65 thoughts on “Catholic Confidence in Organized Religion at Low Point

  1. The new board of directors at Penn State have just succintly illustrated how real sex abuse crimes are investigated and how a rerport of the investigation is made public.

    There is more to be done and most likely more people to be indighted and tried – something the investigation unearthed.

    Should The Church be less diligent and less transparent and held to a lesser standard just because it is a private entity and not tax funded? After all, the land and the buildings of the AD are all tax ecempt – courtesy the public.?


  2. I think it is significant that the survey found the drop in confidence in “organized religion” does not indicate a drop in “personal religion.” I think that has been proven strongly true on this website. So many of us feel just as close or closer to God and have an extremely strong faith in Him, but have completely lost faith in those who have the power in our Church. We exemplify their findings.

    1. So true, Jackie.

      I cited Thomas Reese in a previous ‘thread’ where he commented on figures of one in three Catholics leaving the Church and half of those joining Protestant denominations…looking for a deeper spiritual life…he also noted the importance of scripture….

  3. The declining lack of confidence in the Catholic Church is always viewed in light of reactionary reasons. For example, it’s Catholics “reacting” to the sex abuse crisis, poor episcopal leadership, misogyny, abusive authority, etc. Personally, my fundamental lack of confidence in the Church does not stem from its “events,” positions, or points of view, per se, but rather from my inability to affect or influence them. The Church is structured in a way that I am rendered impotent, ineffectual, invisible, and meaningless. What other choice do I have than to lose confidence in it? Really, what other choice do I have?

    1. I want to be proactive not reactive. But what I want threatens hierarchical power and authority. It’s not easy being a member of a medieval institution in the 21st century.


  5. Kate, if you are one of the people to whom religion is very important, you don’t have a choice. Do something about your lack of power as this blog does, or as Voice of the Faithful does. The system is set up to try to keep your voice in the parish unless you are one of the few chosen for the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Sooner or later, like parents fearful of a teen leaving home, those with the authority for change may listen. Until then, we make change on a small scale, together

    1. anne southwood,

      Do something? You would be hard pressed to name one thing I have not done (including this blog and Voice of the Faithful). I’ve been a Catholic activist for the last 42 years, which is why I am particularly sensitive to being rendered ineffectual by the institution I advocate for. Personally, I view the behaviors, agendas and systems used by the hierarchy to maintain power and control while rendering me ineffectual as a form of abuse. I am abused by my Church. In a good Church, the statement would be an oxymoron. In the Catholic Church, it’s the truth.

      Abuse, abuse, abuse. People have lost confidence in the Catholic Church because it has become synonymous with abuse of every kind and every form imaginable.

      1. Kate,
        When in life I have been where you are I take my issues to the foot of the cross, even though Jesus knows already, I prayerfully state my problem and leave it there. An answer is always forthcoming. It may take time, it may not come in the way I think, it may not be the answer I want or even like, but He is faithful and always answers. I am certain God is grateful for your loyal service and He will open a new door where you will surely shine as you serve Him . Peace and Love.

      2. Kate this is something I think about all the time………….Jesus in many ways was abused and even killed by those from his Fathers temple “church” . How do we figure into that example? What does that mean for us? What are we to learn from his example? How are we to apply it to the church in Philly today? How are we to be true followers of Christ with this corrupt leadership? How do we witness to truth and Christ?

  6. Kate and fellow boggers, this instritution does not really care what you think at all. As the AD is sending representatives to the various parishes to discuss what that particular pastor or priest was on the list sent out by Cardinal Rigali. Surely, they are not going to tell anyone what the real reason they had been on that list. The AD could be sued for releasing information of defamation. But just being on that list raises a lot of questions. To be suspended for almost 18 months says something about what happened and why on this list at this time.

