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August 29, 2006

Comments

Brad C

"How to understand a Church that calls itself "the Catholic Church" in which two parishes like St. Joan and St. Agnes can exist in the same Archdiocese - healthy diversity or mass confusion?"

This is a scary observation. During the General Convention of the Episcopal Church this summer many Catholics, some with barely disguised glee, pointed out that the apparent breakup of the Anglican communion revealed the contradictions involved in trying to have a communion that permitted radically different views on fundamental matters of faith and morals. Some even expressed perplexity about the controversy. Why are these folks worried about maintaining communion when their "communion" is so obviously a fiction?

Now you are pointing out that the same situation exists in the Catholic Church, at least in the U.S. The difference with the Anglican communion would be that the latitude given to each parish or diocese to go its own way on matters of faith and morals is de facto and not de jure. Thus, the contradictions contained in the very nature of the Anglican communion are not contained in the Catholic Church even if the Catholic Church allows practices that contradict its claim to be an infallible source of truth in matters of faith and morals.

I remember many people looking at the Anglican situation and saying--at least that will never happen to us! Are we sure? We need to pray for the bishops and the Pope.

Chris

SJA has so many heresies, they should just remove the 'Catholic' from their name, and then they can do what they want without subjecting innocent people to their heresy.

Tim Ferguson

I constantly hear the news that the Archbishop is "trying to rein in" St. Joan of Arc parish, and that he made some "significant steps" in reforming the parish after the previous pastor resigned, but, you know, it's not enough. Okay, maybe the faith of the people isn't being slaughtered by abject heresy and they're only dying slow spiritual death now.

I understand, and have utilized myself, the arguments that compassion and Christian charity urge a slow, convincing approach instead of bringing in the bell, book and candle. It's just that, even with the slow, compassionate approach, one expects to see some progress. St. Joan's was a miasma of heresy and schism when I was in college in St. Paul in the mid 80's - and had been for some time then. Archbishop Flynn has been there for 12 years now. The new pastor has been installed. Has anything - ANYTHING - improved vis-a-vis the parish's Catholicity?

No - and the bulletin announcement about the "womenpriest" blaspheming the Eucharist and inviting parishioners to attend and participate; the pastor's letter explaining why he won't have the reading from Ephesians included in the Sunday liturgies; the continuing list of "Sunday speakers" at the "gym Masses"; all contribute to the conclusion that no real change has been made, or is even truly envisioned.

There is time for coaxing. There is time for compassionate pleading. There is time for trying to convince.

There is time for calling a spade a spade. St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis ain't a shovel, a hoe or rake, and it certainly ain't Roman Catholic.

Tom G.

Quite a contrast between Archb Dolan's gospel and St Joan's. The sheperds in Minneapolis certainly appear complicit in the heterodoxy - what is pastorally gained by not correcting that stuff? Or is there more to this?

Christopher Fotos

Now you are pointing out that the same situation exists in the Catholic Church, at least in the U.S.

I think the difference is one of scale. St. Joan's appears to be so far out on the fringe you need the Hubble telescope to locate it. I'm no great judge of trends, but it seems to me the St. Joan's faction is shrinking in U.S. Catholicism, while in the Episcopal Church, it's grown to a decisive level, at least as far as governing structures are concerned.

Another observation: If you're Catholic and want to see women ordained as priests--as Catholic priests--you don't use far-left semi-pagan terminology like "womenpriests." If you were really serious about this project, you'd do everything you could to ground it, somehow, in Catholic tradition.

Kevin Jones

As a young college student discovering the joy of orthodoxy, I was quite scandalized to learn that my home parish's lay leadership was dominated by CTA types. Some of our founding members were big CTA pushers, and a daughter of a deacon was the local CTA contact.

But it did take some effort for me to be scandalized--I had to read the local dissenters' tiny newsletter in the Jesuit college library and scan the CTA website to ferret out such connections.

I'm far less worried by them now. On rare occasions they pop up out of their Social Justice bizzaro-world to do something crazy, like taking advantage of a pastoral personnel shift to endorse the Gay Pride parade in the bulletin, but they find themselves quickly smacked down.

