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Author Topic: Future U.S. Religious Trends - From Catholic To Orthodox  (Read 6352 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 08, 2007, 04:12:13 PM »

Future U.S. Religious Trends - From Catholic To Orthodox, (Nominal) Christian To Islam
By Sean Scallon
Jan 8, 2007

Demographics is destiny and that's true not just in politics but business, education, sports, entertainment, culture and religion.

Especially religion.

That's because numbers and numbers of adherents determine whether or not your faith is taken seriously or is just another kooky cult.

There are two demographic trends that may occur in the 21st Century inside the U.S. that could alter several faiths in the process.  Those trends are from Catholic to Orthodox and from (nominal) Christian to Islam.

We start with the Catholic Church.  It's no secret the U.S. Catholic Church is in a deep crisis.  The numerous sexual molestation scandals and the class action lawsuits that have followed are draining diocesan treasuries dry.  Many such dioceses are selling off buildings like closed churches and schools and other real estate properties they own.  On top of that, the shortage of priests and nuns in the U.S. mean more such closures are on the way.  And because of that shortage, the Church's institutions, its colleges, hospitals and other charitable foundations, will become completely secularized within the next 20 years.  The whole infrastructure of the Church within the U.S. could be almost gone by within that time period.

The U.S. Catholic Church will survive however.  It has faced worse challenges in its history and has always survived.  But to survive means to adapt and adapting means change and the U.S. Catholic Church will be transformed by this process.  The transformation will come demographically as what once was a European-ethnic church will become a predominantly Hispanic and Third World immigrant church.

This is also a process that's going on world wide as well.  Philip Jenkins, the Penn State University theology professor and writer for Chronicles, has documented this coming transformation of the Christian world thanks to demographics in numerous articles and books.  Numbers mean power and such power within the Church will come from its Third World adherents.  There's no doubt next pope will be probably be from the Third World, perhaps Latin or South America first (with a bishop of European immigrant descent) followed by an African pope after that.  We've already seen the Third World's power within the Anglican community already.  Several Episcopal churches in the U.S. have left their local dioceses in schisms to align themselves with Anglican dioceses in Third World locations because their bishops are more traditional than their Western counterparts, who are ordaining women and homosexual bishops.

What is fueling the change in the U.S. Catholic Church is immigration.  More Hispanic immigrants and other Catholic immigrants from the Third World are filling the pews and in many cases what were once empty pews, especially in big cities.  Now as immigration spreads from big cities and the coasts to small towns in the Midwest and South, such change will take place in churches in these locations as well.  It's the Catholic Church that will absorb most of the new immigrants.  Although a good chunk of Hispanic immigrants are Pentecostals, they tend to form their own churches separately.  Hispanic Catholics are moving into existing communities and existing churches.

All this leaves the European ethnic in a quandary.  The term "Catholic" means universal and as such it should not matter what race or ethnic group anyone who calls themselves Catholic is.  All are welcomed.  Yet such churches were the anchors of previous ethnic communities.  Such change can be quite jarring, especially when you add it onto change within the neighborhood, change in the business community and change within the schools thanks to unlimited immigration.  It doesn't take long for one Hispanic mass to become all masses at some point.

Because of this change, some European ethnic Catholics wish that the bishops would either take a stand against immigration or least not be noisy promoters of it like Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahoney.  Unfortunately they are whistling past the graveyard.  Not even the most conservative of bishops, like Omaha's Roman Bruskewitz, are going to oppose unlimited immigration nor will any be recalled by Rome for such support like Mahoney.  The Catholic Church in the U.S. is an immigrant church.  Always has been.  Always will be.  To its bishops and administrators, seeing one immigrant group coming into the church and overtaking another is simply the natural wave of history.  It would be unthinkable of them to turn oppose immigration, especially when such immigrants and their money are going to be ones to keep the Church afloat during its time of transformation.

Opponents of unlimited immigration must understand that is how the church thinks and operates and it perfectly fits with its history.  It not a "Popish" plot to undermine the United States.  This writer (and Catholic) nearly deleted VDARE.com from his list of favorite websites last year because some of its writers began waving the bloody shirt of "rum, Romanism and rebellion" until Peter Brimelow thankfully set them straight and also pointed out Protestantism's many contributions to our nation's immigration problems.

