works. Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA relies only on donations & volunteering; no government money is accepted.  See:

    I also believe this smaller, new model will be liberating & more relevant for the Catholic people. It also implies there will be less practicing Catholics in the future, which sadden me greatly.

  • savvy

    This is true, but there is frankly nothing new about our age. It’s a reversion back to Ancient greece and the roman empire.

  • Ghengis

     In past centuries priests were some of the most educated members of society along with the nobility which gave them status and respect. Few people want to be priests today because its no longer a position of status and respect. Priests can have more status and respect through better education and more control of their parishes. Finally, make celibacy for non-religious order priests optional as was done in the Catholic Church until the 9th century and is done with the Orthodox. Status, respect, & support will increase the appeal of the priesthood.

  • Sweetjae

    Well said, specially the logical fallacy of “post hoc ergo…” that SSPX and other ultraTrads have fallen into.

  • Sweetjae

    For your question, my answer is NO. Most of the time I do agree with Benedict, in very few instances where he attacks the Pope,CCC and the Council of V2 then I have the duty to defend my Church either coming from the Left or Right, doesn’t matter to me.

    By the way, did you ever hear of freedom of speech? Its not stalking or threatening and nothing illegal, maybe in UK? I heard people who disagree and preach against gay-marriage is liable to lawsuit?

  • Sweetjae

    They will do more harm IF and IF they do not submit to Christ’s ordained Authority first! No disobedience in the House of the Lord!

  • Sweetjae

    Though I agree with your concern but there is nothing forbidden by Christ, the Scripture nor Tradition that say the people of God can’t do some leadership and pastoral roles within the Church. As long as they are obedient to the Teachings of the Church and not usurp the role and authority of their Bishops and priests, i don’t see any contradiction here.

    In fact the SSPX is actually doing more harm to the Body of Christ.

  • Sweetjae

    I hope you refer to the *real* catholic traditionalists like FSSP, Christ the King, St. Cure d’ars, Papa Stronsay Monastery etc. I love those guys.

  • Sweetjae

    Truth never changes, it is true from the old and to the present, it is absolute not subjective otherwise it’s not the TRUTH and thus tossed to and fro by the winds of men’s creative deception. Our understanding and reasoning must be subservient to it and we catholics believed the Truth and the Life is no other than Jesus Christ Himself.

  • Sweetjae

    Nice. I’m more in favor of less but quality priests than many but less faithful priests.

  • Sweetjae

    Don’t look for some “truths” from somebody for they are temporal and uncertain, look only at the Man called Jesus Christ, the Truth and Life itself, attested and proven by miracles and the power of love working through countless inspiring and admirable people through the centuries.

  • Jon Brownridge

     “But human understanding changes with time in many different sorts of complex and inter-related ways.”

    Yes it certainly does, but the average Catholic clings to childish beliefs and concepts. The late Archbishop Burke of Halifax, Nova Scotia lamented that the average Catholic never gets beyond the thinking of a 10-year old child when it comes to their religious Faith. That is primarily because they are terrified of thinking for themselves.

  • Jon Brownridge

     But what you believe to be true may in fact be false. The knower and the believer share the same sentential state and where they differ is in the veracity of the object of belief. If you surrender your understanding and reasoning, as you suggest, then you will never know one way or the other whether you are in possession of the truth. This is why reasoned dialectic about religious concepts is absolutely essential.

  • teigitur

    Oh dear, a sense of humour by-pass!

  • Tony

    At this time it is much easier to see what is going away than to discern the shape of what is to come.
    It is very important to recognise the reality of our situation rather than pretend, as so many do, that it is not happening. We need a combination of realism, honesty and Faith.

  • Kevin

    “Sadly, for reasons largely beyond the Church’s control, the 50 years since the Council have seen a return to the Dark Ages in education”

    The Church had, and still has, its own schools. Before Vatican II it had standard texts for religious instruction on which pupils could expect to be examined. As for Latin, the Church dropped that from its own Roman rite, to the point where the reintroduction of the word “consubstantial” is causing convulsions in some quarters. One cannot blame “the world” for the state of the Church’s own schools.

