The Numbing Down of the Church
  • A blistering tirade, and one which is not just not far of the mark but right on it. We would, however, be deluding ourselves if we believed that much of the rot Mr Chapp so colourfully exposes is altogether a recent phenomenon. It all began with an hierarchy the elevation to which was limited pretty much to Roman grandees. The unbelievably inhuman wickedness of heart betwixt pope and anti-pope could not have its equal as a total contradiction to the life and teachings of our Lord. Throughout the mediaeval era it was quite common for feudal bishops, even popes, to charge into battle fully armed and mercilessly satisfying the lust of their swords. Throughout most of history popes and bishops were chosen largely on the basis of their familial dynastic pedigrees. Absentee bishops and abbots, and abbesses, were the rule of the day for centuries. Several popes regarded the papacy as a personal gift from God meant for them to exploit to the fullest for the accumulation of personal wealth and the increase of their domains.Then there was the dung of the renaissance church, dominated by nepotism and dynastic intrigue - including murder, One recalls also the mediaeval domination of the higher clerical orders by feudal lords who were interested only their feudal domains, the ancien regime feudal nobility of the hierarchy, which reached its peak with the Austrian Kaiser having a veto over papal elections, which veto lasted right up into the early XXth century. Even in the XXth century the Church was a willing and enthusiastic bedfellow, at least for a while, with some of the most evil regimes in history. And, shall we mention our own HF Francis's astonishing treaty with the Chinese Communists - which they have abrogated. All this and much more in various eras could be taken note of - including the intense and inhuman anti-Semitism that was and has been rampant throughout all strata of the Church from the very earliest centuries, of which even some of our most revered saints, even the likes Clairvaux and Chrysostom, were quite guilty. Too, the Church grew wealthy by preying upon the credulity of an ignorant peasantry, a chief grievance of the Reformation's instigators. These hardly attest that the stench that Mr Chapp has laid bare is a problem unique to our times.

    If the Church's house had been in order that Reformation which was centuries in the making would not have happened. Too, it is hardly likely that all was pure and holy in the pre-Vatican II era.

    The lone difference to all this may be that, regardless of the stinking corruption of the Church throughout most of history, from the pope on down, never, miraculously, has it failed to proclaim the gospel in its purity, stooped so low in its liturgical and musical culture, to produce so many saints, or to refine an orthodox doctrinal system. Nor has there ever been a council which was followed by the deliberate and calculated cultural and spiritual suicide as that which has followed our most recent one. Otherwise there is not a lot of difference.

    As for the sex predator 'scandal', anyone would be foolish to think that such is unique to our recent times. It has always been there, always covered up, especially rampant in monasteries (and nunneries!) and swaths of the clergy - not to mention countless ordinary people high and low. We will never know the extent of this hideous crime that has existed as long as there have been sexual predators (not only of boys but girls as well) - which means throughout the history of mankind. A few years ago I read a book which detailed the conversations of the author with a number of anonymous very high Vatican hierarchs. One said 'of course we have a zero tolerance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church, but it only applies to the laity - if it applied to the clergy there would be no Church'. And so it has always been. (For the record I do but have much sympathy and respect for our homo-erotic brethren. They were born that way and, as HF Francis has said, deserve family, community, and everyday respect for their humanity. St Paul has said that 'though ye speak with the tongues of angels and men and have not love ye are as sounding brass, a tinkling cymbal'. When we come before God he will be interested in one thing above all else - the degree and wideness of our love and compassion, for 'God is love and he that knows not love knows not God'. Countless numbers of these men have been and are exemplary priests who excelled in love and compassion - and no man should be barred from holy orders just because he happens to be homo-erotic.) They have been great artists (e,g, Michaelangelo), musicians, playwrights, poets (Gerard Manly Hopkins), highly decorated warriors of past and present times, kings (Friedrich the Great, et al.), queens, even husbands and loving fathers - even saints. They should be welcomed in the public eye and given respect for their contributions to mankind. (Sexual predators are an entirely different and uniquely contemptible species.)

    The thing that is, indeed, seemingly a thing of our time is the liturgical devastation, the open extinguishment of sanctity and doctrine, in seminaries and elsewhere - all growing from the shameless and brazen lie that the recent Vatican council ordered all this. A few years ago I spoke with the rector of St Mary's Seminary in Houston, who proudly stated that 'the days of the praying priest are over - we are training administrators'. This seminary rector has plenty of company amongst his colleagues and their faculties.

    In spite of all this we can but thank God for the Church and the life of our Lord whom it represents. Somehow, against all odds, the Church has survived and remains the holy bride of Christ and we are heartily thankful for all the good that flows from it - in spite of its faults. Today's Psalm LVIII tells us, '...that a man shall say Verily there is a reward for the righteous; * doubtless there is a God that judgeth the earth'. Thanks be to God.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,154

    Reminds me of the conversation between a priest? and some anti Catholic bigot.
    Bigot: I will destroy the Church.
    Priest: The clergy have been trying to destroy the Church for just under 2000 years. What makes you think you will do any better?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,278
    A few years ago I spoke with the rector of St Mary's Seminary in Houston, who proudly stated that 'the days of the praying priest are over - we are training administrators'.

