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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Catholic Faith Crisis

For some time I have been pondering the source of this crisis in the Catholic Church. What crisis do I speak of: The situation where so many catholics seem to have different understandings of what the Catholic teaching is on particular issues (i.e Birth Control, Abortion, Pre-Marital Sex, Marriage, etc).

You might say that everyone knows the catholic view. But if that is true, then why is there apparent splits in the church? Why are so many catholics using birth control, having abortions, shacking-up?

Somehow I think the cause of all this is due to a failure of the authority figures in the church over the last 45 years. (I'm not catholic bashing, nor Priest or Bishop bashing - I love them.... I respect them..... I am speaking in the sense of honesty). These authority figures have neglected to clearly and specifically teach their flock the simple truths of the faith. Why? I am not sure. Is it some form of political correctness? Does it have something to do with financial gains?

I know that many priests feel a pressure to keep the tithing levels up. Does this somehow keep them from preaching the truth... the whole truth..... the truth that just might make some unhappy and diminish their contributions.

I have always thought that priests should have a purely clerical job, separate from administrative roles, the mixing of the two seem to be like oil and water.

So where do we go from here?

If our leaders don't begin to take a strong and consistent approach of teaching and preaching the basic teachings of the church, especially on Abortion and Birth Control, I feel that we will flounder for years to come.

It doesn't take much for a typical individual to rationalize their behaviors, their sinful behaviors, especially if they feel that their priest has condoned it. Did the priest actually condone it? Without strong and clear guidance, one might just walk away from such a discussion hearing just what they wanted to hear, even if it wasn't actually said.

If the leaders of the church began today teaching and preaching a strong unified message of what it truly means to be Catholic, would some walk away from the church?

Yes, I think so.

But is that really such a bad thing. Yes, we never hope to send people away from God and His Church, that would never be my desire.

Yet, having millions attend Mass each week and profess to be something that they really don't even understand, and because so, really are not living the tenets that the church professes, is that acceptable?

I don't condone kicking people out of the church. Yet, if they continually act contrary to the faith, even after being told their errors, show no remorse, no contrition, are they even really catholic? Being almost catholic really isn't being catholic..... it is more like being a Protestant!

If we allow anyone to claim to be catholic, publicly especially, and their actions and words affect the beliefs of other Catholics, what are we to do? (i.e Politicians, Celebrities, Misguided Clergy and Lay People)

I do not claim to have the answer here, nor do I think I am capable of giving such an answer. I do pray that our Bishops can sort through this crisis, this dilemma, and can begin to solve this issue that seems to preventing the spiritual growth of so many.


Anonymous said...

Hey now, let's not start bashing Protestants!

Deacon Pat said...

I didn't mean to come across as protestant bashing, I love my Christian brother and sisters.

What I meant was that Catholics, although similar in many ways with our Chrisitan Brothers and Sisters, are different than Protestants.

For Catholics, the source and summit of our faiith is the Eucharist. And the Catholic Church around the world has the same set of beliefs, that cannot be said for Protestant (Not bashing - just tellign the truth).

Catholics are Catholics because we all beleive in the same Dogmas....

I do love my Protestant friends, but we are different. They protested and walked away, maybe not them personally, But that is their history (again not bashing).

Maybe that is part of the problem, maybe many Catholics see themselves just like Protestants, yes we both love Jesus, we are both Chrsitinas, but we don't share the same fullness of the faith.

Again, not bashing my Chrsitian brothers and Siaters, I pray that one day we can be united together as one family....But we cannot change who we are and what we believe, we are Catholic.

Judy said...

I didn't think you were protestant-bashing and as a convert to Catholicism just over 3 years ago (after 65 years of travelling through several protestant denominations) I finally arrived! My first confession consisted mainly of repenting for all the terrible things I had said about the Catholic church over the years!

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia published in 2001 there are approximately 38,000 protestant denominations in the world. I expect that number is much larger now. And each believes it has a corner on the truth.

How did I get to this point? Through the teaching and testimony of Jerry Kohlbrand, a genuine Catholic who I met through an eBay Christian group! He persevered during all my arguments about why the Catholic church was wrong and finally got me reading the Church fathers and Scott Hahn.

But what finally convinced me was going to a Catholic church for the first time (sitting in the corner of the back row) and when people went forward to receive the Eucharist in spite of myself the tears began to flow because I couldn't receive it and I knew that I knew that I knew that Jesus was there and I couldn't receive Him!!!

As soon as possible I was confirmed and received into the church (I had been baptized as an infant in the Anglican church). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that is what the protestant churches are missing. A large number of protestants are coming "home to Rome".

I was surprised at the number of "cradle" Catholics who know very little about their faith - I am now sharing what I learned and why I am where I am.

There's a lot more to this story - when I get my blog up and running I'll share the rest!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

This is a well argued and perceptive article. The problem with Catholicism these days is that the lay people do not really know anymore what the Church stands for. You say:

"Catholics are Catholics because we all believe in the same Dogmas...."

Yet it seems the Church is shifting ground all the time, not as much as other denominations, but shifting it does. Do the people really know where the Church stands on such issues as contraception, mixed-religion marriages, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the Visions at Medjugorje and so on ...

The lay people may have some vague, sometimes mistaken, ideas of where the Church stands but mostly, they either "believe by instinct" (i.e. don't question too closely, just keep your head down and keep quiet), or they're just not too bothered in what they believe (i.e. just attend Mass regularly, take Communion and you've got your passport sorted for entry into Heaven).

And whose fault is it that the sheep are confused and running all over the place? The shepherds of course who tend to be too concerned at being politically correct, don't rock the boat, keep the bums on pews and the finances in good order.

I'm sorry if this sounds too harsh but I've seen examples of it here in the UK - I cannot speak for where you live. Here we even have people baptising their babies just to ensure they get a place in a Catholic School. Christianity and God doesn't enter into it at all. It's just a practical well planned ploy to achieve what one wants for their children.

Please forgive me for going on too long.

Yours is a very good article which deserves wider circulation.

God bless.

Mark San Miguel said...

Ich Liebe Judy!!

Deacon Pat said...

I had to look up "Ich Liebe," I agree Mark!