June 15, 2007

Dangers of Dissent

Richie D: Sorry, I missed my noon cutoff! LOL!

I was emailing with a reader earlier today and I wanted to share some of my musings with you. I know some of you are yawning and saying who cares? Hey, it's my blog. Blogging is all about the blogger's thoughts and feelings. If you don't like it, Bye and God Bless!

I swear I'm not crabby today. How can I be when today is one of my favorite Solemnities?

Leinie's Honey Weiss as a lunch beverage helps...For the record, I'm not working today. :-)

One of the dangers of dissenting Catholics, and I'm going to focus especially on Catholic clergy and religious who dissent from the Faith, is that their dissenting words may be attractive on a level that some may not have considered previously.

Dissent may actually make the Faith attractive to outsiders. For example: If someone struggling with SSA (same sex attraction) sees someone in authority saying the practice of gay sexuality is just fine they may think the Church does to. You may find this hard to believe, but I've seen people enter the Church because they think it really endorses GLBT sexual practices because they've heard a priest or a nun say, publicly (on the news, in the paper, in a magazine, at a Pride Event) it's o.k. These folks are shattered when they realize it's not True and they either leave, feeling adrift and betrayed, or join dissidents trying to "change the Church".

People struggling with SSA are fragile to begin with. Luring them with hollow promises of "acceptance" is not going to help them. It's only going to hurt them even more in the long run-in this life and the next.

The Truth hurts and it's difficult. Jesus never said it would be easy to be His follower. Taking the "easy way out", ultimately, is not easy and it's not a kindness. It's cruelty, of the worst kind, because you are meddling with someone's salvation.


Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I agree, and this is what I found so revolting with some priests and religious active in the AIDS ministry. I had "worked on" a former boss who was dying in Seattle, trying to get him back to confession and the Church before he died. He did go back to the Church - but the priest told him that he hadn't committed a sin by acting out - in other words gay sex was fine.

I have heard similar stories locally, "That's all right honey, this is who you are, Jesus loves you just as you are - you have nothing to be sorry about."

Dementors - not dissenters.

June 15, 2007 1:59 PM  
Blogger Richie D said...

I have a hard time with the SSA issue because of the "love the sinner but despise the sin" paradox.

I worry about the effect of dissenter's influence on DOGMA: Dutch theologian Schillebeeckx denying the Resurrection, or a Liberation theologion in Brazil questioning whether Jesus intended to have a hierarchial Church.

(as an aside)
Shhh. I hear a soft voice. Do you hear it? It says "The Lady will post when she is good and ready to post. Cut her some slack."

Have a great weekend

June 15, 2007 2:21 PM  
Blogger Sanctus Belle said...

I agree with you exactly. I think this applies equally in other issues. I suspect the "updating" of our Religion (term used very loosely) attracted alot of Protestants to join. They then didn't fully embrace the Catholic Religion due to poor RCIA/Catechesis and lo and behold we look more and more every year like a Protestant Church! This is an unspeakable tragedy!

One more thing, speaking of Protestant ideology seeping (contaminating) our Catholic Churches, has anyone worked with the Faith Formation curriculum "Generations of Faith"?
Our parish is starting it out and I think it looks like a total disaster. I'd really love to hear ANYTHING anyone has to say about it. Sorry if this is off-topic.

Cathy - love your blog!

June 15, 2007 2:30 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

richie d. ~ I don't understand your problem with "Love the sinner, hate the sin." Why do you call that a paradox?

Those are St. Augustine's own words, and thorugh his Confessions we understand the struggle he had with the very foundation of SSA - lust.

The problem is that people tend to define themselves by their sin; they do not recognize sin as such, and thus when they hear that phrase, they take it as a condemnation of their very being, which it is not. They further don't understand the source of the quote or the struggles of St. Augustine and why he said it.

Now, I'm not saying you're not aware of this source...I'm just spouting because a friend I used to have called that phrase a "cop out." And she was not open to any discussion that might eventually make her have to reconsider her position.

OK, off soapbox.

So....can you explain why you call it a "paradox" and what your problem is with the phrase so that I can understand where you're coming from?

(I don't mean to sound snarky, just typing very quickly, and gotta run)

June 15, 2007 3:26 PM  
Blogger Richie D said...


OKAY. I fastened my seatbelt.

I don't have a "problem" with the concept of "Love the sinner," but I find it a challenge to love my neighbor when they are mired in a sin (ie alcholism, gaylife style, etc). It's a paradox because it forces me to look at a person two ways-- who they are and what they do. But I'm a sinner, so I hope
"love the sinner ...." is applied to me.

