How to improve the Catholic Church in America...
This is just my opinion. Seems everyone else wants to weigh in on the topic and IMO most of them have zippo idea of what it'll take.
Stop trying to turn back the stinking clock to pre Vatican II times. It's a done deal. You can't put toothpaste back in the tube and you can't go back to highly idealized times that exist only in some folks' imagination. There was a real reason Vat II was convened. Want more details? I'll be happy to provide examples from my own experience. Trust me, Vat II was necessary.
Trying to have females in a church wear doilies on their heads won't help.
Banning altar girls won't help.
Doing away with the idea of Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers won't help.
Doing away with "Protestant" style hymns won't have any positive effect.
This is 2011 and not 1960. Get. Over. It.
Want to know what the solution to the majority of our problems would be? Those problems include low Mass attendance, a disregard for the sanctity of the Real Presence, failing to live according to Church teaching, scant numbers of candidates for the seminary.
The solution starts with you and I, Chumley.
First, work with what we have. That starts with the Catechism. Get familiar with it and live according to it. You've no idea what power a positive example has on the casual onlooker. Act as if you're the only copy of that document many folks will encounter. This includes the practice of humility, charity, tolerance and patience.
Second, don't be a self-righteous pain in the ass about things. Just quietly live in a manner that brings notice to your faithfulness. That'd include any awful lot of prayer for all concerned.
Third, get involved with your parish. While doing this remember that just because you're attempting to better things doesn't mean guaranteed success as you understand it or want it. Christ assured us his Church would last until the end of time. That should be good enough in the way of assured success.
Got a priest who isn't in conformance with Church teaching? Remember that his are the consecrated hands that bring Jesus to us in Mass. Anything else is secondary. Complain if necessary to the local chancery but remember that at worst the priest is only temporary. Same goes for the bishop. Even someone like Mahoney out in L.A. has to leave sometime. Offer it up for the suffering souls if nothing else.
Have a hard time with accepting inappropriately clad laity at Mass? Practice some "custody of the eyes", complain to the pastor since it's his problem to deal with and then (most important part here); Let. It. Go.
Don't like the music? If it's so important to be changed then surely you'll be actively engaged with the music ministry. When things don't go your way accept it as your cross to bear.
Shaking hands with others rubs you raw? Better remember you need to learn how to get along with your fellow Catholics in this life. Waiting until the next is waiting too long. Remember that maybe they're not too enthused with shaking your hand either.
Don't like altar girls serving? Then come up with a better solution that you can sell to the pastor. They're not mandatory and if something else that addresses female participation in Mass is offered it might just get used. If he ain't buying what you're selling accept that you're just stuck. Pray for all concerned.
Want to do something about the shortage of priests? Pray.
If all else fails and another parish is close enough then shift your membership. If another parish isn't close enough then offer up your trials/tribulations for the suffering souls.
Life isn't Burger King, we're not supposed to have it "our way". That includes any pet peeves seeming to arise in the last forty-fifty years.
Trust me, being 58 years of age allows me to remember some of the problems we had pre Vat II. It really WASN'T that great a time.
At other times the Church has had problems worse than what's happening now. Being a member of an active F-A-I-T-H-F-U-L laity is the most many of us can achieve.
If that seems unsatisfactory, pray on it.
I am in full agreement, Subvet. The only thing I would say that needs to be changed is the Church's tolerance or lack of shepherding of those causing scandal to the Church. There has been way too much latitude given to pro-abortion Catholic politicians and I believe that has had an awful affect on the laity. I do think the tide is turning now, though.
Teresa you're absolutely right about the acceptance of those causing scandal, particularly politicians. IMO this goes back to JFK saying his religious beliefs wouldn't influence his conduct as Commander-in-Chief. That probably imperiled his soul much greater than any dalliance with Hollywood actresses.
The faithful should have arisen and soundly condemned him for his "go along to get along" platitudes. But a desire for greater acceptance in the common culture muted the voices of too many. As I said, the times prior to Vat II weren't all that great and this mentality was a part of that. It didn't spring fully grown into existence once Vat II ended.
