Gen X at 40

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ry -

I think you're missing something Alan. Being Catholic, and a chemist, I don't see where Benedict has called for a turning back of the clock. I *do* see him saying that the rules didn't change just because we now have microwave ovens, antibiotics, nmr/cat scan, and RU-486 or other meds that prevent implantation of a zygote. I do see him making a case(or a plea) that religion, and religion spawned morality, still has a place in the modern or can co-exist with modernity.
But, saying that he's calling for a return to 1350 I don't. How very un-ecumenical of you.(fleeing for the hills, don't need to get chemical burn from the acid wit that lurks around here)
Hope that wee bug you got leaves, and soon.

Alan -

It was a very odd way of characterizing the time frame, ry. But he's a rookie. I'll give him a few more shots at it before he gets pulled.

Alan -

But now you have my interest piqued and I am looking for the Christmas greetings at the rather stylish Vatican website. Here is the 2005 Papal Christmas message in its entirety which includes:<blockquote class="smalltext">The life-giving power of his light is an incentive for building a <b>new world order</b> based on just ethical and economic relationships. May his love guide every people on earth and strengthen their common consciousness of being a "family" called to foster relationships of trust and mutual support. A united humanity will be able to confront the many troubling problems of the present time: from the menace of terrorism to the humiliating poverty in which millions of human beings live, from the proliferation of weapons to the pandemics and the environmental destruction which threatens the future of our planet.</blockquote>I think it is fair to say that there is a measure of anti- or at least un-materialist intervention being implied. Now...keep in mind...I probably agree with what is said to a certain degree but if what is being described is not "the now" and not "the past" what will the new world order look like and who runs the postal service?

ry -

Yeah, that site's in the favorites que. Have to constantly go back there to show people what The Holy See actually has in line for stem cell research.

I realize I don't know your particular stances on terms of religion or familiarity with Catholicism in particular. So, please, give me a little lattitude. Not trying to be offensive or anything.
Let me attempt a translation, since this is actually pretty run of the mill for X-mas Mass fare.

Salvation comes/came/will continue to come thru Christ. Believe in the Holy Trinity. Strive to be good. Resist evil. Don't ignore the spiritual realm in your day to day life. Be good to your fellow man(all of humanity). Don't be a cheating jerk only out for a buck and for yourself. There's more to it than all the nice toys and a big bank account---like the afterlife and the rewards/punishments there. Accept something Bigger and more Badass than you. A humanity united in Christ's love won't have to worry about nuclear war, terrorism, or ecological disaster since their actions won't enegender any of them.

A bit different than what comes out of the mouths and writings of the '247 or 2,347 badly-drawn fourth-rate James Bond whack-job villains who are planning the next attack on western culture' don't you think? No, blow yourself up to restore burqa wearing . No, banking is evil. No, it's okay to make war on unbelievers. A bit different, no? If you mean that the similarity is superficial and that it can be generalized as 'if everyone thinks like we do it'll all be okay' and formed around religion I'd buy that. But it'd just be superficial.

YOu think this is bad? Try Liberation THeology. That's a real kick in the head. Marxism blended with the Holy Trinity. A trully weird cocktail.

I think Benedict would put Gary Bettman in charge of the postal service. I mean, hey, he got the NHL players back on the ice didn't he? (daubing skin with baking soda. damn, that acid wit stings).

SayNay? -

Give it up, Al. It sounds like he's just not "speaking" to you.

Alan -

Back to your dark corner, SayNay - your prattle adds nothing. <p>I think, ry, that you may miss the point where I mentioned difference after the diagnosis, if perhaps only applicable somewhere the post-1600s Jesuitical. And it was actually Christ who had the issue with the bankers (one of those unfortunate liberation moments of His) as opposed to the Vatican and the islamo-fascists for their different reasons. But aside from that, my point is this post what is the vision of this Pope is given his implication that a millenium and the recent centuries gone a wee bit off, gotten wobbly. The last one worked to reconcile science and faith. I could only assume, as any rational person would, that it is not what the islamo-fascists suggest so you needn't bother go there. But what is it?

SayNay? -

I guess my point, Al, from this dark corner, is that the Pope's message is not meant to be "parsed" socratically.

It's a "spiritual" message, Al, meant for the faithful, to be interpreted by the faithful, applying the dogma of the Church. I suppose you either "get it", or you don't.