(Confession: I did not know that St. Augustine wrote and expounded on the phrase. Perhaps I should revise my reading list because it's been a long time and I only read excerpts.)

I'm going to look up "snarky" right after I look up "paradox." :]


June 15, 2007 4:11 PM  
Anonymous nab said...

Generations of Faith: Its only as good as your priest. If your priest takes the reins, is a good teacher of the faith, and has some control of the people who teach the other "segments" (e.g. the teens or the young children) then it can be great. Its good because it actually revolves around the liturgical year which is something lost on Catholics in the U.S., and has the entire family coming, rather than trying to convince parents to find something for their children to do while they do adult ed, or conversely using children's catechism as a baby-sitting service. THAT SAID, if the priest is not the one in control, if it goes the way of much catechesis in many parishes, then it can be a bigger disaster because more people are influenced.

Does this help?
(Btw, I love my parish priest and he's about as orthodox and talented in teaching the faith as they come, so it seems to be doing good work in our parish)

June 15, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Richie D: I'm just having fun with you. If I was mad at you, believe me, it would not be a soft voice. ;-) You don't need to look up snark, you see it on my blog on almost any given day.

Sanctus Belle: I've never heard of it but I see nab has commented. Perhaps, someone else will too. Not that nab is unreliable, just that sometimes it helps to get multiple opinions.

Terry: Yep, I know some of the priests in AIDS ministry as well. They would say that. It's horrifying.

June 15, 2007 4:57 PM  
Anonymous L said...

All good points above. sb, why do you feel that protestant ideology is seeping into our churches? (I tend to agree) Can you give more examples? This would be a good blog topic in itself. Maybe you guys have written on this specifically already-I'm new.
Great post Cathy,

June 15, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Great points. totally agree. :)

June 15, 2007 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still disagree. The Pauline scripture is not clear enough a truth to me when slavery was so clearly wrong and yet scripture supported it. Ot Matthew it says that we cannot call priests 'Father' but then we do anyway. Or the prohibition of usury, or I could go on and on.

Bottom line is I have lesbian coworkers who are nice people and I will not condemn them in my mind, in my heart, or by my actions. And neither will I condemn their relationship. Not until the Holy Spirit makes me feel that it is truly wrong. Christ says, 'Judgement is Mine'. And I will not judge in any way. Their relationship appears to be perfectly loving and kind. I see no sin in it, separating them from god.

June 15, 2007 10:45 PM  
Anonymous nab said...

Oh, don't throw usury in. Usury doesn't really exist anymore in mainstream lending. Usury is the paycheck advance people, and while I won't condemn the people who own those businesses, I'll be the first to say the business itself is evil.

Usury is when you lend expecting a return, knowing that your loan will not increase the amount the person has (such as a paycheck advance...the paycheck won't be larger just because you lent them the money). Loaning is an investment in the future earnings of a person because of your loan (so a student loan is investing in the future a person in good faith should have after completing the degree). Just because the person does not actually "take" in more does not mean the loan was made in a spirit of usury.

Please don't drag that horse out. Someone else can argue the homosexual and slavery thing. I dont have the time or the patience.

June 16, 2007 12:03 AM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

WC ~ You don't understand the context of "Father".

In Matthew, the Lord was not suggesting we don't use the term father in the literal sense. Additionally, historically throughout the OT and the NT they referred to Abraham and Moses as their "Fathers". St. Paul himself, in Corinthians, referred to himself as "Father". The point of what Jesus was saying had to do with the improper use of the term "Father". Theologically speaking, the term "Father" as used throughout time emphasizes the familial aspect of priests, that being members of a larger family, and we, their spiritual children.

On the topic of "love the sinner...", you clearly don't seem to be able to separate the acts from the person. I have had SSA friends, I have SSA friends now, and I love them, but I will not endorse their harmful lifestyles, just as I do not endorse the harmful lifestyles of friends who are cohabitating outside of marriage.

On "Judgment", again, you take it out of context. You have already made a judgment by disagreeing here. We all have to make judgments. The Biblical Judgment has to do with the final judgment, that being what happens at death, where we go. None of us has the right to judge the soul of a person, none of us can say, "X person is in Hell." We can and we MUST be able to judge actions and behavior, otherwise there would be complete chaos. We cannot fall into the idea that "everything is OK". And I'm certain you agree with that.

On Slavery ~ scripture was first of all not an endorsement of slavery. What Paul was emphasizing was right relationships no matter what the context of one's life, whether slave or free, obedience was owed to God, and virtue can be lived out anywhere.

Sorry, Cathy, all this has gone OT. But I think that your point has been proven...most people dissent because they have never been catechized properly, they literally don't know the context of the common things used as strawman arguments by popular culture and non-Catholics, and they use these misconceptions as an excuse to justify their own dissent.

