Oct 11, 2012

This just in! The Catholic church is still backwards!

Newsflash of the century! Or maybe, the half-century. NPR did a piece this morning about the 50-year anniversary of the Vatican II council. Apparently it has been ambiguous that despite "liberalization" of the Church, it remains a backwards, antiquated institution!
In the aftermath of the council, says Mickens, the Vatican correspondent, the church lost the opportunity to come to terms with its longstanding nemesis – the liberal ideas ushered in by the French Revolution. "We really haven't made our peace as a Catholic Church, as an institution, with the Enlightenment," Mickens says. "The Vatican is a great example. It's an absolute monarchy. The Enlightenment got rid of all that."
The Rev. Reese, who is now a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center, says the current church is unable to communicate with the world around it.
Wow! I'm so surprised. An institution set up in neolithic Palestine doesn't quite have the same relevance in the modern world 2000 years later.

In other news, water is wet, bears shit in the woods, and the Pope is Catholic.

On a more serious note, the only thing that is really newsworthy here is that this didn't happen earlier. It has taken the entirety of the history of the US for Protestants to lose the majority of the population, and for the non-religious to be about as numerous as the Catholics. Judging even by the comments on NPR, this transition is not viewed with the same amount of cautious optimism that I hold (as do many of the commentators on the NPR site!).

Here's a sampling of those statements who are apparently ill-at-ease with the secularization of society:
The translation corrects errors in the post-Vatican II translation. In the original latin, the Nicene Creed begins "Credo" or "I believe," not "We believe" as it was before last year's corrections. More subservient, more paternal? I agree and as it should be: We owe everything to God. Looking around the world today and seeing all the selfishness and self-agrandizing that is so prevalent, I think we could use a little more humbleness. The Church asserting its authority? As it should, it is was trusted by God to lead the faithful on Earth, and it should assert the truths of the faith. If it didn't, it would be failing its sacred obligation.
This story aggravates me. In the midst of a fund raiser for public radio (which I normally support) to submit such a religiously charged article may have been a miscalculation on your part.

It certainly does not represent what is happening locally in the Roman Catholic Church. It ignores in large part all of the active parish communities as well represented in the archdiocese of Hartford. So much is happening with Outreach, Social Justice and community building, all of which is ignored in your Vatican focused article. So to say that the church is headed for bankruptcy just does not resonate among the local faithful.

Perhaps a grass roots focused article is in order?
Thank God for Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They have stayed true to the real spirit of Vatican II while trying to reign in some its excesses.
These comments obviously fail to hit the mark. Ultimately, society has become more secular. Is that bad? No. It isn't. Instead of blindly following the dictates of an organization that was founded 2000 years ago, we have, as a society, finally started to really rationally look at problems and look for evidence-based solutions. IS it wrong to use a condom? DO homosexuals have less morality than others? ARE non-Catholics more likely to be evil? ARE humans the only species with morality? DID Adam and Eve exist? These have implications on theological implications, even, as I've written about in the past on this blog:

Obviously I write on this topic often here, but the short story is that the more the antiquated institutions are held up for scrutiny, the less their claims are supported. We keep digging, and their claims become more and more "into the gaps" of our knowledge and understanding. Whereas once people were convinced of a geocentric universe (actively promoted by the Catholic Church), where human beings were specially created by God within 6 days 6000 years ago and screwed up the perfection that God set us up with by disobeying him, we are now living in a time where evidence shows us that all of this is false.


Here's to progress.

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