    In reality, there really is no way for any lay voice to be heard in this institution.The hierarchy has absolute control and they are not ready or willing to share any of it. In fact, priests really have less power than lay people, especially lay people with money. A priest-pastor friend of mine, in WDC, was challenging the fact that their affluent school was so well endowed that he thought they should be helping some inner city schools and programs He had some real fights with the lay board. Extremely angered with the pastor and refusing his suggestions at every turn, the members went to the Cardinal and demanded that the pastor be moved. That is exactly what happened and the pastor was assigned to a suburban, very poor parish with a very poor school. The laity won and the priest pastor not only lost but was punished. He actually died a few years later from the stress.

    The Opus Dei organization is challenging any one who attempts to question or raise issues with the authroity of the Church. Opus Dei has one major rule; OBEDIENCE, especially to authroity, As long as this organization functions, power will reign and bishops and priests who challenge will be immediately discredited and ostracized by the institution.

    Clearly, we are viewing a corpse. As much as we try, resuscitation will not work. Sometimes, we just have to turn off the machines and allow the course of nature to take its own direction,
    Death is part of life and in reality, this corpse has been dying for a very long time, especially with the sexual abuse crimes commtted by priests in the AD and allowed to flourish by leadership which tried to cover up and hide the reality of the evil.

    Death is not that bad. All of life dies, but very often new life can grow and we are witnessing that possibility now. With all of you wonderful bloggers on this site, you are part of a wonderful possibility to begin this church again. Not with leadership that lies and decieves, but with wholesome faith people who know what is right and who will live the message of Jesus to be people of Justice for all people, especially those who have been vicimized by clerics.

    Rome, please listen. When tsunamis begin to roll toward land, many animals head for the high ground and survive. Please put your ear t the ground and hear the rumbling of footsteps
    of those leaving and heading to where it is safe. The waves will be crashing in very soon.

    1. Father, thanks, as always for your comments…especially regarding possible AD motivation…

      Your story about the affluent congregation and the pressure they exerted on the pastor….reminded me, more happily of some reverse situations.

      I personally know some quite affluent folks who initiated a diocesan wide program where affluent parishes and individuals financed inner city schools….the program started in the 80s and is going strong….

      Also, I have a number of friends who have been very heavily involved in their parish and diocesan wide and ecumenically…..in winter shelter programs, homeless programs and a whole range of poverty related assistance programs…these are the guys using their money very creatively to help the poor…

      I am not saying there are not monied Catholics who are thoroughly obnoxious….of course there are…but I know some who aren’t….obnoxious that is.

      As to Opus Dei…I agree.

    2. Father, thank you for your post. As always, they are informative, intelligent and comforting.

      As we view this corpse and strive toward that new beginning, how does one exist in the RCC? I understand why so many Catholics are leaving, but for me, I’m trying to hang on somehow to the core of my faith and being a Catholic. I’ve given up on the hierarchy, I feel like a hypocrite if I attend Mass, but I still have that final string hanging on to saying I’m Catholic. It was pumped into us that the people are the church, not the building. Well, the way things run now, the hierarchy are the church and we their mere minions.

      How much of what has been taught to us over the years is a lie? Where is the line drawn between God’s laws and man’s laws? Will I go to hell if I don’t go to confession at least once a year? Have I sinned mortally if I chew gum within an hour before receiving communion? What about the true presence? Have I sinned if I don’t receive communion during the Easter season? Where did the Lord say that priests are not to marry?

      Not meaning to ramble, but the powers that be are just getting what they deserve. Catholic jumping ship due to lies and coverups and the lack of trust in the leadership.

  7. I’m very confused. I am listening to an audio book The THIRD SECRET (about the three secrets of Fatima). It seems that when the Blessed Mother appeared to the three children, she talked kindly about the pope. This was in 1917 (I think). In other words, she is talking as kindly as I was taught about them. Presently, my opinion about the Vatican is that they are worse than the mob. Knowing what I now know, why do you think the Blessed Mother was speaking kindly about these evil men??? She also wanted us to pray the rosary – in the face of all of this child sexual abuse, why would she not address this and why would the rosary be so important?? How about integrity? I’m more confused about the Catholic church than ever. The book talks about the arrogance of one cardinal and the love affair of another. In the face of this, why would the rosary be so important?

