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Friday, December 16, 2016

So, you might have detected a somewhat negative vibe recently.

As in, regarding Catholicism.

Indeed, you would be correct. 

It is difficult to see the current era as anything less than a "progressive" demolition of what was left of the pre-VatToo church and its replacement with a flabbier, preachier version of liberal mainline Protestantism. 

The latest trial balloon from the pontificate's point-man theologian is a call for "intercommunion." Because, as with divorce and remarriage (and contrary to the claims this is a "pastor" focused on the wider church), this is a "pressing" issue in the de-Christianized West. Plus, as a bonus, the Church's Catholic distinctives can once again be immolated on the altars of that most jealous of gods, Ecumenism. 

In reality, intercommunion is at most a small problem. In mature mixed marriages, the parties understand the restrictions and don't presume entitlement to the prerogatives of full membership in their spouse's community. Or, if they want to, they choose to convert to get access to the Catholic sacrament. 

So, the real motivation is not some vanishingly small number of immature people who carp about some imagined entitlement. The real goal is the erosion of Catholic identity. 

Think about it:

A Catholic who advocates for "intercommunion" is arguing against the Catholic faith. He is saying that one need not ever profess Catholicism to receive the Body and Blood--to be in actual full communion with the Church. One need not believe in all that crap to receive the so-called source and summit of the Catholic faith. Indeed, one of the Lutheran ministers who met with the Bishop of Rome said as much in an interview:

In the Catholic Church, if you receive the Eucharist in the wrong state, without for example consenting to the main dogmas of the Church, then you’re in fact bringing condemnation upon yourself. Do you agree this is a danger?

No, because it’s Jesus Christ who invites us to participate, it’s not the Catholic or Lutheran Church, and it’s not a question of Lutheran dogmas or Catholic dogmas. Jesus Christ himself invites us and gives us His blood and His body. 

So that trumps doctrine in a sense?

Yes, there’s no danger I think of receiving the Eucharist in the wrong way when a Lutheran participates in a Catholic Eucharist because they’re receiving Jesus Christ and not the teachings of the Catholic Church.

You have to admire his candor, if nothing else. 

But he is 100 percent correct. And he neatly states the reality of so-called "intercommunion": it's not a real profession of shared belief, it's just a ceremony that makes participants feel good.

Except, of course, that it doesn't. Leaving aside Paul's injunctions, what does "intercommunion" say to Catholics who have followed the Church's teaching and discipline on the sacrament?

Yep. It flips the bird to every convert and, indeed, every parent and youth who jumps through the "sacramental prep" hoops.

All that sacrifice and hard work and some carping Lutherans jump to the front of the line without having to believe all that shit? Too bad.

If one doubts Catholic teaching, one should graciously refrain from the altar and respect the discipline and--especially--the Catholics who hold to all the Catholic church teaches. It's what Catholic teaching asks and it's what I do. I can't understand the entitlement mentality of non-Catholics who think otherwise.

But, I suppose, these are unserious times, and we in the west have become an unserious people. Everyone is a victim, and victims expect redress. Even--maybe especially--when they haven't really been hurt at all.


  1. Nailed it, big dog. I was baptized into the Episcopal Organization and spent the first 48 of my 61 years there. And D, if you and the family or any other Catholic for that matter, were somehow to find yourselves in an Episcopal building some Sunday morning, you could take Communion if you wanted to, no questions asked.

    Is this what you Catholics want? Because this is exactly what you're going to get.

    Another thing. I don't consider the fact that I can't (or shouldn't be able to) receive Communion in a Catholic parish to be an insult. Far from it. That's not a bug, as the engineers might say, that's a feature. Means that the Catholic Church actually believes stuff an attractive thing for someone like me. And if I'm on a train speeding away from TEO, which doesn't seriously believe much of anything, why on EARTH would I want to jump on to a train speeding in the opposite direction?

