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Quote:Matthew Kelly is a front runner in the Catholic speaking circuit. He has written numerous books including Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. He is the founder of Dynamic Catholic. Over the last several years he has grown in popularity. While this is great for him, his methods are effective for a minute few, and ineffective for the vast majority of practicing Catholics.

I've been saying this for months now...
This is something I think about often, and the more I've been encountering the traditionalist Catholic community, the more I think it's really not so simply as setting up a strong dichotomy between reason and sentimentality/emotion (the latter two I don't think should be lumped together). Just as how people often use words like universe, world, reality, nature, or cosmos almost synonymously but nevertheless very vaguely, so too do people often use words like emotional, sentimental, feel-good, and the like synonymously. I think this is a bad move because the emotions and passions must be integrated into the entire effort towards holiness. Reason and emotions must work together harmoniously and be directed towards the proper good of each respective pursuit, etc.

Further, we perhaps often hear about the "high retention" rate of pre-Vatican II times, and while that may be the case, I am much more hesitant to say that it is because catechesis was much better back then than it is now. There are too many other factors not being considered for this to be such a clear-cut case. If priestly and religious vocations peaked in the 40s and 50s, then why would roughly the same generation of seminarians/novices go absolutely nuts once the '60s came around with Vatican II and everything else? How would that be possible if the quantity of vocations was an accurate indicator of quality? How would the laity have gotten on board, for the most part, with the radical changes of liturgy and Catholic culture that rapidly followed if they were so well catechized and the "retention rate" was so high? What were people like Garrigou-Lagrange responding to so aggressively during the early 20th century if things really were as well as we like to make them out? Isn't it common to hear the horror stories of how children were treated by the nuns through overly strict discipline, how clericalism ran rampant, etc.? I'll grant that these complaints are often exaggerated by liberals so that they can pass their agenda, but nevertheless, the complaints are there.

Reason is important, of course. But emotion is too. Both must find a balanced place in the Church, I think, because not everyone can respond to reasoned argumentation and presentations as well as they can receive emotional-based ones; and vice versa. A great case in point: my dad and myself. My dad, despite being a very meticulous and excellent doctor, simply cannot remember basic principles of metaphysics nor basic logical fallacies, etc. I always find it so intriguing that he has a very hard time grasping these abstract concepts that come very naturally to my mind, so I have learned over the years to illustrate these concepts through concrete examples and analogies, making use of vivid images and emotional appeals to help things stick. These work--even St. Thomas Aquinas points them out in his tract on memory when he discusses the parts of Prudence! So the result ends up being that my dad recognizes when someone is using a fallacious argument and can point that out, but he would not be able to tell you the name of the fallacy or describe it abstractly.

Likewise, we have in the tradition of the devotio moderna an emphasis on the emotional side, captured very well in the book The Imitation of Christ. While this phase of spirituality certainly had exaggerations towards the sentimental, we should also see in it shining examples of the emotional dimension of humanity at its best when directed towards Christ.

And sure, high school students study calculus, physiology, biology, physics, literature, etc., but how many of them find these subjects INTERESTING and desire to INVEST themselves here? Unless the subject is something that they enjoy or that they see being useful for their career, the subject matter is simply dull and to be forgotten once finished. There are clearly two extremes: having a thin, pathetic religious text filled with cartoons vs. having a dry religious textbook of strong, reasoned argumentation. I know the argumentation myself, and it helps anchor me, but my constant personal struggle is actually giving myself to Christ despite intellectual assent. As Thomas a Kempis asked, "What good is it to converse about the Trinity if in the process you offend the Trinity?" Or likewise, "I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it." On the other hand, Fr. Simon Tugwell gives a reasoned critique of overemphasizing the emotional, especially on these points, he ultimately concludes that the Church is big enough to balance both because their model is in Christ.

