Forget Crucifixes: Catholic Identity Hinges on Catholic Social Teaching
#1
This gentleman claims to be Catholic and a theologian.  If you check his CV he was a Theology Teacher & Service Ministry Director, Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School 
I am wondering if that was Catholic Theology.  Maybe he is vying to get a position in the Obama administration like Dr. Diaz.

http://www.holisticthoughts.com/2009/11/...ntity.html
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Forget Crucifixes: Catholic Identity Hinges on Catholic Social Teaching
By: Cesar J. Baldelomar
http://www.cesarjb.org/


In his article “Benedict’s ongoing battle against secularism,” John L. Allen claims that European secular attacks on Catholicism led to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent controversial decisions to allow the Society of St. Pius X and conservative Anglicans into the Catholic fold.

Allen points to a recent court ruling as evidence that Europe has become overly secular. The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasburg, “issued its ruling in response to a petition from an Italian woman named Soile Lautsi, who lives near Padua and who claimed that having crucifixes in the public school classrooms attended by her two children violates the church/state separation provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court agreed, awarding Lautsi 5,000 euros (roughly $7,400) in damages.”

Allen argues that, following this ruling by the European court, we cannot fault the Pope and his prelates for seeing European secularists as vociferously attacking Catholic identity. This is why the Pope, according to Allen, is welcoming “groups into the church who are ferociously committed to important markers of identity, such as traditional forms of liturgy and devotion and traditional moral teachings.” (It should be noted that the court did not demand for the removal of the crucifixes, even with Lautsi’s petitions.)

While I find Allen’s assessment correct, I am troubled by the fact that Catholic identity hinges on revering crucifixes, celebrating traditional forms of liturgy, and adhering to conservative moral teachings, such as avoiding contraceptives and not co-habiting before marriage. There has to be more than this to the Catholic tradition and identity as a follower of Jesus.

After all, according to many scholars, the crucifix wasn’t even the original symbol for Jesus. Scenes of Jesus sharing a meal with the marginalized and healing others were the two most common representations of Jesus among the early Christian communities. Eating together with the oppressed and healing do not belong to any particular faith. These acts of compassion belong to all humanity but are nevertheless central to Christianity.

Rather than bemoaning the removal of crucifixes as proof of secular hatred toward Catholicism, let’s explore why most secularists see Catholicism as backward in the first place.

The Catholic hierarchy is partly to blame, for it always seems to be playing catch-up with the secular world. It had to admit that the earth did in fact orbit the sun and then offer an apology to those it persecuted for that discovery. It officially recognized the workers’ plights and rights several years after Karl Marx published his Communist Manifesto. And, in the early 1900’s, the Catholic hierarchy was condemning biblical scholarship, only to embrace it several years later to keep pace with Protestant and secular biblical scholars.

Is it any wonder that many secularists are suspicious of a faith they view as always late to the occasion?

I don’t see how bringing ultra-conservative individuals into the fold will assuage the secular stereotype of the backward church. On the contrary, bringing the Holocaust-denying Lefebvrites and homosexual-hating Anglicans into communion with Rome buttresses this notion. If we are to sympathize with the Pope for seeing European secularism as a threat to Catholicism, then we must also understand why secularists see Catholicism as a threat to the forging of a just social order.

This is a sad realization. Catholicism has a rich social teaching tradition. But, the Pope’s reactions to secularism show the laity that their Catholic identity depends on looking at the crucifix with reverence, by worshipping in traditional forms, and by adhering to strict sexual moral teachings.

The erosion of the Catholic social teaching tradition among Catholics is a more serious threat to Catholic identity than the removal of crucifixes or the playing of modern instruments during a liturgy.

I attended a Catholic university and could honestly say that the Catholic social tradition was relatively unknown and even ignored by professors, administrators, fellow students, and even some priests and deacons. They, with a few exceptions (like my mentor Dr. Joe Holland), knew little about various liberation theologians and the social writings of all popes since Benedict XIV.

Yet the Catholic social tradition is much more than a treasure trove of texts. Benefiting from years of wisdom, the Catholic social tradition provides a sound framework for prayer, critical reflection and action in response to today’s major social and environmental issues. Hence, even with the publication of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Catholic social teaching still remains the Catholic church’s best kept secret.

Perhaps secularism is right to decry Catholicism’s current backward state. Maybe the Catholic hierarchy and laity need to discover and rediscover a tradition that seems to be forgotten and ignored, but is fundamental to the Catholic identity of following Jesus.

Jesus worked for justice and the elimination of oppression and marginalization. Jesus did not worry about the removal of holy symbols, correct liturgical procedures, and one’s personal sex life. He focused on eradicating political and religious corruption. He worried about the naked, homeless, starving, and impoverished individuals.

This is what the Catholic social tradition represents, and this is what many Catholics have forgotten or ignored. Perhaps secularism, by removing the crucifixes, can help us recall the original images of Jesus healing and eating with the oppressed and marginalized – acts of compassion both secularists and Catholics should do more often to forge a socially just global humanistic civilization.
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#2
Every time somebody claims that Catholics should spend more time working for social justice and less time in church, I'm reminded of this passage...

Matthew 26:6-11

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, there came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table.  And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste?  For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.  And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me for the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always.
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#3
"Jesus did not worry about the removal of holy symbols, correct liturgical procedures, and one’s personal sex life"
Has he ever read the Gospels? Each one of those came in for his personal attention. Sounds like this author is rewriting Christianity to fit in with his own views of what the Church should focus on. "Marginalized" and "oppressed" are key words too; every time you see them, wait and see how long it takes for the author to put himself in that category.
One part that really floored me was the statement the the Popes were forced to acknowledge worker's rights after Marx. Ummmm, the encyclicals condemn all the ideas of Marxism, but he implies the had th change Church teaching to support it.
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#4
Quote:
In his article “Benedict’s ongoing battle against secularism,” John L. Allen claims that European secular attacks on Catholicism led to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent controversial decisions to allow the Society of St. Pius X and conservative Anglicans into the Catholic fold.
Allen points to a recent court ruling as evidence that Europe has become overly secular. The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasburg, “issued its ruling in response to a petition from an Italian woman named Soile Lautsi, who lives near Padua and who claimed that having crucifixes in the public school classrooms attended by her two children violates the church/state separation provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court agreed, awarding Lautsi 5,000 euros (roughly $7,400) in damages.”

The effort to change the historical narrative keeps going.  Anything but the work of the Blessed Mother through a Rosary Crusade.  And now the secularists want to chip away at the Pope by associating him with their cartoonish view of the SSPX.

If the Pope had simply stated that he responded to the Rosary Crusade, the press would be left absolutely stunned and unaware how to spin a supernatural event when confirmed by the Pope. 
The Press is working it's way towards open attacks against the papacy.  They are not prepared to take on the Blessed Mother.
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#5

i support Catholic social teaching -- the real thing, not someone's new ideas about it -- but i will not forget the crucifix because Catholic identity hinges on the sacrifice Jesus made for us and that is symbolized by the crucifix.  if we forget that, our good works are for naught.
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#6
Another social worker with a collar.  God, give us priests.
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#7

speaking of crucifixes, have you all seen that photo of a church in rubble in Haiti that has an undamaged stone crucifix standing outside?  similar things happened in New Orleans and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast when Katrina hit. 

but we should all do as Jesus said (Catholic social teaching) and send something to feed the hungry, etc., in Haiti.
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