Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ecclesia Loquens:The Chattering Church

Huge support for ‘A Call to Action’ on Church renewal | A Call to Action, Heythrop College, vatican II, Ellen Teague, Gerard Hughes SJ

be warned this is a rant!
ICN reports on a meeting of "around" 400 people belonging to "Call to Action" who were supposed to meet at the Jesuit run Heythrop College. They seem to have come out with the same old stuff Heythrop has been pushing for the past 40 years, they were doing it when I was a seminarian and will continue until the place crumbles into dust.
There are interesting little snippets in the article such as:-
The first open meeting they organised on 18 July attracted 70 Catholic priests and deacons who shared concerns and discussed the future of the Church. In advance of the second meeting, some organisers had met with Archbishop Vincent Nichols at what was described as a “very good meeting”. Fr Joe Ryan of Westminster Diocese reported that “he agreed that something needs to be done” and “will observe our movement”. 
....young people see hypocrisy in the Church, where, for example, former Anglicans can be married priests but not cradle Catholics. He asked: “How do we make our Church the Church of our children?”
It was the "young people" bit that got me, it is all these old men and women who claim to speak for young people. The truth is young people don't really give a damn, in fact I suspect that young people are bored stiff with "the church endlessly talking about the Church", about the only thing I do agree with Hans Kung on is "when the church speaks about the church it ceases to be the Church". What they seem to be asking for is a Church that has its head up its own fundament forever examining its inner workings, it is the very opposite of the  baseline teaching of Vatican II.

I must say I am already getting bored with discussions about and on VII: yes, I agree with the Pope we must get back to the texts, but so what? I've read and studied Dei Verbum, Sacrosanctum Concillium, Lumen Gentium, they form the basis of my own faith and preaching, as does half of Gaudium et Spes. The other half where there are serious ambiguities I would like clarification on, but truthfully, I can live with that, the more incomprehensible it is the less people really take notice of it. It is scratching the itch of our indisposition, that is just so tedious.

Evangelisation can't be about endless talk and involving people in discussion after discussion after discussion. The real problem I see with VII is that it transformed the "teaching Church" into a "chattering Church", fine for the lower middle classes of suburbia but it has driven anyone else out. Pope John XXIII expected it to last a few weeks, it opened in October, it should have finished by Christmas but it went on for four years. Four years of interminable committee meetings, that transformed the Church, they got used to it, thought that was the nature of the Modern Church, and the Modern Bishop!

The chattering Church is BORING! Jesus taught with authority! He commends the faith of the Centurion who says to his slave, "Come here, do this, and he does it". There are no discussion groups in the Gospels except amongst those who want to destroy Jesus.

This Saturday will see hundreds, I hope thousands, of ordinary Catholics assemble outside Westminster Cathedral at 1.45pm and walk through the streets of London carrying the image of the Blessed Mother to Brompton Oratory; going oneself, inviting friends, this is evangelising, this is "being Church". Bringing people to meet or to obey the Lord, to live by Faith, this I hope is what will happen in the Year of Faith but, good God preserve us from chatter.


GOR said...

Agreed, Father. The interminable meetings of the business world have infected the Church. The business meetings mostly achieved little, except to reinforce in the organizers that they were ‘doing’ something. I’m afraid the Year of Faith in many places will result in a plethora of meetings and discussion groups resulting in an avalanche of ‘position’ papers that will be read by few and influence less.

Rather than meetings and discussions, what about more public devotions, prayer, Confession times, Exposition, Holy Hours, etc.

We better demonstrate our faith by acts - not words.

Amfortas said...

Spot on. I've just been to a mass at Westminster Cathedral to open the Year of Faith. Bishop John Arnold in his homily talked alot about 'you and me' but very little about drawing closer to Our Lord. It was evangelisation for the chattering, must be doing something classes. He also talked about spirituality (the theme of the last season of the Year of Faith according to the Westminster Diocese). What is spirituality for heaven's sake but new age pap. And, of course, despite dozens of priests being present we still had holy communion distributed by Extraordinary Ministers. Rant over!

Sixupman said...

Bravo Father,

Evangelisation can also be achieved by 'example', like the source of many conversions pre-Vatican II. Now people are told to stay where they are and not convert?

Frederick Jones said...

If those in the picture are the young people how old are the others?

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

I wish some one would write a book defining when Catholic,stops being Catholic. In a world of new age continuums I had hoped the Church would be a bulkwark against all those ideological bungies. In my local parish weekly news letter you're as likely to find quotes from Jim Morrisson, or Ayn Rand as any of the Saints. Ghandi, the DailyLama get honourable mention in homilies. Is it just me who finds these sorts uses wear away at one's faith, a polite war of attrition.

Anonymous said...

Without discussion and argument would there ever have been any development in doctrine or Dogma in the history of the Church?

Amfortas said...

More ranting....and we had a hymn before the introit was sung so that we could all feel we had something to do. Hymns are all very well for devotions and offices but not for a solemn mass. More ranting over!

Fr Ray Blake said...

EF Pastor,

...but when it goes on for 40/50 years! And when it seems to outweigh every other diocesan or parish activity, when it is forced on people, when it is chatter for the sake of it, when is conducted by those who have little formation and little prayer life or when these are not a pre-requisite for it.

Then it becomes destructive!

"Development" of either doctrine or dogma is not something that the Orthodox Church understand, it is certainly not something which should be sought for its own sake.
For Newman it was something which happened under the influence of the Holy Spirit, not something which was done for the sake of it.

Genty said...

This looks pretty much like the age group which chatters in church.
Discussion and argument are all very well among those who have the expertise and training to examine dogma and doctrine but not among those who "think" and "feel" as a substitute for knowledge. In this instance, we are not all equal, any more than a student is equal to a don or a first-year intern to a brain surgeon.
Anyone who has had the misfortune to sit through meetings where, almost inevitably, the subjective overwhelms the objective
will know what a head-banging exercise it is.

Anonymous said...

"Development" of either doctrine or dogma is not something that the Orthodox Church understand, it is certainly not something which should be sought for its own sake."

I agree. But it is something towards which the Holy Spirit guides the Church as a result of argument. 40/50 years is a short time in a "Church which thinks in centuries", however painful some of the chattering may be for us who live through it.
I also agree with your reference to formation and the need for prayer, though where those are absent the Holy Spirit can still work

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Deveolop-slope-slope-slop...blimmin Google 'spells....innovation

St Vincent of Lerin encoureged Catholics: take care to cleave to antiquity, which cannot now be lead astray by any deceit of novelty.

In a 'novelty-age' God help all the 'led astray'.

BJC said...

There's something very ironic in that they started the meeting at liberal Heythrop college and then had to move to St. Mary Abbott's the local Anglican church to finish it off. Maybe God was trying to tell them something.

My favourite quote was "young people see hypocrisy in the Church". You can say that again. I was young once and all I've seen these past 40 years is hypocritical priests and religious like these stirring things up from the inside and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They never accepted the teachings of the church and never will. Who ordained these people?


John Nolan said...

@ Amfortas

Westminster Cathedral's use of EMHC is in flagrant defiance of Redemptionis Sacramentum and is why when I attend Mass in London I do not alight at Victoria but change for the District/Circle line and travel two stops further west.

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