As you mentioned, the tide is turning and an isolation of the proabort politicians and others that give scandal to the Church may be happening as we speak.
Time will tell.
All good points Subvet. I'd start with the man in the mirror and try to be more Christlike each day. Then, I'd continue by calling out the abusers e.g. Keehan, Jenkins, CHA, LCWR & fake Catholic groups that undermine the faith through abortion support; the greatest enemies of the Church are from within.
I'm no expert, but I do have a lot of friends who I suppose would fit the category you're trying to create here. Those wannabe "pre-Vats". I've heard a lot of them out (have you?) and from what I gather, most of them are not trying to "go back to" pre Vatican II, they're trying to live out the teachings of Vatican II to its fullest. I've not studied much of the documents from Vatican II, I mostly concentrated on the music. From what I've read though, most of those "doily heads" are spot on. And, there's no use trying to shun them for what you perceive they stand for. And I'm sure you're not trying to lump everyone who enjoys Latin, who doesn't like to see girls playing dress up around the altar, who wants to wear a Mantilla, and who has their own devotions to the Church, together into one "clique" right? I'd just be careful before I started throwing stones, they could really hurt someone.
Rick, amen to that. Being quietly Catholic in no way means letting the likes of Keehan speak for us. Disowning such heretics is always to be desired and something each one of us can do. If we wait for the bishops to act we're abdicating our responsibilities for supporting the Church.
And I have copied some articles on my blog (*please forgive my shameless plug here*), in case you wanted to see some great work on the subjects that you may be inferring to in your post. They're not from the Conciliar Documents. However they were published in the Pre-Vatican era, and they really helped me on some "issues" that I was having. Maybe they might help (or fuel your flames, I hope not...) but in either case they might be worth a read?
(and this is a continuation of the above.)
Why thank, sir, for this post. i'm probably a little more in your face than you--character flaw perhaps--but you are right.
The solution is up to us.
Patty I'm not trying to create any category. It already exists in a large group of people who spend time griping about things that go against their personal views, regardless of whether those items are allowed by Rome.
All too often what I encounter is a mindset that is mired in a fantasy. This fantasy seems best described as believing the majority of problems within the Church are a direct result of Vat II. That somehow a large number of fifth column-like traitors had infiltrated Catholicism and took an opportunity to wreak havoc. These traitors are often cited as being Baby Boomers (which makes no sense given the age of that group at the time) and set on advancing some nefarious agenda.
The fantasy is also typified by a firm belief that prior to Vat II there were only minor problems that existed. That somehow we were all holier and closer to Jesus.
Like I said, I was alive through those times. I served on the altar, went to parochial school and was exposed to much rot within the Church, rot that is now discounted as unimportant.
You mention enjoying Latin, I've no problem with that. Don't understand it but if thats what floats your boat then fine. However the sort of critic I've centered on will all too often say "true" reverence is only found by adherence to the TLM. My own personal view is that I'm not being reverent by using a foreign language, no matter what the history of it in the Church. As an altar boy I spouted off prayers I didn't understand. All that mattered was proper pronunciation. It could have been a menu from a Chinese restaurant for all I knew.
You mention girls playing "dress up around the altar". Are boys exempted strictly due to their sex? Isn't that an odd mode of thinking when we follow One who has stated that in Heaven all will be Spirit, not man or woman? Again, I recall that desire for "dress up" and pretending to be somehow closer was prevalent amongst myself and many of my peers.
As for wearing a mantilla, again if that trips your trigger then go for it. But once again, all too many advocates of that will look down their noses at the rest of us as not being "respectful" enough. Give. Me. A. Break.
If we're going to focus on outward appearance then why not start speaking out against the obese? There is supposedly an "epidemic" of that in this nation and certainly enough Catholics show up at Mass on Sunday lugging too many pounds on their frames. The last I heard, gluttony was still a sin (unlike going bareheaded). So why not a hue and cry over the advertising of one's overindulgence? Makes more sense than pushing for head coverings.
As Rick has already stated, starting by looking in the mirror and trying to be more Christlike would be in order.
