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From Reuters:



Irish plunge stake through Catholic Church’s heart
By John Lloyd
June 5, 2015


The Irish vote to legalize gay marriage drives a stake through the heart of the Catholic Church. The scholar Tom Inglis, a sociologist who specialises in the affairs of the Irish church, opined “the era of the Church as the moral conscience of Irish society is over.” But not just for the Irish.

As the effect of the April 29 referendum — gay marriage approved by 62 per cent — sinks in, it becomes clearer that it isn’t just the Irish Church that is trembling, but the Catholic Church itself. To say, as Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin did after the vote, that “I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live,” is to position the Bishop well among liberals: but it plunges the Church further into the mire. The Catholic Church is not a liberal institution: it’s an organized faith, with a pope elected to guard that faith.

The Irish Church had, for centuries, one of the most powerful grips on its population of any in the world. Hope for heaven and horror of hell was strong; the 19th and 20th century republican movement — though often denounced as godless by the bishops — was motivated, in part, by a Catholic revulsion against the schismatic, Protestant British. And when, in the early 1920s, Ireland became an independent republic, education was handed over to the Church, as was moral guidance; divorce was hard, abortion forbidden, censorship strict. James Joyce’s Ulysses wasn’t banned: but only because his publishers believed (correctly) that it would be, so never tried to sell it in the republic.

Vox Wrote:
I think the above highlights some of the problems of the Church in Ireland and in the US before "that Council." "Revulsion" against the schismatic and heretical Protestants? Not good. Concern, prayer for their souls and their turning to the Church, evangelizing them -- yes. But "revulsion"? No.  "Censorship was strict" -- not a good idea, IMO. I think the human element of the Church would've been a lot better off describing the various problems in certain books, EXPLAINING how this or that book is wrong, immoral, etc., instead of banning them and turning them into "forbidden fruits" - and "patronizing" (the modern sense of the word) their sheep in the process.

The pre-Council-From-Hell  (figuratively speaking, in terms of its effects) hierarchs of the Church dropped the ball BIG TIME when it came to catechesis beyond the old "penny catechism" stuff (which I consider to be mostly great catechisms for young people!). Catholics were left utterly defenseless when it came to defending the Faith against Protestants, and when the NO Mass came along and the people saw no obvious differences between it and what the Lutherans do every Sunday, they ran out of the Church in droves. It was all so completely unnecessary, so tragic.

I've heard so many stories of young people basically being told to shut up when they asked nuns the more difficult questions in religion classes back in the day. That is absolutely offensive and w-r-o-n-g! Every sincere question deserves an answer. Too many of the hierarchs back in the day treated people with high intellects as nothing-but-trouble instead of giving them ANSWERS. And the problem is -- well, the first problem is what that does to the souls of those intellects -- but another problem is what happens to "an intellect deferred," to misquote Langston Hughes. Unhappy intellectual types start movements. They write books and plays and make movies and bring their troubles to "the masses." The Church should "cultivate" the great intellects out there! We're the Church of Bl. Scotus, Albert the Great, St. Hildegard, Aquinas! But we've become known as the Church ONLY for the simple, ignorant masses (with great emphasis on the "ONLY"). And I think the reason for that is the uneducated nuns who didn't give answers to those kids in their 5th grade classes, but, instead, made them feel as if they were problems. A tragedy.

In the past few decades, the descent of the once omnipotent church has been swift. The writer Damien Thompson believes that, because of the many instances of priests engaged in pedophilia and because of its “joyless” aspect, “hatred of the Church is one of the central features of modern Ireland.”

Vox Wrote:
Sigh. And there's that "pedophilia" meme once again. Will it never end?