Alan -

I disagree. Committees write these message and they are policy statements of a small powerful nation. Not "getting it" is the laziest fallback of all bad arguers. I am surprised to see it trotted out by you, SN!...or is that SN? !

SayNay? -

Apropos of nothing, I am reminded of Grandpa Simpson's quote, when speaking of getting "it":

"I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me".

Funny, and we'll all be there, someday, if not there now.

If you must have it, Al, then, "submitted for your approval"(btw, I wish someone had gifted that DVD set to me):

Is not the Pope simply asking: to what end or purpose do we use our technological knowledge and has this knowledge not been dispensed by God to do the will of God?

Simply put: stop and think, spiritually, if possible - if you have faith - and desire to do the will of God in the use of such knowledge, which will, in the Pope's view, is found in the dogma of the one, true, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Going back to my first post, Al, it's a broad message, set in broad language, subject to a narrow interpretation.

Alan -

I think you are close to it but there is that turn of phrase about the millenium and the last centuries that was clearly included for a purpose - but what? That is my only point. And, frankly, what is the point of being a protestant if you are not going to protest something out of the Vatican once in a while!

ry -

Ack! Okay, I took liberties with the same view line.

But, I disagree with the diagnosis. AS I said afore, I don't see the X-mas Greeting as a call to turn back the clock, not in the way you're implying(deny science and deny modernity in toto, all Turth is in the hands of the clergy, shove women back into the kitchen and barefoot/preggers).
SN? is close to where I wanted to go(maybe someday enough of the ether fumes will get outta my head so I can write/think coherently).

A call to not be Nietzchean maybe, but a true call to turn back the clock to Medieval TImes? Uh-uh. This speaks to the purpose of the inclusion of millenium and past centuries. The rise of secular humanism at the cost of sectarian humanism. Not a conspiracy to put Bettman in charge of the postal service. NOt an attack on science; but on thos that deny God exists, that there's no morality larger or more important than their own, and those that take the 'were scientists, we don't worry about applications---that's the job of engineers and politicians' line. Definately something about going wobbly in the faith(like my mother-in-law, she's gone all wobbly about religion in that one can do pretty much anything and still be Catholic---either there are rules or there aren't.).

Keep this Pope in context. He has said he'd rather have a small Flock of adherents to classic Catholicism than a popular religion. In a way, it's an admission of the decline of Catholicism into a minor religion.

I don't have a ton of bicarbonate here so I'm not going to go into the whole banker thing. Could get ugly and I'd just rather not. More fun to talk about other things. Like skinny ties and the nefarious attempts by Apple to become the deciders of Cool.

Alan -

Agreed. Ry and I agree that SN should stop baiting us.

Phil -

"Keep this Pope in context. He has said he'd rather have a small Flock of adherents to classic Catholicism than a popular religion. In a way, it's an admission of the decline of Catholicism into a minor religion."

This is the nub of my concern with this new Pope (as a lapsed Episcopalian that married into an uber-Catholic family.) Catholicism is only becoming a minor religion in Europe. In Africa, Asia, Latin-America and the US (in the parts of the country with immigration from the aforementioned areas) Catholicism is booming. It is booming because it has shrugged off "classic Catholicism" and speaks to the spiritual needs of the poor. (I don't get the anti-condom thing though.) The new Pope indeed wants a smaller, more devout flock--he fears the change that is coming. Get out of the way Benny, the church she is a changin'.

SayNay? -

Talk like that Phil, will get you placed at the kiddies table at your uber-Catholic inlaws family dinners.

The African bishops are arguably more conservative than any other bishops elsewhere in the world. Latin-American "liberation theology" was, shall we say, "crushed" by John Paul II. Under John Paul, non-dogmatic Catholic "teachers" and "leaders" have been silenced or removed in America and elsewhere.

Any growth in the Church under John Paul, has been attributable to the Church's adherence to its Truth (as ry pointed out above). John Paul's message was, in summary "either or in or your out, your choice". There are plenty of other "fashionable" Christian religions in which you can find your place, if you are unable to adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict, as a Cardinal, carried this message to the wayward, many times for John Paul. Benedict will simply be seen by faithful Catholics, as carrying on John Paul's work, excersing the will of God trough the one true Church.

