Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Worcester Diocesan Commission for Women: Replacing Faith with Opinion in the Pursuit of a Self-Made Church

In his book "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today," then Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict XVI, writing about futile reform and the "naive arrogance of the self-appointed enlightener who is convinced that previous generations did not get it right, or else were too fearful and unilluminated," explains the thinking of such deluded souls: "It thus appears [for these adolescent Catholics] as the most normal thing in the world to make up for lost time, which means first establishing once and for all this basic patrimony of structures of freedom [elaborated by the Enlightenment].  We must move - it is maintained - from the paternalistic Church to the community Church; no one must any longer remain a passive receiver of the gift of Christian existence.  Rather, all should be active agents of it.  The Church must no longer be fitted over us from above like a ready-made garment; no, we 'make' the Church ourselves, and do so in constantly new ways.  It thus finally becomes 'our' Church, for which we are actively responsible.  The Church arises out of discussion, compromise and resolution.  Debate brings out what can still be asked of people today, what can still be considered by common consent as faith or as ethical norms.  New short formulas of faith are composed...

But questions immediately arise concerning this work of reform, which in place of all hierarchical tutelage will at long last introduce democratic self-determination into the Church.  Who actually has the right to make decisions?  What is the basis of the decision-making process?  In a political democracy the answer to this question is the system of representation: individuals elect their representative, who makes decisions on their behalf.  This commission has a time limit, its mainlines of policy are clearly defined by the party system, and it embraces only those spheres of political action that are assigned to representative bodies by the constitution.

Questions remain even in regard to representation: the minority must submit to the majority, and this minority can be quite large.  Furthermore, there is no infallible guarantee that my elected representative actually does act and speak as I wish.  Once again, the victorious majority, seen from close up, can in no case consider itself entirely as the active subject of political events but must accept the decisions of others, at least in order not to jeopardize the system as a whole.

But there is a general question that is more relevant to our problem.  Everything that men can make can also be undone again by others.  Everything that has its origin in human likes can be disliked by others.  Everything that one majority decides upon can can be revoked by another majority.  A church based on human resolutions becomes a merely human church.  It is reduced to the level of the makeable, of the obvious, of opinion.  Opinion replaces faith.  And in fact, in the self-made formulas of faith with which I am acquainted, the meaning of the words 'I believe' never signifies anything beyond 'we opine.'  Ultimately, the self-made church savors of the 'self,' which always has a bitter taste to the other self and just as soon reveals its petty insignificanceA self-made church is reduced to the empirical domain and thus, precisely as a dream, comes to nothing." (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, pp. 136, 138-140).

These points are not understood by the Worcester [Massachusetts] Diocesan Commission for Women.  This commission continues to associate itself with well-known dissidents who promote women's ordination, homosexuality and lesbianism, and New Age spirituality.  As I noted in a previous post, the commission has invited Elizabeth Dreyer to be a guest speaker at its 2011 "Gather Us In" Conference.  Ms. Dreyer has publically demanded the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood.

The commission has also touted Sister Jon Julie Sullivan [in photo].  See here.  Sister Sullivan was part of a group of several hundred dissidents who protested outside of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Good Friday back in 2002.  Sister Eileen Brady, a Sister of Mercy who was among the dissidents protesting that day, was quoted by The Boston Globe as having said, "There needs to be significant change [in the Church]. When the Church says you can't even dicuss the ordination of women, that's unjust.  And we stand for justice."  And Sister Sullivan was quoted as having said, "There aren't even words to tell you how many changes we need."  See here.

But is it the Church which must change?  Or something else?  As I've said so many times over the years, the very same intellectually and spiritually cramped adolescents who demand change in the Church fail to recognize that it is not the Church which needs to change but rather themselves.  Saint Paul exhorts us: "Put off the old man who is corrupted according to the desire of error, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind: and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth" (Eph. 4:22-24).

Some people seem incapable of grasping this truth.  And they are poorer for it.

Related reading here.


Wendy said...

Nice post illustrating the difference between authentic reform and its counterfeit. One has to wonder whose next on the CFW guest list. Perhaps an avowed satanist?

Martin said...

''Take that cross you wear around your neck like a piece of jewelry and start carrying it.''

Michelle said...

Angry women who believe it's their role to "correct" the Holy Spirit who guides the Church. Sad.

Site Meter