more on a "smaller Church"
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    http://religionnews.com/2016/10/20/philadelphia-archbishop-chaput-welcomes-smaller-church-of-holier-catholics

    cherry picked quotes:

    "suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the church."

    “a smaller, lighter church” of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of traditional orthodoxy."

    "Chaput singled out Democrats such as Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for special criticism, linking them to the concept of a “silent apostasy” coined by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and saying Catholics who do not champion the truth of church teaching are “cowards.”

    “Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss,” he continued. “It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight.”

    "In his talk at Notre Dame, Chaput, who is known for his conservative political views and his firm stances on doctrine, said both candidates were obviously flawed — though he did express admiration for Trump’s “gift for twisting the knife in America’s leadership elite and their spirit of entitlement, embodied in the person of Hillary Clinton.”

    “If ‘inclusive’ means including people who do not believe what the Catholic faith teaches and will not reform their lives according to what the church holds to be true, then inclusion is a form of lying,” he said.

    “And it’s not just lying but an act of betrayal and violence against the rights of those who do believe and do seek to live according to God’s Word.”
  • Francis,

    If ‘inclusive’ means including people who do not believe what the Catholic faith teaches and will not reform their lives according to what the church holds to be true, then inclusion is a form of lying,” he said.

    “And it’s not just lying but an act of betrayal and violence against the rights of those who do believe and do seek to live according to God’s Word.”


    Evidently a line from White Christmas seems to apply: That sergeant will be a private in the morning.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    I'm glad to see Abp. Chaput call for people to live up to the faith, or at least admit when they don't believe it.

    The headline -- the suggestion that the archbishop positively wants a smaller church -- is spin, and not surprising from that "news service", which is so often skewed with the editors' non-Catholic opinions.
    Thanked by 1Jani
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    chonak

    that very well could be... i have never been on that site before. i will do a search to bear out the truth.

    then again...

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/philadelphia-archbishop-chaput-welcomes-smaller-church-holier-catholics

    and

    http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=14460

    and

    http://www.catholica.com.au/forum/index.php?mode=thread&id=190958

    I do believe he said it.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    Yes, RNS is compatible with NCRep.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    yea, you're right... all the same quotes on various sites.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    There was a similar reaction when Pope Benedict (perhaps before his accession) predicted that the Church might be smaller and "purer" in the future; the press types that don't like him portrayed it as though it were a policy objective!
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 149
    Smaller? Maybe. Holier? Original sin has a nasty habit of getting in the way of the best intentions.

    So I suspect we would just end up with "smaller", and continued bickering over doctrine, liturgy, etc. And bickering is very far from holiness.

    My view is that the Church is not a set of rules to obey. She is the holder of moral truths to grow into. That implies some messiness as many of us try to figure things out and shed our own pride. I can say I have grown in my faith in the 19 years since I returned to the fold after a 22 yr. absence. Good thing I didn't have to pass a purity test when I first returned in 1997. I can also say that I still have a long way to go before I dare wear a halo...

    +pax

    Ora
  • “Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss,” he continued. “It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight.”


    Here's another example of how he wishes to be reduced in status. What American bishop could possibly want to not concentrate on "throw-weight"?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    OL

    I don't think any of us fall into the pure category. The point is we have blatant ascribers to heresy, apostasy and profess to be true to the faith (as memtioned) with no disciplinary action taken by their bishops. That is demoralizing for those striving to be true.
  • Here's another example of how he wishes to be reduced in status. What American bishop could possibly want to not concentrate on "throw-weight"?


    Because it's not about manipulating or influencing the American political system, it's about saving souls. Institutional "throw weight" to me suggests that the Catholic Church in the United States wishes to have such political clout as to be able to influence the laws of the land, and for example overturn Roe v. Wade. Spreading the faith is a good thing, but a forceful approach has never historically worked. Even Christ let people walk away from Him when they weren't ready to accept Him. A soul cannot be forced into salvation.