  2. A portion of the Catholic corner of the internet has long pushed the narrative that the dissenters on the left and the right of the Church are mirror images of each other. The idea is that the lefties reject basically all issues connected to the pelvis while the righties reject just war theory and the social teachings and that both sides of the coin were equally wrong. I won't name names, but the worst offender is on your blogroll and I think you know whom I'm speaking of.

    This never sat right with me - it always seemed like the "left" was rejecting something more fundamental, for reasons I couldn't easily articulate. Their constant mockery of JPII and B16 was part of it, but there was something else I couldn't put my finger on. Their heated opposition to certain bits of Catholicism that don't obviously map to partisan presuppositions (the old Mass, Friday penance, etc) confused me as well.

    Eventually, I started delving a little deeper into theology and now I'm pretty sure I see what the deal is. The reason the "leftist" dissent seemed more fundamental is because it is. The "moderate left" among Catholics essentially believes Luther's argument that there was a sort of Babylonian Captivity of the Church, where from about AD 400 through AD 1961 the truth about God was set aside in favor of a bunch of medieval superstitions. They don't just disbelieve the teachings of the Church on human sexuality, but also those on the economy of salvation and the role of grace and the sacraments. The acid test here is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - while some of them will weakly affirm the real presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, they all reject the Mass as it is, viewing it instead as a communal meal. Some go even earlier than AD 400.

    Once I figured this out, everything else fell into place. Monsignor So-and-so opposes the Roman Canon not because he reflexively dislikes tradition due to his political leanings, but rather because he thinks the bits about offering things to God are nonsense, and it's obvious if you read his memoirs. Cardinal Whatshisface is in favor of communion for those living in sin and schismatics not because he believes our Lord and St. Paul and the Fathers were unclear on the matters in question or because he has hangups regarding the pelvic region, but rather because he doesn't believe in Mortal Sin or the Mass, and it's obvious if you read his book. Bishop Whosawhatsit doesn't propose an absurd linkage between "not murdering babies" and a particular vision of the common good wherein the government is the mediator of all charity because he sincerely believes such a thing but rather because he wants to shield various whores for Moloch from flak from those rubes who foolishly believe in Jesus the 2nd Person of the Trinity rather than Jesus the Useful Liberator-Figure Myth. There are a million puzzle pieces that fall into place once you realize this.

    I still struggle with the flotsam and jetsam coming from various quarters in Rome and elsewhere. I grew up near the shrine of the North American Martyrs, I'm sure Sts. Isaac Jogues (SJ) and Renee Goupil (SJ) and Takeri Tekakwitha are not too happy with the idea that proselytism is solemn nonsense. The constant armchair psychology accusing those who believe (for instance) that the Church's discipline with the Eucharist is for the benefit of souls (per St. Paul and Lauda Sion) of really being some sort of elitists or Pharisees is particularly grating - my parents were living together in sin during my childhood, but they were from an earlier generation that was catechized and their abstinence from Communion was a strong witness to me about the nature of the holy Eucharist (and a reminder to me to pray for them before and after their deaths) and the reality of sin, grace, repentance and mercy.

  3. I think we've arrived at the same location. I figure I was pretty thoroughly lied to when I joined the Catholic Church. All the things I was assured simply COULD NOT happen have taken place, with more to come. I was assured that "the Holy Spirit would never allow" the shuffling evasions and wink-wink nudge-nudge compromises that rotted the Episcopal Church, and yet here they are. I no longer believe any of the unique claims that Catholics make for themselves.

    It sounds like you might be turning toward Orthodoxy. Good luck, I hope it turns out well, but I'm not going to try it. I feel the same collapse will follow in any denomination, and might even be there already, just not visible to an outsider. I feel like Eliza trying to cross the river jumping on the ice floes. None of these churches look like they're going to be a permanent place to settle.

  4. And I expect that a good 80% of the priests would applaud heartily.

  5. "these are unserious times, and we in the west have become an unserious people". Agreed. And that is why sports "professionals" have become sports "entertainers".