Dissent and the Prospective Convert


#1

I have been studying the Catholic Church for some time now, as many of you know. I had even entered the RCIA program, back in September. However, due to a heavy training schedule (I’m in the Army), I missed many classes. I had also been looking into Eastern Orthodoxy at the same time. As such, I determined that, even if the priest was able to work out some way for me to enter the Church, despite my numerous missed classes, I simply was not ready.

I ended up in a sort of spiritual stalemate for a while. I knew I could not remain Protestant, but I was simply unable to make a decision between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. However, while I was traveling home on leave and back, I finished reading Stephen K. Ray’s book Crossing the Tiber, most particularly the section at the end which gave significant testimony to the Church’s teachings on Baptism and the Eucharist. I had believed it for some time, but the traditional Christian position on these issues was reinforced, and I knew I belonged in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. To continue to remain outside it due to indecision was something I could not do.

A choice still has to be made, however, and this is where I am today. I feel the draw of the Catholic Church, in a way that goes beyond the intellectual strength of its arguments. Without spending paragraphs (or pages) on all my thoughts and comparisons, I’ll simply say this: I feel that I ought to be Catholic.

However, there is an obstacle of sorts, and while it is not sufficient to keep me away, it is still troubling. The issue is the apparently widespread dissent within the Church. Whether the dissenters are agitating for gay marriage, abortion rights, more “permissive” rules on sexual behavior, female priests, etc. or saying that the Novus Ordo Mass is invalid and the recent popes have no authority, their activities are very distressing for a prospective convert. I am particularly concerned by the fact that the Church, at least in America, seems to be doing very little about this. By contrast, I do not hear about such things in the Orthodox Church, though perhaps they just do not get as much press coverage.

The Catholicism presented on Catholic Answers, EWTN, and the books by converts such as Scott Hahn, Steve Ray, and others is very attractive. However, I am concerned that the Catholicism in the real world is something very different. As I start looking at other Catholic perspectives beyond the orthodox center, I am reminded of the old stereotypes of my Protestant youth. Namely that Catholics live exactly like non-Christians and then just go to Confession (or not, as the case may be).

I guess I fear being disillusioned. I know that even if 99% of those in the Church were openly dissenting, that this would not be a reason to stay away. And I applaud the latest efforts by Catholic Answers to answer the dissenters, as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s guidelines for bringing the liturgy back in line. I’m just a bit concerned by the state of the Church.

Does anyone have any advice for me on this? Any idea why the Orthodox Church seems to have been spared this flood of dissent, while the Catholic Church has not?

Finally, I ask for and would deeply appreciate your prayers.

God bless!


#2

I guess I can only offer these two things:

(1) Dissent, in-fighting, out-fighting, polemics, and schism is nothing new. Ask Athanasius!

(2) When you live your life as a Catholic, it really doesn’t matter what everyone else is going-- just do YOUR thing. There are plenty of good, honest people trying to live a good, faithful Catholic life. I think places like CAF are good, but they give a distorted view of the world. For all the talk of “clown masses” and “liturgical dancers” … I’ve never seen any.

Just do your best to be the best Christian you can every day (and hopefully the best Catholic you can be). Be the salt of the earth and the light set on the hill… and everything else will just sort itself out.

p.s. I became pretty good friends with a Greek Orthodox man-- we had considered dating, but decided that since neither of us would budge from our respective faiths… there was no point. Anyhoo… he gave me a pretty good glimpse inside the Orthodox church-- and there’s just as much BS within their churches. Especially the current dissent between Divine Liturgy in English (new generation and converts can’t speak Greek) versus Greek. Old ways vs new ways, clergy shortage… and he didn’t exactly live a holy lifestyle-- more like Church on Sunday and secular world Mon - Sat.

It’s the same everywhere Iambic. It’s called Original Sin.


#3

The remedy is to read history. I’d start with The Faith of the Early Fathers, by William Jurgens.

You will see that, as Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Catholic Church is the same today as She has always been - we still have Peter, and we still have Judas. Always have had, and always will have. Things are actually not as bad today as they have been at some points in history. It has been worse - much worse - and by God’s grace and protection, we came through those times intact.

Just keep repeating to yourself, “It’s a hospital for sinners …” :wink:

And when you get to First Confession, remember, “He’s heard it all before.”