That would include remembering the parable about the Pharisee and the publican. I'd rather be in the back of the church praying for forgiveness of my sins than stand in the front and actively take the moral inventory of my fellow parishoners.
And as I've stated, I've no need to invent these Pharisees. They're easily found, especially amongst the commenters of Catholic websites. I'm NOT including yourself in that group!
I'm just tired of being castigated for actually thinking I can follow Mass in the vernacular, encourage my daughter to serve on the altar if she desires, listen as my wife sings in the choir many of the songs she grew up with as a Methodist and receive the Eucharist in my hand. All these items are allowed by Rome. None take away from my personal reverence and awe of the Real Presence up on the altar.
I would just beg your patience in reading the links I put in my last post to you (which I know you didn't post, but nonetheless, they might be helpful...)
And also, read the Conciliar Documents. Its not that Latin is exemplary, but wait, it is. Its not that receiving on the tongue is exemplary, but wait, it is. Actions don't make a person holier, however, in prayer actions follow a prescribed form to help interpret the language of the prayer. I agree with you that if a person is doing these actions superficially to be "holier than thou" then they would be discounted for that. But most of the people that have gotten to the point in their spirituality that they are prescribing to such actions are doing as prompted by the Lord. At least those individuals again that I have come to know and look up to. And Subvet I'm right there with you, next time you're in the back of the Church look to your left, cause I'm that fatso sitting right next to you. Not trying to call the kettle, just give another outlook?
Subvet--I've re-read my comment. let me put it like this: I am in 100% agreement with your post. We may have differences in ideas about appropriate liturgy, etc.. But we agree about the church and what it takes to straighten her out!
As for the 30s-50s being a"golden age" of the Church in America--well, those were the people who picked up the ball and ran with it in 1965. They were also the ones who formed the most abusive generation of priests--1960-1980, more or less.
This is an excellent post.
IR, thanks for the clarification.
Patty, sorry but you've really torpedoed your own argument with "...who doesn't like to see girls playing dress up around the altar..."
Although it will be some years before my own daughter becomes eligible to serve, I know if she does we'll be encouraging an attitude of respect & devotion towards Christ in her. I assume from knowing several men whose daughters are already serving that the same is true for them. A game of "Dress up" isn't in the thoughts of their daughters.
If reading the material you've referenced will lead me to such a condescending attitude towards others I want no part of it.
I've more than enough problems with pride and a lack of charity (as anyone who has read this blog for any time can tell). I don't need to encourage it.
Service on the altar, Subvet, is meant to encourage boys in their vocation to the Priesthood. So until there are female priests in the Catholic Church, the girls will be playing dress up.
And no, my posts had nothing to do with this aspect. I'm sorry if I seemed condescending in my response, and that I upset you. But girls are not meant to serve. The Vatican II documents state that the only time this is allowable is in a Cloistered Religious order in which men are not permitted to be present. Its allowable you see, but again it is abused. I'm sure you know this better than I do, as I've only read excerpts from that document to furnish this point.
This is my concern, and I know you're hurt so this might color your response to me, but I beg you to hear me out...
I think that there were those in the Church who were so upset and hurt that Humane Vitae taught what it did and did not allow Catholics to contracept that they found another way to derail the Church (or attempt it, as the Church will stand and will not be prevailed against.) So when the documents came out, those in positions of authority did not even give a chance for them to cool from the press before they attempted to insert their own agendas.
There's just so much more context than "its allowable", and I don't think a lot of Catholics (myself included) take the time to really read and reflect on the documents themselves.
I beg your forgiveness for my comment, it was a gut response, and I should have read it through before I wrote that. But if my girls show a proclivity to the Religious life, it will be better for them to help serve in the convent, as this is more akin to their vocation. If they show an ardent desire to serve our Eucharistic Lord, I will give them every means of helping in the Church in other ways (Altar society, choir, cantor, Lector). Of course they should be shown a love and respect for the Eucharist, and this comes first and foremost from our modeling that for them. But a majority of Priestly vocations started first and foremost as servers on the Altar. What kind of message does that send to our daughters when we don't let them continue?
