Improving the Church

By Dave Carlin.
The Catholic Thing.

Decades ago, American conservatives used to say that liberalism was “creeping socialism.”  It wasn’t true at the time – although it may well be true of today’s liberalism, a very different and far more leftist kind of animal than the liberalism of the old days.

From the late 1940s until the early 1970s, due to the Cold War and the need to resist Communism, moderate leftism (aka liberalism) protected itself from extreme leftism by erecting and maintaining a “wall of separation” from the latter.  As more and more liberals began turning against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, however, the New Left was increasingly welcomed into the Democratic Party.

After all (the thinking went), the New Left had been correct about the Vietnam War, which they opposed from the beginning.  If they were right about that, maybe they are right about many other things.

Down came the wall of separation.  And so began the new Democratic Party, a party that has largely abandoned the old liberalism of FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ in order to embrace a new and improved liberalism of sexual freedom, abortion, recreational drugs, and transgenderism.  This new liberalism is motivated by a spirit of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – (DEI) and it holds that America is, and always has been, a “systemically racist” country.

As a Democrat of the old dispensation, I regret this change.  I still like liberals of the FDR kind.  But I am a political dinosaur living in an age that is planning travel to Mars.

If I no longer have my lovely old political party, at least I still have my lovely old religion, don’t I?  That must be a great consolation.

Well, not much.  Many high-ranking figures in my Church, including more than a few cardinals, bishops, and theologians, seem bent on “improving” Catholicism in the 21st century in much the way that hordes of mainline Protestants “improved” Protestantism during the 20th century.  They improved it by opening their doors and windows to anti-Christian winds of atheistic doctrine and sexual freedom (a thing of atheistic provenance).

By now these winds – these doctrinal hurricanes – have largely blown the Protestant house down.  To be sure, the conservative (or Evangelical) Protestant house is still standing, but the old mainline house, which prided itself on being modern and up-to-date, is a nearly total wreck.  In its more advanced sectors, liberal Protestantism today is barely distinguishable from full-fledged atheism.

With the cautionary example of liberal Protestantism staring us in the face, why would any Catholic – except for the very stupid, who learn nothing from history – want our religion to go down the road to perdition that liberal Protestants have already traveled?  Not all of our liberal Catholics are stupid.  Many of them are very smart – too smart, perhaps, for their own good.  Or for the good of the rest of us.”

Read it all…

“Dear young Christians, fight against any unnatural law that one would like to impose on you. Oppose any law against life, against the family. Be among those who take the opposite direction. Dare to go against the current!” – Robert Cardinal Sarah (via Twitter)

New Oxford Review, 2009; Pope & Rabbi Square Off Over the Teachings of Jesus.

Beyond Theology —or Revelation?

Catholic News Agency:

“Pope Francis on Thursday distinguished between how catechists and theologians interact with Church teaching.

A theologian, he said, has a vocation to go beyond existing doctrine, because “he is trying to make theology more explicit.”

While a catechist, when instructing children and adults in the faith, “must give the correct doctrine, solid doctrine.”

Pope Francis’ comments on the role of the theologian and the catechist were made in a meeting with the prestigious International Theological Commission (ITC) at the Vatican Nov. 24.

The International Theological Commission exists under and to advise the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Members are appointed by the pope for five-year terms, during which time particular theological questions are studied and the results published.

The 10th commission, which has 28 members, was appointed in 2021.

Pope Francis meeting with the International Theological Commission (ITC) at the Vatican Nov. 24, 2022. Vatican Media

“Theologians must go further, try to go beyond,” the pope said in his remarks to the commission. “But I want to distinguish this from the catechist: the catechist must give the correct doctrine, solid doctrine; not the possible new things, of which some are good…”

“The catechist teaches the solid doctrine,” he continued, adding that the theologian “ventures to go further, and it is the magisterium that will stop him.”

“But never [teach catechism] to children and people with new doctrines that are not certain,” he said.

Francis explained that this distinction comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola, “who I think understood something better than I do.”

The International Theological Commission is at the Vatican this week for the group’s annual plenary meeting.

Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for the commission’s willingness to explore three themes during its meetings.

The first, he said, is the “relevance of the fruitfulness of the Christological faith professed by the Council of Nicaea, at the completion of 1,700 years since its celebration.”

The commission will also examine some anthropological issues relevant today “and of crucial significance for the journey of the human family, in light of the divine plan of salvation.”

Pope Francis did not say which specific “anthropological issues” the theological commission will be studying.

The third theme the commission will deepen is “the theology of creation from a Trinitarian perspective, listening to the cry of the poor and the earth,” he said.


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John Allen on the Francis Effect: Can priests bless same-sex “marriages”? Well. on the ‘books’ no. But it’s being done without any intervention at all from the Vatican. So what’s the message? Don’t worry about it.