    I cannot see how the “remodelling” of the Church can be discussed as something that is both under control and at the service of Christ. For one thing, the break with tradition that this entails should prompt a re-evaluation of whether the four marks of the Church are satisfied in a particular parish or archdiocese or religious order.

  • Alan

    You’re right of course, but my point was that the STRUCTURE of the Church has always changed and always will, not least because of modes of communication which were inconceivable even 100 years ago, let alone 2000.  The parish system wasn’t there from the beginning, and may not exist in 100 years.  There were times when going on Crusades was considered a perfectly respectable thing to do, but now (and indeed in the first millennium) it would be looked on with horror.  The power of the Papacy has changed enormously.  It is this kind of thing that I mean in saying that the Church at any time would be largely unrecognisable from that of 500 years earlier or later.  I’m not, of course, talking about basic truths or teachings, that’s something quite different.

  • Lazarus

    Yes, very much. There is of course the difficulty that, compared to the Catholic Church, the task of understanding the arguments of non-Catholics is open ended. But within those limits, I do my best. Any of my failings in this area are in any case not from a willingness to learn and engage.

  • scary goat

     I’m not sure I fancy the idea of priests who are drawn to the priesthood by the “status” it will offer them.  That has seriously got to be the wrong reason.

  • scary goat

     Hmmm…..”purging herself of excesses”?  I can see the need to be practical as Lazarus said….if we don’t have the resources/manpower etc it’s wasteful to be raising money for dry rot. And I also agree ( in principle) on quality rather than quantity when it comes to priests.  But what concerns me is all the ordinary people who will get left behind.  I don’t think the Church is meant for a “professional elite” who have the education and money to be able to cope with distant regional super churches.  What about the uneducated, the poor, the elderly, sick, disabled, those who have no transport?  How will they have access to the Sacraments?  Isn’t the parish offering the Sacraments the centre of the community, like ripples on a pond?  I do not know what the answer is.  I know it’s no good bleating on about parish closures if we don’t have the priests to man the parishes.  I’m just not quite sure how this can be seen as a good thing. “liberating” or “purging the excesses”.  Sure, we have to live in the real world, and we have to manage with what we’ve got, but I struggle to see it as a good thing.  Personally I could manage with a super church.  I am not old or sick, I have a car, my children are not tiny….but I know a lot of people who could not manage without a local parish.  And then there are the knock on effects….if people lose their access to the Church, where are the next generation of vocations going to come from? The only answer I can come up with is pray, pray and pray some more. 

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     ” Finally, make celibacy for non-religious order priests optional as was
    done in the Catholic Church until the 9th century and is done with the
    Orthodox. Status, respect, & support will increase the appeal of the

    ” Finally, make celibacy for non-religious order priests optional

    THE TRUE CHURCH  of the LORD has to take its lessons from the PRIMITIVE CHURCH ABOUT BEING CELIBATE AND CHASTE, and not from historically deranged and derailed groups.

    THE TWELVE APOSTLES are the models and examples.

    FOLLOWING JESUS listening to and accepting his invitation to follow him is not a profession to get “status, respect and support” but it means “denying oneself, taking up the Cross together with Jesus and living a life like his with the help of his Holy Spirit, just like the twelve Apostles and  many more  like them who came later like St.paul, the seventy two whom THE LORD promoted to Apostleship and others.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    SOME PEOPLE say, “The old is good, hold on to it.” as a consequence THE CHURCH is “falling away like rust”. BUT JESUS SAID, “The wise man brings out from his storehouse old as well as new”, THE TRUE CHURCH is faithful to what JESUS THE LORD said.

  • paulpriest

     Yes I do – Just as I believe ‘lay ministry’ has been the largest cause of dissension and alienation and lapsation by the shanghaiing of the mass by the select few at the cost of the many….

