10 OCTOBER 2014. As many have probably been following the information that is coming from the Synod on the Family in Rome, I too have been trying to learn what I can. However, I watched a recent video over at CNS (available here), which puported to display some Americans' "hopes" for the Synod from interviews with American parishoners of Santa Susanna in Rome. Frankly, I was horified.
The video protrays American attitudes toward marriage and the Church as being based more in nostalgia than anything, while at the same time calling for the Church to wake up to contemporary times, contemporary issues, and "come up to speed" with today's culture. One poor soul even articulates that the purpose of the Church is to "increase its flock" and that to do so it really must "give the people what they want." Pray, pray, pray for these poor people. I have to wonder, where is their catechises?
I pray this is not really the sentiment of the majority, or a significant number, of faithful Catholics in the United States. I want a Church that proclaims truth! I want a Church that is faithful and emphasizes that faithfulness to the Body of Christ. I want a Church that strives toward holiness and is focused on bringing all men and women closer to God so that they may be be holy saints, destined for heaven. I want a Church that loves with the tenderness of Christ, forgives sins - as Christ came to do and instituted the Church as his bride - but continues to call all of us sinners to a life that is free from sin. Oh, the folly of seeking the impossible (in the eyes of the world), but oh the joy (for the faithful) of following Christ, though I will certainly at times fail.
Watch the video and let me know if you agree or disagree with these "American" views.
I would also commend a well written, and I think insightful, article by Father Dwight Longenecker, published by Zenit. Father Longenecker takes on the dueling videos (as portrayed by the media and in social media) from Cardinal Walter Kasper and Cardinal Raymond Burke in the days leading up to the start of the Synod. While I would not question the faithfulness of either Cardinal Kasper or Cardinal Burke, Father Longenecker makes some good, if slightly over generalized, points. Points which may go a long way toward explaining a real divergence in attitudes among Catholics, particularly American Catholics.
Here are few snipets:
Catholic New Service issued videos featuring the two cardinals expressing their points of view. Video Kasper could be summed up as, “couples in a second marriage show love and tenderness. We should do the same and forgive.” Video Burke was, “Jesus said if a man divorces his wife and marries another he commits adultery. Any questions?”
. . .
Kasperian Catholicism is not only a European phenomenon. It is also the main religion of the American Northeast where, as in Europe, Catholicism is the de facto established religion. In this country, we might call Kasperian Catholicism “Kennedy Catholicism.” This religion regards the moral teachings of the Church as “guidelines.” The traditions of the Church are quaint customs to feel nostalgic about, and the dogmas of Catholicism are medieval notions that should be re-interpreted and understood in fresh ways for the modern world. The fact that both Kasperian and Kennedy Catholicism are found in areas where the Catholic faith is the established religion is no coincidence. It is only when a religion is established as it is in these sub cultures that it can afford the luxury of liberalism.
. . . Rather than being comfortable within the established Church, Burke seems more aware of the growing conflict between the world and the gospel. For Burkeans, Christ and culture are in conflict and the Church is there to challenge the prevailing mores, not condone them. The Burkean Catholic sees the core faith once delivered to the saints as being unchangeable, and adaptation to the prevailing culture only involves a change in emphasis, a tweaking of presentation or a re-packaging of the unchanging truths.Read the whole article here.
I will pray more fervently for our Church, especially our Church in the United States.