The Catholic Renaissance should start with the family

It’s that time of the year. Graduation! It’s a joyous time, only slightly dulled by the mind-numbing boredom of the actual ceremony.

Recently I heard a pretty good commencement speech at a Catholic university. The speaker mentioned all the ways faith in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, is losing ground in the modern world, and he called on the graduates to make a difference, stop the bleeding, win back the culture, etc. It was a pretty good talk.

To his credit, he didn’t fall into the old “if you dummies just did what the all-wise Magisterium says, all would be sweetness and light.” Rather, he admitted that the church needs a game-changer — a new approach. He called on the graduates to come up with something.

Yes, the Catholic Church needs a game changer. Let me recommend a starting point. The Family.

Now that might strike you as an odd comment, since it seems as if the Catholic Church already emphasizes the family. But the question you have to ask is whether the way the Catholic Church is emphasizing the family is having any impact. I would say that it is not, and the reason it isn’t is that their agenda (or at least part of it) is contrary to nature. And to Scripture, too … if that matters.

The Catholic Church essentially wants women to be men and men to be grovelling sissies.

The default assumption in Catholicism is that spirituality is feminine, therefore the women are the spiritual leaders in the home, and … oh, never mind that, they’re just plain the leaders. The wife is “she who must be obeyed,” and all that.

This is contrary to nature. Men don’t want it. Children don’t want it. Women don’t even want it.

Some brave Catholic needs to take the valid insights from posts like this and translate them into Catholic theology and culture. He needs to be willing to stand up against the inevitable $hi+ storm that will come at him, and he needs to be able to present this in a positive, friendly, winsome way.

That is the game changer the Catholic Church needs, and that would truly revolutionize the church and the culture.

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First Things on the NAB

The New American Bible is the standard translation used by most Catholics.

It is awful. That the bishops ever approved it shows their mediocrity, and that they’ve never abandoned it shows their timidity.

Here’s a very good article on the subject.

A Bible That Keeps Us Apart

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The patient has a pulse!

The Washington Post has a good article on some positive signs of life among the youth in the Catholic Church. See The new (old) Catholic Church.

I have seen this first hand. There definitely are young, committed, serious-minded Catholics who love their faith and are committed to following Catholic teachings. There is definitely room for hope.

However, be cautious in what you conclude from that. As I said in Why conservative Evangelicals should not become Catholic, you ought to look at things carefully and be practical.

Yes, there are some young, vibrant Catholics around who take their faith seriously. Will they be preaching the sermons? Will they be picking the songs at mass? Will they be running the children’s education program?

No, in the vast majority of cases, they will not.

This new movement of young, committed, devout, orthodox Catholics is a definite sign of hope that the Catholic Church may have a brighter future. It’s even possible there will be something like a revival.

In the meanwhile, parish life will continue to be mediocre, the priests will continue to bore (when they’re not speaking nonsense), your children will not be challenged with a morally relevant message, you will not get the intellectual and spiritual nurture you want, and many things you believe will continue to be undermined by a milquetoast, bunny-rabbit church.

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Why Sunday School helps preachers

I’m often amazed and/or amused at how people who make their living from what they say can be so casual about what comes out of their mouths, when they ought to know better.

In church today a priest — who would be horrified at the suggestion that he advocates for women’s ordination — said this.

Any young men or women who believe they may be called to the priesthood ….

He then went on to equate that little voice people think they hear with God speaking to us.

What he meant to say — I’m going to ignore the silliness about God speaking to people directly — was any young men or women who believe they have a call to the religious life.

This is just today’s example. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear a priest or deacon say something they would quickly take back if confronted.

Well — I’m being overly charitable here. I suspect that often they don’t know what they’re saying. Every once in a blue moon I actually confront a preacher on something dumb that he’s said, and usually they double down on the dumbness.

Generally speaking, priests don’t think or speak carefully. They are far more susceptible to theological error than the pastors I’m used to — from my conservative Evangelical background — and I’m fairly convinced that a big part of that is they don’t have to answer to theologically educated laymen who are ready to take their heads off for speaking out of turn.

If you have to speak to such a crowd, you’re going to be prepared. You’re going to know what to say, and what not to say. You’ll be precise, or you’ll couch your words.

But if you’re speaking to a theologically uneducated bunch, it really doesn’t matter. The women will all praise you for your wonderful sermons in any event.

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Our Lutheran deacon

We have a deacon who insists on saying Jesus is “physically present” in the sacrament. Why do I care, right? On one level I don’t, but it bugs me when somebody has the nerve to stand in front of a congregation and preach and hasn’t done his homework.

I didn’t really know the guy, so I mentioned it to the pastor and asked him to speak with the deacon. The pastor didn’t understand.

I explained that Christ’s physical body does not have the attributes of deity (like omnipresence), so while a Catholic can say Christ’s body is really, truly, substantially, and sacramentally present, you shouldn’t say “physically.”

He didn’t get it and didn’t care.

So then the deacon goes on about it again. He must have said “physically” eighteen times. So I spoke with him after mass, gave him the same details, and pointed him to the book in the church library that covered the topic. I even gave him the page numbers.

He had a dismissive, “what do you know?” kind of an attitude.

Catholic preaching and teaching is simply awful. Dreadful. Insipid. Boring. Soul- and mind-destroying.

Oh, I call this post “our Lutheran deacon” because this was a matter of dispute between the Catholics and the Reformed, on the one side, who said that Christ’s body cannot be in many places at once, and the Lutherans, who said that it could.

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“Can I have some more please?”

Anyone who is familiar with Catholic apologetics has had an ear full of the “I’m not being fed” issue.

It basically goes like this. Somebody is raised Catholic and has become accustomed to the miserable drivel that passes for a sermon in the Catholic Church, then goes to some Protestant church and hears some really good preaching and gets excited about it. He ends up leaving the Catholic Church for the Protestant church, and when some Catholic asks why he left “the church,” he says “I wasn’t being fed.”

This is about how it goes.

This has been going on for decades, at least. But the response by the Catholic Church isn’t, “Oh, gee, you want more? Okay, let’s see if we can accommodate you because we want you to grow spiritually.”

Rather, it’s “What? How dare you? Don’t you know you’re already getting everything you need? What’s wrong with you? You don’t need more, you just need to learn to be content with what you already get (you miserable brat).”

Of course this is not how a father would treat his children. He would find a way to get more food for them.

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The Secret Sex-Crime Files

Rolling Stone has an interesting article about the Catholic Church’s secret sex-crime files.

It’s kinda long, but worth your time. (I’d love to see what Leon Podles thinks of the article.)

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