But again the quandary for European ethnic Catholic remains.  His numbers have been reduced by intermarriage, by the destruction of ethnic neighborhoods by urban renewal and the interstate highway system, by suburban sprawl, by the church's own problems and divisions within it and by his or her own laziness and sloth.  If you don't show up for mass or to volunteer or be a part of the community, you will lose power and influence to those who do.  Whoever said that life is all about showing up was dead on in this regard.  So what to do? Join the Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church has a number of appeals to the European ethnic Catholic.  It is a church that is ethnically conscious and fuses the idea of the church to that of the nation and the culture.  That's why there are Greek Orthodox churches, Russian Orthodox Churches, Romanian Orthodox churches and so forth.  (Only the Polish Catholic Church and Uniate churches loyal to Rome are that way amongst Catholics).  It is a decentralized church, which means its doctrines and practices of worship are not subject to the whims of a whole Vatican Council.  It's a church that has avoided a lot of the doctrinal disputes that has divided the Catholic churches because it stays true to its traditions and doctrines which it traces back to the original Christian church.  Its mass has gone unchanged for many centuries and one doesn't have to worry about whether the new priest is going to allows guitars and drums during the worship service, disallows bells or kneeling or whatever fashion of mass is in vogue from the seminary.  It's a church who's priests are married which means the problems the Catholic Church has had with homosexual priests (the one's that don't take their vows of celibacy seriously anyway) aren't a problem with the Orthodox.  It is the Orthodox that is going to be more suspicious of mass immigration (especially immigration from Islamic nations) than other religions.

Of course, if you are an Irish, Italian, French or German Catholic, you just can't pop into Serbian Orthodox Church and say "I'm a new convert!" unless you marry a Serb.  It just doesn't work that way.  To solve that problem, the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) exists.  Formed in the early 1970s by the Russian Patriarchy and separate from it, the OCA is an Americanized version of the of the Russian Church with its services in English and with pews and so forth (the Orthodox church who's fall festival I annually attend in Clayton, Wisconsin, Holy Trinity, is part of the OCA.) Many of the churches are old Russian ones like Holy Trinity, but the OCA also incorporates other ethnic groups like Albanian and Romanian Orthodox that never had separate ethnic bishoprics like the Greeks or Serbs do.  The OCA could very easily incorporate ethnic European Catholic refugees in their own churches.  Right now the OCA has over 100 churches and a million members, slow but steady growth that I think could easily accelerate in the 21st Century.  Conservative writer Rod Dreher of Crunchy Cons fame has already made the switch from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy and I think others will to.

http://www.postchronicle.com/religion/article_21257885.shtml
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2007, 04:56:52 PM »

Reading this on its original site (a college newspaper?), I don't know what I was more distracted by, the grammatical errors or the ads for an  "intimate dating" site showing a nearly naked woman.

On the topic---certainly the numbers of priests in America is a problem, but the growth in Catholics is not, with 150,000 converts to the American church each year, coupled with the growth from immigration and births.

Not much meat in that article. And I'm not sure many "white" Catholics will be looking to Orthodox churches to save them from the dirty Hispanic hordes.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 05:01:09 PM by lubeltri » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2007, 05:47:31 PM »

Welkodox I am impressed as I thought that you wrote this article, alas you did not, but before i wave the flag of Orthodoxy as the saving ark from the hordes at the gate lest we not forget the evangelicals. The post Vatican II reductionism left many Catholics, of the white variety, ripe for evangelical picking. the evangelical church has already reduced many former traditions of their own  to become a more "seeker friendly" church.  American Christians have become consumers of religion much like we consue material goods. Those inclined to historics,liturgy, ethnicity will gravitate toward Orthodoxy. Those who want eay believing, pie in the sky, come as you are  religion (in a gym without a Christian historic symbol in sight) will gravitate the other way.

That's my predicition. The Orthodox will always be a minority in the west.
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2007, 06:26:35 PM »

Welkodox I am impressed as I thought that you wrote this article

I didn't tell you I go by Sean Scallon???  Whoops.

