Sunday, May 16, 2010

It is always disturbing to come across things like this when surfing the web. It really makes me sad when people talk about Catholic faith as if it's some sort of ultra-liberal form of non-religious spirituality, like Episcopalians but with even less theological foundation, diametrically opposed to the bishops and to everything that came before 1962. St. Vincent DePaul? Sure he fed the hungry and clothed the naked but he should have agitated for legalized abortion too. Dorothy Day? Perhaps she would have had more of an impact on poverty if she had demanded that the bishops allow puppet masses. I've never understood this mentality that Catholicism began at Vatican II and everything that happened before that is irrelevant and needs to be overcome in order to create the Church that we need. Liberals ascribe all sorts of motivations to Popes John XXIII and Paul VI in their intentions for Vatican II. It's as if they wanted to completely remake the doctrine of the Church, which is puzzling because the Council did not produce any new doctrine and obviously didn't seek to eliminate any old doctrine. There is a disconnect among some, a sort of amnesia that leads people to believe that the Church is supposed to be a completely different entity post-Vatican II as compared to what it was pre-Vatican II.

The thing that I was most reminded of here was the statement of the Dixie Chicks in 2003 where they said that they were ashamed to be Americans because of our President. Obviously being a citizen of a country is not as easy to change as being a member of a religious group (unless of course you can afford to emigrate and gain citizenship elsewhere), and therefore ideological agreement is not as essential in a nation as is doctrinal agreement in a dogmatic religious group, but the sentiment was the same. Many liberals, this one included, seem almost ashamed of their Catholicism and are always offering apologies as if their religious beliefs are an offense that they must atone for. Far too many Catholics on the liberal side find it necessary to say "I'm a Catholic, but not that kind of Catholic," which is no way for a faith community to operate.

I am not saying that liberals should be rounded up and thrown out of the Church, after all Jesus did not exclude people, but what we must remember is that Jesus required repentance just as much as he offered forgiveness. We are not supposed to remake the Church in our own image, but are rather remade by the Spirit to be what God desires us to be. Liberals want the Church to support abortion and gay marriage because these are the things that the world supports, and they hate the Church just as the world does because the Church does not conform to the world but rather seeks to have the world conform to her. There are not two Catholic Churches, one populated by well-meaning nuns and laity in groups like Call to Action and the other made up of sinister priests and bishops who click their tongues while the world burns. There is one Church, comprising both the faithful laity and the clergy entrusted to protect them spiritually. I suppose that it is possible to call yourself a Catholic while condemning the bishops who are our spiritual foundation, although it is also possible for me to wonder why such a person would remain Catholic in the first place. If you are ashamed of your religion, regarding it as a source of distress, then perhaps it's time to find a religion that you feel good about. Those in the world have always looked upon the Church, the hierarchy as well as those working on the front lines of social justice, with distrust and revulsion because we don't act as they do and don't hold the same things valuable that they do. We should be proud of our Church for the many good works it does and work to correct the ways in which we do not mirror Christ, but we must also remember that our concern for the weak and voiceless on issues like abortion and euthanasia is not a source of embarrassment but rather a cause for celebration. Some people seem to have forgotten this, I pray that in time they may remember.

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