Drowning is rules?

Sometimes it seems to me that we focus so much on the rules of the Chruch that we fail to just live our faith. Does Jesus really care if we hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer? Am I allowed to go to this wedding, that party, this funeral? Cover my head, not cover my head. Am I allowed to watch an R rated movie? Is smoking a sin? The priest must not leave to sanctuary during the homily. There must only be music at the end of the Eucharistic prayer. Tattoos? Vacuuming on Sundays? It’s like we have to ask ourselves, “does the Church allow this?” before we can do anything.

Several years ago I was so frustrated with the “abuses” going on at my church that I could barely pay attention to the Mass. That is not what God wants. I understand many of the rules - no birth control, Mass attendance on Sundays, anything to do with the 10 commandments, following the exact litergy at Mass. I guess it’s the numerous, seemingly minor, rules I question.

see, you’re one of the people that ‘gets it’.
the folks who you describe, they don’t get it.

the reason they don’t understand the bigger picture.
quite simplty…genetics, they don’t understand because they don’t have the brainpower to understand. they’ll never understand, not just religion, but they won’t understand many things about living in society… why its wrong to go 20 miles an hour in the left lane, why it’s wrong to go in the express lane at the supermarket with 30 items.
They think the important things are the small things that are done by fashion, but fail to see their complete lack of Christian charity in addressing the very issues they pretend to seek resolve for.
you can’t teach intelligence, you can only reign in stupidity.

CA gets more than its fair share of these people simply by virtue its an open club on the world wide web. you’re going to find CA represents society as a whole… a few intelligent ones, and a WHOLE lot of dumb ones.

CA isn’t a microcosm of the macrocosm, as they say. it’s a self contained world that often attracts those who wouldn’t have a voice anywhere else in the world, so they vent here.

it boils down to this quote from Thomas Jefferson:
“In matters of morals, stand like a rock. In matters of fashion, flow like the stream.”

Thomas Jefferson aside (you know, he actually ‘rewrote’ his own personal copy of the Bible to get rid of anything which hinted at miracles and things he didn’t care for, just to put him into context), I agree that there are scrupulous people out there in religion (or anywhere) who tend to focus on ‘rules alone’. But they are by far the minority, here and anywhere else.

That being said, I would like to point out (hopefully gently) that it is entirely possible that rather than fire up at your (and others) perceptions and judgments about being ‘too focused on rules’ that you stand back and consider:

Is it possible that there may have been in the not-at-all-distant-past a rather widespread disregard of ‘da rules’ in favor of an emphasis on various other elements of Catholicism, such that, right now, in many places, there are many, many people who really do not know much of their faith at all. For these people, after some 30 or 40 years of hearing only, “God is love” and “trust your feelings”, to ‘suddenly’ hear, for example, “Mass attendence on Sundays and holydays of obligation is a grave matter, and one is not to miss Mass save for serious illness or obligation”, is going to come as a shock. Therefore, they will start to inundate these boards, or their friends, or their parish DRE or priest, with, “I missed Mass because I was just too tired . . . but nobody ever bothered me about this BEFORE”.

Somebody will be sure to reinforce the rule. Another will be sure to rebut with, “How do YOU know his state of mind, only GOD will be the judge.” Another will come back, “we should be going to church because we WANT to, NOT because we HAVE to.” Another will come back with ‘the rule’. And finally, somebody will come on to complain that, with all the evil in the world, today, why are we ‘fighting’ over some LITTLE THING like ‘missing a Mass’ when we SHOULD be focused on ending the war in Iraq or ‘feeding the poor’, etc.

So really, it is not that we are ‘drowning in rules’. Rather, it is that so many have ignored them for so long, at first it will seem overwhelming to actually have them ‘out there’ instead of the laissez-faire Catholicism that many have endured in our 40 years in the wilderness (oops, wrong thread here, LOL).

A wise theologian once said that in any given era, the devil tries to play up that era’s most prevalent ‘virtue’ and make it most like its opposing vice. For example, in an era where bravery was found in the majority of people, the devil works to make bravery seem foolhardy and foolish, and tries to instill in people instead a desire to keep from BEING ‘foolhardy’, such that people actually become cowardly instead. It is a devilish strategy.