    The major causes of lapsation are despondency, disaffection, disinterest, dissociation and disenfranchisement…
    The main message delivered to them by acts of commission and omission were that they weren’t wanted, they didn’t belong, they weren’t important and that Catholic teachings, praxis, identity and traditions no longer mattered…

    In other words…
    …that they didn’t matter!!!

    How do we solve the problem?

    Well for a start we reclaim Catholic identity – and frankly a decent bit of publicity might not help by our hierarchy speaking out on every issue which affects the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – at present their silence [save from Davies & Egan] is deafening…

    Catholic Newspapers, Journals and Authors might stop their auto-erotic navel-gazing fixations with the Tudors, Pugin & Newman and Arcadian Bridesheadianism…

    Catholic Quangos/Charities/Conference bodies might actually start exacting the soroporal and spiritual works of mercy rather than trendy zeitgeist polticisng over ‘sustainability’ and ‘the common good’ and ‘the big society’ and ‘sociocultural meme factors’…

    Apologetics should mean exactly that – we can only evangelise by militant guerrilla defence, advocacy and promotion of the Faith – and that includes doctrinal, moral and social teachings and praxis….the LAST thing we need is a deafeningly silent Catholic Communications Network [about as useful as a pair of chocolate hair-straighteners]
    …and Catholic Voices?
    They’re atheistic secularism’s best weapon!!!

    Canon Law commands – yes COMMANDS – that every cleric must continue in their academic study – it also states that every Bishop should have gained or attain a doctorate [this country has ONE doctor out of all its Bishops]…
    We have to face the fact that priestly training is deplorable and we desperately need to start retraining them – and I’m not merely referring to refresher courses on a bi-annual booze up with the Bishop – I mean REAL training in the sacraments, in doctrine, in moral teaching, in pastoral ministry….and none moreso than for Anglican converts who were speed-ordained while remaining resolutely anglican in outlook, belief and praxis [being the resident of a parish which was nigh-on massacred by a convert cleric]

    As for Vocations and clerical shortages well what do we expect when we have dioceses which simply DO NOT WANT Catholic schools and have spent the last two generations doing everything in their power to destroy, dismantle and sell them off – a religious education system which creates 94% teen lapsation is NO ACCIDENT…
    Need I mention the reprehensible Vichyist CES?
    The hundreds of millions wasted on Yoof ministry isolating adolescents at a time when they most needed to feel they belonged within a community and needed to integrate within it?
    …and what about the wilful thwarting of vocations by a Lay-centric Conference and Heretical Lay Vocations-scrutiny committees which refused any candidate permission to go forward unless they advocated everything the Tablet wants the Church to change – changes to teaching on abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality, women priests, the throwing out of Catholic dogma to be replaced with relativist syncretist protestantised pseudo-Buddhism…Out go the articles of the Creed and in come Tina Beattie and Bobby Micken’s shopping lists….

    India has so many priests that many of them don’t actually perform their ministry – they have jobs teaching or even in industry and private business – because they’re waiting for a slot as a curate!!!???
    A Farcical scenario when the average dutch priest has fifty parishes and has to give podcasts rather than say Sunday mass…
    Meanwhile the religious orders dwell in towers of ivory doing bugger all except reading each others books and travelling the world telling everyone how great each other is…
    A ludicrous situation when thousands of square miles of England is manned by a few dozen priests in their sixties and over 60% are mission churches…where most of Central England is a desolation and Catholicism is not merely dying out – within fifteen years most of it will be gone!!!

