So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Soft Catholicism: it's symptoms and cure.

Soft Catholicism is characterized by:
  1. limp witness on social issues; bishops failing to lead the pro life witness
  2. an emphasis on social justice issues in a manner that marginalizes the necessity of religious formation and evangelization; the mission of soft Catholicism is cultural marxism
  3. weak Catholic schools
  4. weak liturgical and theological formation; the Liturgy is subject to a hermeneutic of rupture
  5. examples of sheepish witness or a witness hostile to faithful CatholicsArchbishop Cupich, Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Danneels, Fr. Tom Rosica and too many others.
  6. examples of world-first lay leaders: Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, John Kerry, Justin Trudeau, and too many others.
Real Catholicism is characterized by:
  1. a confident witness to the dignity of life and responsible stewardship of material resources
  2. a holistic ongoing formation—spiritual, moral, intellectual, physical—of disciples from childhood through adulthood; effective leadership training (catechesis) for evangelization; disciples are well formed in Church doctrine and affirm a personal and communal relationship with Jesus and His Church
  3. vibrant Catholic schools
  4. a confident liturgical and theological formation; a liturgical authenticity born of a hermeneutic of continuity
  5. examples of consistent Gospel focussed witness: Archbishop Chaput, Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Sample, Archbishop Cordileone, Bishops Morlino, Conley and Olmsted, Cardinal Ouellet, Cardinal Sarah, Archbishop Athanasius Schneider, Cardinals Brandmüller and Müller, and many others
  6. examples of God-first lay leaders: Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan
By identifying the characteristics of real Catholicism, we identify a cure for soft Catholicism.

Synonyms for soft Catholicism:
  • progressive Catholicism
  • liberal Catholicism
  • spirit of Vatican II Catholicism
  • Kennedy Catholicism
Now ask yourself, what would I rather be, a:
  • a soft Catholic, a manipulative so-and-so who acts in a manner barely different from the worldly standard, a blandly behaved "Sunday Christian" spiralling into irrelevance and using other people or the pretense of religion to distract yourself from a meaningless existence?
  • or, would you rather be Catholic and live with dignity as a child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ, an intentional disciple who moment to moment surrenders to the Holy Spirit and allows your life, public and private, to be guided by God's word and the authority of His Church?

Authentic Catholicism seeks first and foremost the salvation of souls. Unless someone changed the Lord's commission (St. Matthew 28:19-20), then we had best keep our actions entirely configured to the Lord's agenda while rejecting any counsel that asks us to hide our light under the bushel of conformity to the culture of death.

As much as some folk might want to fashion the Church into a social service agency that barely acknowledges Jesus, or they think they have to avoid mentioning that salvation in Christ is the motivation for their joy and service, Catholic believers cannot and should not deny the fact that the Church is first and foremost a hospital for suffering souls who need the salvation only Jesus can offer. The Church exists to save souls. If Catholics hide that fact, then we might as well turn in our baptismal garments. Do recall Jesus' reminder to His disciples:
So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.—St. Matthew 10:32-33
Soft Catholicism tolerates little God-talk, i.e., public expression of faith. The exponents of soft Catholicism are not comfortable living the Faith in a manner consistent with the will of the Lord. Failing to acknowledge Jesus as the Lord of the Church's mission is, by way of omission, a denial of the Lord. Those who work for certain Catholic relief agencies compromised by worldly priorities might do well to keep in mind the above passage from Scripture.

Catholics, i.e., faithful Catholics, cannot support or even tolerate unjust laws which harm the innocent. Where soft Catholicism accepts a live-and-let-live approach, which is to say a willingness to dodge the tough issues in the public square, real Catholicism accepts the fact that ours is a personal and public faith that requires disciples to take the Faith to the public square to persuade hearts and minds to adopt humane ways of living, to honour true relationships based on God's design of the human person and the natural law, and to call society to abandon cruelty and cheap views which imprison men and women and families in despair and psychologically and spiritually damaging lifestyles.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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