Something as simple as denying such folk control of the parish bulletin goes a long way to minimizing their influence; it would certainly limit their impact on St. Blog's.

Yet it's also worrisome that such a welcome silence would only leave them in the shadows where their dissensions fester and mutate with neither observation nor reproof.

Todd

Blogs may well be on the rise, but the most popular subject matter among Catholics pretty much remains the same. Too often, it descends to the level of gossip and accusations of immorality. (Okay, today's flavor is "heresy," and we have far too ready a label when we use that word so frequently. It no longer means anything other than something-I-don't-like.)

Positive portrayal of parishes is rare, and if a blogger does post something of a positive church experience, the comment boxes for the controversial will always bulge in comparison. Even more so, a person is often attacked because his or her criticism isn't of the right variety or tenor as the main group.

Any of us are better off above the fray at St Joan's, unless we happen to be parishioners.

Susan Peterson

re Mr Fotos's last comments. In the Episcopal church at least a large segment of the female clergy not only seems not to to be offended by the connections with paganism but actually embraces it. Of course this is not true of each and every female Anglican priest. But the women's ministries part of the ECUSA website had a suggested liturgy in which raisin cakes were offered to some female goddess type figure; this was a traditional offering to Astarte. And this was not an isolated episode. This is one of the things which helped to change my feelings about women's ordination; the women themselves seemed so eager to confirm what those who opposed them said, that a female priesthood was intrinsically pagan. This doesn't rise to the level of logical demonstration, I realize, but it certainly struck me with considerable force.
Susan Peterson

midwestmom

"...they should just remove the 'Catholic' from their name, and then they can do what they want.."

Uh, that, and get off the Archdiocese's property.

Kevin Jones

(Okay, today's flavor is "heresy," and we have far too ready a label when we use that word so frequently. It no longer means anything other than something-I-don't-like.)

Sure, Call to Action has nothing to do with heresy, and its critics use the term without any sense of precision. And I am Napoleon.

There are certainly disputes we are better off not getting involved in, but such claims to be above the fray are downright pretentious.

Marc

The arch-diocese of Mpls./St.Paul status quo of being comfortable with the heretics in their fold, on the contrary are very divisive when Catholic orthodoxy raises its head.
(i.e., Fr. Altier - Voice in the Desert of St. Agnes fame).

chris K


I have a solution! Make Fr. Altier the pastor of St. Joan's. Oh, how I'd love to be a fly on the wall for that!

http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/v10_4shut_up.htm

http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=3822 :

Today we look around with dismay at the state of affairs in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and realize that a more striking dichotomy could hardly exist. We have arrived at the point where good is stamped out as something evil, and evil is permitted to flourish as a good.

....
Despite the fact that the Church has taught clearly and concisely on marriage and homosexuality, there appears to be great confusion on these subjects among those whom you would expect to know better within the archdiocese. When a marriage amendment was recently proposed to the Minnesota State Legislature defining marriage as between one man and one woman, 27 pastors of the archdiocese wrote a letter to Archbishop Harry Flynn calling the amendment scandalous and an act of discrimination.

...

It is noted that Archbishop Flynn refused to release the names of the pastors who signed the petition or to issue a public reprimand.

In addition to the 27 pastors, 130 staff and faculty members at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota signed a letter addressed to the archbishop stating that “the love, commitment and monogamy” of a lesbian couple is no less real than a married couple. This Catholic university is listed on the Rainbow Sash website as a gay-friendly institution and was recently in the news for an uproar which occurred at its 2006 graduation ceremony.