    UNLESS something is done now…
    Now all the good things about ‘consolidation’ can be done on a local parish level if there is the interest and the fervour and the initiative…the Parish rooms and presbyteries could become veritable hives of activity and formulate an integral social network…

    …but the majority of the fault lies with the Priest – the poorly trained lonely, isolated, disillusioned Priest who spends at least four days a week behind a locked presbytery door hiding from his flock and getting more and more trapped in their feelings of futility and purposelessness…

    We need top-down initiatives NOW
    Bishops who will actually get off their backsides and do something rather than spend their time in the office or on committees or travelling dishing out confirmations and making ‘official visits’ as if they’re royalty rather than an apostle…rather than the fullness of priesthood…

    ….but the BIG thing we need to change is to make a parishioner reclaim a little bit of pride and dignity in their Catholic traditions, heritage and identity.

    St Francis de Sales said it is never enough to love someone – that someone needs to know they are loved…The Church in this country stopped doing that.
    It’s spent decades telling them that their identity, their traditions, their cultural and social inheritance was not important….
    That they weren’t important, that they didn’t belong and they were akin to strangers…

    So strangers they became…
    They didn’t leave…
    It was a systemic rout…they were for all intents and purposes kicked out!

    It’s our fault, it’s our problem, and we need to do something about it now…

    Last month at a joint-deanery meeting I expressed the same sentiments with my Bishop who responded:
    “Why are you being so negative?”
    “I think you came here with a hidden agenda”
    “You might say that – but all these people [appealing to a crowd of smug, self-congratulating geriatric group-hugging sheep who declared there was no problem] disagree with you”

    There is a way out of this:
    We start sailing the the Bargue of Peter in this country – or we sink due to the weight of indifference and downright indolence, the barnacles of clerical infdifferentism and lay antagonism and a hierarchy and quangocracy that are breaking bloody great holes in the bottom and sides ‘ in order to get more light and air on the issues’

    Reclaim the Sacraments
    Become authentically Pro-Life and scream that witness from the rooftops
    Reclaim Catholic identity
    Start evangelising through apologetics…take the intellectual battle to the enemy and draw in all the lost and searching…
    Ring out the message to those Catholics who feel abandoned and unwanted that they are not strangers and we want them to come home…and make the sacraments and the welcome and the sincere authenticity something worth coming home to.

    We could of course also start talking about God – rather than Newman or Waugh or Eamonn Duffy’s latest…but that might be a little too much to ask.


  • paulpriest

     The Church – the Mystical Body of Christ – consists of Human Souls which we are presently neglecting and abandoning to the wolves…

    You want to give the new stuff to the elitists bourgeois middle-class

     professional laity who all want to prance around the sancturay , attend every committee and notc

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     “This will be all the more tragic given that another Religion which, for
    all its faults, does not lack guts and courage (combined, unfortunately,
    with ruthlessness and cruelty) will most certainly not stand
    despondently by blathering platitudes – and that is Islam. Islam will
    fight, and very probably literally, …

    Swallowing up of THE BIG CHRISTIAN CHURCHES by any other group is coming from GOD AS A PUNISHMENT  for not obeying and following JESUS THE LORD THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT.


    THE CHURCH OF THE LORD IS NOT A WORLDLY INSTITUTION; The fall and death of the institution and its humanly built up structures will not bring to end THE CHURCH OF THE LORD. in fact in many parts of the world excepting the WEST the number of APOSTLES are growing. APOSTLESHIP IS THE KEY FOR THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH. THIS REQUIRES AUTHENTICALLY CHRIST INSPIRED AND INVITED MEN AND WOMEN WILLING TO RISK THEIR OWN LIVES AND EVERYTHING THEY HAVE.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     “… then the Church is finished.”

    THE RUST falling away is good.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     “The late Archbishop Burke of Halifax, Nova Scotia lamented that the
    average Catholic never gets beyond the thinking of a 10-year old child
    when it comes to their religious Faith. That is primarily because they
    are terrified of thinking for themselves.”

    Did not JESUS THE LORD say, “Why not judge for yourself, when the sky is red you say…..When the wind blows from… say…

    NOT TAKING UP responsibility for one’s own life means what? ONE’S LIFE IS GONE WASTE.

    TRANSFERING THE RESPONSIBILTY of one’s own life to an authority figure in everything is just an escapism and self-deception and the authority figure itself could be ungodly.