The article was interesting I thought because it presents a very different picture of what people typically think will attract converts to the church.
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2007, 07:47:52 PM »

I had the chance to meet a lot of Catholics in college, and I found something that sort of caught my attention about them- they are dangerously ignorant of other faiths (Christian and other).  One of them was going to a Baptist church and "dedicated her life to Christ" there.  She didn't understand she had become a member.  The other simply didn't see how the Baptist and Catholics were different.  Another believed that Catholics and Muslims worshiped the same god and that this was taught by the Vatican.  I think this is do to the "protestantisation" of the RC after VII.
Oh, and I had a Catholic priest tell me that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believed the same things, we just had different churches.
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2007, 07:52:13 PM »

Sean Scallon makes a few good points and some now commonly known ones but this article is so riddled with errors it's got my editor's blue pen in hand ready to go...

(Oh, and those Mate1 ads are so stupid - obviously pictures of models not customers! But if it didn't work, if the target market weren't at least foolish as well as randy and frustrated, they wouldn't make and run those ads.)

It's commonly said there's a good chance the RC Church in America will turn Hispanic. Kind of poetic justice to see the Irish step aside after lording it over the other immigrant groups for so long. However as aserb points out among his other good points here, don't forget the evos. Apparently loads of immigrants and their families are joining them, part of assimilation.

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The Catholic Church in the U.S. is an immigrant church.  Always has been.  Always will be.

Of course I understand what he means but it also sounds snobbish in an 1840s Protestant nativist way, never mind that Roman Catholics have been in North America since before there were any Protestants. What about the French presence in New England spilling over from Québec?

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Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahoney... Not even the most conservative of bishops, like Omaha's Roman Bruskewitz, are going to oppose unlimited immigration nor will any be recalled by Rome for such support like Mahoney.

Fact checks: that's Roger Cardinal Mahony, Lincoln and Fabian Bruskewitz.

VDARE strikes me as racist; I take it one of this man's causes is anti-immigration.

Quote
Polish Catholic Church

That's the Polish National Catholic Church, an immigrant church in America's Rust Belt parallelling the Ruthenians joining the Russian Church for similar reasons. They're small but still around, nearly a modern RC clone.

He seems dimly aware of the 20-years-on Orthodox convert boomlet; if he'd done a little research he'd have learnt that literally, no, you don't have to marry an ethnic to convert and most of the boomlet are a minority of ex-evangelicals and ex-Anglicans, a flow some say is now on the wane (I don't know if that's true). Very few Roman Catholics switch - they want short and convenient services and stay where they are out of family and ethnic loyalty even if they don't practise.

But I won't entirely rule out Scallon's prediction if the part about a hispanicised RC church comes true.

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It is a church that is ethnically conscious and fuses the idea of the church to that of the nation and the culture.

It has both its good and bad (phyletist/nationalist, racist) sides but true.

Quote
It is a decentralized church, which means its doctrines and practices of worship are not subject to the whims of a whole Vatican Council.

A strong selling point for some but I imagine the rank and file of nominal Roman Catholics don't care and as aserb says are likely to turn evangelical or secular.

Quote
It's a church that has avoided a lot of the doctrinal disputes that has divided the Catholic churches because it stays true to its traditions and doctrines which it traces back to the original Christian church.

Copy editing here: I think he means Western churches and this sounds like it was copied and pasted right out of Orthodox literature. Bad journalism? It sounds like he's editorialising. It doesn't say on the page that is an op-ed piece.

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Its mass has gone unchanged for many centuries and one doesn't have to worry about whether the new priest is going to allows guitars and drums during the worship service, disallows bells or kneeling or whatever fashion of mass is in vogue from the seminary.

See above: a big selling point for somebody like me and the kind of evangelicals who get into church history and discover traditional liturgy. The Irish-bred RC rank and file are not like that.

Quote
It's a church who's priests are married which means the problems the Catholic Church has had with homosexual priests (the one's that don't take their vows of celibacy seriously anyway) aren't a problem with the Orthodox.
 

'I hear you' but don't think this is accurate; it's kind of a romanticised view of things. A number of secretly gay men are married ('on the downlow' as the black community said at least recently); there are married Protestant ministers who molest and I understand molestation is an even bigger problem among teachers than priests. In any event it's a small minority of clergy in all the churches who do this and as Melanie Jula Sakoda's http://pokrov.org site shows, however imperfectly, the Orthodox are not immune.

Quote
It is the Orthodox that is going to be more suspicious of mass immigration (especially immigration from Islamic nations) than other religions.

Of course as it is much smaller and its presence far more recent in America than RC it's even more of an immigrant church but I see Scallon's point about historic fear of Muslims.

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the OCA is an Americanized version of the of the Russian Church

That's not an inaccurate thumbnail.

But if he'd done a little research he would have learnt that much of the convert boomlet has been in the Antiochian church.

Quote
Not much meat in that article.

True. Looks like a copy'n'paste job with half-formed opinions thrown in as sound bytes. Not good journalism.

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The Orthodox will always be a minority in the west.

Quite possibly.

Finally he never develops the idea of a Muslim ascendancy he promises in the headline - through immigration combined with a plummeting white birthrate like in Europe? The 30-years-on convert boomlet to Sunni Islam among American blacks? Tell me more!

Update: Landon writes:

Quote
I had the chance to meet a lot of Catholics in college, and I found something that sort of caught my attention about them- they are dangerously ignorant of other faiths (Christian and other).

And of their own: a survey showed a lot of the college ones thought the Immaculate Conception was about the Virgin Birth and original sin about sex, thinking just like every other semi-churched everyman.

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The other simply didn't see how the Baptist and Catholics were different.

Wow. See above.

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Another believed that Catholics and Muslims worshiped the same god and that this was taught by the Vatican.

In a sense you can say that - they both worship one God. That the Muslims are wrong about him doesn't necessarily mean they don't worship him. Same for the people of the Old Testament, the Jews.

Quote
Oh, and I had a Catholic priest tell me that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believed the same things, we just had different churches.

That's almost entirely true IMO. The sticking point again IMO is whether the papacy is a divinely instituted office from day one of the church or simply one of the man-made ranks of the divinely instituted episcopate like patriarchs, metropolitans and archbishops. (A far cry from 'the papacy is evil' etc.) Not trying to start a flame war - just my opinions.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2007, 12:02:58 AM by The young fogey » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2007, 08:02:44 PM »

I didn't know the serbs had stopped taking converts...hmmm...good for them Wink

As for the growth of religion in the 21st century...

Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"---As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?---Thus they yelled and laughed

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him---you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us---for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/nietzsche-madman.html
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2007, 08:34:08 PM »

... I don't know what I was more distracted by, the grammatical errors or the ads for an  "intimate dating" site showing a nearly naked woman.

I can only say that if you were distracted more by the grammatical errors, then you have a problem!  Cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2007, 09:28:28 PM »

Perhaps I do. She wasn't my type. I have a bit of an eccentric (for an American) taste in women.

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Good points, Young Fogey.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 09:31:26 PM »

I agree good points.

(sorry for my typing errors, when I get on a tear I do not watch the keyboard)  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2007, 12:07:34 AM »

Something about the term "European ethnic Catholic" just struck me.  Kind of like when you hear a Claus Ogerman song, and you say "what was that all about".
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2007, 12:34:04 AM »

If you ask me...the Catholic Church = ECUSA, at least in L.A.

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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2007, 12:40:45 AM »

Well, a few things I thought I'd add.  Although, I'm not convinced totally by his thesis and he did get several things wrong historically, I find his perspective interesting and it may have some merit to it.
I know, being back in Texas, I have talked to a few old Catholic friends (one of Prussian decent and the other Portuguese) and they have both made it clear to me that they are bothered by the immigration of hispanics.  Not so much for racist reasons, but how their practices differ.  Usually the first and most common cited example is the Cult of Our Lady of Guadelupe.  Now, I do not believe that this is the sole reason for some people to jump, but I can see it being a factor.  Basically as one said, we do not believe the same faith in everything

Quote
That's the Polish National Catholic Church, an immigrant church in America's Rust Belt parallelling the Ruthenians joining the Russian Church for similar reasons. They're small but still around, nearly a modern RC clone.

I actually at first assummed that he was refering to the PNCC too.  However, I can definitly see it as referinng to Polish Catholics in general.  Poland and Poles tend to be fiercely Catholic and often nationalistic.  It is often bolstered by the ethnicity of the former pontiff.  Speaking as a Polish-American and one who grew up with Polish Customs, I would agree with the assesement of it being Catholics in general, not neccesarily the PNCC.  In fact, the biggest ethnic battle I faced when I became Orthodox was not cradles, but Poles.  Many came out with outright bitterness, it was a betrayel to Polish idenity and some even came right out and said I was no longer Polish, but Russian.  (Of course, some Russian friends tease me of merely being Little Russian).  On one hand it does make sense.  Historically, Poland and Russian are not friends and the RCC has been a rallying point for Poles.  Anyways, keep in mind this is only one person's experience, but I thought I might contend that point.
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2007, 12:45:06 AM »

It would be nice if Catholics became Orthodox but from what I have seen most of the Catholics who are wanting to leave the RC  if their concern is liturgy and tradition generaly go over to groups like the society of saint pius X. If their concern is wanting the church to become more liberal they generaly become pentacostals or new agers.  When I was an RC there were lots of students at my university church who knew nothing about the RC faith, one of the campus leaders was a Lutheran and the priest was very liberal a girl I knew went to the RC get togethers but to an episcopal church "because it had a prettier mass" also they all did think that catholics worship the same god as muslims because the vatican does teach that (although I dont see how as christians believe in the trinity). From what I have overheard at my church most orthodox are not real keen on muslim immigration including myself (not a fan of sharia law or loosing my head). Right now in the RC the big thing is political correctness and that means open borders for all. Mahoney and his ilk will turn the RC hispanic for sure the last months of my RC days we had mariachi masses and all sorts of hispanic related stuff i.e. masses in spanish immigrant reach out day, ( I live in Montana we have a lot of American Indians and about 5 latinos. It was sad(kinda funny actually) seeing all these ageing hippies at these hispanic gatherings patting themselves on the back for being so inclusive not even realising their were no latinos among them. From what I have seen when I was in the south west the latino catholics are vary conservative but not major mass attendees (not that whites are any better that way). I just think that the RC will either go back to its roots or the pews here in the U.S. will look like Europe's empty. It also wouldnt hurt if the RC started teaching Catholicisim again and not the waterd down vatican II style humanisim. Returning to the "real mass" instead of the modern self oriented mass wouldnt hurt either.
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2007, 12:54:39 AM »

It also wouldnt hurt if the RC started teaching Catholicisim again and not the waterd down vatican II style humanisim. Returning to the "real mass" instead of the modern self oriented mass wouldnt hurt either.

Ah, after over a thousand years in utter darkness Rome finally allows a few rays of the light of enlightenment and humanism to shine through, and then comes the rush to shut the blinds, prevent any light from shining through, and condemn all to another thousand years of darkness and inhumanity.

If God is not dead, then these traditionalist religious elements are certainly in the process of crucifying Him...again.
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2007, 01:07:20 AM »

Ed

Quote
I just think that the RC will either go back to its roots or the pews here in the U.S. will look like Europe's empty. It also wouldnt hurt if the RC started teaching Catholicisim again and not the waterd down vatican II style humanisim.

I don't know if you caught the funny thing about these two lines put together?  Grin  You are frustrated with Catholic innovation and humanism, yet what you consider normal/standard (e.g., the pews, fasting one day a week, etc.) others would consider innovative or humanistic. It's all in the eye of the beholder. To be frank, I don't understand how a Catholic could be mad at development, either culturally, morally, or doctrinally. If it wasn't for such development in various areas, your Church would hardly be defendable by this point. I know he's one of those stinkin' liberals, but have you ever read any of Noonan's books, such as A Church That Can and Cannot Change? It doesn't go as far as, say, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, but it does make a lot of good points about the need for (and fact of) development within the RCC.
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2007, 01:12:56 AM »

If you ask me...the Catholic Church = ECUSA, at least in L.A.

To be honest, large swathes of it would be if not for the Petrine rock in Rome. Thank God Rome isn't as powerless as Canterbury. I know Catholics in LA who are eagerly waiting for 2011, when Cardinal Mahony is 75 and must submit his resignation.
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2007, 01:23:51 AM »

If you ask me...the Catholic Church = ECUSA, at least in L.A.

No way Jose.  They don't have wine and cheese receptions and the Episcopalians still have a better liturgy.
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2007, 01:31:06 AM »

I didn't know the serbs had stopped taking converts...hmmm...good for them Wink

You think I was gona pass this up?  You gota be CRAZY!   Wink Grin

I wasn't aware that we EVER took converts?  Even when they marry one of our own... Grin

I was amazed that in the original article that he mentioned Serbs, and used our church as an example of "hard-core ethnic" Orthodoxy...what a reputation!!   Grin

You know you're all jealous
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2007, 01:57:17 AM »

No way Jose.  They don't have wine and cheese receptions and the Episcopalians still have a better liturgy.

Hey, once in a while we can reach back into the past and put together a good one. I go to a parish offering both the modern and traditional rites. The priest is a wonderful one, and he is expert at celebrating the traditional mass. He even celebrates the modern rite excellently (using the Adoremus hymnal and enthusiastic parishioners certainly helps). I knew it was a good place when I first saw its weekly bulletin and saw this at the front:



I love the altar rail. At first I felt like I was in an Anglican church, but now I'm used to it!

Yesterday the Bishop of Raleigh made his annual visit, and he chose to be there for the 4pm traditional mass. He offered prayers to the Sacred Heart at the altar, then followed a procession up to the gallery to bless the new organ, after which the solemn high mass began.

The parish pulled out all the stops. Quite simply, it was the most beautiful mass I've ever been privileged to attend. I (and several dozen others) stood up the entire time (pews were like sardine cans), but I didn't even notice.

I have to hand it to the bishop for coming to the traditional mass. I know some bishops who would sooner kiss Mother Angelica's feet than go to one of those! He was well rewarded for his efforts, as the parish presented him with a gorgeous new chasuble and crozier.

-----------

I'm spoiled. Sometimes I feel like I should be attending the nearest clap-happy Marty Haugen horror show. Christ, after all, told us to take up our Crosses. We're supposed to suffer!  Wink
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2007, 02:12:05 AM »

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I know Catholics in LA who are eagerly waiting for 2011, when Cardinal Mahony is 75 and must submit his resignation.

While that will be a glorious day when it comes, so much of the damage is already done.  The hideous temple that Cardinal Mahony constructed for himself....and an entire generation of clergy groomed by him.  My hunch is that they will fight tooth and nail to not loose their power once Mahony is gone.  What happened in Phoenix and the slow sojourn back to a more conservative diocese has been strange: mediocre and mostly lame bishop runs over a drunken Indian (and later found guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal accident), ultra liberal number two man in the diocese was arrested (that put him out of the running) and a conservative outsider was appointed as the new bishop.  Even with all of this, the liberal lower clergy are putting up a fight - openly preaching from the pulpit their dislike of the new bishop and stirring up trouble wherever they can.  I think it will take several generations for the American Catholic Church to recover.  What has disappointed me the most lately is that the old fiery Cardinal Ratzinger hasn't emerged...I'd love to see him send the liberals packing, but so far little has been done.  
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2007, 02:25:32 AM »

I'm hopeful that LA will recover. I'm pretty impressed with Milwaukee's progress after Rembert Weakland's resignation less than five years ago. He really ran that archdiocese into the ground.

Like you said, the American church is recovering and will continue to recover, but it will take a very long time (as all things do in the Church). It's America. The other established churches here haven't fared well in the last forty years either. 
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2007, 01:12:46 PM »

I'm not holding my breath...the American Catholic Church has it's own agenda...and it is very different from Rome's, and where is the universal indult anyway ? The silence says it all...

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« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2007, 02:34:36 PM »

At last report, Pope Benedict was personally telephoning some resistant French bishops about the matter. Knowing Benedict, he was most likely diplomatic but firm.

The document is expected to be out sometime this month.
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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2007, 02:53:14 PM »

For those of us who are in the dark about Catholic politics...

What are you guys talking about? 

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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2007, 03:31:48 PM »

It may be that Europe is his first priority.  At least in the US the RC parishes are packed on Sundays.  The ones I've been to have had to bring in folding chairs.
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2007, 03:52:55 PM »

For those of us who are in the dark about Catholic politics...

What are you guys talking about? 

Pope Benedict will soon be issuing a motu proprio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motu_proprio) liberating the traditional mass according to the 1962 missal. Right now it can only be offered with bishop's approval, and some bishops refuse to do so.

When it happens, it will be a big step towards reunion with the Society of St. Pius X, which has been asking for this for years. In the 1980s, John Paul II considered it, but there was a storm of protest from bishops in some circles, and he backed down. The time seems ripe now, despite the opposition of the French bishops (SSPX is particularly strong in France).

It's expected later this month.
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2007, 11:12:25 PM »

That's awesome!  Isn't it?  Where is the issue? 
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2007, 11:15:05 PM »

The "issue"? I'm not sure what you mean.

Yes, many of us are waiting with anticipation for the document. It's expected to be the most important of his papacy thus far.
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2007, 11:27:29 PM »

The issue is you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2007, 11:44:06 PM »

Sorry, I got confused and asked the wrong question. 

Why do these other bishops have a problem with the Latin mass?  That's what I mean by "where's the issue"....?
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« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2007, 11:57:14 PM »

Some bishops seem to think that allowing universal use of the traditional mass might promote factionalism in the Church---disunity. They seem to think that everyone should follow the same rite. That doesn't make any sense to me, because the Church through the centuries had numerous Western rites with no resulting unity problems. The real thing that caused disunity was the promulgation of the modern rite (or, more accurately, the abuse and chaos that followed the p***-poor implementation of it).

Also, many of these bishops were around in 1970, and they are reluctant to bring back a rite they had a hand in reforming/implementing---they may see it as an admittance of fault. Bishops of that generation are sensitive to criticisms of the changes of that era. They also see that the younger generation is more orthodox and traditional, having lived only in the post-VII era and thus without the hangups or the personal stake in that era's reforms.

There is also a strain of hypertraditionalism that is certainly unattractive and un-Catholic. Not all of these types have left for the sedevacantist and other schismatic grouplets. Some otherwise orthodox bishops mistakenly assume that most people attracted to the traditional mass have a schismatic mentality.

That's why the French bishops tend to be especially resistant---there is a competition going on between them and the SSPX in France. It's also bound up in politics there, as there is a significant nationalist/monarchist element among the ultra-traditionalists in France.

I think there's also a sense of desperation---the older bishops know their generation is passing away and the generations coming are more traditional.

Benedict, however, is insistent on pursuing this universal indult and the continuing reform of the reform.
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2007, 12:01:49 AM »

Wow, that was an excellent debreafing! 

Can these bishops actually change Benedict's mind?  Or are they just talking the talk? 
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« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2007, 12:10:05 AM »

They have tried to at least convince him to water the motu proprio down.

Benedict is always interested in hearing opinions. He's not the harsh God's Rottweiler some portray him to be. He is willing to listen, which is a virtue some of our American bishops could learn. That's why it has been delayed. He's not a rusher. He wants to make sure everyone gets their word in. Of course, the ultimate decision rests with him.

Judging from his previous public statements and writings as Cardinal Ratzinger, the bishop's arguments are not going to convince him.
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« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2007, 12:41:37 AM »

Since i'm totally unfamiliar with almost all of the Catholic politics, etc. 

Would you mind giving me an opinion on the Catholic bishops here in America...? 

Why do you say that they are not willing to listen..? 
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« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2007, 01:31:18 AM »

Ah, it's just me carping.

I don't want to be too critical, but the tone-deafness of many bishops could be seen in the scandal year of 2002. Some are also notoriously unresponsive to the concerns of laypeople and many priests. Some lack real backbone to vigorously exercise their authority to protect and discipline their flock and don't listen to those who humbly suggest they grow some.

I'm glad to say that not all the bishops are by any means like this---there are the usual suspects, but they are starting to get long in the tooth. There are also many fine bishops like Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, Charles Chaput of Denver, Thomas Doran of Rockford, Victor Galeone of St. Augustine, Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Sean Cardinal O'Malley of Boston, Martin Amos of Davenport, Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee, and Robert Morlino of Madison.
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« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2007, 05:01:56 AM »

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Ah, it's just me carping.

Keep on carping and keep up the good fight. 

For the sake of my family (who is almost all Catholic), I really hope things can get turned around.  I also think a strong Catholic Church is needed in Europe for a genuine moral authority within the EU. 
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2007, 06:46:17 AM »

Beloved in the Lord,

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

If the moderators find that the discusions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster,You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or arguement. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

In Christ,
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2007, 11:52:17 AM »

Oops...forgot about that.  I'm done with the conversation anyway.  We can always continue it somewhere else if the others are interested.  Sorry!! 

But at the same time, what if I were trying to convert to RC church?  Wouldn't these questions then be valid?  As someone who genuinly IS interested in the RC church, I see no problem with me asking these questions here...

But I could be wrong...
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2007, 04:36:30 PM »

Thanks for your interest in this topic but it seems to be wandering some. I am closing it at this time and you are welcome to reopen the topic in Faith or Orthdox Catholic if you wish to continue a similar line of dialog.

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