...Fr. Notebaart's liturgy successfully encompasses all of these aspects. A layman carries an ignited bowl of sage and uses a feather to direct the smoke throughout the congregation. Drums are played to symbolize a heartbeat. The following prayer is recited: “Earth, teach me stillness. Earth, teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory. Earth, teach us freedom as an eagle who soars in the sky. Earth, teach us to forget ourselves as melted snow forgets itself.” The people respond, “Jesus, hear us.” Everyone takes some tobacco from a basket and drops it into the fire. A small pot of water is blessed by a woman, symbolizing the feminine role in giving life, and each person is offered a sip of "holy water" from the pot. A red willow sweat lodge holds various pagan objects sacred to the Indians, and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in “a medicine bundle made of animal skins” which is stored inside the sweat lodge. The altar for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is “a buffalo hide that lies on the floor in the center of the room.”

http://www.desertvoice.org/DesertMeditations.htm

Steve

Todd:

Actually, heresy has a pretty straightforward meaning. I typed "define: heresy" into google, and here is the first result I got:

unorthodoxy: any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox position

Perhaps an oversimplification, but let's use it nonetheless. It seems to me that there are two likely reasons why someone would think that heresy no longer means "anything other than something-I-don't-like."

1.) Lots of people (in this case Catholics) don't like things because they are at variance with the official, orthodox position - to which some blog commenters do not adhere. This would make the things not liked seem to be opinions rather than substantive deviations from authentic Catholic thought.

2.) The Church has so neglected the practice of holding the line on authentic Catholic teaching, has so ventured into ambiguity and apparent contradiction amongst its own teachings that it is virtuall impossible to distinguish heresy from opinion, as so many views exist in a pluralistic mish-mash of ideas of what the Church should say or think or believe.

The solution would be to line up current Catholic thought with perennial Catholic teaching; reinforce the disciplinary function of the Church through actual disciplinary action; tighten the grip on dissidents in the Church, reminding them that it isn't a democracy; reinforce the primacy of the pope over the "collegiality" of the bishops; and finally, start making unpopular moves to stamp out the modernist heresy that is riddling the Church like an untreated cancer.

I think that if these steps were taken, if authority is properly commanded, and the faithful feel like there's something they have to believe in order to be Catholic rather than that being Catholic is all about believing whatever you want and trying to revolt against those who say you can't, then maybe, just maybe, we'll start to see a decrease in activities like the ones going on at JOA, which affect ALL OF US as members of the mystical body of Christ, parishioners or not.

Forget micro-communities. The Church is Universal and authoritative, not a loose confederation of therapeutic quasi-spiritual small groups dedicated to building a feeling of inclusive well being at the expense of authentic teaching.

I'm sure I'm leaving out a thousand other things that could also work against this tidal wave of crap that we see going on day in and day out, but there's only so much time...

Cornelius AMDG

(Tongue planted firmly in cheek) Who says they're not making progress in reforming St. Joan's? From the pastor's column on the same page linked to above:

"In another e-mail someone suggested I was returning St. Joan’s to archaic times. I’m pretty sure that is the controversy over the ‘lord I am not worthy’ phrase before communion. I know to some people that sounds like a surrender to power based on a fear of abusive dominance. I admit if it was me saying this to the church governance I would be reticent to say it, but to me it is admitting am not perfect before God. I can be the abuser, the breaker of the community. I need the help of God. It heartens me to know the pope, the cardinals and the archbishops have to say it too."

Ray from MN

For the record, the "womenpriest" event will be held at a local community college in the Twin Cities area.

The Archdiocese has something like 120 parishes. There is St Joan's, and maybe a half dozen other parish in that category but not nearly so open about it with bulletins that document their errors.

St Joan's is one of those very common parishes found in America today that has created itself as a community which gathers for worship. In terms of the Sermon on the Mount, St Joan's probably couldd beat most any parish in the country.

They're not so good on the Ten Commandments or the Commandments of the Church. How many of you reading this know the five Commandments of the Church?

"Despite the fact that the Church has taught clearly and concisely on marriage and homosexuality. . . ." Someon just posted a message with a sentence that began with that phrase.

I would dispute that fact. One of the reasons that the bishops don't crack down on the liberals like those at St Joan's is that they know that they have performed miserably over the past 50 years in educating their flock. All they had was the Baltimore Catechism and when the nuns quit, they had nothing.

So they let anybody write their own "catechisms." And the chaotic state of the
Church today is what we have ended up with.

With respect to Archbishop Flynn, his staff have been in frequent communication with the pastor of St Joan's this Summer, some changes have been made and baby steps are being taken.