I'm there too, Subvet, in that my girls are both under age 2. I have a long way to go before I "cross this bridge". I know a lot of moms and dads struggle with this decision (at least in my Parish). Some serve, some do not. But its just another example of people not taking the time to digest the Conciliar message and rather to push an agenda, and I'm NOT talking about the parents here, yourself included.
Sorry for my rashness, and I'm praying you forgive me.
Patty, first things first. Apology accepted and I'd like to tender you my own. My comments haven't been meek and mild either. Everything in this post could be a "hot button" topic with most Catholics. Tempers will run high and comments made that'll be regretted.
No, I haven't read the Vat II documents concerning girls on the altar. When an ordained priest, held in high respect in his very traditional parish, announces from the altar that it will be put in place and it's allowed by Rome, I trust he knows what he's talking about and is faithful to the Magisterium. The reason for doing so was a lack of boys willing to serve.
I'll take up that topic again in a minute.
When you state, "...there were those in the Church who were so upset and hurt that Humane Vitae taught what it did and did not allow Catholics to contracept that they found another way to derail the Church..." I get the impression of a conspiracy to weaken the Church by whatever means available. I don't buy it without some sort of objective, verifiable proof. There was so much chaos then, both in the Church and out of it, that it seemed the entire world was turning upside down.
Humane Vitae by itself didn't upset too many applecarts, it's been disregarded from the getgo and here's my view on that.
Years before Humane Vitae was promulgated, Catholics were already contracepting their little hearts out. I know this by the same phenomena oft cited to support the view that Catholics are now contracepting their way to Hell, i.e. the number of families seen at Mass with small numbers of children. Saw a lot of them when I was a kid. Seemed Catholic families fell into two categories, those from large families and those not.
The second group (like my own family of origin) was more often than not a religiously mixed one. We saw a lot more mixed marriages after WWII than before. IMO this led to a greater number of smaller families because the Catholic member became more willing to compromise. After all, if the wife chose to have herself sterilized what recourse would the man have? It's her free will at work and it's not in contradiction to her own beliefs. As for their completely Catholic neighbors, they weren't ALL practicing the rhythm method.
I also know it from a personal story where a family member related how a priest had stated the Church accepted the use of condoms "in certain instances to insure family harmony". The priest was no dissident hippie, he was in his 60's and highly respected as a voice of orthodox teaching. This was a few years prior to Vat II.
So contraception by Catholics was already established prior to Humane Vitae. We've seen more evidence of it since Pope Paul VI because there have been more Catholic families to see and more of them are a blend of two faiths.
Darn! Gotta continue this on another comment!
Back to my diatribe.
Back to the topic of altar girls. We're stuck on this to the exclusion of other points of contention between trads and nontrads but the problems raised by it can often be cited in other areas.
No matter what was originally intended, girls on the altar are now viewed as a necessity because of the lack of boys willing to serve. In my present parish we have five Masses to fulfill the Sunday obligation. I normally attend the ten o'clock service but at times find myself going either earlier or later.
No matter what the time, it isn't unusual to not only see girls serving but to see nobody but girls serving. If we're to pull them off the altar what would be the solution?
Go to having servers work at more than one Mass so the boys would wind up doing "double duty"? We can preach all we want about the benefits of serving Almighty God under those circumstances, the group it's being pitched to (young teen and pre adolescent boys) won't buy it. They're probably itching to hit the playground or ballfield with their buddies.
Shall we decrease the number of Masses held? Lotsa luck, my parish has a Sunday attendance of 4-5 thousand from all services combined and for most of them it's SRO by the time the priest ascends the altar.
Get men such as the Knights of Columbus to serve? They already fill the ranks of the ushers and Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers. Maybe we could get them to attend more than one Mass for this? Good luck with that one too.
Maybe the use of girls on the altar is being abused as you say. Their use fills a definite need at this point. Another answer for that need should be found before taking them off the altar.
As for the presence of girls being a factor in the dearth of vocations by young men, I've heard that cited often (not by yourself but often enough to bring it up here).
