October 12, 2009

Ask Questions; Check the Answers

Looking back on the last 4 decades it seems astonishing that progressivist, dissenting, Catholics in Name Only had such an adverse impact on the Catholic Church so quickly. However, for a Faith that has survived for two thousand years, 4 decades is a blip. Perhaps, the faithful who lived thru the “great” heresys like Arianism, Gnoticism, Monatanism were likeways dismayed at how fast and how quickly those erroneous beliefs spread. Ultimately, those heresys were, if not totally rooted out, put decisively “down” . Yet, remnants of some of their heresys still remain. They still need to be rooted out and repudiated when we see them.

Error has always been a part of lived faith-even though the faith itself is without it. Collective errors, individual errors. I look at how wrong I was about my faith for so long. I recall how many errors I perpetuated.

I’m a small player in the global Catholic faith, but it doesn’t matter; we are all responsible for spreading the faith in truth. The Lord Himself said it would be better for a person to tie a millstone around their own neck and drown than cause a little one who believes in Him to sin (Matthew 18:6). He was talking about the children, explicitely (but like most things the Lord said that’s the surface reading), but aren’t all who are learning the Faith or totally ignorant of the Faith also like children regardless of age? Weakness of belief leads to sin. Weakness of education about the faith, leads to sin. How can you avoid it? The Lord may be merciful because you are genuingly ignorant; but how often is the faith passed on with a wink, a nudge, and a justification? Ah, don’t worry about sleeping with him outside of marriage. We don’t have to believe that anymore. That’s old. Everyone’s doing it. At least, you are not killing anyone! If I tally up all the times I never killed anyone; does that mean I’m without sin? Uh, no.

Some of us should know better. Some of us DO know better.

I’ve been thinking lately about Archbishop Rembert Weakland. He recently wrote and published his memoirs. Maybe you read them. I have not, yet, but I intend to. From what I hear; the book is a case study of a man’s personal journey of de-construction (some would say: demolition). It seems that, in retrospect, many of the positions Weakland espoused were for the purpose of advocating his own personal agenda rather than teaching and defending the Faith.

I’ve been thinking lately of the late Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, Michigan. I’ve certainly heard his “Saginaw Blessing” often enough.

Bishop Untener was a hero to many of the progressivist (some would call them dissenting) priests that I used to hang around and soak up wisdom from. (yeah) They were delighted by Untener’s subversion of the “aristocratic trappings” of the Bishopric.Untener sold the Bishop’s residence in Saginaw. I found this interesting; did he fail to consider where the future Bishops would live or did he think there wouldn’t be any? Was he making the assumption that his successors would embrace the nomadic life he did? To those I was surrounded by, living outside of the mansion proved Untener was a “man of the people”; not,apparently, limited to the homeless. Untener moved from parish to parish living amongst “the people” (in reality; his brother priests) I always wondered how “the people” felt about that when they saw his moving van arrive? Most of us know how cramped some Rectory’s are already.What about parishes that have no Rectory’s? Well, in any event, perhaps it deepens the faith of some, in ways I quite frankly don’t understand, to realize the Ordinary is in the bathroom way too long, doesn’t rinse out the sink after he shaves, leaves his dirty laundry in piles on the floor just like any other man.

In any event, would YOU want to live with your boss?

Bishops Untener and Weakland were both, what the progressivists and dissidents call: visionaries. I am convinced that whenever you hear someone, who is not The Christ, labeled “visionary” run for your life.

We can be more than our surroundings. You can live in a tent; you can live in the Archbishop’s mansion (or not) but if you don’t share the Faith in an authentic way; you are and you have: nothing. Surely, you are on your way to the Old Place.

I’m sure, and some famous writers have written this, that there is no level of Hell lower than that reserved for people who were entrusted to shepherd the faithful and pass on the faith but deliberately did not.

Yes, deliberately. Honest stupidity is one thing; deliberate error is another.

In spite of this, just because some of our leaders fall down, and yes, occasionally fail us, does not mean we are off the hook because we have a ready excuse. We are each of us responsible for defending and perpetuating the faith. We have to correct our leaders when they are wrong, just as often as we have to correct our peers. WE are responsible for learning our faith. We cannot just rely on others. Yes, we should be able to trust those that are “official” or that seem to be; but, unfortunately, we can’t. We need to check the credentials.We need to own our own copies of a Catholic Bible and a Catechism . Ask questions; check the answers.

For so long, I did not do any of this. I’m responsible for not doing so. I’ve made a career out of doing research; you’d think I would have bothered. No. Now, I’m making up for it.

Maybe if more people spoke up and out would things have gone so far afield after Vatican II? I know people did speak up but they were not a unified voice.

Today, things are different. While the progressives were dozing contentedly in the knowledge that they’d done all they could, the Magisterium faithful were taking over the Catholic media. While the print versions of Commonwheal, America and the ilk play follow the leader on the web and blogdom, they are late to a party that already started without them the day Pope John Paul II (a Pope they despised) called for “a new evangelization”.

The tide has turned. Today, progs are experiencing, to some extent, what faithful Catholics did years ago. Not so much a takeover; but a re-claiming.