Welcome to the journey. :slight_smile:


#4

For the same reason why certain elements in the mainstream media, Hollywood, morning radio talk shows, etc. reserve their most vicious hatred as shown in the form of insults, marginalization, slanted reporting, etc. against the Catholic Church over and above the many Protestant denominations … Because the Roman Catholic Church stands as the Christian bastion of Truth in the world, and will not budge on matters of faith or morals such as “gay marriage, abortion rights, more “permissive” rules on sexual behavior, female priests, etc.”

Religious ideologies which do not ascribe to the full truth are not seen as such a threat, and so are tolerated in varying degrees depending on how close to the Truth they are.

The devil is the father of lies and seeks to destroy unity, therefore, the most vicious attacks come against the Catholic Church.

Dissent within the Church is a cross which both loyal cradle Catholics as well as enthusiastic converts and reverts bear.

Will be happy to pray for you as you request,

~~ the phoenix


#5

Because Orthodoxy is such a small minority in America the only people who will be members are going to be pretty devout (just like there’s few dissenting Jehovah’s Witnesses). But, if you go to a country where Orthodoxy is mainstream, it’s similar in it’s dissent. The liturgy attendance rates and abortion rates in places like Greece (which is 98% Orthodox) or Russia shows that things are not hunky dory. I live in a place that happens to have an unusually high Orthodox population and most are Orthodox because they are of Greek heritage but they are just like a cultural Catholics. They also have their “traditionalists” who decry ecumenical activities and modernism.

Likewise, hardcore dissenters remain and stay vocal in the Catholic Church because she is the city on a hill that cannot be hid. It’s sad to say, but a great many people have never heard of the Orthodox Church. The Catholic Church is a force to be reckoned with in the world and there are many people who would love to use her authority for their agenda.

This is not new for the Church. St. Basil sounds like he could be talking today:

“The doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced grievous wolves hurrying the flock of Christ. Houses of prayer have none to assemble in them; desert places are full of lamenting crowds. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived.”

As Pope John Paul I said:

'Placing our hand in that of Christ, leaning on him, we have now been lifted up to steer that ship which is the Church; it is safe and secure, though in the midst of storms, because the comforting, dominant presence of the Son of God is with it. According to the words of St Augustine, an image dear to the ancient Fathers of the Church, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by his Vicar: “Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It carries the disciples and it receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea but without it, one would immediately perish” (Sermon 75,3; PL 38,475). Only in the Church is salvation: without it one perishes!"


#6

Dear Iambic Pen,

God bless you! I surely understand your misgivings. Having entered the Church 6 years ago (praise God!), I can assure you that your instincts about dissenting Catholics is correct. You WILL encounter them everywhere. But here’s the most important question:

Why are you considering union with the Catholic Church? I suspect it is because you have come to the conclusion that the Church’s claims for itself are true.

The people within the Church are a mixed bag of sinners, scoundrels and fools (me too!). And that does not change the one and only Truth. This is Christ’s Church, and He is calling you to it. So, go forth, and do what He has called you to do. Quit worrying about what might happen. It’s possible that He is calling you to be the guide to the Truth of a misinformed, ill-prepared member of His Church.

Just say it. “Jesus, I trust in You. Your will be done!” Blessings to you and yours!


#7

Hi,
you’re in my prayers.

Remember that everything comes back to, and comes out of, prayer. If we’re not setting aside time daily to give to God in prayer, things just start to overwhelm us - we lose sight of Christ.

The story is told of Mother Teresa saying,
“I pray for an hour a day, except when I’m really busy.
Then I pray for two hours.”

and “My secret is simple. I pray.”

I’m sure you know this already! But I thought I’d just mention it - was it CS Lewis who said that we humans don’t so much need to be taught as to be reminded? So that’s just a little reminder.

As far as living the Catholic way of life in spite of the Catholics around us who aren’t living it like they could, that simply comes down to, for me, a choice. I’ve made my decision to follow Christ, and to be a Catholic, and there’s no going back. This is the only way I can live that makes any sense, so it must be possible to live this way - and not to simply survive, struggling along, gritting my teeth, but to live life to the full!