Dean Whinery

I note the SJA has a mental illness ministry, is there a connection?

Patrick Rothwell

"Positive portrayal of parishes is rare, and if a blogger does post something of a positive church experience, the comment boxes for the controversial will always bulge in comparison. Even more so, a person is often attacked because his or her criticism isn't of the right variety or tenor as the main group.

Any of us are better off above the fray at St Joan's, unless we happen to be parishioners."

Even accounting for (a) the tendency for bloggers to complain and bitch over saying anything positive and (b) the odious Gladys Kravitz-like habits of moral and theological snooping by self-described "defenders of the magisterium," St. Joan's is still worthy of attention because of what is said and done in their public liturgies and adult ed progams. If you don't want to draw attention to yourself, you probably shouldn't put on a poetic feminist reinterpretation of the creation account with mimes in the liturgy. Or invite parishioners to the riverboat priestess' minstral show.

Patrick Rothwell

Dean:

SJA is to be commended for that, at least. Credit should be given, where credit is due.

Gene H

I browsed around several parts of the St. Joan website and never found the word "Catholic" anywhere. So, at least they can't be accused of false advertising.

Todd

Kevin, I appreciate the trauma of your experiences, but heresy is a serious charge (or it used to be) and deserves use by people who are indeed "above the fray" and can look at such accusations with a degree of serenity and discernment.

Too many hotheads use such terms far too often for them to be anything more than epithets.

Personally, I think CTA has derailed from some originally good ideas that surfaced in the 70's when the bishops took more of the lead. But liberals of that time knew the gospel message needed to be more radical (from the Latin radix, meaning getting to the 'root' of things) to be effective in the circumstances of the time.

Nate Metzger

St. Joan's is an interesting example of Catholicism since Vatican II. Growing up small-synod, conservative Lutheran in Minnesota, having an interest in religion generally, Catholicism was a confusing thing for me. Because on one hand, there was the Catholicism that I learned about in Lutheran grade school and high school (Pope and Mary-worshipping, Latin-speaking, superstitious folks who bought indulgences). On the other hand, there was the Catholicism that I saw for myself at the local Catholic parishes (lots of tamborines and guitars, self-absorbed cantors (someone who has been Catholic for a while please explain these people to me) and lame, lame hymns which no one knew how to sing...and lots of hugging.) When I went to St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, my experience of Catholicism changed little. Lots of hugging. Lots of vague talk of "God" and not much else. Almost new-age feeling. Back then, when I was still Lutheran, if I would have heard of St. Joan's, I wouldn't have thought a thing of it. I would have thought, "Yeah, well, that's Catholicism." In other words, there was an enourmous disparity between what I was taught about Catholicism growing up and what Catholicism actually was as practiced. Ironic, yes? However misleading my Lutheran schools' conception of The Big Bad Catholic Church might have been, there was no way for me to 'go and see for myself' what Catholicism 'actually' was, since what I 'actually' saw was equally ridiculous--albeit different from what I was taught about Catholicism. Since my own Lutheran Church used Pretorius, Bach and Gregorian Chant, and was 'conservative' to say the least regarding all of the current talking points, I figured that however intruiging the Catholic Church might have seemed at times, there was no way I would ever convert, given the silly alternative of...well, St. Joan's, for example.
Even though I'm Catholic now, I still have quite a bit of small synod Lutheranism in me, meaning that I find it mind-numblingly obvious that the Archdiocese of Minneapolis needs to cut St. Joan's loose. I'm sure they are some nice folks, but why tolerate their heresy? I really don't get it. But maybe those of you who have been Catholic longer than me do...

tk

Why are they still at it? I went to their site to see if their weekly bulletin had their weekly giving numbers. It didn't. I was at one liberal church this past year that did a lot of things that concerned me, then I saw that this parish, with two full time Priests, was bringing in over $50,000 a WEEK! Over 10 times the collections at my old parish in Stamford, CT, or my one here in Manhattan. Even Father Rutler on Park Avenue cannot even dream of coming into such a weekly collection!