Unlike WC, though, too many poorly-educated Catholics are not seeking the answers, are not conversing, and thus are being lead further and further away by the people who were put in place to save their souls.

(Sorry, I don't mean to pick on you, WC)

June 16, 2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

WC: What Adoro said. I'm happy that you are here and discussing/listening to the issues.

June 16, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger Sanctus Belle said...

I Said asked me: "sb, why do you feel that protestant ideology is seeping into our churches? (I tend to agree)"

Why protestant ideology has crept in is mainly due the the forces of Legion who constantly attack and seek to water down and destroy our faith along with our souls.

I see protestantism when we pray without making the sign of the cross, when we don't kneel at Mass, when the majority don't believe in the True Presence, when 100% go to Communion and about 5 folks total go to Confession...oh it goes on and on.

Our parish is instituting this Generations of Faith with is led by two laywomen who are rather liberal. Thier idea is to direct all "spirituality" to the lowest common denominator so they "get the love of Jesus in their hearts" Well it goes downhill from there and I'm on the "core team" who advises on content. I'm only there to try to make it seem Catholic otherwise it would be CINO - same stuff you could get at any Baptist parish! (sigh)

Sorry for the off topic and I really need help with this one!

June 16, 2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Sanctus, I feel your pain!

I will be teaching RCIA this year and while our Faith Formation director is very knowledgable, she's a baby boomer...and likes things like inclusive language. Thankfully she does stick to the catechism, but I'm always on guard. Our other teacher is on the liberal end, too, but I don't think he intends to be so - it's just his experience.

This year, on request of the USCCB, we are using the new American Catechism (red book) for our RICA curriculum. The USCCB is looking to try to standardize things because they realize how much stuff is across the board, and how many people are denying Church teachings by endorsing contraception and denying doctrine, etc.

So I'm thankful, and this way we'll be able to discuss moral theology, etc, it refers to the CCC, and all in all, although it'll maybe be more work for us this year as we go throughout and develop our lessons, it'll be consistent and FAITHFUL! We all voted on this and we all agreed this is what we should do.

And we're also going to retain the liturgical basis...by discussing the next Sunday's readings each week in preparation, and folloiwng the liturgical calender.

I'll keep you in my prayers, and of course, adding you and your parish to my OLPH icon! :-)

Sorry again, Cathy, going OT.

Apparently you need to do a post on adult religious ed because that's what we're talking about now.....


June 16, 2007 6:41 PM  
Anonymous L said...

Thanks, sanctus belle, for the comments. I think it's good to go a little OT when genuine, thoughtful questions arise and opportunity for learning presents itself. I have observed things in my own parish and have gotten the gut feeling that certain things aren't quite right. It's good to get some additional perspective here.

June 16, 2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

I agree. Plus, I don't think the religious ed tack is WAY off topic. I think it can tie into dissent-as you've shown.

June 17, 2007 6:03 AM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

Sanctus Belle:
There are many good religious ed texts, but that isn't one I've heard of.
A good source for religious ed reviews is at
although I don't think they have reviewed Generations of Faith. You may want to contact them to see if they know of it and just haven't put info on their webpage. Colleen Perfect, the president, really has the pulse of many things in this area.

June 18, 2007 10:03 AM  
Blogger Lisa, sfo said...

>> Adoro te Devote: "The problem is that people tend to define themselves by their sin; they do not recognize sin as such, and thus when they hear that phrase, they take it as a condemnation of their very being, which it is not. They further don't understand the source of the quote or the struggles of St. Augustine and why he said it."

Adoro, just had to say that's the best explanation on "love the sin, hate the sinner" I've read. Thanks muchly for sharing!

And Cathy, NICE blog! It's a welcome read. :-)

June 18, 2007 3:24 PM  
Anonymous tvs said...

Cathy,, you make great points. I was so blessed that in spite of being first attracted to the Church through the dissenting view of it, God led me along little by little to the truth. By the time I actually received confirmation, there were only a few issues remaining, and, most important, I had been given the grace to just live with the difficulty and wait for the Church to teach me instead of waiting for the Church to wise up to my greater understanding.

(Side note: When my Confirmation began, I believed in women's ordination; at about the time the priest annointed me, that became no longer important, and since then, I've come to understand and accept the teaching regarding men and Holy Orders.)

So I pray... if those folks are willing to listen to Jesus, they can pull a 180-degree turn, just as you and I did....

June 20, 2007 6:52 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

tvs: That's great! Welcome.

June 21, 2007 6:05 AM  
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November 13, 2007 10:37 AM  

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