So even though my heart often sinks at some of the things I hear Catholics say, and some of the things I see Catholics do, I know that those things don’t alter the truth.

And yes, it’s tiring to encounter “dissenters” all over the place. It’s tiring to be constantly asking oneself, “Should I speak up and gently correct that statement or is this one of the times to let it go?” It’s hard work to keep studying and learning so that one can be sure one has the facts when it is a time to speak up and share the truth with other Catholics. It’s hard work growing in virtue so that uneducated or ill-informed brethren can see in us an example of Christ, and be drawn to that, and then to his truth. It’s dispiriting to see Church leaders not do what it seems like any right-thinking person would say they should do. It is tough sometimes to be joyful, and peaceful, and charitable.

But it’s worth it!

I remember when I returned to Christ and to the Church after some time away, I was so discouraged. Even though I knew I was home, that I was forgiven and healed and safe again, I found it hard to deal with the sort of things you’re dealing with, among others. But as time went on, I was able to focus less on those, even to laugh about them (if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?), definitely to simply offer them up in trust to Christ, and just get on with trying to live my own life.

I came to realise more and more that I was in no place to comment on the way anyone else lived their faith (I mean in general terms - we all have to discern when and how we do actually comment on others’ actions or words when it is essential that we do: this is difficult and delicate of course!) and needed to look to myself first.

This is certainly a time of great hope in the Church, of great excitement. In spite of people (from both “ends of the spectrum”) violently trying to make the Church in their own image, the Church just is. God continues to work, and work powerfully and excitingly. Little me, in my insignificant life, still has access to the great mysteries of salvation, to great measures of God’s grace, despite the turmoil around me - in the Church and in the world - and in me.

Anyway, hope that helps.
God bless.


#8

Rather than give you a lot of reasons why you should be Catholic, let me just give you this thought: There is a reason why you feel drawn to the Catholic faith. Rather than focus on the obstacles to faith (and remember, our Lord said that their would be stumbling blocks), focus on this call, and try to be open to the call of the Lord.

There is a reason for everything. Don’t delay, you may be the one reaching out to the next convert soon.


#9

More succintly, look for those Catholics around you who are living an authentic life and spend time with them. Feel free to simply walk away from those that aren’t, if you find their company discouraging. (There will be a time, down the track, when you might find them easier to be around, and will be able to speak truth to them.) Find some sort of ministry (prison visiting, soup kitchen, youth work, teaching etc) that you can be involved in - you may already be doing this - with other Catholics because you’ll be encouraged by the work and by them.


#10

Your questions really strike a chord with me. I’ve struggled with them at certain times in my life - to the point of having considered leaving the Catholic Church. I totally understand what you mean when you give the hypothetical of 99% of the Catholic population openly dissenting from the official teachings of the Church. You are right that it shouldn’t present a problem intellectually. But psychologically it can, even though I think we would both agree that this probably isn’t the actual percentage - sometimes it seems that way. Here was the answer for me.

All are welcome in the Catholic Church. Everyone. Even the dissenters. With all of their limitations and foibles and sinfulness. But here was the real eye-opener for me. I have fit a similar profile. I have at certain times in my life proclaimed things that are four-square against the teaching of the Church. And this became the question for me: at what point does the Church shut itself off from a group or person that dissents openly from it’s teachings? Jesus came to call sinners, and the Church is the visible extension of Him. I think you would find a church that judges too quickly against the sinner far more offensive, because if you are like me, you would be one of the judged. The Orthodox, although they face the same problem, do not face the same kind of publicity that the Catholic Church always will.

By virtue of the sheer numbers of Catholics, the political power of the Catholic Church, and it’s claim to authority it will always be held to a higher degree of scrutiny and publicity than the Orthodox Churches. I’m sure if you look hard enough you will find that the Orthodox have similar problems. And why wouldn’t they? They too are calling the sinners within their ranks to repent.

Your final request is the easiest to respond to of all. Of course I will pray for you.:slight_smile:


#11

Fr. Groeschel once said, “Any sociologist will tell you that if you take a cross-section of 1.3 Billion people on one end you will find very holy people like Mother Theresa and on the other end don’t be surprised if you find Dracula.”


#12

Thank you all for the very encouraging replies! They have been very helpful.