    The sad thing is, most priests are not very good administrators. I have known a number who couldn't pass a basic business course.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 986
    I believe that's the main reason a Finance Committee is required for each parish.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Priests who don't pray, who don't actively cultivate those habits which are the precursors to a growth in holiness, can't reasonably expect their flock to grow in holiness.
    Thanked by 2barreltone dad29
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,802
    Growth in holiness??!!

    My, my! How naïve we are!

    The purpose of the church for most clergy, sadly, is to get money from simple people. Most of them are incompetent, lazy, egomaniacs, who expect to get everything for free, while people kow-tow to their every whim; they can't hack it in the real world, so the church gets stuck with them.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,278
    Preach it, brother.
  • i apologize for the above focus on the negative aspects of the Church, which, contrary to Mr Chapps's observations about today's Church have been in one form or another present from very early times. I think that the proof of the Church's legitimacy lies in the marvelously holy lives of many, many saints (though there are some who aren't/weren't all that holy). Wherever there are people, regardless of the institution or setting (even monasteries), there will be sin - sometimes very bad sin. But the Church is and should be defined by the miraculous sanctity, compassion and love which is lived in the lives of countless people in all walks of life, sometimes priests, sometimes religious, hospital nurses, many doctors, teachers, many more, and sometimes one's next door neighbor. We live with them every day and are inspired by their presence on this earth. May God be praised for the gift of those who mirror the love and compassion of Jesus, and may the Church not be defined by its many quite serious shortcomings, past and present, which are a discredit to our Father in heaven. Those holy ones who do honour to God and his people are the real Church - not the repugnant ones detailed by Mr Chapp and myself in our above observations. (The parable of the chaff and wheat is certainly pertinent here!) The real Catholic Church is found in the hearts and minds of people like Bianco da Siena, who gave us the unspeakably inspired Descendi amor santo, "Come Down, O Love Divine' and much more. As for the others, they are chaff, they are ugly burden which we seemingly must bear. That these men were more upset about the 'scandal' of the predator issue than about the sin itself (which they still haven't addressed fully) really tells you all you need to know about them. They are not the Church, and it begs credulity even to call them Christians. Thanks be to God for the millions who really believe and live what they believe.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Carol CCooze
  • Part 1 of 4??? I can't wait to read the rest!
  • MarkB
    Posts: 682
    Part 2 of this provocative and worthwhile series of articles:

    And all of this explains why the Church in the West is hemorrhaging members, and will continue to do so, as it doubles down on its “spirituality” of therapeutic naturalism. Because people are not stupid and they have better things to do on a Sunday morning than “celebrate” who they are with people they barely know and don’t want to know. It is much more fulfilling to celebrate who I am on the golf course or at the Mall with friends, sharing happy moments with people I actually know and care about rather than trek into an ugly Church to suffer through a ritual that very few actually believe in for what it is meant to be and which has become an empty exercise in “religion” for “the sake of the kids.” Which is ironic since the data tell us that those kids, once grown into young adulthood, are leaving the Church in droves. What is now abundantly clear, or at least it should be, is that the Church of therapeutic naturalism, the Church of suburban “nice,” the Church that now routinely preaches that you don’t “need” the Church in order to be a “good person,” is as compelling, at best, as tofu hotdogs, and as repulsive as Kale at worst.

    Therefore, what emerges clearly into view is that the real debate over how to confront the current crisis in the Church is a debate between differing forms of traditionalism. That debate is currently ongoing and is getting more heated by the day. And much of that debate centers on differing analyses and assessments of whether or not Vatican II has any ongoing significance and/or whether or not it was all a big mistake in the first place. It is a debate too over the ressourcement theology that animated the Council and guided the pontificates of JPII and Benedict. And it is to that debate that my next blog post in this series will turn.

  • Goodness, there is a limited truth to these goings on, but they are merciless, oppressive, and endless in their vituperative deliverance. There is so much miraculous good that lives in the hearts of the devout along side of these horrors - a dichotomy that has been with the Church from its earliest years and is far, very far from being a modern phenomenon.

    I am reminded of an old prayer -
    Lord, grant that I may not say that which is untrue,
    Or that, being true, is only half true,
    Or that, being wholly true is merciless.

  • "Growth in holiness??!!
    My, my! How naïve we are!

    oh. my. goodness.
    I think this appears in Dom Chautard's book, Spiritual Combat:
    "If the priest is a saint, the people will be fervent; if the priest is fervent, the people will be pious; if the priest is pious, the people will at least be decent; if the priest is only decent, the people will be godless."