  • paulpriest

     I don’t know how good your greek is but…

  • Sweetjae

    I got you, same concerns here, but remember, Jesus Christ just started with 12 sinful and fragile human beings. Miracles happen all the time, so i dont worry much about the number of vocations or priests, God is the Great Mathematician, either He will send good faithful priests from other nations or inspire the young but we have to have patience because most of time God works within and through human means, meaning from the free acts of goodwill by His children to support one another.

    Remember what the Blessed JPII said, suffering exist in whatever form because it’s the truest way to expressed unconditional love. (meaning a chance to make a difference with the time given to us).

  • Jonathan West

    In that case, I suggest you reconsider your earlier statement

    “Dawkins on the ground it is simply ‘unscientific’ and thus not worth grappling with in detail; Bin Laden because it is unIslamic; Cameron -well, I have absolutely no idea what goes on in his head other than the desire for short term electoral advantage coupled with a complete inability to achieve it.”

    Ask yourself whether that truly reflects a desire to understand and engage with the other point of view.

  • Stephen

    Amen!  I participate in daily Mass and I increasingly struggle against my gag reflex during the homily–it’s painful each night knowing that I will suffer through yet another meaningless, sugar-coated sermon on “love” the following day.  I’ve yet to hear a RC Priest teach their flock about the treasury of RC devotions & graces, communion of saints, sin, death, judgment, purgatory, hell, indulgences, holiness, reparation for sin, interceding for the Holy Souls, prayer/fasting/spiritual warfare etc.  And forget quiet communion with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament before or after Mass–how can you pray when you find yourself amid a loud and obnoxious social party (the priests are loudest) in Church each day?! 

  • Stephen

    Wow!  Just when I was beginning think every Catholic in the UK was comatose I come across a post like this.  There is a Church Militant in the UK with some fight in it after all.  Thanks be to God!

  • Stephen

    It’s impossible to organize when “Catholics” do not share common ground.  Our priests, parishioners, and families are completely fragmented.  You talk to this Priest over here and he doesn’t believe in Hell or Purgatory and you talk to that Priest over there and he believes the Latin Mass is “barbaric” and that traditional Catholicism is “antiquated nonsense.”  And don’t forget the Priest standing next to you who is extremely embarrassed by Adoration/Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Saints/BVM and ridicules them any chance he gets.  If you talk to your fellow parishioners, you learn it gets far worse as many have embraced New Age practices, secularism, materialism, liberalism etc. (i.e. one parishioner was overheard saying “Jesus is as present in the trees and rivers etc. as He is present in the Blessed Sacrament so spending time in nature is just as valid as Adoration & Mass”).  Moreover, suggest family prayer and Mass to your siblings and parents and you will get laughed, yawned, or yelled out of the room.  Most of our family members have fallen into heresy or apostasy.  Catholic beliefs, morals, values and principles are very unpopular–completely “out of fashion.” 

  • Sweetjae

    Hey Jon, yes you might be right that one believed as true may in fact be false, so we humans are lost forever in this cycle of uncertainty, right? Sorry to say but this Supreme Being, who loved us by the obvious reason created life and the whole universe for our keep thus highly logical He didn’t leave us guessing of the Truth or of His Truth. This is the real scenario here, you only have one answer from the three (3) choices, the fourth one is non-essential because He left no room for that, here they are:

    That Jesus Christ is either:

    1. A pathological liar
    2. A lunatic
    3. True to His word of what He claimed to be, a loving God.
    4. Just a good philosopher or teacher.

    Now, whatever your choice is, remember this, the Man performed thousands of miracle to back up His claim and to this very day that modern science has no cohesive explanation. (Miracle of Lanciano, Lourdes etc.)

  • Sweetjae

    Agreed then, however, the Crusade is really a noble undertaking, the Holy Land has always been a part of the Catholic East (Byzantine Rite) for hundreds of years until the mohammedans 700 years later started to harrass christian pilgrims from Europe and across the land going to Jerusalem.