One of the problems, I think, is that I come from an Evangelical Protestant background, where solid teaching on morality was common. I was also heavily involved with the group Campus Crusade for Christ while I was in college, where this trend continued. To give one example, my pastors or the speakers at Campus Crusade would not hesitate to speak against pre-marital sex. By contrast, just yesterday, I read an article at a Catholic website (run by the Paulists), in which the writer tries to justify pre-marital sex in a committed relationship, as well as criticizing the Church for it’s uncompromising stand. I mention this because this article was the “last straw,” I suppose, which inspired me to start this thread.

Perhaps I am wrong, but based on what many have said, it seems that there is an unwillingness on the part of many priests to address moral issues such as these, out of fear of alienating many of their parishioners. So, since they don’t want those practicing pre-marital sex to leave, they don’t preach against it. And the same policy applies to homosexual behavior, pro-abortion stances, the use of contraception, and a number of other issues. The idea seems to be, “Well, it’s better that these people are in church; if we preach against their sins, they’ll leave, and then we won’t be able to help them at all.”

So, the dissenters remain in the Church, and they influence those around them. And, while I think the desire by the Church leadership not to lose these people is admirable, I think the Church as a whole is suffering for it.

Among many Protestants, if a group of people disagree strongly with their church, they’ll probably just leave and start a new one. They don’t remain within their old church and cause trouble (well, sometimes they do…). Catholic dissenters, on the other hand, seem to stay in the Church, even if they hold views completely contrary to the Church’s teachings. I guess being Catholic is just part of their cultural identity.

As an Evangelical, I often looked with pity (and, to my shame, a bit of self-righteousness) at the main-line Protestant churches, due to their acceptance of so many worldly values. In my Evangelical circle, I did not encounter many people who had ideas like this (openly, at least). In the Catholic Church, “those people” may very well make up the majority.

So, all of this can be frustrating. Still, I know there is hope, and I know the dissenters will not win in the end. Thanks again for your prayers and replies!

God bless!


#13

My friend in Christ,

If the priest say something contrary to Catholic teachings on morality he is wrong. Just get your Catechism of the Catholic Church and it condemns pre-marital sex.

You ought to be careful of dissenter priest as well for they are not obedient to the Church. Priest should be obedient to the bishops and the teaching authority of the Church, if they don’t they should be excommunicated for their heretical views.


#14

I think there may be a difference between Evangelical Protestantism, and the traditional Protestant confessions, Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Of course, my own experience with religions other than Catholicism is very limited, so please take my musings as conjecture.

It seems to me that something like Evangelical Protestantism is something you commit to individually. Which is not to say that traditional Protestantism, Catholicism and Orthodoxy aren’t, it just seems that it’s more likely that you have a highly motivated, self-selecting group which become evangelicals. Plus, I’ll bet it’s awful hard to stay evangelical if you disagree with them.

With traditional Protestantism, Catholicism and Orthodoxy, you tend to have largely cultural perpetuation of the faith. That is to say, people are born into it.

The result of this is the opposite of the evangelical effect. Instead of a small, self-selecting, highly motivated group, you have a broad group with many varying levels of commitment. Tell me if you think this is accurate as regards evangelicals, as say, versus, Lutherans, Catholics and Orthodox.

This results in different things. For the evangelicals it would tend to be to attract motivated members and to repulse lukewarm members. Think about it-- if you are a young teen who was born to evangelical parents, and you disagree with the no premartial sex thing, then how likely are you to want to stick around and listen to sermons telling you otherwise? Because of the Protestant view on the, ‘true church’ there is no reason to stay in that particular church-- so I’d bet it’s easier for someone dissatisfied or not as ‘fired up’ to shift out of Evangelical Protestantism. Like you were saying about not seeing such dissent, ‘openly’-- consider that under this aspect.

By contrast, the traditional Protestant faiths, Catholicism and Orthodoxy tend to be more cultural. Usually your whole family is part of this faith, and its something which is somewhat reflexively ingrained. As a result the very large grouping of people are in wildly varying stages of spiritual life. There are those who are very committed (i.e., the old ladies with their rosaries), those who believe and make requirements, but only that, those who go just out of rote, those who make it just for big events, those who only get first communion, etc… and never come back.

Obviously, this is painting with a very broad brush.