Now this is all very abstract... at the end of the day, I just wonder to myself, if not Matthew Kelly, then what? (Not to say that there are no other options, but I usually just tire of reading critiques that remain vague and offer no concrete solutions. Saying things like "Baltimore Catechism, Traditional Latin Mass, etc" are not concrete in themselves. They are elements that must be woven into a concrete plan of action.)
(06-09-2015, 03:48 AM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]Now this is all very abstract... at the end of the day, I just wonder to myself, if not Matthew Kelly, then what? (Not to say that there are no other options, but I usually just tire of reading critiques that remain vague and offer no concrete solutions. Saying things like "Baltimore Catechism, Traditional Latin Mass, etc" are not concrete in themselves. They are elements that must be woven into a concrete plan of action.)

The problem, as I see it, is Matthew Kelly, the New Evangelization, etc etc etc have minimized, if not completely eliminated,  the mystical element of the Church and the Catholic culture. The Baltimore Catechism, the Latin Mass, papal encyclicals (pre VII) tend to re enforce Catholic culture and resist changing society.  What many people wish to do in returning to the pre conciliar practices is return to being "just Catholic" rather than an adapted version of Catholicism that appeases modern society.

You want metrics, details and a plan here are metrics, details and a plan,
The Papal Plan for Restoration: Restoring the Catholic Priesthood. A Study Guide for Catholic Laity, Seminarans, and Clergy - By Robert Wolfe


In summary from the authors website.

"This plan for solving the "crisis" of a continuing lack of priestly and religious vocations in the church at large since Vatican II is not simply another litany of problems, although it does provide much statistical evidence illustrating the current dilemma. This book delineates a clear and convincing presentation of the SOLUTION to the problems that have been pointed out to us by the popes. This solution has been very clearly laid out for us by the Church, if we are only willing to implement it."

I have posted this link before.
If people like Matthew Kelly can bring people into churches, then it's a good thing. However, you also have to ask, what happens when they come back and they get Novus Ordo non-sense and homilies that don't preach the hard truths? I'm sure these people returning won't last all that long.


  Somehow I believe that we are in the midst of a Catholic Renassissance, but it's largely in spite of the modern hierarchy and what is on tap at the local parish level. I'm not sure there are any cut and dry solutions, especially not the gimmicky ones that run on PR hype and excitement. I'm not really on board with the whole " save the liturgy, save the Church" stuff either, as if the only thing standing between here and the promised land is the 1962 Missal and Gregorian chant.

Getting people in the door and enthused is something many of these professional apologists and Catholic Tony Robbins style charismatic gurus are good at, but in most places there's little to keep people in the Church or excited once they see that what they were taught about simply isn't believed by most priests and bishops or reflected in the average parish liturgies and extraliturgical activities.

What is the solution? I've no idea really, but somehow it'll have be be a bottom up affair, with laymen and sympathetic clergy leading the way. 

(06-09-2015, 03:48 AM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]This is something I think about often, and the more I've been encountering the traditionalist Catholic community, the more I think it's really not so simply as setting up a strong dichotomy between reason and sentimentality/emotion (the latter two I don't think should be lumped together). Just as how people often use words like universe, world, reality, nature, or cosmos almost synonymously but nevertheless very vaguely, so too do people often use words like emotional, sentimental, feel-good, and the like synonymously. I think this is a bad move because the emotions and passions must be integrated into the entire effort towards holiness. Reason and emotions must work together harmoniously and be directed towards the proper good of each respective pursuit, etc.

Further, we perhaps often hear about the "high retention" rate of pre-Vatican II times, and while that may be the case, I am much more hesitant to say that it is because catechesis was much better back then than it is now. There are too many other factors not being considered for this to be such a clear-cut case. If priestly and religious vocations peaked in the 40s and 50s, then why would roughly the same generation of seminarians/novices go absolutely nuts once the '60s came around with Vatican II and everything else? How would that be possible if the quantity of vocations was an accurate indicator of quality? How would the laity have gotten on board, for the most part, with the radical changes of liturgy and Catholic culture that rapidly followed if they were so well catechized and the "retention rate" was so high? What were people like Garrigou-Lagrange responding to so aggressively during the early 20th century if things really were as well as we like to make them out? Isn't it common to hear the horror stories of how children were treated by the nuns through overly strict discipline, how clericalism ran rampant, etc.? I'll grant that these complaints are often exaggerated by liberals so that they can pass their agenda, but nevertheless, the complaints are there.

