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Priest teaching 2 QUESTION from Bill March 27, 2000 I had passed along what you had given me in my earlier question. and this is the responce I got back. any good suggestions.
I understand what this priest is saying, however, I don't think he has a handle on the extent of the concerns. There are not just a few rebels and even for those who are not rebels, the teachings of the church are not being clearly addressed in any of the parishes at which I have attended mass. This is not just our City either. The sermons are the equivalent of listening to a non-denominational Christian speaker. As much as I like Fr. , he rarely if ever discusses church teachings. As you know, we have talked to a number of priests during our search to find answers to questions and accusations made by several fundamentalists close to us. While in concept, we remain one church, in reality we are segmented by parish and this changes further when the pastor changes. While I would agree that we remain one church with regard to the major topics ( primarily the Eucharist), I think most priests struggle to answer the questions of the fundamentalists as the congregation does. Each will have an explanation based on their feelings, but few can substantiate their response. Even the tradition of the church --- pointing to the fact that this was going on in the early church, does not explain why, only that it was occurring.
I am not arguing against the church. As we have discussed before, there have been times when we looked at other denominations and have thus far not found one that we would want to change to. They have many of the same problems answering questions when their faith is based on such a limited viewpoint. We have chosen to stay and try to be a part of improving the church, not just jump ship. As such, we still see many things that need to change and few leaders in the church willing to change them. Scott Hahn is a wonderful example of teaching what the basis is for various beliefs in the church. I am surprised that more is not done in the church to support this and I am even more surprised at how few priests recognize him.
Thank you for your help and God Bless you. Bill
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on April 4, 2000 Dear Mr. Bill:
Unfortunately, despite what your friend says, he does not understand the points I made.
I think your friend is the victim of same poor catechisis and teaching that he describes in the parishes of his town.
I he truly understood the theology of the Church's nature as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic then he would have never made the comparison of the Catholic Church being like the always-splitting Protestants. This tells me that he also has a lack of understanding on the nature of denominationalizing.
I have already covered this point last time.
But one very disturbing remark made needs a reply: While in concept, we remain one church, in reality we are segmented by parish and this changes further when the pastor changes.
This is a statement of a person with utterly no understanding of the Catholic Church, and I will also say, it is a statement of a person who is a liberal, or who perhaps unwittingly has be very contaminated by liberal ideas. We are all contaminated by liberal ideas because we ALL grew-up in a culture of liberalism. No one is immune. But we need to be reflective and circumspect and try to see within ourselves that whenever we begin to think in way that are not part of the Catholic worldview, that we work to exorcise those liberal contaminations.
The Catholic Church is one in reality. Because we have wacko priests out there does not mean that the church is no longer one.
We think we have it bad today! At one time it is estimated that 80% of the bishops of the world were Arian heretics. Yet the Church was still one.
The Oneness of the Church is protected by God himself. If we are to suggest that we on one only in concept, then we call God a liar.
We are One in FACT. It is just that some individuals, some LOT of individuals are not in communion with that Oneness. An accurate understanding of the faith knows this.
But something else strikes me here. Your friend says, As such, we still see many things that need to change and few leaders in the church willing to change them.
Okay, then do something about it!
Stop whining and start praying. If as much energy was put into praying for those leaders and it is gripping about them we would have seen every one of those leaders convert into dynamic teachers and representatives of the Church.
Second, make the changes yourself. BE A LEADER!
If we see that people are not being properly catechized, then start a Bible study in your home. You don't need anyone's permission to do that. Go start preaching on the street corner, hand out literature, refer people with Internet access to places like this website.
We have this idea that we can't blow our nose without the priest or the bishop's permission. This is FALSE. The Church ALREADY and AUTOMATICALLY gives us permission to pursue holiness and to pursue the apostolate.
The job of the priest and the bishops is not in giving permission, it is in give support, encouragement, training, and advice. If the priests and bishops fail in this obligation they will be held accountable before God for their failure. But if they fail in doing their part of the job, that does not accept our ability to do our (the laity's) part of our job.
We can catechize, teach, preach as laymen (just not during Mass and we can't do it in the name of the Church, but we can do it as a personal apostolate).
So if there is poor education in your town, fix it yourself, begin a Bible Study.
We must remember that when the Church is hurting, when heresy abounds, it is the LAITY (in communion with Rome) that often saves the Church.
If we want loyal and orthodox priests, then be a loyal and orthodox people.
If we want holy priests, then be a holy people.
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