But, I would say this-- the cultural types aren’t such a bad thing. Our Church is truly Catholic-- we have the sinners and the saints, and because we have the sinners, we should try that much harder to witness to them. At the same time, the reasons why some priests don’t preach hard against premarital sex could be for any reason-- some out of cowardice, perhaps-- but we must also recognize the need for prudence. There are situations where it is best to say some things and where it is best not to.

As a related side note-- what the cultural types need is re-evangelization. Now, what cradle Catholics that don’t really believe need, is not first to be preached at about premarital sex, imo, but to be preached about Jesus-- they need to rediscover Jesus! Quite honestly, people already know that Catholics think premarital sex is wrong. It’s a question of living it, and you know as well as I do the electrifying effect that belief in Christ has on a person. I’m more concerned about our priests preaching Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ crucified… if you have Jesus everything else follows. Granted, these issues need to be preached, but they must be preached prudently.

Since we embrace large groups, of course we’re going to have problems with dissent and such. Quite honestly, it’s been a huge uphill battle the whole time. We idealize things, but that’s just reality. We’re fallen. It’s always tempting to see the grass as greener on the other side, but I doubt it is so. I think it likely that the Orthodox have many of the problems that we have-- not out of any defect of Orthodoxy, just out of human nature.

So, I really think it comes down to re-evangelization. I don’t know what else to say. Take the little task God has given you and persevere in it. In your own way, help to light the fire of the Holy Spirit to re-ignite the faithful. And don’t forget to pray that your flame doesn’t go out either! Best of luck on you decision, I’ll pray for you.

-Rob


#15

Granted, if a priest is teaching that pre-marital sex in a commited relationship is ok, then that priest is wrong. BUT… I think there are deeper reasons for priests not to hammer on specific moral failings in their homilies. Catholic morality is not a single issue type of thing.

While the things you mention are very important, Catholic moral teaching does not begin at your navel and end at your knees. Every aspect of your life is touched upon in Catholic moral teaching. From how you treat the homeless man on the corner, to whether you hold a grudge, to what type of car you drive, to how you earn your living. It’s all part of morality. Every aspect of your life, every decision you make, is either in keeping with the Church’s moral teaching or against it. Being pro-life means much more than just being anti-abortion. Being chaste means much more than staying away from illicit sex.

If you listen to Pope Benedict for any length of time, or read much of what he has written, you keep hearing him refer to the “intrinsic value and dignity of each human person.” For Pope Benedict, as best as I can tell, that “intrinsic value and dignity of each human person” is at the core of his moral philosophy. If we embrace this intrinsic dignity of every person that vision will illuminate our way of seeing others. That new way of seeing others, and ourselves, will lead us to make the right moral choices.

You will be hard pressed to find a Catholic that doesn’t know the Church’s stance on pre-marital sex, or any of the other issues you mentioned. It’s not knowing what the Church teaches that influences behavior. It’s knowing why the Church teaches what it teaches, and embracing the dignity in others that changes us.

When I was a Baptist teenager I would often hear sermons about not having pre-marital sex. My response was, “why not?” The answer I would get was, “because it’s a sin.” I have to tell you that that type of preaching had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. In one ear and out the other.

Now, as a Catholic adult, I understand why certian behavior is a sin. I understand how that behavior seperates me from God. I understand now that morality is not just about keeping your pants zipped, but rather about how we respect the dignity of each other. Embracing that respect for others doesn’t force me to make moral choices, it makes me want to make moral choices.

I think priests are not being weak when they don’t specificly rail against the behaviors you mentioned. I think they are trying to lead us into a deeper understanding. “Don’t have illicit sex,” tends to go in one ear and out the other. “Resepct the dignity of yourself and all those created in the image and likeness of God,” changes how you see yourself and others, and makes you want to make the correct moral choice. I don’t cheat on my wife. But that’s not because I heard a homily on how I’ll go to hell if I do. I don’t cheat on my wife because I respect her dignity, my dignity, our children’s diginity, and the dignity of the entire Body of Christ.

So my respect for the dignity of all leads me not only to keep my pants up at the office, it influences every aspect of my behavior towards everyone I encounter. The principles go much deeper, and have much more impact on my life than just, “don’t have illicit sex.”