    My view is that the Church is not a set of rules to obey. She is the holder of moral truths to grow into. That implies some messiness as many of us try to figure things out and shed our own pride.


    No, the Church is not defined as a set of rules, but it does possess and teach a set of rules that are designed to teach us how to live a devout and holy life that ultimately leads us to the beatific vision. Perhaps I misunderstand what you're trying to say here, but what I'm hearing is that the Church teaches a moral objective, and we have to interpret how to get there and what that means for us as individuals.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    I think Abp. Chaput's remarks deserve to be contrasted with the situation of the Church in Germany which is affluent due to the automatic donations of non-attending, low-commitment Catholics through the "church tax" system; and which is also rather conformist vis-a-vis secular society.

    As an example of such conformism: until a few years ago, Church counseling offices there were an official part of the process by which expectant mothers got authorization to destroy their children in the womb.
  • I think "lighter and holier" versus "inclusive at the expense of orthodoxy" is a false dichotomy.

    As Chesterton could have said, the Catholic way is at once passionately inclusive, and intransigently moral.

  • Allow me swiftly to second what Andrew has just said.

    Not only is this a false dichotomy, it is inherently judgmental of those whose faith may or may not be as fervent and true, or expressed in the same way as that of the favoured few saints.
    This is a treacherous slope, littered with the monsters of spiritual pride, the presumption to judge (a thing forbidden to all but the All Holy and indulged in by anyone else at grave risk to his or her own soul), schism and fragmentation which would exceed that at the sophomoric hands of the foolish sorcerer's apprentice. The very notion is fraught with even more opportunities for old Beelzebub to rake in more holier-than-thou minions than he already has.

    Just who is being contemplated as constituting this smaller band of faithful? What parroted dogmas will they espouse? What music will be required of them? What vestments will be de rigeuer - will a Gothic chasuble (instead of that prissy fiddle-back vestige) be the sure sign of devil worship? And, who will decide who is and who isn't a genuine follower in this train (wreck).

    Already, we see that there are cracks in the SSPX, which has, with gargantuan presumption, acted like The True Church for some decades. Why, it is so catholic that it thought nothing of bringing excommunication upon itself for doing exactly what it was forbidden to do by none other than the pope (who was, apparently, not thought Catholic enough). And now it even presumes to 'negotiate' with The Church and bicker, cavil, and make terms with The Church over what is and isn't acceptable to it. Then we have the example of the Anglicans, who have splintered into an ever-increasing number of 'continuing Anglican' bodies, each one thinking itself the True Anglican Church. And, of course, there is the well-worn example of Protestantism - the never-ending sprouting of yet another True Church. Nor is there anything new with fragmentation within the Catholic world: how numerous are such entities as the Old Catholics, the Polish National Catholics, the Philippine Catholics who split over infallibity, plus how many more?

    So, we can see that a smaller 'remnant' church is just what we need, right? It could join the ranks of all the other remnants, all the other faithful self-referential and intellectually incestuous few who are, I think, going to be surprised to find in the next life that some whom they thought they were leaving behind and probably weren't saved were, after all, among the redeemed.

    I absolutely abhor and believe to be a calumny and an affront to all that is holy the worship habits, music, klutziness, and irreverence of what happens for mass at large numbers of our churches, but heaven forbid that I should presume for a moment to judge their faith, what is in their hearts, or their standing with God, the God whom I presume they love and, somehow, adore. I would shudder at the thought that those whose worship doesn't measure up to what we do at Walsingham, or what some of our colleagues on this our forum do, or what is done at the London oratory, etc., etc., was given a deaf ear to by our ineffable and all-loving Heavenly Father. What preposterous nonsense, what spiritual presumption is it that thinks of itself as a remnant True Church when there are others who love our God (somehow!) with a zeal that is equal to ours but may be expressed inappropriately!

