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The Francis Era
South American Catholics Turning Protestant
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  • FriendlyGoat

    And yet, we have American Catholic parishioners these days (some commenting here) who do not like Pope Francis for wanting to expand Catholicism by helping it meet the spiritual needs of real people.

    • Fred

      who do not like Pope Francis for wanting to expand Catholicism by helping it meet the spiritual needs of real people
      Straw man much? Of course anyone who disagrees with you is an ogre who wants to eat the poor, right?

      • FriendlyGoat

        No, not really. Francis is trying to focus on effective evangelism and he has a growing number of critics who REALLY think the Pope ought to just be the keeper of the rule book and otherwise shut up.

        • Fred

          Um, yes really. Evangelization and maintaining the identity of the Church are in no way mutually exclusive. That “rule book” which I take to be your snide, facetious reference to what we believe to be the moral order is essential to that identity. The Church is not a democracy nor is it engaged in a popularity contest. It is the repository of a millennia old faith that does not, or should not, bend to popular views of what it should be. I don’t even know what you could possibly mean by “convenient for the middle managers” but no one believes the Pope should “shut up.” That’s clearly another straw man. Many of us do believe, however, that the Pope should be clarifying Catholic doctrine, not muddying it, which, whatever his intent, Francis has been doing.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Convenient for the middle managers” means allowing Bishops to run little kingdoms, to maintain unbecoming opulence, to decide that THEY are a democracy even while insisting parishioners are not so worthy to make judgments about anything, and in the past to cover up abuse scandals and make the Vatican bank into a quasi-criminal enterprise. It means, in a recent dust-up, more-or-less selling annulments.

            Catholic “doctrine” should be the outreach of The Church to people who need Jesus as a savior, not an introverted reverence for the institution itself. After all, you are quite aware that the church most certainly DOES bend whenever necessary. Your predecessors gave up on torturing people, for instance, and finally admitted the world is round, that it rotates around the sun and is not the center of the universe. Once upon a time, all of that misinformation and misbehavior was firmly in the “repository”.

            You might imagine that I’m an outside agitator who wants you to ordain all the nuns, forget about abortion, marry the gays, execute the prisoners and pass out birth control. I’m not. I am celebrating Francis for taking the position that the church does not need to be talking about these issues ALL THE TIME to the exclusion of everything else. The man is setting an example about what is important, and will be heroic for cleaning up previous messes (if only he can live long enough to be transformational.)

          • Fred

            The Church is run by human beings. As one would expect from the doctrine of original sin, corruption will occur anywhere there are human beings. If Francis cleans up that corruption, that is all to the good. If he sacrifices the identity of the Church in the process, I’m not so sure that’s a bargain. It’s rather like curing a disease by killing the patient.

            I’ll give you the torturing people bit, though the resources for that rejection were in Scripture and the Church Fathers all along. The Church never thought the world was flat. Even Ptolemaic cosmology maintained the earth was a sphere at the center of a series of concentric spheres. The Church’s relationship to Copernican cosmology was much more complex than simple rejection. Copernicus himself was a priest, and was never condemned by the Church. The Galileo affair has become so mythologized that few people know it was essentially a personality conflict between the pope and Galileo and a political struggle among certain cardinals rather than a conflict between faith and science. Heliocentrism was allowed to be taught as long as it was taught as a model that facilitated certain calculations rather than as literal truth, and for a variety of reasons, that was quite rational at the time. See here and here. So your examples of “bending” are at best equivocal. In any case, none of those examples involve changing the essential morality of the Church.

            As I said in my last response to you on the Obamacare thread (which I don’t know if you’ve seen), not only do I agree that those issues should not be discussed “ALL THE TIME,” I don’t believe they should be discussed within the Church at all except to reiterate the Church’s position on them and reiterate support for policies that flow from those positions. As far as “what is important,” when it comes to proclaiming the moral order and proclaiming Christ’s love and practicing charity, there is no either/or it is both/and.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If people get tired of being in a church most noted for the list of what it’s against, they will drop out. That’s the gist of what TAI is reporting here. If people are hungry to have a personal relationship with Jesus and the Catholics are offering something with too much emphasis on “The Church” as the intermediary, they will go Protestant. That also is what TAI is reporting. Francis is the best thing that has happened to your organization lately for the purpose of turning the tide of both of those trends. Some of you will like him for that. Some won’t.

            Yes, I have gone to the Obamacare thread to answer there too.

          • Fred

            I’m not trying to be snarky or insulting here (in a bit of a departure for me :)) but I really don’t think you grasp the traditional Catholic conception of morality. It is not a “rule book” designed to oppress people or keep them from having a good time, nor is it a set of pronouncements of “what we are against.” There is nothing arbitrary or
            irrational about it. It is more than a list of “thou shalt nots.” It is also a set of positive injunctions on the best ways to relate to God, live in human communities, and take care of ourselves and each other. Even the “shalt nots”
            are ultimately positive. “Thou shalt not lie” because the human mind and the human soul are ordered to the truth. It is the flip side of “be truthful.” Lying is forbidden because it hides, distorts, or denies the truth. All moral
            prohibitions have that same function. What is prohibited is so because it contradicts and undermines the good for creatures such as ourselves. Such prohibitions are not the opposite of love, compassion, and charity; they are
            inextricable parts of the same moral order. The Church cannot betray that moral order without betraying what it essentially is. Nor can it deny its position as the true path to salvation for individuals and humanity without denying what it essentially is. Naturally, as a Catholic I would love to see my Church grow in numbers and influence. And it saddens me more than you can know that the opposite seems to be happening. But if the Church attempts to grow by sacrificing the eternal verities to the mores of the moment, by sowing sin rather than offering a path to redemption from it, and by becoming an agent of untruth, then whether it grows a thousand fold or shrinks to nothing doesn’t matter. It is already gone.

  • gabrielsyme

    As a Catholic, this is quite distressing, but from the broader view of the question of secularisation, it is clear that South America is becoming more religious, not less, as low-affiliation Catholics become high-affiliation Protestants.

  • Fred_Z

    I am a largely fallen away catholic. I am no longer prepared to tolerate the stupid communism espoused by the last 3 or 4 parish priests sent us.

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