Can anyone else shed any further light?

chris K

I think the serious question posed about this archdiocese (or any others like it) and its direction is the matter that such opposite teachings, both seemingly authorized by this authority of the Church, can co-exist.

For instance we have this very delicate approach towards one:

With respect to Archbishop Flynn, his staff have been in frequent communication with the pastor of St Joan's this Summer, some changes have been made and baby steps are being taken.

And then, for one who actually asks permission from the same authority about continuing his 5 year old orthodox public homilies or popular teachings we have this approach (and without any such delicate communication beforehand):

But finally we have to ask the question: Why is this happening to Fr. Altier?

The answer comes back to the fact that he spoke up in defense of innocent children who are being and will be corrupted by the new sex-education (safe environment) programs launched by the Protection of Children and Youth Initiative in our archdiocese, headed by Sister Fran Donnelly. Try as they may, the chancery office cannot explain away her statement at a diocesan principal’s meeting in February where she announced that Fr. Kevin McDonough was preparing a “2x4” for priests who were speaking out against the “safe environment” initiative.

Now, this, to many, shows more than simply permitting "diversity" in order to not lose some sheep or something. It shows deliberate preference for error in teaching. And, unfortunately it also shows real ignorance of the Truths of the Church and real harmful dismissal of the grave responsibilities expected of those appointed to watch over the "sheep" and who will have to answer for their watch when the owner returns and asks for the accounting.

Tim Ferguson

As the "hothead" that was among the first in this thread to bring up the term heresy, I can't help but suspect I'm at least one of the targets of Todd's ire. I certainly do not use the term "heresy" as a synonym for things-I-do-not-like. I don't like brussel sprouts, but do not consider them heretical. Nor do I consider the Chicago Bears heretical...as a group (I long had suspicions about Mike Ditka...).

Heresy, as every canonist knows, is well-defined in canon 751 (one of the very few definitions in the new code): "the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith."

While it would be up to the pertinent ecclesiastical authorities to determine, after a canonical trial, if any one person at St. Joan's is a heretic, I think I can say with confidence that heresy, as defined by the Code, is afoot at St. Joan's.

The praxis of elevating non-canonical readings at Mass - giving them the same weight and prominence as Holy Scripture is an indication of a heretical denial of divine revelation.

The recognition of a woman pretending to have been ordained and inviting parishioners to attended a mockery Mass celebrated by one who is not a priest, is a heretical denial of the nature of priesthood. (In a similar vein, twenty years ago, the first time I attended St. Joan's - I went twice, just to make sure that the first time was not a wild abberation from the norm - the "concelebrant" of the Mass was a Lutheran Bishop, fully vested and participating at the altar. Something I don't like? hell yes - and heretical!)

I consider myself quite careful in my use of the term.

Some things I dislike are heretical.
Not all things I dislike are heretical.

The fact that I dislike what's being done at St. Joan's and the fact that some of it is heretical is not a logical inevitability, just an unhappy coincidence.

steve

I actually like using the term "heresy." Check it out:

"HERESY HERESY HERESY!"

(It doesn't have quite the same ring as "Humperdink" but it apparently has the same effect.)

And thanks Tim, for looking up the canonical definition of heresy. It's so much more robust than the ordinary dictionary version.

Kevin Jones

"Too many hotheads use such terms far too often for them to be anything more than epithets."

This calls to mind the image of an amateur plumber knee-deep in a flooded basement saying "Problem? What problem? Quit complaining!"

Chris Sullivan

Womenpriests Celebrate the Eucharist

I find the use of "womenpriests" rather than "priests" fascinating. One wonders if the use of the term "womenpriests" intents to make a distinction from "priests" ?

In terms of the Sermon on the Mount, St Joan's probably could beat most any parish in the country.

That's really saying something extraordinarily good about St Joan's.

I'm sure they are some nice folks, but why tolerate their heresy ?

Parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds) Matthew 13:24-30. We are explicitly taught to "Let both grow together until the harvest" and let God himself do the seperating least in our bumbling human way we root out the wheat with the tares. Most of the time we can't tell the difference between wheat and tares. What we think tares is often wheat.