    Further, whilst on the topic of 'a few' and a 'remnant', are we in any doubt that even in those heady centuries when the Church was relatively free of heresies, counted the unquestioned loyalty of entire nations and continents, confidently evangelised the savage and barbarian, often at sword's point, or the civilised orient, every one of these 'faithful' was not, indeed, faithful, a true believer, any more than 'formal' in his and her faith? I think that we aren't. So, then, in another sense, there has always, from the first century on, been a relatively small number of true believers, a faithful relative few, BUT, they are and were known only to God and, no doubt, included in that number are and were some whom some others would not have thought likely.

    It is perilous to judge. It is perilous to think that 'we are the faithful remnant'. No doubt, those who have latched onto this 'small Church' and 'remnant few' concept consider themselves to be amongst the blessed chosen ones; and, they likely have some pretty fair notions of some who aren't. Such thought is not the progeny of love. And, the absence of love, as we all know, is the absence of God.

    (I have always thought that Moses' approach to God should be the motto of every Christian soul: 'Lord, wilt thou, for the sake of ten righteous, spare them?'.)
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 149
    @clerget

    No, not interpret how to get there. Instead, inner conversion, assent to the moral law by properly forming one's conscience, and with the various spiritual tools of the Church, building the strength to conform, and trust in God's mercy when we fail (and repent). I am looking at it with Benedictine eyes. The 12 degrees of humility in the Rule... conversatio morum etc.

    The thing is, everyone has to start somewhere, and that means to save souls, we have to accept that those not there yet, even the stubborn, have a place in the Church.

    Of course, heretical or unorthodox clergy is another matter. So too is notorious public scandal. Those are rightly disciplinary matters.

    Ora
  • Hmm......
    HF Benedict spoke of a smaller but healthier Church, and certain types have latched onto the idea as if it were a positive goal. Yet, Benedict himself made it larger - about forty-five Anglican-heritaged parishes larger in the US and Canada, all under their own bishop, plus how many parishes in England and Australia with their own ordinaries. Is there a lesson here?

    The US and Canadian parishes (I can't speak for those east and south of the pond) are growing healthily and multiplying with a steady regularity. With Walsingham literally bursting at the seams and looking to build a larger cathedral, we now have two parishes in Houston, the two year old St Margaret's of Scotland being the other one. This seems to be a bountiful harvest, the fruit of Benedict's own inspired vision. And we speak of 'smaller'? of 'remnant'? I see little no wisdom in this.

    I've heard that there are certain groups of Lutherans who would like to have a similar ordinariate or use. I've heard, also, that a Lutheran use is out of the question - but, it does point up that there are souls waiting, anxious, to be brought into the fold. Is it, then, appropriate, all this talk of a smaller 'remnant' Church? This bunker mentality? I hardly think so.
    The fields are ripe for the harvest. 'Go ye, therefore.....'

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    MJO... do you think Chaput is Kaput?

    Do you think the catacombs were a kind of bunker?

    Didn't Jesus say, "How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!"

    Curious questions for us all.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I am not competent to judge Bishop Chaput.
    I am aware of his famed theological orthodoxy -
    I am also aware that he did in his cathedral choirmaster at the time of HF Francis' visit and replaced him with a happy-clappy person -
    at least that is the impression I got from what was said on this, our forum.
    Orthodoxy or not - this sort of trashy aesthesis endears no one to me.
    Love of liturgical heritage, its music and praxis are part and parcel of being 'orthodox'.
    About five years ago I attended a lecture given by him (at a nearby Baptist! university*) and was very impressed with what I heard.

    ________________________

    No.
    No, I don't.
    Absolutely not!
    The catacombs were a crucible,
    One might even say a womb from which the Church emerged healthy and vigourous, tried as in a refiner's fire, to fulfill its evangelical mission.

    _________________________________

    *This Baptist university is, in fact, quite Catholic-friendly. Bishop Chaput is not the only Catholic notable to have spoken there. Two very orthodox** members of Walsingham are professors there and they enjoy free speech and the genuine esteem of all.