Alan -

Needless to say anyone who writes in terms like:<blockquote class="smalltext">other "fashionable" Christian religions</blockquote>is not much exploring what is really happening. Conservative catholicism like protestant materialist evalgelicalism as just as fashionable as anything else going these days, as easily called forms of comforting hassle-free answers in their way. And judging who is faithful is just about as core a sin as their is so watch out, ry.

SayNay? -

Except, of course Al, that the Catholic hierarchy has always, always, always viewed every OTHER Christian religion as merely "fashionable" recreants of the Catholic Church.

To paraphrase Abe Simpson: "The Catholic Church believes it created "it", and they define what "it" is, so that if you're Catholic, you're with "it", so that "it" never seems weird and scary to you".

Alan -

Heresay upon heresay!!! How unseemly to a pre-existant branch like we Scots...even if my bunch fought against it for another six centuries.

Phil -

Yes, the church became more conservative in its leaders--but the church grew larger, the people in the pews must be getting something. The growth is concentrated in non-western, non-white countries (or in the immigrant population of the West.) In the West, there were some hopeful developments, most notably the Voice of The Faithful group that started in Boston out of the abuse scandals.

As I say, I'm an Episcopalian. We don't hound homosexuals out of our church, we make them Bishops. As an American, I am also very put off by the hierarchical nature of the church. My reaction to infallibility is to ask them, who died and made you Pope? The politics disgusts me, too. The Catholic bishops stopped covering up for pederast priests long enough to tell me that John Kerry isn't moral enough to be President?

Having said that, my exposure to Catholicism has been enlightening and enriching. My in-laws and wife are political refugees from Poland. My father-in-law was imprisoned for leading a Solidarity strike at a coal mine. It is hard to talk about Catholicism and John Paul 2 without admiration for his actions and that of the church. The Catholic Church kept the whole notion of freedom alive while oppression reigned. It is hard to overestimate the impact of John Paul 2's message "Be Not Afraid" had on those struggling for freedom. Perhaps this is why millions joined Solidarity, while in neighboring Czechoslovakia only a handful of dissidents signed Charter 77.

The other notion I have taken away from Catholicism is the sense that despite the entrenched conservative hierarchy, there is a vibrant progressive community of Catholics willing to work to blunt the worst results of the rightward lurch of late-era JP2 & Ratzinger (or as I call him Mad Benny.) The Catholic Workers, Voice of the Faithful and other activists working to ordain women all demand our respect and support. There are many people with the faith to work for a reformed church. Mad Benny can't last forever and the influx of poor and persecuted racial minorities into the church augur a much different future for this church.

Alan -

This is all very complex, Phil, and I am not sure the audience can handle these sorts of multi-faceted scenerios. I am now officially bracing for the collapse of readership, attuned as it is to my simple broad brush strokes.

Phil -

Sorry about the complexity. An alliance of poor people tired of starving and rich people tired of being told who they can sleep with will rip Mad Benny a new one.

SayNay? -

The "Mad Benny" remarks should leave Phil gently uninvited to the inlaws family dinners and gatherings: "Certainly we would love to have you sweetie, but maybe Phil would like to spend that time with his own family...".

Phil, fortunately for his Catholic inlaws, could not be more wrong in his prognostication.

There is some startling inconsistency in Phil's logic on the "growth" of the Church, that is, it has apparently corresponded with the alleged increased conservative nature of its leaders. The logical conclusion is that people are converting to, or staying with, the Church, because of its conservative nature: its adherence to its Truth.

I find it rather interesting that the most vocal "conservative" (ie. those most resistent to change) Catholics are generally those who have converted to the faith later, in their adult life. Take David Warren, the Ottawa Citizen columnist, as an example. Warren often criticizes vehemently those who he refers to as "cradle" Catholics - those who have been born into the faith, and feel, accordingly that they have some "birthright" to criticize, attack, and ignore the Church's teachings, and its leaders, because it is (apparently) "their" Church, inherited at birth. Janice Kennedy, another Citizen columnist, comes to mind as one falling into Warren's definition.

Warren, and others, point out that there are many other "reformed churches" (to use Phil's description) available to those who wish to see ordained women, gay priests and gay bishops, consecrated gay marriages, support for a "woman's right to chose" etc.