Reason is important, of course. But emotion is too. Both must find a balanced place in the Church, I think, because not everyone can respond to reasoned argumentation and presentations as well as they can receive emotional-based ones; and vice versa. A great case in point: my dad and myself. My dad, despite being a very meticulous and excellent doctor, simply cannot remember basic principles of metaphysics nor basic logical fallacies, etc. I always find it so intriguing that he has a very hard time grasping these abstract concepts that come very naturally to my mind, so I have learned over the years to illustrate these concepts through concrete examples and analogies, making use of vivid images and emotional appeals to help things stick. These work--even St. Thomas Aquinas points them out in his tract on memory when he discusses the parts of Prudence! So the result ends up being that my dad recognizes when someone is using a fallacious argument and can point that out, but he would not be able to tell you the name of the fallacy or describe it abstractly.

Likewise, we have in the tradition of the devotio moderna an emphasis on the emotional side, captured very well in the book The Imitation of Christ. While this phase of spirituality certainly had exaggerations towards the sentimental, we should also see in it shining examples of the emotional dimension of humanity at its best when directed towards Christ.

And sure, high school students study calculus, physiology, biology, physics, literature, etc., but how many of them find these subjects INTERESTING and desire to INVEST themselves here? Unless the subject is something that they enjoy or that they see being useful for their career, the subject matter is simply dull and to be forgotten once finished. There are clearly two extremes: having a thin, pathetic religious text filled with cartoons vs. having a dry religious textbook of strong, reasoned argumentation. I know the argumentation myself, and it helps anchor me, but my constant personal struggle is actually giving myself to Christ despite intellectual assent. As Thomas a Kempis asked, "What good is it to converse about the Trinity if in the process you offend the Trinity?" Or likewise, "I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it." On the other hand, Fr. Simon Tugwell gives a reasoned critique of overemphasizing the emotional, especially on these points, he ultimately concludes that the Church is big enough to balance both because their model is in Christ.

Now this is all very abstract... at the end of the day, I just wonder to myself, if not Matthew Kelly, then what? (Not to say that there are no other options, but I usually just tire of reading critiques that remain vague and offer no concrete solutions. Saying things like "Baltimore Catechism, Traditional Latin Mass, etc" are not concrete in themselves. They are elements that must be woven into a concrete plan of action.)

I agree with much of what you say; my signature kinda gives away that I also, like the psalmist, place great importance not only to what we know but to what we love. I wouldn't call this feeling exactly, because sometimes this happens below the feeling level: sometimes we go through pain, but underneath it there is some joy, not because one likes the pain but because, you know, God and Jesus.

But I disagree about the necessity of a plan. I'm not familiar with this Matthew fellow, but I'm deeply suspicious of any (finite-numer steps) plan (not in the least because it sounds like yet another attempt of social engineering). As I said in other places, what we need are saints, people that live the Form of Christ so that we live not only of plans or books but so that we can see and make reference to the first Revelation (there's a popular story about a very learned Cardinal—di Peron, if I'm not mistaken—saying that his intellect was all very good and he thanked God for it, and he could prove heretics wrong, but if one wished to convert heretics one should send them to St. Francis de Sales). All the glories of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were fruits of anonymous saints of the eighth and ninth centuries—innumerable monks and priests, teaching cathechesis in monasteries or the Cathedral schools, where a real formation, paideia, a much broader vision of education, took place.
The thing most resembling a plan, IMO, that would work is what Rod Dreher has vaguely called the benedictine options: a sort of withdrawal from the larger society, a formation of a parallel community (even if composed of only one; after all, isolation is an illusion for a Catholic) where one can live not only an enriching intellectual life but maybe more importantly a liturgical life. If you have so much power over a parish that you can inflict on the parishioners silly Prot-like plans on how to revolutionize things, I'm pretty sure you could form a more rooted community where, at least in the first generation, you can really go for sainthood (maybe the second generation will know some saints—heck, if things go the way they are going, the second or third generations will know some martyrs).
I agree that the need for a plan is overemphasized. At the end of the day, the apostolate of Saints guided by the gift of Counsel is probably astoundingly more effective than any plan put together by someone who hasn't experienced true contemplative prayer. If anything, people should be given the tools and encouragement to pursue sanctity as best as they can. I think everything else will then fall right into proper place.
(06-09-2015, 03:48 AM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]This is something I think about often, and the more I've been encountering the traditionalist Catholic community, the more I think it's really not so simply as setting up a strong dichotomy between reason and sentimentality/emotion (the latter two I don't think should be lumped together). Just as how people often use words like universe, world, reality, nature, or cosmos almost synonymously but nevertheless very vaguely, so too do people often use words like emotional, sentimental, feel-good, and the like synonymously. I think this is a bad move because the emotions and passions must be integrated into the entire effort towards holiness. Reason and emotions must work together harmoniously and be directed towards the proper good of each respective pursuit, etc.

