Surfers, this blog post is not for everybody. While the Vatican is trying to unify all the disparate parts of Catholic Church (trads, neo-cons, progs) with New Evangelization and the Year of Faith I am going to ask you to consider these words from Will Day:
During the 1960s and ’70s profound changes swept through the Catholic Church as they did through the wider community. The Second Vatican Council initiated a radical questioning of old restrictive models of control and devotion and motivated the search for new, inclusive and less hierarchical ways to live within, and express, the great transformative love which Christians believe lies at the heart of our existence.
The notions of ”hell” and ”the Devil” were also put out to pasture in many quarters of the popular church; they reeked of the harsh, oppressive and intimidating old church and needed a good rethink.
Bit by bit the focus of the popular church began to shift from the future, and one’s reverent fear of the God in the sky, to the here and now. Life was less and less about fastidiously dutiful behaviour in order to secure a good seat in heaven and avoid the fires of hell. It was more about a loving relationship with those around us; a fostering of community, an awareness of, and concern for, our environment and the problems of the wider world. The emphasis was placed on a God of Love, ever present, and we learnt that ”hell” and ”the Devil” might simply be potential aspects of our own selves and lives due to the vicissitudes of this world, and our human tendency to act foolishly and blindly
Many Catholics believe the old church is dying anyway and will eventually crumble into the mulch. But I fear our patience with that process can be a way of abnegating responsibility for the present, for the agonies, injustices and deaths being fostered by official church teachings and attitudes today.
A compassionate, renewed, alternative and proud leadership, from within the church, acknowledging and representing its extensive, thirsty constituency would be beautiful to see.
– Will Day
I make no apologies. It is time to support those courageous Catholic leaders who are speaking out against the rewriting of Vatican II. Patience in the Vatican leadership has come to its end. The Year of Faith has offered an opportunity to strike lightning and to demand change. Take, for example, the British and Austrians from 2012.
Almost 400 priests and laity met in central London on Wednesday [October 11, 2012] to discuss concerns about the direction the Church has taken since the Second Vatican Council. London Protests 1st Day Year of Faith
Austrian bishops have attempted to stem the growing calls for reform by arguing that the Year of Faith is a “chance offered by the Lord” to end the deadlock between them and pro-reform priests and laity pressing for changes on, among other matters, mandatory priestly celibacy and women’s ordination. Austrian Priest Protest 2012
If you have not been paying attention to the rising vocal cry for the Vatican to stop back-tracking on conciliar reforms you should read more about the protests in London and in Austria. It is time to throw our support behind these initiatives.
The Vatican has been busy trying to tell us that secularism is the enemy. There is but one thing to say about our enemies.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
New International Version (NIV)
I hear what you are saying; I am just a blogger so what do I know? I am, after all, just like you, a Catholic in every respect. Don’t take my word for it. Consider the words of Fr. Kevin Burke:
THREE people, including my Greek Orthodox sister-in-law, alerted me to Will Day’s superb contribution, “Don’t tell the Cathedral” (Focus, 28/5). Many of us priests do have to live compartmentalised lives to be pastorally effective and survive. The centralising Vatican control, backed up by conservative bishops, appointed for orthodoxy rather than leadership gifts, has clearly wound back the refreshing Vatican ll reforms. Enthusiasm and initiative have given way to caution and reactionary attitudes. The church’s teaching provides for considerable flexibility and freedom. The last canon in the Code of Canon Law basically says that the pastoral care of people “must always be the supreme law”. The main difference between local clergy and the hierarchy is one of vision. My ears pricked up when I heard Cardinal Pell say on Q&A that “in the Christian view, God loves everyone except those who turn their back on him through evil acts”. The biblical God I experience has no “ifs”, “buts” or “excepts” – God’s love is unconditional and absolute.
– Father Kevin Burke, parish priest, Eltham
Surfers, let me give you an example of the flexibility and freedom Fr. Burke is talking about. Keep in your mind all the secularism talk coming out of the Vatican. Here are the words of Gaudium et Spes.
The recent studies and findings of science, history and philosophy raise new questions which effect life and which demand new theological investigations. Furthermore, theologians, within the requirements and methods proper to theology, are invited to seek continually for more suitable ways of communicating doctrine to the men of their times; for the deposit of Faith or the truths are one thing and the manner in which they are enunciated, in the same meaning and understanding, is another.[Matt 5: 43-47] In pastoral care, sufficient use must be made not only of theological principles, but also of the findings of the secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology, so that the faithful may be brought to a more adequate and mature life of faith.
GAUDIUM ET SPES. 62
If you still feel that traditions need to be maintained and making changes, such as ordaining women, are going too far; let me explain something about tradition.
The Christian Church was formed well after the death of Jesus, indeed some 50 to 60 years afterward. At the beginning of their life and history, the followers of Jesus continued to be what they had always been, members of the synagogues. Christianity began as a movement within the synagogue. They called themselves not “Christians” but “The Followers of the Way.” Jesus certainly did not found the church, despite the ecclesiastical propaganda of the ages.
– John Shelby Spong
Think about standing up and being counted with the courageous leaders who are moving our Church forward. I would leave you with these words to contemplate.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!…
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
– Isaiah 58 Friday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time