What was Jesus’s response to those who chastised him for eating and drinking with sinners? The Church is not just here for the holy people. It’s here for the rest of us too.

Well, that’s the thing. Catholics don’t feel free to just up and leave the Church. As Peter said in John 6:68, “Master, to whom shall we go?” There is no other Jesus. There is no other Church. And, remember, no one is compelled by law to go to Mass. No cops are going to come to someone’s house and drag them to Church. If someone is sitting beside you in the pew they are there looking for something. Pray that they find it. Pray that they will be open to the Holy Spirit.

God bless you, Iambic. I wish you the best on your journey.


#16

At one time, I had a similar experience as to what The Iambic Pen is describing. It did not keep me out of the Church, but it did leave me wandering in the dessert for quite some time. It did seem that the “Church on Paper” differed significantly from the “Church in Real Life.”

There was a body of teaching out there, but I hardly remember hearing it on the pulpit or even in classes that I attended. One the one hand, I figured that, if our priests or other parish leaders were allowing for it, then it must be okay. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I knew that I was in the Church that Christ founded, and I wasn’t going anywhere. Still, I was jealous of what the evangelicals had. They seemed to get more sound teaching, more praise and worship of God, better music, etc.

On top of that, it seemed that there were some teachings that no one believed. They were undeniably there, but it seemed like it was coming from a distance place (the Vatican) and never reached the ears of the common people. I heard an explanation of why that was. It sounded good, but for some reason that I couldn’t put my finger on, I wasn’t satisfied with it. I knew that something wasn’t going the way it should.

Fortunately, God led me where I needed to be. This may sound like a joke, but I really learned a lot on the Internet through groups of people who were out there trying to explain the Church’s teaching. It was still years before I encountered people who believed even the hard moral teachings, but I did find them. Not only that, much to my surprise, I found out that they were happy.

I was able to shed the view of Pope John Paul II that the mainstream media often presents. I was able to see the Church’s teachings as a good thing, not matter how hard they may seem. Finally, I am at the stage where I am beginning to learn what it means to trust in God in these areas of my life. I had and still have a long road ahead, but the joy that I have come to desire and find has been unbelievable.

I suspect that there are others out there who have had the same problem. They would gladly be set on fire with the faith, but they have been formed by those who weren’t able to do so. It may be that the people doing the formation also had bad teachers, or it may be their own hardness of hard. The sin of pride causes many to hold on to hurts that they long should have let go. I have seen those people. Almost all of them seem to be walking around disaffected at least to some degree. Things don’t have to be that way.

Others, like the young lady who wrote the article you linked to, are in an especially sad situation. She has seen, though on a different level, that which I have seen, and seems to think that it is just the way things are. She is letting her experience be the gauge of what is supposed to happen, and she seems completely unaware that it doesn’t have to be that way. Working with the people she’s working with, and being in the environment she is in isn’t helping her either. The class she mentions in her article sounds like nothing more than a “values clarification” class.

I hope that you will not let the dissenters keep you out of the Church. The Church needs people who know, love, and live the faith. I know I needed those people.


#17

Once again, I thank everyone for their responses!

I know one cannot simply focus on sexual immorality and ignore all other sins. I think I picked that specific issue because of the article I read. So, no, I don’t think every homily should be a “hellfire and damnation” sermon against pre-marital sex. It does concern me, though, that this particular sin appears to be so prevalent among Catholics, and so little challenged. To be fair, though, it’s probably just as common among Protestants, though perhaps a little less so among the truly committed Evangelicals.

I think many Catholics do need to be re-introduced to Christ, and I believe this is more important than addressing any specific sins in their lives. However, these sins still need to be addressed somewhere, sometime. Are priests concerned primarily with keeping people in the Church, where they have access to the Sacraments, and then hoping their parishioners’ ignorance about their sins will save them on the Day of Judgment? It seems to me that while preaching against someone’s sin may chase them away for a time, in the end they’ll be better for it.

At any rate, the dissenters are not going to keep me away from the Church. I just can’t help but think that the truly loving thing is not for the Church to sidestep their sin in order to avoid a breakup of sorts, but rather to gently yet firmly lead them back to the right path. I don’t want to sound hypocritical. I certainly have my own sins and temptations. And when I sin, I hope the Church will be there to correct me and lead me to repentance. I don’t want the Church to turn a blind eye, out of fear of driving me away.