    If the "PIPs" find their priests to not be what they ought to be, what they MUST be, do the critics put any effort at all into prayer and sacrifice for them so they might improve? How can anyone be expected to do better, if no one prays for them?

    Off soapbox now.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,574
    wow MarkB... that is provocative... and packed with a lot of truth.

    MJO... the heresy of all heresies (the synthesis thereof) is modernism... and weez in it deep!!!
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,079
    Well, MarkB, Part One counts as a 'screed'! A bit over the top, of course, in referring to 'the Church' as 'atheist.' That's too bad; he has some good points.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,079
    From Part Two:

    I value bourbon

    So he's not John the Baptist......
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    I do, however, want to point out that kale is not repulsive. It is very good toasted with olive oil and salt.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,728
    TCJ I checked a couple of recipes, one said 430ºF for 20 minutes, the other 390ºF for 5 minutes. Advice for making kale edible please! I know it is good for me.
  • A few verses from Proverbs are a pertinent answer to the matter addressed by MarkB's offering of present day depravity in the Church, which is but a continuum of what has been in the Church from the beginning.

    10.7 -
    The memory of the just is blessed:
    but the name of the wicked shall rot.

    10.28 -
    The hope of the righteous shall be gladness:
    but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.

    The Lord will glorify the sheep on the day of judgment, and the wolves he shall cast away into darkness. The Church is her holy ones, faithful and true, not those who prey upon it with corrupt lives and lead others into sin. To get all excited about them is to give undue attention to the devil, who is thereby gratified - not at all to suggest that we should be unwary of them - just not disturbed.
    Thanked by 2CatherineS CHGiffen
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 640
    Kale is good well-washed, with tough stem removed, chopped into thin strips, and sauteed with bacon. Or in Portuguese kale-potato soup.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,278
    I do, however, want to point out that kale is not repulsive. It is very good toasted with olive oil and salt.

    Kale should be cooked in a pan with coconut oil. That makes it easier to slide out of the pan into the trash can.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,574
    Bake at 1500 for an hour and sprinkle ashes in garden. (Yea, dont... like... kale)

    BTW... whatever health benefits you get from kale can be found in more edible botanicals.
  • Celery and various cabbages and lettuces are the best.
    I have tried kale and thought it totally foreign and distinctly not tasty.
    Maybe sort of like chewing on some tree leaves.
    Charles's recipe is the best I've heard.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,574
    More numbing...?

    (I suspect this may have been produced by Jeff O.)

    Musical kale.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,278
    Even worse than the Mozart Exsultate. Diva singer on steroids.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,728
    Maybe this makes more sense in German (stop list there). Since February 2007, the organist at Sankt Peter has been Dominik Susteck , succeeding Peter Bares.
    Sankt Peter has an organ system consisting of a main organ and a choir organ. Both instruments were built in 2004 by the organ builder Willi Peter (Cologne), whereby the two neo-baroque predecessor organs from 1968 and 1971 were integrated; since 2006 both organs have been expanded by organ builder Peter. The organs are among the most advanced instruments of contemporary organ building worldwide. The classic work principle and a corresponding design of the brochures have been abandoned, the inclusion of new registers and percussion offer the possibility of fundamentally new musical design.

    The organ system currently has 102 stops and playing aids. Their disposition is characterized on the one hand by a large number of aliquot registers for better dissonance ability, and on the other hand by numerous, also novel percussion parts. Furthermore, both instruments contain some registers creations according to the idea of Peter Bares, such as the Physharmonikaensemble (64'-8 ') in the main work, and the effect register silver sound , Bronceton , the rotating Cymbeln, Beck Stern , Yowler , Siren and Cock Crow . Coupling solutions connect the plants. This gives the possibility of extraordinary registersto be assigned to each manual or pedal via a coupling mechanism .
  • Percussion?? - Cymbals??? Yowler???? Cock crow????? Sounds like more than quite a few Italian church organs of the XIXth and early XXth centuries - if not a theatre organ. I must admit, though, that I've always wanted a Physharmonkaensemble. Just imagine what one could do with it. Why, it might even frighten little old ladies - or cause the mice to flee.
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,728
    Design and build an "organ" with any stops you fancy ⇐ Church Tax ⇒ radix malorum ...
    Thanked by 1trentonjconn
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,728

    I am very grateful to MarkB for drawing my attention to Dr Larry Chapp. He has now completed his four part series with
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,043
    Thanks, Hawkins -
    This is a far cry from the initial segment posted by Mark.
    It's always easy to harp on human depravity, especially where it can be guaranteed to be found in the Church. However, it is no more rampant now than it has been throughout history, both in and out of the Church - a fact which Chapp failed to confront in his initial segment.

    What a pleasant surprise, though, to read the balance of Chapp's observations, which are profound and cogent. This, indeed, should be read by all. I haven't yet finished reading it but commend it heartily to others.

    Thanks to Mark and to Mr Hawkins.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS