Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Friday, March 08, 2013

Conversion of the individual, not of the Church

As the cardinals gather in Rome and prepare to elect the next Vicar of Christ, the din continues from pundits who claim they know exactly what and who the Church needs. They sound like children making a list for Santa: Bring us a pope who will not fuss at us for sexual sins. Bring us a pope who will ordain women. Bring us a pope who will forget about abortion. Bring us a pope who endorses contraception. Bring us a pope who has heard the voices of popular culture and will conform the Church to match.

My snarky response is, "Uh, no. The Pope is going to be Catholic."

A much more thoughtful and reasoned response was written by Fr. Araujo at Mirror of Justice. As always, his charitable but straightforward analysis says exactly the right thing. Please read the whole essay, but the key quote is this:

In looking over this list of reasons that are used to validate the call for ecclesiastical reform, I realize that each of these categories is not hermetically sealed from the others; in short, different “reformers” may well share some or all of these arguments for reform. However, these “reformers” tend to have one thing in common: they want to change the status of offices and/or amend Church teachings. None of them really acknowledge or discuss the reform of the human person as the one means of reforming the Church, and I think this is essential to any sincere and holy desire for “reform” of the Church. Why do I offer such an argument? 
My explanation begins with the reason why Christ came into the world in the first place and founded the Church on the rock, Peter: to save us from our sins. In the world of the present age, we often hear phrases like “social sin” and “the evils of institutions” being identified as the sources of the problems which the world and its people face. This is wrong, because it is the sins of persons and the evils which persons introduce into the institutions they establish that are at the source of the grave difficulties which the Church and the world face. Until this element of intelligible reality is acknowledged as the essential source of any credible claim for reform of the Church, the clarion for transformation will be flawed.

During this Lent, may we all see this as a season for personal conversion.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Tradition, Scripture....and experience?

This past week I enjoyed watching EWTN's The Journey Home hosted by Marcus Grodi. Each episode of this show highlights the conversion story of an individual and explores the factors that drew him or her to the Catholic Church. The episode that I watched featured Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This is the construct that allows those from the Anglican Communion who wish to enter the Catholic Church to come into full communion with Rome yet maintain some of their Anglican patrimony. As the Episcopal Church lurches farther and farther from the faith handed to the Apostles by Christ, more and more Episcopalians are choosing to swim the Tiber and come home to the Catholic Church.

I encourage you to watch the full hour with Monsignor Steenson that I have linked above. Marcus Grodi asked Monsignor Steenson how the Episcopalians justify their radical departure from traditional teachings on marriage and sexuality. His answer was enlightening. It seems that the Episcopalians (as well as dissident or progressive "catholics") place experience on par with Scripture and Tradition. He said that over and over he was told that he must listen to the experiences of those involved in homosexual relationships in order to develop his moral teaching on this topic. However, if experience is equal to or even trumps Scripture and Tradition, then the teaching of Scripture is reduced to no more than an historical opinion of an individual author. There is no eternal truth. There is only a situational code of behavior that is relevant in the context of an individual's experience.

As if to confirm this opinion, Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California writes in the Washington Post:

For Episcopalians, tradition is a moving force that is not only dynamic but that changes quality over time, and we might liken the change to be one of more light being cast into the world... 
It can definitely be unsettling to find that some structures and beliefs are not fixed and unchanging. Add to that the fact that the Episcopal Church has no doctrine of infallibility, of anybody, and one can understand those who prefer more predictability. For me, I hope to stay open to divine surprise.
As we await the election of a new pope, there are those who are hoping that the next Vicar of Christ will proceed along the path Bishop Andrus favors--a church built on the shifting sands of popular culture. But Christ did not build His Church on sand. He built it on the Rock of Peter. The doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church, , based on Scripture and Tradition,  have persisted for 2000 years. The Church has weathered countless persecutions, the Borgias, and numerous heresies. Christ promised the Gates of Hell will not prevail against Her. She is His Bride. He will protect Her. It is the mission of the Church and therefore, of the faithful to shape the culture rather than be shaped by the culture. Our experiences must be judged against eternal truth. They do not define truth.