In an era where I believe that people are most inclined to be generous, the devil is working hard to foster both greed and miserliness. Thus, the generous nature of most people in the 1960s, which led to civil rights, a call to end war, and great relief efforts which are still going on today, is being countered by the devil with efforts to make us try to be greedy for ourselves (being ‘over generous’) as well as miserly (look at everything we have done for people and how ungrateful they are, charity begins at home, etc.).

Where that ties in (finally!) to the idea of rules is that I also believe that the ‘lessening’ focus on rules was AT FIRST part of this tie-in to the very generous natures of people in the current era. It was felt by the bishops of the U.S. that most people would freely choose to keep on doing things without needing to ‘refer’ to rules, as the rules would be ‘written on our hearts’ instead. Sadly, the devil used this to make people so ‘over generous’ that they decided to ignore rules which ‘hurt people’s feelings’, or to be so angry over the lax behavior that they become focused on ‘rules’ above all.

But we NEED the rules, because few if any of us have the balance to be obedient ‘on our own’ --particularly in a climate where excess (of goods, or of ‘goodness’) is touted as normal, and everybody makes up his or her own rules to suit.

You are right; we do tend to get too much caught up in the little things. Especially now that the Mass is in the vernacular, everyone seems to be deputized as liturgy police.

On these forums, disputes about the filioque or transubstantiation might go on for a few pages, but handholding during the Our Father—that will ensure thousands of posts!

Thanks Steph! You said this very well. I’ve thought it and have tried to write it here before but could not do it without it coming off as rude. Again thanks for this post / thread.

Within the last several months I have seriously considered leaving the Church because I am just sick of all the rules and the self appointed police within the pews. Why place burdens on the backs of the brothers and sisters? Isn’t it hard enough already without all the minutia?

Anyway … thanks.

Wow… in a thread that’s honestly intended to discuss important matters related to Christian liberty and charity, you call people with whom you disagree genetically inferior, lacking in brainpower, stupid and unable to understand simple concepts related to daily living? It’s a wonder any of the people you’ve described are able to feed and clothe themselves, operate an automobile, hold down a job and/or raise children :rolleyes:

I can sympathize with what MooCowSteph wrote in her OP, but this? If you’re going to criticize the charity of others (perhaps legitimately so - debates over the items mentioned in the OP don’t overly concern me), you ought to consider leading by example.

A lot of people in todays world have the same problem, they run from honesty and want things laid sweet. It is in fact, a true wonder that half the people out there continue to hold down jobs and lives in spite of themselves. this is testament to God’s great grace.

I’m not criticizing anyone, i’m stating how people are. i’m not looking for people to whisper sweet happiness into my ear regarding the feigned intelligence of the public at large. And i have no interest in leading by example, i have never changed anyone nor will I. to fight that battle is an exercise in futility. To think you will change anyone from a non-thinking, self absorbed person into a person who ‘gets it’… well, i won’t fight a battle i can’t win.

God can handle the conversions, i’m simply calling the game pitch for pitch.

have you seen the world around you? the evidence for the deficient nature of the average person is all around you. from the bishop in san fran to birth control pills given to middle schoolchildren in maine to the middle east and the problems on the rest of the globe… the evidence is overwhelming that points to humans on the whole as being quite incapable of taking care of their own interests.


You weren’t honest - you were insulting. There’s a big difference. To hint that people are idiots simply because they have an opinion about liturgical matters that differs from yours isn’t merely honest - it’s uncharitable. And thus you’re guilty of committing the very same offense of which you accuse them.

And they believe they’re calling the game pitch by pitch, too. What excuses you for writing things like this, and not them? :confused:

insulting is a subjective term. To some it is an insult, to some it is a revelation.
whats really uncharitable is to let people live in blissful ignorance. they can have a differing opinion on liturgical matters that are under the scope of morals. and they can be completely wrong as well, thats their choice.

i’ve never viewed being honest as being uncharitable. if the people involved would stop acting short of their capabilities, they would no longer fit into the description i’ve carved around their mold. then they’d be on the right side instead of the wrong side.

its not hard.

In matters of morality the Church often doesn’t tell us what to do but gives us guidelines. Those who claim to know everything the Church forbids or allows are really just speaking for themselves, so don’t listen to them. Consult your confessor who is much better trained to listen to you and help you when you find yourself wondering what you should and shouldn’t do.