I'm not buying that one. Not when my present parish recently fielded four candidates for the seminary. We had one of the seminarians over for supper this past summer. Heck of a nice guy, very knowledgable about the Faith and loyal to the Magisterium.
You DID mention how allowing girls to serve will raise their expectations for becoming priestesses. I've heard that often but have yet to see any objective proof. As a matter of fact, most of the young women we have entering the convent these days are notoriously orthodox in their beliefs. The dissidents are all sporting gray hair and their orders are dying out. They'd have been young girls before the practice of both sexes on the altar took hold.
One thing I wonder about; did all the younger nuns come from "traditional" parishes or are there a fair number who would have served on the altar?
This conversation we've had has become centered on the topic of altar girls. I know there are a lot of other bones of contention out there. If you wish we can also cover them in future exchanges.
To bring it back to the original focus, I've really gotten tired of those (not yourself) who would spend too much time checking out what everyone else is doing. THAT was the original burr under my saddle.
Ah, Subvet, I was starting to set off my own internal troll alert here:) Thanks for hearing me out, and I appreciate the dialogue. There's a reason I like your posts!
In coming clean though, I have to confess...*inhales deeply*...I do NOT wear a mantilla...Because I'm a superficial chicken...And I do NOT attend the Latin Mass...No excuse would work on this one;)
I have been hurt beyond measure by some who pride themselves on being Traditionalists in our Church. They told me one time that my kids were going to end up in Hell because I was thinking of sending them to a certain school in our Diocese. And that's just one time...
But you know, in praying and reading, and discerning and humbling myself, I realized that they were so busy trying to make a point that they were ignorant of the fact that there actually was a point to be made. Those same girls who want to show a little leg with a miniskirt are just as guilty as those women who want to hide a little hair with a mantilla. They're worried about their image v. their appropriate form of worshiping God. And both of their messages, unfortunately, hurts the body of Christ.
I guess my only point here was that, SOME women who don't wear mantillas do it to carry the "wagging finger" card in their pocket. Some feel called by God to do it, and humble themselves out of love for Him. I am friends with many of these women and they have left quite and impression on me.
Altar girls, you have a point there. I was never an altar girl. Yet, I did stand up and announce to my Parish that I was going to be the first female bishop. I know many of the girls that serve in my Parish, and I admire them for the young women I see them growing up to be. They are warm, caring, kind, and they love the Lord in their simple childlike faith. Their parents are wonderful members of our Parish, whom I also admire. My point here is that, most of us in the fold don't understand the Church's teachings on this subject. They're not culpable for that, and for that I don't blame them for their desire to see their girls draw closer to the Lord...But...I think its a lack of trust that compels us to keep sending them up there. I don't think that Priests need servers on the altar in order to say Mass, do they? Well, I guess then, I'd say that their service would be better applied in other ways?
That about sums it up for me.
"They told me one time that my kids were going to end up in Hell because I was thinking of sending them to a certain school in our Diocese. "
And THAT is why I really dislike a lot of the Trads who seem trying to be more Catholic than the Pope. FWIW I heard the same sentiments as yourself about my family when I was a kid. Didn't like it then, don't like it now.
Only God will decide just where we end up. For a good laugh and read on the subject of reprobates pleasing Him, I would recommend "Saints Behaving Badly".
My favorite one of the bunch was St. Vladimir of Kiev. Quite the character according to that book!
My favorite tongue in cheek book is "The Bad Catholics' Guide" books (Okay there's a series of two...) The first is The Bad Catholics' Guide to Good Living, and then there's The Bad Catholics' Guide to Wine Whiskey and Song...
I'm hoping to get extra credit on my day of judgement for knowing the Liturgy points I mentioned. You know, kind of like getting extra credit for spelling your name right on the SAT's...;) Yup, I'm pretty much a ward of the state in the house of God's Mercy...
wow! that's quite the debate!
Here's my deal.....if all the women in my parish wore Mantillas then so would I, so that I wouldn't draw attention to myself.
since very few of them do, I don't....so that I won't draw attention to myself.
Isn't that your point, honey? Worry about not feeding your own pride and let others worry about themselves?
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