But that "joyless aspect" -- yes, that was and is, still, a problem. Go to any other trad forum aside from this one and watch the philosophers who intellectually know OF Jesus, but who don't KNOW Jesus rhapsodize in their antiquated and very fake-sounding language, wonder about the "sinfulness" of taking a minute to go urinate after the 3rd decade of praying the Rosary, express vile attitudes toward homosexuals, or talk about women as if we're overgrown, sexless children incapable of reason and who should be treated like maids and breeding machines. Dour sourpusses who don't know the meaning of the word "Gospel" and who wield the Faith like a bludgeon. None of that stuff is inherent in Tradition. And that stuff will KILL the "movement." 

Even if that’s an exaggeration — indifference is more likely — it’s obviously the case that fear and submission to clerical authority is confined to a tiny few. We may be hardwired for religion, as many behavioral psychologists believe: but we are not hard wired for Catholicism, or any other form of religion.

Vox Wrote:Yes, we are. We are hard-wired for the Truth, and Christ IS Truth. Catholicism is not only Truth, but it's the only religion that meets man's psychological and social needs. It's the only religion that does (or should!) have joy, community, charity, and beauty as its signs. We are hard-wired for Catholicism because God made us, and God built this Church on the rock of St. Peter. We're hardwired for it, too, because the praeternatural world exists, and things like Wicca and the New Age movement deal with demons, whether their practitioners realize it or not.

Polls in Europe, and increasingly in North America, show that many people say they believe in “something” supernatural — but are not prepared to shape that vague belief into an organized religious practice. The revulsion against those who use their authority to violate minors is a much stronger public attitude, one which easily translates into a turning away from the Church, even when the priest is a good man.

Vox Wrote:Well, it'd sure as Hell help if the media would tell the Truth about it all. Pedophilia wasn't the problem; homosexual ephebophila was. And the problem was -- IS -- vastly, HUGELY greater in the American public school system than it was in the human element of the Church. So all this "revulsion" is misplaced to a huge degree, and that's the case because of how the media ran with it, loving every damned second of it.

I've posted these before, many times, and will keep posting them so newbies to this forum will read them:

Catholic Church vs Public Schools Sex Abuse: 
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-215_162-1933687.html

Child-Rape Assembly Line
http://www.vice.com/read/the-child-rape-...141-v20n11

Rabbi Sex Abuse
http://iamthewitness.com/listeners/Jewis...WS-WHY.htm

Sexual Abuse is Not a Catholic Problem:
http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...092.0.html

Billy Graham's Grandson: Sex Abuse Worse in Protestant Circles:
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/09/26/b...sex-abuse/

Pope Francis, much lauded as a new kind of informal, down-to-earth, liberal-minded pontiff, is deeply wounded by the Irish vote. His remark about gays who are Catholic, made to reporters in July 2013, on a flight back from Brazil — “Who am I to judge?” — was widely interpreted as a possible opening to approval of same sex unions, and even  the sanctification of these unions in marriage. But it wasn’t.  It couldn’t be. Most of his senior colleagues, cardinals and archbishops, answered his rhetorical question by saying (beneath their breath), “You’re the Pope, dummy!” And popes don’t sanction two men or two women marrying.  When, last year, he called the Synod on the Family in Rome, an early draft the meeting’s report called for the “gifts and values” of gays to be recognized, but the cardinals who organized the event removed any such language from the final document.

Vox Wrote:Even the Pope can't judge souls. That is the job, and privilege, of Christ ALONE.  But Pope Francis's comment got spun, as his comments always are, it seems.

As to the report about the "gifts and values" of gays:  I'd have been happy with a report that talked about the gifts of homosexuals, and their value. But "values"? Maybe that's a typo. I hope it was. Anyway, any such report, which, again, I'd welcome, would have to be exceedingly clear about the differences between homosexuality (not a sin) -- and sexually acting on homosexual desires (a sin). 

The Church most definitely has to embrace homosexuals. And manic-depressives. And people with a fetish for leather. And, yes, even pedophiles. But it's also obvious, and should be made obvious and clear, that, for ex., getting in a manic state (not a sin) is one thing, but gambling away your kids' lunch money (a sin) is not OK. And that having a fetish for leather (not a sin) is OK and is fine to indulge within the context of marriage (assuming your spouse is OK with it and not degraded), but joining some swinging leather fetish club is not OK. And that people don't choose to be pedophiles and having that kink, in se, is not a sin, but harming a child in any way, and especially in a sexual way, is exceedingly sinful. And so forth.

