The above is the self-explanatory introduction to our new series, “Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions… Answered”.
Topics already in the pipeline include Scripture, Spirituality, Catholic education and the “Institutional Church”.
If you have a topic you’d like covered tell us in the comments, or if you would like to participate in any of our videos, let us know, either by commenting below or emailing the editor on firstname.lastname@example.org
Following up on the notion that the CT blog could be a sort of cyber-parish for modern Catholics, esp. as a source of orthodox catechesis, here’s a thought:
Is there a traditional priest up your sleeve who would be willing to answer questions from readers in the form of a blog topic, every so often? You could call it “Ask Father” or something of the sort, and create a separate email for these questions so you don’t get swamped. Webmaster or someone on the CT Team could collect the questions and forward them to Father, he could supply the answers, and the Team could post them. End.
This, and similar suggestions, are put to us from time to time. I find the idea understandable on one level, but very puzzling on another. Here’s why.
It is the ordained who are causing and/or supporting/perpetuating the crisis in the Church.
I do have to admit, however, that, even before I became aware of the crisis, I am on record as saying to various friends that a priest is the last person I would ever approach to discuss a personal problem. It’s a kind of instinct. Even from the age of 11 years when enquiring about membership of the junior Legion of Mary, I was not encouraged by our curate… I later discovered that he was the Spiritual Director of the parish group! Clericalism is still a major problem in the Church and my own sense is that, when priests are so lacking in elementary understanding of the basic lay vocation, I can’t really be confident in the sort of answers they would give in any area of doubt, whether moral, religious or spiritual. Very recently a priest pointed out to me that St Catherine of Siena could criticise popes because she had been given a special grace from God – not because she was a Confirmed Soldier of Christ. So, that was me and moi put in our respective places! Now, of course, St Catherine of Siena was a great mystic and saint with a very important and special mission from God, but there was nothing to stop God choosing a priest or bishop for the task. The fact that He chose a lay woman signals to us that everyone, men, women and children, must be active lay apostles. That priests are simply not aware of that fact themselves, which is why it is seldom, if ever, a topic for preaching, does not fill me with confidence that their answers to key questions and advice would be solidly reliable.
The priestly vocation is to dispense the sacraments and preach the Faith. From time to time, we’ve had priest contributors to this blog as part of their duty to “preach the Faith” but they tend not to stay the course. Perseverance in the work of the lay apostolate is not a widespread virtue. The other day I was searching for a comment among very old blog topics and was astonished at the names of bloggers I’d totally forgotten. They come and they go, priests included. And I have to say that of the several priests who have blogged here, none have been “traditionalists” … Indeed, when I asked one “traditionalist” priest if he reads our blog he replied in the negative, all the while assuring me that he supported what we are doing. Truly, you couldn’t make it up. Who was it said: “the blog has been betrayed, even by those who should have contributed to it?”
So, in terms of “orthodox catechesis”, I would expect “traditional” priests to participate in our discussions and since they don’t, I lack confidence in their willingness to commit to the kind of role which RCA Victor (and others before him) suggest. And as for addressing individual concerns? Well…
I don’t see priests as problem-solvers; even “traditionalist” and “traditional leaning” priests don’t always get it right, and might do a great deal of damage with their “advice”. I remember some years ago, when my mother was elderly and with mobility issues, so that I was reluctant to leave her for any length of time in case she fell, a priest made a comment about my spasmodic attendance at his weekday Masses. I did try to attend when I could but that entailed recruiting a “mother-sitter” and although my siblings were happy to help when they could, they were in full time employment and had their own work and family commitments. They were already committed to staying with my mother on Sundays and Holy Days, to let me get to Mass. When the subject next arose and I “asked Father” if he thought attending a weekday Mass took precedence over my duty to my mother, he replied, slowly… “Yes …I think so”. Wrong! For me to abandon my sick mother in order to attend a weekday Mass would have been sinful, not virtuous. So, recommending priests to those seeking sound spiritual, religious and moral advice, is something of a daunting task these days.
As things stand, when I do, occasionally, receive emails from people asking me to recommend a priest, I suggest one of the SSPX-affiliated priests, who has given me permission to distribute his contact details to anyone who asks. This priest offers personal retreats for people on a one-to-one basis, in a beautiful setting, on the Scottish island of Stronsay, and I am always happy to email his details to anyone who wishes to contact him.