    **Actually, all our members are very orthodox.
    Thanked by 2francis moderntrad
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    but your long diatribe is quite a judgement on what he said. He is a prince of the Church. Is it possible that he is walking the narrow path and the masses are marching to perdition? It is either he is deceived or the rest of us are. Such vexing times in which we live.

    ps... you mixed the stories of Moses and Israel and Sodom and Gamorah... there were not ten found and God destroyed the city.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • If it is so, so be it.
    I may or may not nuance differently some of what I said -
    but the gist remains.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    thank you for your candid remarks in your usual poetic fashion. it is very difficult to steer these waters amidst what many of us call these times of diabolical disorientation.
  • Yes, the adversary loves to orient us away from God, because then it is easier for him to orient us towards himself. I think one way this is made manifest is in complacency: we become content with what we are offering, thinking it is "enough" when we know we could and should be doing better.
  • Thanks, Francis, for pointing out my error in the Moses-God encounter. Still, I think, the important thing, the moral, is that Moses prayed on their behalf. How differently coloured would be this account if Moses had said something on the order of 'O Lord God, Holy and Mighty One, your wisdom is infinite, your judgment righteous. They are indeed a wicked people and deserve to perish. Let it be so'. But Moses cared for and interceded on behalf of his fellow creatures. That is a potent lesson for all of us. It is precisely why this account is in holy writ. And, of course, God's righteous judgment was enacted just the same.

    _______________________________________________


    Yes, as you say, the bishop may be walking the straight and narrow. Hearkening soberly to one who holds so fast to the faith in its fullness (except, one might point out justly, when it comes to the fullness of its worship!) is a thing that the Church would be better off if more of its flock did. I do not agree, though, that the bunker mentality is an appropriate response to the Church's mission, or to its challenges in the world at this time. One has noticed from history that those who enter bunkers tend not to come out of them alive. Another analogy might be the ghetto mentality, which, often, results in the somewhat unenviable conditions of intellectual incest and stagnation, victim complexes which can lead to a false sense of relative sinlessness and a depressing hopelessness, all of which saps any spiritual and intellectual vitality.

    And yet, anyone who can see the writing on the wall can, as I'm sure this prince of the Church and many of us do, see that there may be coming a day in which the Church is actively persecuted by the state, as well as by the general population. Already the state has made threatening gestures when we hold more fastly to our faith and the express will of God than is pleasing to it and its heinous holocaust of waiting-to-be-born children - a regimen which promises to intensify its ghoulish and soulless ends. We see in England that the state lobbied hard and fast for the CofE to stop dragging its heels and deliver in the matter of priestesses and bishopines, a wish that was fulfilled and delivered by the skillful machinations and determination of clever Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. It isn't inconceivable that the state might wish to meddle likewise in the affairs of the Church within these shores. It isn't inconceivable that the situation of the Church in China could be repeated here. This land is being warped at warp speed out of all recognition of the imperfect-but-essentially-benign governance into which some of us were born. Well known is the remark of a certain bishop several years ago that he would die in his bed, his successor in prison, and that his successor would be shot. That such things are conceivable in our America bodes ill indeed for the rest of the world.

    But, in spite of all this, I don't believe that the answer is the bunker or the ghetto - both of which are dead ends. Quite the contrary, intense catechetical formation of our youth, the same for our poorly catechised non-youth, an inspired evangelisation, and a cultivated fervency of faith and morals, and a return to genuine Catholic worship will gird us for the battles that lie ahead. And, if we get shot... well, that's better than suffocating in a bunker, or living out our days in a ghetto as stifled poor-minded and fruitless remnants which do nothing but exist.

    Meanwhile, panic is not the answer. Nor is fear. Nor is any other fixation which defines those who are beat and demoralised. Only living the faith joyfully and to its utmost in our daily lives and vocations, come what may, and at whatever the cost will we remain healthy spiritually - fit and primed to sally forth and evangelise the world anew.