In behaving like this, the Catholic Church puts itself in the same league with Russia, India and most of the Middle East; entities that suppress homosexuality, either by law or encouragement of prejudice. President Vladimir Putin visits the pope next week in the Vatican. The issue won’t likely be on the agenda, but it should be — so that spiritual and temporal powers compare notes on why they give a platform to a prejudice which fosters hatred, and violence.

Vox Wrote:The Catechism is clear on the topic. Any unjust discrimination toward homosexuals is NOT OK. They are to be treated with dignity, respect, and charity, just like everyone else. What this writer is wanting is for the Church to be OK with homosexual sex and homosexual "marriage." Not gonna happen.

But the people of the Church could be doing a MUCH better job of dealing with homosexuality and homosexuals. Avoiding sloppy or unnecessarily ugly language, having empathy,  and stopping freaking out would be a great start.

In the world that has accepted homosexuality as neither an abomination in the sight of the Lord, nor an unnatural practice deserving of punishment, earlier bigotry is being debated and confronted with an impressive amount of liberalism and maturity. Quite recent state-sanctioned discrimination against gays is being revealed in all its casual cruelty, and people are recoiling at what they now see clearly.

The recent film, “The Imitation Game,” chronicled the story of Alan Turing, the mathematical genius who broke the Nazis’ Enigma code and thereby, it’s estimated, shortened the Second World War. It showed a man found guilty of homosexual acts, and given a choice by a judge of two years in prison, or chemical castration. He chose the latter — and in 1952 committed suicide. Turing received a posthumous and very late “pardon” from the queen in 2013. Last month, an institute to study the social effects of technology in the future was founded in his name in London.

Vox Wrote:Criminalizing homosexuality and homosexual acts is a bad move. Talk about "big government"! What people do in the privacy of their own homes is the business only of the people in that home, and their priests, and God. The public square is another matter, though. Me, I want for homosexuals to be able to be honest and open about who they are, without that honesty treated as some sort of "recruitment." But there is a line, and having commercials with presumably "married" gay couples, or Pride parades that go beyond affirming the dignity of homosexuals as human beings and are vile, filled with nudity and such, normalizing homosexuality in gradeschool textbooks (as opposed to simply and compassionately explaining what it is as a disorder -- if there is to be sex ed at all) -- these things way cross that line.

In the liberal societies, the real debate is not whether gay men and women should be free to live, express themselves and marry, it is how to handle those who, for religious or bigoted reasons, or both, refuse to accept or serve them. These cases now mount up. In Oregon in April, a judge fined a small bakery $145,000 for refusing to cater a gay wedding; and a pizza parlor in Indiana, answering a reporter’s question by saying it, too, would not be keen to supply pizzas to such a ceremony, was forced to close for a week in face of protests.

Vox Wrote:Yeah, that's the question. "How to handle those who, for religious or bigoted reasons, or both, refuse to accept and serve" -- not gay people (let's be real here), but gay "marriage." We all know where this stuff is headed, barring supernatural intervention.  The "right" to a wedding cake trumps other people's 1st amendment rights in the U.S..

The pope goes to the United States in September, for another “World Meeting of Families” in Philadelphia. Francis has called the faithful Catholic family “the salt of the earth and the light of the world … the leaven of society.”

But the issue is indeed salty in a different sense, and bitterly so: the Irish answer to the issue of same sex marriage underscores his isolation from the Western world and its people.

Vox Wrote:He is not "isolated." He's affirming the Faith. And you don't like it and won't quit until he does the impossible by changing Church teaching. Don't hold your breath. But do apply for that prison guard gig that'll likely be opening up soon at an American "Bergen-Belsen" to hide away, punish, and -- why not? -- euthanize those dastardly Catholics who believe and try to safeguard the Faith that made Europe "Europe" for two millennia. Think of how rewarding such a job would be! The "guards" during the Stanford Prison Experiment had a ball, I hear!