God bless!


#18

Hey IP!

Do ya really think, (after all you have been through) that the Holy Spirit would ever let you slide like that? C’mon brother… If he won’t do that for me then you can bet your last pair of unholey socks that he won’t do that with you either.

People are weird. I came to this conclusion not just from observing others, but from observing my own idiocy from time to time and the realizing that we are all about the same. Concupiscence is the 50 cent word that the church uses for it, but most of us just sum it up by recognizing that we are all flawed human beings. I’m often full of praise that God even bothers with us at all. We are so incredibly stupid and willful. To me it’s probably the greatest mystery of the Christian faith.

Dissent? We can call it what it really is, can’t we? Sin, and the unwillingness to let go of it. Things haven’t changed much… you see the same thing is many of the New Testaments epistles don’t you? Y’know what I find kinda cool? That in my Catholic Church, there is room for us sinners, even when we stumble and fall. I think someone posted above that a great many n-C churches sort of give the impression that once you are “saved” if you stumble or fall, you don’t belong there with them. I’m sure there are such folks in Catholic Churches too, and it’s pretty much a reflection of our whole American society today. Is it righteous? I don’t think so.

Priests and clergy who scandalize others by their public dissent from the moral teachings of the Church are a problem because of that scandal. When we see it we need to do whatever we can to get it corrected and pray, pray, pray, (and then pray some more!) for them and all those they mess up. The Holy Spirit is faithful to help us and we have been blessed with good and holy popes who don’t play when it comes to being pastoral in their communication to the rest of us.

Understand something crucial. We (each of us individually) are the revival in the Catholic Church and we are growing every moment of every day by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. This is part of what we are called to, and there is a place for each of us in the process of building up the Body of Christ. That is part of the reason that so many of us have had such a hard time in the journey home and even afterwards. We are the new front-line troops and all this craziness that you are seeing is actually the spiritual warfare going on around us. I think most of us know what to do…

Remember guys, it’s Christ’s Church and He hasn’t failed her so far.:knight1:

Hurry home my friend. I’m waiting on the bank of the Tiber with a big warm towel a :coffee: and a life ring if you happen get into trouble on the swim. :slight_smile:


#19

Dear brother Iambic Pen

You have been on my mind since way back when from the Eastern Christianity forum. I praise God you have made a decision to come into the Church.

I greatly appreciate how you have discerned the correctness of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist and Baptism in your study of Catholicism and Orthodoxy. It was not until I came into the Eastern Christianity forum myself that I noticed, because of the efforts of the Eastern Orthodox on that forum ironically, how different Traditional Christianity’s (i.e., Catholicism and Oriental Orthodoxy) understanding of those two Sacraments differs from the Eastern Orthodox understanding.

Traditional Christianity views, in line with Scripture, Baptism as a union with the death of Christ on the Cross, a remission of sins, and a rebirth into a new life/family, whereas Eastern Orthodoxy downplays or completely neglects the first of these three aspects. Again, concerning the Eucharist, Traditional Christianity views it as the re-presentation of Christ on the Cross FOR our sins as well as union with God, whereas Eastern Orthodoxy only views it a Sacrifice for the purpose of union with God. I thank God that you have decided, no doubt through much heart-felt searching, to accept the way of Traditional Christianity.

To answer your question, I believe many priests offer their instruction in the confessional. That is certainly my experience. I agree that many Catholics need more education in their faith.

Abundant Blessings, and a hearty welcome to the Family!

Marduk


#20

What you see (rightly) as a negative is also ironically a positive. That is, the fact that the Church continues to teach the faith in the face of all this dissent should cause you to wonder at how this is possible. How is it that the Magisterium of the Church does not give in to the dissent? If the Church were a purely human endeavor, it would surely have caved in to the pressure by now (witness all of the mainstream Protestant denominations for concrete examples). Thus this fortitude in the face of dissent is evidence that the Church is not purely a human endeavor.

And of course there’s the fact that if you join the Church you can become a part of Her re-purification. The next few decades can be as exciting a time for orthodox Catholics as the 60s and 70s were for dissenting and “spirit of Vatican II” Catholics. You in or you out? :wink:


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