    The tragic part, as in all warfare, there had been abuses by Christian soldiers and even to fellow Byzantine christians. Sad.

  • Sweetjae

    You got me.

  • Dorotheus

    If the bishops’ conferences are bureaucratic, what do you call the Curia? At least the bishops are successors of the Apostles: the Curia is the successor to the Roman imperial court – it has no theological or scriptural basis whatever. I very much hope the Church of the future will have to do without this institutional structure, seeing that it operates as a top-heavy dead weight and a law unto itself, even dispensing with the Church’s canon law when it wants to. 

  • Sweetjae

    Moreso, i didnt imply not to use our reasoning to the revealed Truth rather we believe that man has the capacity to comprehend the infallible truth of God by his reason, but his reason does not determine what he will or will not believe as Truth – for Truth is one and unchangeable. In other words, his reason is able to comprehend and analyze that which is revealed by God to him through His living Voice in the Church but does not determine what he will or not believe based on his rational faculties.

  • Sweetjae

    This is self-refuting statement. The Vatican Curia are made of Successors of the Apostles themselves and some are Princes of the Church (Cardinals). God for most of the time works within and through human means and process… the early bishops of the Church convening at the first Council of Jerusalem setting a binding Church law found in the Book of Acts.

  • Sweetjae

    I agree, the position of respect and “status” (holy man of God) will come out as a product of devotion and loyalty to Christ and His Church.

  • Lazarus

    Fair point so far as it goes!

    But I’m not on here just to engage with critics of the Church. I’m on here to exchange views with other Catholics, engage in a little group support (it gets lonely being the only bigoted sky fairy worshipper in the village, you know!), and (not perhaps a terribly worthy aim, I know) to have some fun particularly at the expense of the Brights. I’d also add that it’s pretty clear that many of the non-Catholics posting here aren’t interested in serious engagement either so are really fair game.

    So of course many of my comments (including the above) aren’t aimed at serious and respectful engagement. But that wasn’t what you asked. You asked whether I was interested  ‘in understanding the reasoning behind their position’. And the honest answer to that is yes, and reflecting on my academic background and current intellectual activities (outwith the CH combox) I don’t think that’s an unreasonable claim (although of course you’ll have to take it pretty much on trust).

  • scary goat

     Woooooow….Lanciano.  That’s the one place on this Earth I would most like to go.  Mind boggling.  :)

  • Dorotheus

    So God works through human means and processes when I or someone else says that he does. Some forms and structures – the episcopate – are God-given, others – the curia – are not. No reason why God should not work through the latter, but considering what it is like … ?

  • Fairbanks99

    Come to Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton, Washington, USA. You will hear all those things in the homilies that you are missing in yours, including an excellent schola that chants the propers in Latin. We have had Perpetual Adoration for 30 years, and every Wednesday at 1900 is Holy Hour. The Tridentine Latin Mass is twice monthly.

  • Jon Brownridge

     That’s quite a rant!

  • Jon Brownridge

     When everyone seems to be out of step except you, it’s time to wonder if you are the one out of step.

  • paulpriest

     Hardly a rant…

  • Jonathan West

    But I’m not on here just to engage with critics of the Church. I’m on here to exchange views with other Catholics, engage in a little group support (it gets lonely being the only bigoted sky fairy worshipper in the village, you know!), and (not perhaps a terribly worthy aim, I know) to have some fun particularly at the expense of the Brights.

    So, you change what you say depending on who you are talking to.

    Give that, is there any reason why I shouldn’t think of you as a hypocrite?

  • Jon Brownridge

    Perhaps we will return to our Christian roots and “recover the lost light” – a Christianity where the Christ within each one of us will truly be a light for Mankind. The Catholic Church is well equipped to lead the way as we have the people, the dedication and the funds. But not, I’m afraid, as long as the literalists rule the roost.