However, if I “asked [any] Father” you care to name, to take on the role of a Catholic Truth Agony Uncle as outlined by our zealous RCA Victor I can say without fear of contraception contradiction, that he would decline the job. Even with a six figure salary (£000.000) 😀
Of course, if YOU are a priest reading this who would relish the role – feel free to say so loud and clear. Your appointment begins with immediate effect!
A study commissioned by a protestant organization has found that Christian youth groups, with an infantile approach to the faith and a focus heavily on being “hip” to this fallen culture, are a predominate factor in driving many young people from Christianity. Mind, this study looked at Christians in general and not Catholics, but the Church has mimicked disastrous protestant programs in recent decades and has reaped the same whirlwind of devastation:
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today’s 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it’s too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today’s believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical……
……..“Today’s church has created peer dependency,” McManus says. “The inherent result of youth groups is that teenagers in the church are focused on their peers, not their parents or their pastors. It’s a foreign sociology that leads to immaturity, a greater likelihood of sexual activity, drug experimentation and a rejection of the authority of the Word of God.
I was going to go on about the Prussian school model and the isolation from the family it tends to engender in children (indeed, it was designed to do just that), and how it is unsurprising that when Christians – including the original Christians, Catholics – perpetuate this model by dividing up families and having special Masses for this group, special programs for that……it tends to be self-defeating.
The family is the Church in microcosm. As goes the family, so will go the Church, and vice versa. Anything that tends to negatively affect the family – such as educating children away from parental influence, with huge emphasis given to how their peers perceive them – will negatively effect the Church. Lifeteen Masses, CCD, teen youth groups with often highly questionable programs – all these things at least tangentially weaken family unity. They also help further inculcate children in the culture of peer dependence noted above, and when many young adults today are not just unfaithful regarding their religious duties, but are out and out atheist-communist enemies of the Faith, it is not surprising that so many of these young souls fall away.
So many of these programs are adopted almost unthinkingly, in a spirit of imitation that demonstrates both a lack of understanding of the Faith and of human nature. Catholic parishes have “vacation bible schools” because protestant sects have them. They even use the same, protestant-generated teaching materials! That’s just one small example, I could continue on and on through the entire panoply of mimicry. It shows how deranged from the right understanding and practice of the Faith so many in positions of authority in the Church have become.
Anyway, go to Mass as a family. Don’t go to goofy, gimmicky “special” Masses. Home school. Pray together daily. Carefully monitor your kid’s activities, especially on the computer. You can’t guarantee you’re children will remain faithful throughout their lives, but if you do the above, demonstrate virtue, and avoid obvious vice you will immeasurably increase the likelihood that your kids won’t fall away from the Faith. Source
I could not be less surprised at the above findings. If anything insults the intelligence (and potential) of young people it’s keeping them rooted in their limited experience and catering for their imaginary need for perpetual entertainment. Or maybe you disagree?
If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread. Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!
Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions. Whatever.
At the request of one of our readers, Catholic Truth is proud to mark the Feast of the Holy Family with the launch of what we believe to be the first Catholic Home Education website in Scotland. Catholic Home Education Scotlandaims to support parents who are home-educators as well as parents who have concerns about the education system but who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to home-school.
Click on the image of the Holy Family to take a tour of this beautiful new website and share your thoughts with us about the whole concept of home-education. Note: this is a website launched by a family determined to hold fast to the entirety of Catholic Tradition, allowing no compromise with Modernism in any way – catechesis, liturgy, you name it. It’s all or nothing.
But, are they right? Doesn’t every Catholic parent have a duty to support the Catholic school system?
This is hard work. How am I going to move the Church forward into full blown Modernism with all these traditionalist-leaning Catholics causing such a fuss every time I speak?
We decided to launch a “Pope Francis Latest” thread since there is just so much to discuss almost every time he speaks or writes. We are not being unkind. It is not a case of the pontiff not being media savvy and making unwitting gaffes. No. It’s clear that he knows what he is saying and he means what he says.
Feel free to post updates on this thread. From time to time we will post a particular topic thread but for most of the time, this thread will be home to your thoughts about the utterances and writings of the pontiff, whether good or not so good, heart-warming or heresy.
Click on the photo to read his first Apostolic Exhortation. There are no “off the cuff” remarks in there, made under pressure, but plenty of cause for serious concern.
Is the Church really “engaging with youth” at these events? Apart from vague exhortations to follow Christ (without spelling out any of the practical implications of doing so) what is the point of these World Youth Days? Are they making young people more Catholic?