This is why I post here as opposed to any other Catholic forum.
It seems like the moment Faith, whether individually or collectively, is taken for granted and not as a grace, it begins to dissipate, and fast.

Or as all the spiritual masters said: not to advance is to regress.
(06-05-2015, 03:49 AM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]It seems like the moment Faith, whether individually or collectively, is taken for granted and not as a grace, it begins to dissipate, and fast.

Or as all the spiritual masters said: not to advance is to regress.

This is so true and history really bears it out.  The "best of times" for the Church--ie when there is peace and respect from the world and little struggle--quickly become the worst of times.  St. Bernard applied the following verse in Isaiah to this phenomenon in his own time:

"It was once predicted of the Church, and now the time of its fulfillment draws near: Behold, in peace is my bitterness most bitter (Is. 38:17). It was bitter at first in the persecution of the martyrs, more bitter in later times in the struggle with the great heresiarchs, but most bitter of all now in the evil lives of her members. She cannot drive them away, and she cannot flee from them, so strongly established are they, and so multiplied are they above measure. The plague of the Church is inward; it is incurable. It is that which makes its bitterness most bitter, even in the midst of peace. But in what peace! Peace it is, and yet it is not peace. There is peace with the world, but not from her own sons. At this time is heard the voice of her complaining: I have nourished and brought forth children, and they have rebelled against me (Is. 1:2). They have rebelled. They have dishonored me with their evil lives, by their many works which walk in darkness."
(06-05-2015, 09:23 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-05-2015, 03:49 AM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]It seems like the moment Faith, whether individually or collectively, is taken for granted and not as a grace, it begins to dissipate, and fast.

Or as all the spiritual masters said: not to advance is to regress.

This is so true and history really bears it out.  The "best of times" for the Church--ie when there is peace and respect from the world and little struggle--quickly become the worst of times.  St. Bernard applied the following verse in Isaiah to this phenomenon in his own time:

"It was once predicted of the Church, and now the time of its fulfillment draws near: Behold, in peace is my bitterness most bitter (Is. 38:17). It was bitter at first in the persecution of the martyrs, more bitter in later times in the struggle with the great heresiarchs, but most bitter of all now in the evil lives of her members. She cannot drive them away, and she cannot flee from them, so strongly established are they, and so multiplied are they above measure. The plague of the Church is inward; it is incurable. It is that which makes its bitterness most bitter, even in the midst of peace. But in what peace! Peace it is, and yet it is not peace. There is peace with the world, but not from her own sons. At this time is heard the voice of her complaining: I have nourished and brought forth children, and they have rebelled against me (Is. 1:2). They have rebelled. They have dishonored me with their evil lives, by their many works which walk in darkness."
That's a great quotation. Do you happen to have the original source location with you?
(06-05-2015, 04:58 PM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]That's a great quotation. Do you happen to have the original source location with you?

I am glad you asked, because I didn't think to include the source when I first came across it in a book years ago and copied it down for my own edification (kind of as a reminder when thinks don't look so great). I've tried to re-find it again in the past, but haven't been able to, but this time I was!

It's from Sermon XXXIII.  See paragraph 16 on page 224 below (the wording is slightly different in a couple places, probably due to translation or manuscript differences from the source I had it from--or copyist error!  :blush:)

https://books.google.com/books?id=4GlKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA224&lpg=PA224&dq=bernard+%22in+peace+is+my+bitterness%22&source=bl&ots=4kZYpjHPTk&sig=ueUBJr8BpXvFTOARktgmO9cZC5c&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fJF1VYS6C4adyQSFwoOwCg&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bernard%20%22in%20peace%20is%20my%20bitterness%22&f=false
Awesome thanks. I need to go through more of those sermons because every one that I have read has so many great insights.