The current Holy Father continues to provide the faithful with the weapons they need in the battle. Think Jesus of Nazareth, Summorum Pontificum, and Letter to the Bishops Concerning the Remission of the Exommunication of the Four Bishops Consecrated by Archbishop Lefebve were meaningless and irrelevent? Think again. Sure, most progs may not have read any of it; but the faithful are energized.

Despite my praising of the new evangelization’s Catholic social media, of which this blog is a part, don’t take anything I say at face value. I could have made a mistake. I’m usually called on them in the comments box and I admit it and move on and learn from it. But, be careful. Anyone can blog or comment on a forum or Tweet. Ask questions; check the answers.


Blogger Angela M. said...

Good post!

October 12, 2009 3:24 PM  
Blogger ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Some further recommendations:
Remember that no Catholic Teaching is done in a vacuum. Even Christ worked within the Revelation which occurred within Judaism. The 1 exception was "Let there be Light". SO the Bible and the Catechism are not sufficient in themselves, but are good starting points. I would recommend The Catholic Catechism by Fr. John A. Hardon SJ (he updated it to cross-reference the Catechism) so if you find some section of the Catechism unclear he gives a bit more explanation & references for further reading. The USCCB has written a regional (US) catechism but I haven't had a chance to peruse it so I don't know how good it is. This points out an important aspect of the Catechism, it was meant to to be a reference work, not a final authority (see the authors' introduction to the Catechism itself for evidence of this). The catechist and the reader of the Catechism have an obligation to go and read the sources of the Catechism to get the FULL teaching of what the Catechism says. If we quote the Catechism without understanding the reasoning behind it, we are no better than the Pharisee's of Jesus' time, able to quote the Rules perfectly but not knowing how to apply them appropriately.

October 12, 2009 4:25 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

About the heresies: they are all still alive and well. We just know them by different names, and many are mashed together. Many are actually different Christian denominations.

But we don't call them "heresies" unless they apply to a baptized Catholic who knows the truth and rejects it. Those people who are raised in non-Catholic religions aren't aware they are participating in heresies that were condemned in the first centuries after Christ.

But still, it's unpopular to point at a certain religion and say it's just Montanism rearing its ugly head again. You get my drift.

Good post.

October 12, 2009 4:32 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

"We need to check the credentials."

Funny - I kinda, sorta did a post on the same subject today.

October 12, 2009 4:52 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

AA and Adoro: Excellent comments.

AA: You are correct. They should not be read in a vacuum. However, many Catholics don't have copies of either. I was recommending they start there.

Ter: You did? Uh-oh. I'll go check it out! I'm not copying you! It's that brainwave connection again!

Angel Baby: Hello!

October 12, 2009 7:08 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Great post, Cathy. I don't live all that far from the Diocese of Saginaw, and it's a good example of "by their fruits you shall know them". They had very very few ordinations when he was there, and at the time of his death, there were only 3 in seminary. Since Bishop Carlson came and went (in St Louis now), there are close to 2 dozen. It is sad to see that there are bishops and priests who have done much to suppress the truth and distort the faith - we have to remember that half the world's bishops at the time of the Arian heresy left the Church, so it is possible. As informed Catholics, we are responsible in which shepherd we follow.

Keep up the great work, and I'm praying that you find work soon!

October 13, 2009 6:54 AM  
Blogger Argent said...

You know what's interesting? That half of my RCIA class are cradle Catholics. Their reaction to each topic? "Why didn't anyone ever teach me this?"

October 13, 2009 5:58 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...


October 14, 2009 1:57 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!
Thank you for words of wisdom.

October 14, 2009 2:43 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Larry Thank you for the reminder of the astonishing turn-around of Saginaw!

Argent: I know.It's scary but I'm so happy they are there and you are teaching them.

October 14, 2009 4:40 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

"If I tally up all the times I never killed anyone; does that mean I’m without sin? Uh, no."

THAT IS SUPERB!! Thanks for that WISE WISE statment! AMEN! :)

October 19, 2009 2:45 PM  
Blogger In the choir loft said...

Great article. I wonder how far Vatican II would have gone had we had the internet back then.

October 20, 2009 10:58 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Choir Loft: I wonder that myself. Would the true story of what was going on during the Council been disseminated (almost in real time) OR would even more misinformation and chaff be funneled out (also in almost real time)? Or, would SO much information be streaming out that the faithful would be even more confused by the Council?

October 21, 2009 11:30 AM  
Blogger ArchAngel's Advocate said...

I think we have this image of Vat II being a single event (like a Papal Election). In reality it was a series of meetings in the period 1962-1965, with working groups of bishops & experts creating the proposed documents. Wikipedia has an outline of the Council here.
They didn't work in a vacuum either. News agencies had reporters devoted to the Council, with every newspaper disseminating the "leaks" as fast as telephones could deliver them. The only thing ,issing was "Access Hollywood from the Vatican" (that the Almighty for THAT!!!
So I doubt anything different would have come out of Vat II. To bastardize Chesterton: "Vat II hasn't failed, it hasn't been tried yet." (Also, the teachings of any Ecumenical Council of the past have taken a century or 2 before they begin to bear fruit. The issue with Vat II is that those who claim to be implementing it haven't studied it. There's a lot in it that's "Old School" Catholicism that even Sts. Pete & Paul would recognize).

October 21, 2009 1:05 PM  

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