As to liturgical matters, the same applies. People love to micro-manage everything, it seems. Of course we ought to have a liturgy that focuses on God and does things properly. But I’ve found it best to detach myself from the rubrics, especially when they aren’t being followed, and just put my mind on the reasons I’m at Mass–to worship God, hear his word proclaimed, and to receive the Sacrament of the Altar and the graces of the Sacrament.

Several years ago I was so frustrated with the “abuses” going on at my church that I could barely pay attention to the Mass. That is not what God wants. I understand many of the rules - no birth control, Mass attendance on Sundays, anything to do with the 10 commandments, following the exact litergy at Mass. I guess it’s the numerous, seemingly minor, rules I question.

Just immerse yourself in the love of God and do what you wish–that was St. Augustine’s advice. And it is good advice. If we truly love God and desire above all to do his will we won’t want to do anything to disappoint our Beloved. That is the golden guide I follow (not that I always follow it as I should :blush:). But, if our one aim is to please God we cannot do anything wrong.

see! Della gets it too! :slight_smile:

No, we aren’t drowning in rules, and there is nothing wrong with liking things done properly and reverently–especially when they’re done for God.

Notice how in the Gospels Jesus reminds the Jews that they ought to obey the Pharisees, despite all the minutitaes and taboos of Jewish Law, because the Law was God’s will. Similarly, we ought to follow the rules given us by the Magisterium, for every rule is in place for a reason.

However, placing rules above their object–the reverent worship of God–is a terrible sin.

To sum things up, rules are in place for the greater glory of God, and should be gently corrected not for the sake of following rules, but so that we may grow closer to God.

The situation is like saying the Rosary. Protestants accuse Catholics of meaningless, repititious prayer, which would almost be true of the rosary, were it not for the mysteries. Rules without the intention of greater praise to God is like the Rosary without the mysteries–relatively hollow. When both are combined, however, wonderful things happen.

In other words, since you think you’re right (don’t forget, the side against which you’re arguing thinks so as well, and in fact has referred frequently to official documents like the GIRM to back up what they’ve written), you get to belittle the intelligence of other people?

Right side vs. wrong side? The people of whom you speak are just as confident as you about who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. Perhaps they should be permitted to call into question your genetic and intellectual fitness, as you have theirs.

No, it’s not hard. It’s our Christian duty. Calling people stupid and saying that they lack brainpower because they disagree with you is uncharitable. And we’re called to be charitable.

You’re right - it’s not hard. :shrug:

The two uncharitable posters in question, I believe, have a Traditionalist bent. This seems to be a trademark of the movement.

disagreeing with me isn’t the problem. disagreeing with truth is the problem. i’m just the messenger. don’t aim for me.

I’m afraid I can’t go along with your “stupid” people idea, though. We are all stupid to one extent or another and we are all wise to one extent or another, too. What matters is the truth given in love. I hope that is what I’m doing–at least that’s what I’m trying to do. :slight_smile:

Again - you didn’t simply disagree. Calling people genetically inferior, stupid and lacking in brainpower is quite a bit more than a simple statement of disagreement. It’s somewhat difficult to have any sympathy with your position when you start by judging the intellectual fitness of those with whom you’re disagreeing.

Indeed - you *do *get it :wink:

perhaps i shall agree with you. fine.
we are all on a level playing field. there is no difference in intelligence, the suicide bombers who killed 51 people in Pakistan a few hours ago are just as intelligent as the Pope. Everyone is equal. all people are exactly the same. no one is smarter than anyone else.

no. doesn’t pass the laugh test.

I’m really not stating anything but the obvious. there are some opinions that aren’t as intelligent as others. what is uncharitable about that? some opinions by posters are plain wrong.

Oh good heavens, enough with the drama already. You know we’re talking about liturgical matters and not the relative intelligence of suicide bombers in comparison to Pope Benedict XVI.

People are quite capable of being wrong (or in disagreement) about certain things and still not qualify as stupid, brainless and genetically inferior.

And, you didn’t say their arguments lacked intelligence - you said that the people themselves lack intelligence. There’s a big difference between the two concepts.

Self-righteously asserting the validity and applicability of your insult with respect to this argument doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to speak with Christian charity:

1 Peter 3:15-16 (NAB) - Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.

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