God Bless

JP

"We are explicitly taught to "Let both grow together until the harvest" and let God himself do the seperating least in our bumbling human way we root out the wheat with the tares."

Christ also warned that it would be better for one to tie a millstone around one's neck and jump into the water than lead one of the little ones astray.

Chris,
Do you really believe we should idly stand by while our fellow Christians doom thier souls to hell? Is that Christian Love? Do you really believe there is some spiritual calculus that allows someone to commit acts of heresey and blasphemy as long they do works of social justice?

Chris Sullivan

Do you really believe we should idly stand by while our fellow Christians doom thier souls to hell?

But if Ray from MN above is correct, that in terms of the Sermon on the Mount, St Joan's probably could beat most any parish in the country, then I seriously doubt the parish of St Joan's are dooming their souls to hell.

And I suspect the bishops doubt this too, which is why they aren't keen to rush in and attempt to pull up wheat and tares.

What did the Christ teach ? Judge not, least ye be judged. We ought to hesitate to rush into harsh judgments on different groups in the Church. We are supposed to love our neighbours, not condemn them.

Do you really believe there is some spiritual calculus that allows someone to commit acts of heresey and blasphemy as long they do works of social justice?

What did Christ teach ? His last teaching, his summing up, in the gospel of St Matthew is Matt 25:31-46. He taught that what distinguishes those destined to eternal punishment from those destined to eternal life is not whether or not one mistakenly subscribes to some heresy or even blasphemes. It's whether we serve Christ in the hungry, the naked, the prisoner, the sick, the stranger.

God Bless

Todd

Well, my friends, it's not quite the same as floods or brussel sprouts. I said it was the same as good old fashioned church gossip. I wouldn't mistale my lone voice in the blogetariat wilderness for being full of ire. I'm just being a friendly gadfly, really. If I were a parishioner at St Joan's I'd be doing the same, as I did when I was a parishioner at another infamous parish in the 80's.

For example, I think the use of non-Scripture readings at Mass to replace the Bible is pretty silly. But I don't think the Office of Readings as celebrated in monasteries is indicative of monks and nuns denying Divine Revelation. Ther is good spiritual wisdom outside of the Bible. Many St Bloggers hawk it, and this is as it should be. If somebody wants to tie in non-Scriptural messages into the preaching, why not do it during the homily instead?

But heresy? Sorry; this is about as heretical as a plumber's tool bag. St Joan's liturgical adventures are not about faith and morals. They are about a motley mix of obedience, conformity, personal style, stubbornness, and narcissism--and not all of it is theirs alone.

Tim Ferguson


A lector lifting high Lutheran Bishop Lowell Erdahl's book, "Be Good to Each Other" after reading two paragraphs from it as a second reading at Mass and stating, "This is the Word of the Lord" is no where near similar to the Church selecting patristic or other readings for inclusion in the Liturgy of the Hours. Todd, who in one breath calls himself a friendly gadfly and then invokes a phrase describing John the Baptist as self-description thinks this is as heretical as a plumber's tool bag. I would answer - only if that tool bag can demonstrably be shown capable of deliberative thought and can produce a baptismal certificate. For this is certainly heresy.

Gadflies can flit about, pretending to rise above mere human concerns and dismiss as "church gossip" weighty matters surrounding the salvation of souls. The reality is that gadflies are parasitic creatures that infest livestock and tend to feast on material that smells as pleasant as heresy.

Marc

Ray from Minn said:
"With respect to Archbishop Flynn, his staff have been in frequent communication with the pastor of St Joan's this Summer, some changes have been made and baby steps are being taken."

You forgot "for the good of the children"

Now we all feel much better knowing baby steps
and frequent communications are in tow. It must make everyone involved at the Chancery feel much better too
that they are having a nice tea party.

It's clear to a well formed child, that the Arch-diocese devisive treatment that gets hammered down upon the good orthodox faithful - doesn't qualify when dealing with flaming heretics to the Magisterium.

Maureen

Lex orendi, lex credendi, folks.

Is $50,000 really that much? My parish takes in something like $20,000 a week even in the summer, and most of that goes right back out again in salaries and paying off the school repair debt and stuff. (And a tithe of it this week went to Katrina aid.)