And there is plenty of room in these reformed churches, in their empty pews, for those who advocated for these "reforms", to come and "hear" their "reformed" message. Which is, apparently the problem, which, I presume, is not lost on the Catholic leadership.

Alan -

I was hiding my wee bit of sarcasm for others, Phil, not you in that comment. SN actually makes an interesting point about converts, though - being attracted to strictness and bumping the faithful born to the church out into the street - yet I cannot be but concerned for his overuse of quotation marks, knowing as I do that each of us is parcelled out only so many in life.

SayNay? -

"point" taken.

Phil -

SN, you didn't pay attention to my argument (which I guess is how you keep the bona fides of your screen name.)

I did not say that the church increased its size due to its increased Conservatism. I specifically stated that it occurred despite the growing conservatism. That is why I cited some of the groups working to change the church.

Poor people are joining the church in droves in the developing world--the inherent message of hope and solidarity with the oppressed in the Gospels can only bring change to this area--grumpy, right wing Bishops can only have so much control.

Combine this with the Western movement for reform of the church--ordination of women especially--and you will see massive changes in the church down the road. Mad Benny's an old man. He'll only be infallible for awhile.

SayNay? -

You can't separate the Catholic Church from its hierarchy or leadership, Phil. Its a top down organization - always has been, always will be. In this context, your theory is illogical.

Do you think new Catholics really want an Anglican or United Church-style ministry (which is what you seem to be predicting is the future of the Catholic Church)? If they did, why not join these religions - these and the other Christian religions preach messages of hope and solidarity(I've stopped using quotation marks, given Al's admonishment). Do you think new Catholics wish their church to share in fate suffered by these other Christian faiths? Is this why they have joined, or stay in the Church - in the hope to someday reform it into oblivion? Get a grip.

It is submitted that the new faithful are attracted to the Catholic Church precisely because it is the one that is more "solid" in what it believes in than the others and precisely because of its (what some would call - no quotation marks) conservative hierarchy.

Alan -

I think Phil is right on this point, SN. It may be that the Vatican would wish there to be top-down control but it is clear from the actual deviation of practice from pulpit, not only in places like Holland but throughout the Catholic world, that there is a division. It is all rightly taken with a measure of salt.<p>And there is no fate being suffered by Churchs which actually preach the Gospel, walk the walk in the food kitchens and refugee camps (things I am too slack to ever do) and shy from the pop materialism that has been introduced by the E-Z protest-esque congregations of the right in North America. What the old authoritarian centralists like Benny and the new authoritarian centralists of fundamentalism fail to deal with is that pesky and unfortunate figure for them of Christ. But these things come in wave because the message is so important and strong.

SayNay? -

Again, apropos of nothing, and slightly relevant:

1. The Ecumenical Movement that seemed to be supported by the Catholic hierarchy previously, while still talked about, has been effectively placed on the back burner(little wonder, really): prudence and patience by the Catholic faithful seem to be the watchwords now. Anyway, it has always been a one-way movement ie. into the Catholic church, but that fact has been re-inforced by the Vatican on some misguided faithful.

2. I'm sure you've heard this before, but if Judge Alito is confirmed to the US Supreme Court, there will be five (a majority) justices who are practicing Catholics on the Court. What does this say, if anything, about the nature of the conservative movement in the US?

Alan -

It really says nothing other than it is no longer sectarian as it would have been 40 years ago and saying any of the faithful are misguided is extremely strange theologically to a protestant. And I think going any farther in this thread risks would bring us close to the farce of only exposing our ignorance so perhaps we should let it end now.

SayNay? -

Sorry boys, no popular movement will ever effect the governance of the Catholic Church.

It's the old story, again: any organization can call itself "Catholic" but unless accepted by Rome, it's not part of the Catholic Church.

The Church has always tolerated some dissent, but start consecrating gay marriages and women priests, and see how long it takes Rome to excommunicate these poseurs.

ry was right when he commented earlier it is better in Rome's view to have a small, faithful Church, than a seemingly large fashionable, popular one, where everyone calls themselves "Catholic" but no one adheres to the Church dogma. If it were otherwise, these changes foreseen by Phil would have happened long ago. There is nothing new in Phil's theory -people like him have been wrong for centuries. The Church endures - otherwise, according to it, it will be the end of time.

Alan -

Hint. Take it.

SayNay? -

You started it!....Did not!....Did too!....Mom!!!