On the state of the Church

7 12 2008


I am not taken to commenting on contemporary church affairs on this blog, but I sometimes defer to others who I think have made some good points. One good recent essay on this topic can be found on the blog, The Sensible Bond, also by an ex-SSPX seminarian. Here are some excerpts:

Traditionalists accuse the New Mass of making Catholics focus on themselves, but in reality we’ve been focusing on ourselves as a culture for a very long time. The entire panoply of spiritual techniques and methods, developed especially in the last four or five centuries, share some blame for this. But the idea that a great reforming pope can provide the answer is, at least on its own, another kind of collectivized anthropocentrism.

Indeed, I am very wary at this point of any talk of the “spiritual life” for this reason. A lot of it can seem to be something like, “if I close my eyes, hold my breath, and have good feelings about Jesus, I am becoming holier than the person next to me”. As someone who has devoted years of his life to such exercises, I remain skeptical about their authenticity.

The older I get, the more anti-clerical I become, but not with a Votairean anticlericalism – God forbid! – but just a healthy scepticism about the clerical worship I was once guilty of a few years ago. They’re just men: popes, bishops and priests. And, like all men, they are capable of beautiful deeds and terrible crimes: if we hope for the best, we should not be suprised at the worst.

I also share this sentiment, though I am probably more jaded about all of it than this blogger. But a healthy emotional distance from the halls of powers is never a bad thing, especially if there is nothing that you can directly do about it.

Read the rest here.



3 responses

17 12 2008
Diane Kamer

Oh my gosh…I don’t think that’s a problem in my parish **at all.** Quite the contrary, LOL. But maybe I’d better not go there…. 🙂

11 12 2008

I think that clerical worship is somewhat inevitable unfortunately, given the situation of the American Church. In a traditional Catholic society, I would imagine that priests are viewed kind of like the way the post office is; incompetent oftentimes, but a nessesary part of life. In a modern non-Catholic society where there is not only a priest shortage but open hostility to the Church, Catholics can’t be as complacent. So in order to encourage vocations, conservative/traditional Catholics spend a lot of time building up the idea that priests are uniquely heroic. In and of itself that’s not always a bad thing, but it can lead to personality cults, particularly if you think that your particular priest is uniquely holy in a diocese filled with heretics.

10 12 2008

This is a constant issue for me as clergy…and I’m Baptist. The cult of personality coupled with the desire for salvation is a constant sin for humanity. I would say that this is an ongoing struggle where Darkness wishes us to turn away from God and see only ourselves or the admirable in the mirror. This way we can live helplessly in cynicism.

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