Even my old parish back in the eighties took in several thousand a week in the collection. Those envelopes and checks people mail in -- they all add up.

andrew

Any church that has reconciliation a full 2 years after first communion, honestly does not get it.

InPhoenix

Any church that has reconciliation a full 2 years after first communion, honestly does not get it.

According to http://www.stjoan.com/asac.htm, Confession is regularly scheduled only two times per year. I wonder why they even bother with making their 4th graders go through the motions. But then again, I'd be surprised if the children had the privilege of private Confession anyway for their first experience of this Sacrament.

Peggy

Chris:

The Catholic belief regarding salvation is that both faith and works are required. So, I'm not sure that doing good deeds can cancel out any sins of heresy. I don't know, however, about any individual in this parish that is being discussed here. I am speaking in principle.

In Christ,

chris K

But if Ray from MN above is correct, that in terms of the Sermon on the Mount, St Joan's probably could beat most any parish in the country, then I seriously doubt the parish of St Joan's are dooming their souls to hell.

And I suspect the bishops doubt this too, which is why they aren't keen to rush in and attempt to pull up wheat and tares.

So, everyone feels real comfortable with the bishops being held hostage by "good works"! I mean, Hezbollah is handing out loads of the filthy lucre and thus keeping everybody down on the farm while they wield their wicked genocidal spirit of control. And Liberation Theology created all kinds of converts to the Faith! Remember, the poor you will always have with you but not necessarily Him ... especially when His Presence is downgraded by the do gooders themselves! Ah, the petting of the wolves in sheep's clothing these days!

Again, the lack of response in support of good priests who are now the white martyrs of our times while all kinds of defenses are summoned up for the, shall we say, heterodox (while heresy goes to committee for study) never fails to amaze me.

TerryC

It's amazing to me that this has been allowed to continue for so long. Thank you Amy for pointing it out. Perhaps now that it will become more broadly known the Archbishop will be impelled to act more forcefully.
In my own diocese there was a well known heretical priest, who was given very free reign by the previous bishop, and many warnings by the present bishop, who still refused to take definitive action, until a visitor from a near-by diocese complained to his bishop after attending one of father's homilies. Said priest has finally been barred from public ministry.
I really don't know what one could do about a parish that seems to endorce so many heretical practices. Placing a strong priest, who is willing to completely replace the staff, and stand up to the laity in volunteer positions, who obviously support such heretical practices, would probably result in many of said parishioners leaving.
I suspect that most of the Catholics who follow orthodox teachings have already moved to other parishes.
Still with enough public outcry manybe the archbishop will be strong enough to do it.

Ed the Roman

Chris,

The parable of the wheat and the tares is not prescriptive, it is descriptive. It is what God is doing for us.

That does not mean that we cannot call a spade a shovel when circumstances call for it.

Conformance to the ideal of the Sermon on the Mount has so great an interior component that I cannot credit Ray's assessment of St. Joan's. How the hell does he know? How the hell does he know about "most any parish around the country?"

Nerina

Just to clarify: are some people saying that it is okay to hold dissenting views from the Church (and promote them publically) as long as a person performs enough "good works?" I would like a sincere answer to this question as I've heard this argument many times. When our parish had a CTA keynote speaker come for a parish mission, those of us who objected to her heterodox views were told, basically, "she's a better Christian than you because she is out ministering to prostitutes." It didn't matter that she declared, in writing, that "the Vatican is the last tyranny on earth," or "the Church must die," or "we will recreate the Church in our image." Further, she wrote children's books promoting new age concepts (which were sold in our parish center) along with adult writings and t-shirts with symbols of pagan worship.

I'm not trying to minimize the "good works" that such people perform. But many seem to think "good works" mitigates some pretty serious attacks on the Faith. Plus, those of us who actually believe that the Church knows what is best for us, are actually doing our own "good works." However, our works are often less media-worthy. No one wants to hear about parents trying to raise holy kids, keep a marriage together, avoid contraception, speak out against other life issues. Apparently those "works" aren't good enough. Further, though my passions are focused more clearly on "life" issues, I also work against poverty and injustice in the social/economic arena.