Further, we perhaps often hear about the "high retention" rate of pre-Vatican II times, and while that may be the case, I am much more hesitant to say that it is because catechesis was much better back then than it is now. There are too many other factors not being considered for this to be such a clear-cut case. If priestly and religious vocations peaked in the 40s and 50s, then why would roughly the same generation of seminarians/novices go absolutely nuts once the '60s came around with Vatican II and everything else? How would that be possible if the quantity of vocations was an accurate indicator of quality? How would the laity have gotten on board, for the most part, with the radical changes of liturgy and Catholic culture that rapidly followed if they were so well catechized and the "retention rate" was so high? What were people like Garrigou-Lagrange responding to so aggressively during the early 20th century if things really were as well as we like to make them out? Isn't it common to hear the horror stories of how children were treated by the nuns through overly strict discipline, how clericalism ran rampant, etc.? I'll grant that these complaints are often exaggerated by liberals so that they can pass their agenda, but nevertheless, the complaints are there.

This is an extremely important point and highlights the problem of thinking the 1950s, for ex., was some golden era. In a way, it was, insofar as the Church was taken seriously in the world, we had men like Abp Sheen with a hit -- a HIT -- TV show, etc.  But it's very obvious to me that, though catechesis was much better then, it was severely lacking. I think there was a bad sort of "clericalism" about as well, and a "condescending" attitude on the part of too many hierarchs toward the laity. The nuns who'd be angered by questions they couldn't answer, legalism (I've told the story about how my poor Pops, when he was a little guy, accidentally ate a White Castle hamburger on Friday and was *terrified*) --- all of that sort of thing existed and had to go.

Quote: Reason is important, of course. But emotion is too. Both must find a balanced place in the Church, I think, because not everyone can respond to reasoned argumentation and presentations as well as they can receive emotional-based ones; and vice versa. A great case in point: my dad and myself. My dad, despite being a very meticulous and excellent doctor, simply cannot remember basic principles of metaphysics nor basic logical fallacies, etc. I always find it so intriguing that he has a very hard time grasping these abstract concepts that come very naturally to my mind, so I have learned over the years to illustrate these concepts through concrete examples and analogies, making use of vivid images and emotional appeals to help things stick. These work--even St. Thomas Aquinas points them out in his tract on memory when he discusses the parts of Prudence! So the result ends up being that my dad recognizes when someone is using a fallacious argument and can point that out, but he would not be able to tell you the name of the fallacy or describe it abstractly.

Likewise, we have in the tradition of the devotio moderna an emphasis on the emotional side, captured very well in the book The Imitation of Christ. While this phase of spirituality certainly had exaggerations towards the sentimental, we should also see in it shining examples of the emotional dimension of humanity at its best when directed towards Christ.

And sure, high school students study calculus, physiology, biology, physics, literature, etc., but how many of them find these subjects INTERESTING and desire to INVEST themselves here? Unless the subject is something that they enjoy or that they see being useful for their career, the subject matter is simply dull and to be forgotten once finished. There are clearly two extremes: having a thin, pathetic religious text filled with cartoons vs. having a dry religious textbook of strong, reasoned argumentation. I know the argumentation myself, and it helps anchor me, but my constant personal struggle is actually giving myself to Christ despite intellectual assent. As Thomas a Kempis asked, "What good is it to converse about the Trinity if in the process you offend the Trinity?" Or likewise, "I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it." On the other hand, Fr. Simon Tugwell gives a reasoned critique of overemphasizing the emotional, especially on these points, he ultimately concludes that the Church is big enough to balance both because their model is in Christ.

