Originally posted Thursday, April 14, 2005
The "crisis" in the Roman Catholic Church
The MSM template for stories about the Catholic church in America is simple and clear-cut: The Church is in crisis because it refuses to modernize. Traditional teachings on sexual morals drives worshipers away and makes it impossible to find priests. "Liberalizing" will cure this problem. Therefore, the new Pope should listen to the American leadership, jettison those outdated rules, and be less authoritarian. Andrew Sullivan is always available to say what the MSM wants said.
One question I'd like to see a talking head ask is this: Why will this prescription work for the Roman Catholic church when it has failed for all the mainline Protestant denominations who tried it first? The liberal denominations are losing members while the conservative congregations are growing. Shouldn't the liberalizers be asked to explain why their "solutions" will work now when they have not worked before?
There are other voices out there besides Sullivan and Matthews. They argue that the "vocation crisis" is the result of too little orthodoxy in America, not too much. I think the pundits should spend a little time talking to them.
For example, Michael Rose wrote a book on the Subject. Read the introduction to Goodbye, Good Men here.
Blogger Fr. Rob Johansen wrote a review of the book here. While he is critical of Rose for over-reaching to bolster his thesis, he still finds merit in some of the arguments. He also wrote a long article on the general subject that deserves thoughtful consideration.
What's Wrong with our Seminaries? An Insider Speaks Out
An interesting bit of history that i've posted before. . The Salvation Army has never been popular with the intellectual or economic elites. In nineteenth century Britain it was hated by the Darwinists and viewed with suspicion by the real-life Scrooges. Did not matter to the "fanatics" who had a mission to help the poor. Here is Jacques Barzun on the whole matter (from Darwin, Marx and Wagner):
Huxley's denunciation of it for fanaticism and regimentation hindered it no more than did the disdain of professional men, who seemed to think that spirit seances and Theosophical jargon were worthier expressions of their feelings. It was not until George Bernard Shaw made the point in Major Barbara that the so-called elite began to appreciate what General Booth's movement had done for the uneducated, pauperized, and drink-sodden masses which Social Darwinism had complacently allowed to find their place under the heel of fitter men. Then it was seen that neither the fatalism of biological evolution nor the fatalism of 'scientific' socialism could withstand a vigorous assault by people who believed in the power of the human will and had the wits to combine religion, social work, army discipline, and rousing tunes.