Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick: Committed to challenging the faithful?

In an article entitled "Don't Devalue the Faith" from the EWTN website which may be found here, Bert Ghezzi writes, "'Envision Industrial Collapse.' So reads the bumper sticker on my godson Michael's car. I envision myself shaking him and chanting, 'Michael, if industry collapsed,!' Currently, Michael is involved in the environmental movement. He makes time to attend lectures on eliminating noise pollution and recycling. (I wonder if I could interest him in recycling alternative rock music as Mozart. That would be a start at eliminating real noise pollution!) Michael has taken off from school to walk across Ohio, demonstrating his commitment to keeping the earth green.

Don't get me wrong. There's something very healthy about Michael's involvement. Caring for creation is good stewardship. That's not all. Michael's commitment itself is also very healthy It is an expression of the innate idealism of youth. Psychologists tell us that teens naturally want an ideal to live for. William Damon, for example, says that teens he studied were eager to serve others. They also craved challenges and responded positively to the discipline of moral principles. Like all young people, my godson is looking for something worth giving his life for. When he finds it, he will be ready to pay the price.

All that our youthful idealists need is to be pointed in the right direction. To the Lord. To the Church. If that's to happen, our kids need to hear the hard, costly Gospel. They will find the demand that they take up their cross and follow Jesus appealing. A watered-down Gospel will not attract their attention. A softened, warm-fuzzy message may even repel them.

Paul Lauer, the dynamic editor of You! magazine for Catholic teens, says parents must challenge their kids. The demands of the Gospel drew Paul himself from the false ideals of Zen and rock to Christ. 'We must challenge young people,' he says, 'to channel their abundant energy for good, for God, for the Church and the world. Young people have enough energy to climb tall mountains of faith, hope and love. If all we offer them are little molehills, they'll simply go somewhere else for their challenges-to punk rock, drugs or satanism.'

So parents must see to it that their kids hear the good news that will cost them something. How to do it is the question. Here are some suggestions.

We can hold up the example of Mary and the saints. The Church gives them to us to show us that it can be done-that ordinary humans can live the extraordinary life Christ demands.

We can encourage our teens to respond to invitations to serve others. Several pastors I know sponsor summer teen-action programs. They give the teens the opportunity to travel during the summer to serve the
poor in Appalachia. All the kids have to do is work hard all winter to earn the money to pay for their travel and housing. One experience like that can challenge and change a kid for life.

We can give our kids a specific challenge, like embracing the ideal of chastity Molly Kelly, who annually speaks to 50,000 teens about sexual morality, says that when kids hear the truth they recognize it and embrace it freely.

We must also show our kids that we are living for Christ by our example. And we must tell them about it in our own words. We must ask ourselves, 'Have I put Christ first in my life?' so that our kids will make that same choice someday And we must hold fast to our commitment even when the going gets rough."

Excellent advice no?  Now Eudist Father Donat Gionet (God love him) was trying to do just this when he courageously spoke out against abortion and homosexuality.  He was trying to inspire his listeners - both young and old - by preaching hard Gospel truths.  And he was quickly punished by the Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick.

Now remember what Bert Ghezzi said about teens?  "A watered-down Gospel will not attract their attention.  A softened, warm-fuzzy message may even repel them."  This applies not only to teens but to adults as well.  Wasn't that the whole point of Thomas Reese's book on the suicide of liberal Christianity?  Spiritual pablum, what I refer to as Cotton Candy Catholicism, a sacharrin spirituality without any real substance, offers the faithful no reason to get out of bed in the morning.  If sin is a thing of the past and dogma is irrelevant, what do I need the Mass for?  Why should I care to listen to anything the priest has to say?  The snooze button on the alarm clock is all the more attractive.
Fr. Gionet [who is still spiritually awake unlike many of his colleagues] gets it.  Fr. Wesley Wade, the vicar general of the Bathurst Diocese, does not.  Which is why he accused Fr. Gionet of "pastoral insensitivity."  Meanwhile, Fr. Wade has freely acknowledged that, "There's no question...there has been a decrease in church population over the years."  See here.

That trend will no doubt continue.  If Catholics want to hear a secular "gospel," they don't have to attend Mass within the Bathurst Diocese.  They have merely to turn on their television sets where that "gospel" is preached 24 hours a day. 


jac said...

Those in charge of the Diocese of Bathurst are slowly but surely apostatizing

Stewart said...

Jesus said that we would know a tree by its fruit. Empty churches and a lost generation of youth says it all: the Church is in grave crisis. The price of appeasement to modernity.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Things used to be so different in Canada. Here's a Bishop who built up the Church:


Brian Letourneau said...

Mass Resistance is being dismissed at another Catholic blog as a group which deals in conspiracy theories. I tried to leave the following comment but I was blocked for some reason. Here it is.

"Edward, Mass Resistance is a highly-respected pro-life/pro-family organization which exposes the sheer hatred and violence of the radical homosexual agenda in its articles. If anyone is engaging in wild theories, it is yourself. I don't see you testifying before Congress or the Senate. But Mass Resistance has.

Credibility? Mass Resistance has it. You do not. The organization has done an incredible job to document the totalitarian ideology and practices of the radical homosexual agenda."

Isn't it strange that a Catholic blog which advances "dialogue" with homosexual persons would block my comment?

Is Mass Resistance suddenly an illicit group?

Jennifer Goguen said...

Brian, no. Mass Resistance has done so much good in opposing homosexual propaganda in the schools and the push for same-sex "marriage." It sounds like that blog is really pushing the "gay" agenda in a subtle way by relegating strong moral opposition to homosexuality to the "fringe" while suggesting that homosexuals are really the "reasonable" people.

I would avoid that blog.

Brian Letourneau said...

The blog is called Accepting Abundance Jennifer. And one of the latest comments asserts that, "Archbishop Dolan..essentially threatened the president."

My comment was censored but that one was allowed. Incredible huh? You just may be right. It's an attempt to put orthodox Christians at the fringe.

ACatholicinClinton said...

Brian, I wouldn't exactly be surprised. That Blog links to the "Catholic Free Press," a newspaper which is, at best, questionable, and at times openly dissenting.

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