A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y! A balance between the intellectual and the emotional is KEY. It's precisely the lack of understanding the emotional world that, I think, marks the "toxic trads," and it's the lack of focus on the intellectual that marks the "neo-conservatives." And both of them are half-right -- and very, woefully, half-wrong. It's precisely this very thing that I want for FE to deal with (that's why I think of the "Conversion of the Heart" page as the most important page on the entire site).

Quote: Now this is all very abstract... at the end of the day, I just wonder to myself, if not Matthew Kelly, then what? (Not to say that there are no other options, but I usually just tire of reading critiques that remain vague and offer no concrete solutions. Saying things like "Baltimore Catechism, Traditional Latin Mass, etc" are not concrete in themselves. They are elements that must be woven into a concrete plan of action.)

FishEaters. Keep an eye on it...
(06-09-2015, 05:08 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not really on board with the whole " save the liturgy, save the Church" stuff either, as if the only thing standing between here and the promised land is the 1962 Missal and Gregorian chant.

It depends on what is meant by the slogan. If one understands it like you describe, as if the TLM were some kind of magic bullet, then it's just another pipe dream. But if it means that by restoring the correct understanding of the Sacred Liturgy throughout the Church at all levels, the Church will rediscover who She is and thus be more effective in influencing the larger society, I think that is true.

The issue is that over the last half-century, and perhaps longer to some extent, the Church at large has lost a sense of who She is and what She is for. The Church is the Bride of Christ, His Mystical Body - not an NGO employing celibate social workers in funny clothes. The Mass is a sacrifice, not a dinner party; priests are PRIESTS making a Sacred Oblation, not toastmasters. And as the hierarchy has lost their collective mind, the laity have done so as well - one doesn't have to look too hard for depressing statistics on belief and praxis among Catholics. Society cannot be repaired and the Church recover her outer glory until the members of the Church live a coherently Catholic existence within the Church; restoring holiness inside will radiate holiness outward. As it is now, a stunning number of Catholics don't even know what it means to be Catholic except that they were "born that way." That level of ignorance will affect no one for the better.
(06-12-2015, 05:16 PM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-09-2015, 05:08 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not really on board with the whole " save the liturgy, save the Church" stuff either, as if the only thing standing between here and the promised land is the 1962 Missal and Gregorian chant.

It depends on what is meant by the slogan. If one understands it like you describe, as if the TLM were some kind of magic bullet, then it's just another pipe dream. But if it means that by restoring the correct understanding of the Sacred Liturgy throughout the Church at all levels, the Church will rediscover who She is and thus be more effective in influencing the larger society, I think that is true.

The issue is that over the last half-century, and perhaps longer to some extent, the Church at large has lost a sense of who She is and what She is for. The Church is the Bride of Christ, His Mystical Body - not an NGO employing celibate social workers in funny clothes. The Mass is a sacrifice, not a dinner party; priests are PRIESTS making a Sacred Oblation, not toastmasters. And as the hierarchy has lost their collective mind, the laity have done so as well - one doesn't have to look too hard for depressing statistics on belief and praxis among Catholics. Society cannot be repaired and the Church recover her outer glory until the members of the Church live a coherently Catholic existence within the Church; restoring holiness inside will radiate holiness outward. As it is now, a stunning number of Catholics don't even know what it means to be Catholic except that they were "born that way." That level of ignorance will affect no one for the better.

The way I meant it was exactly that of a slogan, but you have a point that save the liturgy, save the Church can be meant in a manner that opens up the possibility of real renewal and restoration.

You hit the nail on the head about the Church not knowing who she is for the last half a century. That's the crux of the issue, and no amount of restoration will take place on a grand scale unless the hierarchy and the laity step up and actually live as if they actually believe what the Church is supposed to believe.

You cannot give what you don't have.  I think about sums it up.
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