    Many thanks, Francis, for gouging me on this matter.

    (There being some rough edges, I may edit or alter the nuance of some of what I said - but the gist remains.)

    Thanked by 2francis Elmar
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,747
    the presumption to judge


    It is NOT presumptuous to judge actions. None of us can judge another's mindset...but that's the distinction that is relevant.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    In many places the attendance has dropped to the point a smaller church already exists. This was not by design, but just happened. Not what Benedict had in mind, I am sure.
  • Charles,

    Attendance didn't drop because of what Pope Benedict did.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108

    Attendance didn't drop because of what Pope Benedict did.


    No connection between Benedict and attendance. This began years before him. This kind of smaller church would not have pleased him.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,822
    Well, there was certainly a dramatic falling off in attendance in churches near me (Boston area) in 2010, when the Irish/European echo of the Long Lent of 2002 transpired. There was a segment of people who hung on after 2002 with some hope, which expired for them in 2010.

  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 375
    I like what MJO is saying, but I think we need to clarify something. There's a difference between kicking people out based on holiness or liturgical taste, and being okay with people leaving because they don't want to hold to orthodox beliefs. The former would be terrible, but I don't think that's what's being advocated by Ratzinger or Chaput.

    If it gets to the point that people give up being cafeteria catholics and up and leave, then good. That's better for them because it's more intellectually honest. Also a smaller Curch isn't to be feared because numbers aren't everything, and so we shouldn't try to water down the Church's teaching or beauty in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator as though increasing numbers were the ultimate end of the Church. The end is the salvation of souls, regardless of the number. That doesn't mean we exclude people, but lower numbers of Catholics isn't the worst thing in the world.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 456
    I like what MJO is saying, but I think we need to clarify something. There's a difference between kicking people out based on holiness or liturgical taste, and being okay with people leaving because they don't want to hold to orthodox beliefs


    Exactly. I am repeating myself, but the "smaller Church" trope is not a chosen policy but a supernatural process we read about in the parable of the sower. Namely, that as society becomes increasingly hostile to the Faith, the cost of discipleship will get higher and many simply will be unwilling to pay it. The remaining that do pay it are hard-forged in refining fire. This is why people stop looking to the West as people's faith is strangled out of them by excessive comfort and sentimentality, but to Africa and Asia as the future.
  • The "smaller church", in the age of making sure the pews are full and the communion lines are full (but, please, ignore the lack of line for confessions) is a kind of poltergeist which threatens priests and music directors if they have the chutzpah to do what the Church asks. If it happens because we're following God's (the His Bride's) instructions, remember Christ turned on the Apostles and said, "Will you also leave?"

  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Fasten your seatbelts.
    We are approaching a little turbulence.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor Ben Yanke
  • Christ guaranteed that the Church would endure, but never guaranteed how big or small it would be. I could see the Church being the Pope, a couple of bishops, maybe a priest or two and a handful of the faithful by the time of the Second Coming.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,303
    I do think that it is possible that many will continue to follow the present state of things right into a trap where they are deceived into THINKING they are living the faith when in actuality they are not, to such an extent in numbers that it is similar to the Arian crisis of the 300s. In fact, we already have prelates professing that it is not necessary to become a Catholic, and in fact, it is sinful to try to convert anyone to the faith and that their belief in their God is their possible means to salvation... well, gobbltygook! Personally, I think the church is much smaller than people realize. I certainly hope and pray daily that I can be numbered among those that hold to the faith. (Luke 18:8) Only by the grace of God, there go I.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    I could see the Church being the Pope, a couple of bishops, maybe a priest or two and a handful of the faithful by the time of the Second Coming.


    You wouldn't even need a pope. As long as you don't lose the bishops, you can elect a pope.

    Personally, I think the church is much smaller than people realize.


    You may just be correct, Francis.
  • If by the Church you mean persons who believe and practice the Catholic faith, then you are right.