Ultimately, are we comfortable with the cafeteria catholicism that parishes like SJA promotes? Are we really ready to risk the eternal destiny of people because they served at a soup kitchen on Friday but then acted as an "escort" at Planned Parenthood on Saturday? This seems to be the conclusion on those who argue that SJA puts the rest of us to shame in living out the commands of the Sermon on the Mount.

Liam

Btw, while we are digesting the anomalies of the SJA bulletin, why has no one noticed the following from the pastor:

"In another e-mail someone suggested I was returning St. Joan’s to archaic times. I’m pretty sure that is the controversy over the ‘lord I am not worthy’ phrase before communion. I know to some people that sounds like a surrender to power based on a fear of abusive dominance. I admit if it was me saying this to the church governance I would be reticent to say it, but to me it is admitting am not perfect before God. I can be the abuser, the breaker of the community. I need the help of God. It heartens me to know the pope, the cardinals and the archbishops have to say it too."

It appears that the pastor revived the recitation of the Non Sum Dignus after a period of abeyance, and has received protest on that score....

Ed the Roman

Well, that's a step in the right direction.

But it is not really heartening to realize that that was a step available to a Catholic church.

Chris Sullivan

are some people saying that it is okay to hold dissenting views from the Church (and promote them publically) as long as a person performs enough "good works?"

No. At least I'm not saying this.

But I am saying that we ought to try to see the good in those we disagree with. And it's clear that there is a lot of good at St Joan's.

People hold dissenting views for various reasons. Some were badly catechised, some have difficulting understanding, some have different levels of faith, many never realised the infallible teaching authority of the church, some have a jaundiced view of Church authority because they have been hurt, or seen others hurt, by authority figures in the Church.

It's right to call St Joan's to account for some of the errors which appear to be going on there but we need to do it in a balanced and fraternal way, not get carried away with the idea that they are all literally going to hell or that we are right and they are wrong.

God looks at the intent of the heart, not a person's mistaken theology.

Nerina is quite right to point out that the mundane everyday things done in love are equally as much good works.

God Bless

Nerina

Thank you, Chris, for responding to my sincere inquiry. You made some thought-provoking points. I appreciate your charity.

RAnn

Not long ago I ran across an obituary for a sister who had been a high-ranking assistant to Bishop Flynn, though I forget her exact title. She was buried from St. Joan of Arc where, if memory serves me, she had been an active member.

Regarding the comment about the parish being a community that gathers for worship, at one time my parish was one of the most liberal in the archdiocese and attracted a lot of people who did not live in the parish. I suspect a parish that is more conservative than most (such as St.Agnes) would find much the same thing. Further, it stands to reason that those people who would go out of their way to select a parish are probably going to do more than sit in a pew and watch their watches. While some might have considered the choices of songs questionable, the fact of the matter was that in those days, our congregation sang. You may not have agreed with the goals of the ministries offered, but people were involved with the parish.

With new priests (and who knows, maybe directives from downtown) the parish has moved toward the center. Doctrinally that's a good thing. However, it has lost too. As the parish became more like every other one around, there was less (or no) incentive for people to pass up other churches for it. Over time the handholding across the ailses has stopped, but so has a lot of the singing. The number of people involved in ministries has fallen.

Susan

You know, I thought Christians prayed for conversion rather than stumped for excommunication.

I used to live in St Paul (no, didn't go to JOA *or* St Agnes) and recall when Archbishop Flynn got slammed by many for shutting down the Univ of MN Newman Center, which was operating like a parish for the ultra-liberal, and moved parish ministries to the more standard St. Lawrence Church. That was the right decision in many ways, but many people just left the Church over that as well. I think the Archbishop wants to avoid that happening again. Being the pastoral person that he is (I've met him a few times--he truly is), he wants to find a way out of JOA mess where the gospel is preached and everyone wins. I think that's laudable and you should pray for him and that church.

Oh, pray for St. Agnes parish too. There is more than one time I think they needed a "wake-up and smell the totality of the gospel" call as well.

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