      1. Cathy,

        The link you posted lists “…four major reasons why 75,000 priests have left the priesthood”

        Speaking for myself, I left the seminary because the lay life is more conducive to living a holy and moral life.

        Reverend Wintermyer correctly points out that “…OBEDIENCE, especially to authority, As long as this organization functions, power will reign and bishops and priests who challenge will be immediately discredited and ostracized by the institution.” A priest trying to live a holy moral life will be ostracized in many places within the Church.

        They did that to me when I told them that they were hiding pedophiles within the order, a fact which was later proved by a criminal conviction of one of them.

        On the matters of Fatima, and “scapulars” (regardless of color), I believe that it’s all pure nonsense. The RCC Herself teaches that the “Faithful” have no obligation to believe any of that stuff, (nor does She forbid it). If that type of thing provides comfort for a person I have no desire to take that relief them.

        More recently this finding provided comfort for some people:

        Published: July 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        “Image of ‘Virgin Mary’ forms in N.J. tree”

        “WEST NEW YORK, N.J., July 15 (UPI) — Hundreds of people are flocking to a New Jersey city to see what they say appears to be the likeness of the Virgin Mary that has formed in a tree.”


        I personally see Christ in the sun as it rises with the power of trillions of hydrogen bombs, and when a person does an act of charity for God’s Little Ones, and these things take place everyday! But, ‘each to his own.’

      2. drwh13
        I am so sorry you were ostracized; the same thing happened to my sister and she left the religious order too. You do realize it probaby saved your immortal soul.
        It is nice to know you found a place where you can be spiritually nourished.
        You are right God can be found without our universe and in other’s who choose to foster His presence. Your final comments brought to mind “How Great Thou Art”, one of my favorites.
        God Bless and keep you in His care. Peace and love. Cathy

    1. Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth was A GOOD JEWISH MOTHER. In addition to that important fact- scripture tells us she conceived Jesus without conjugal relations, thus Jesus’ body — with no human [child of Adam] father was sinless. It was necessary that Christ be the sinless sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Mary took her place according to scripture with all the other disciples in the upper room and had the Spirit baptism with them at Pentecost. Just about the end of her story according to the record of scripture.

      1. If an unbeliever dies and has that “scapular” on, he will wear it into Hell. Only Faith in the death , burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ keeps one out of Hell.

      2. To qualify the term “unbeliever” in the context above:
        One who doesn’t believe the gospel that says:
        1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

  8. Fatima is a hoax. Just one more lie the hierarchy has perpetrated. Even B16 said so–

    By 1910, the people of Portugal had had enough of the oppression imposed by the ruling class for centuries, done in cahoots with Church Hierarchy–and kicked them both out. The fake visions of 1917 were but a hoax designed to gain the confidence of a superstitious, impoverished, and uneducated people, to help get rid of a people’s coalition that had taken over, attempting to get some real relief for the poor people, and to shift power away from the elite that had ruled for centuries. The ruse worked, and by 1926 they killed the new leaders, and returned the hierarchy to its powerful position.

    The new dictator took over a mere 7 years after the phony apparitions. For 50 years, he ruled the country with an iron fist and brutal torture, appointing his close crony as the Patriarch of Lisbon who did the same thing from the Church side; he ruled as the supreme Catholic leader of Poetugal for about 50 years, and is responsible for putting together the fairy tale. Together, they created a system of distraction while they plundered the wealth of the people; it was popularly called–“Football, Fatima and Fado” (folk singing). It worked. Lucia was known as a story teller from a very early age; and there is a reason they kept her in a cloister for 7 decades, away from any prying questions. The other two children died within just a short time, under controlled circumstances in hospitals, attributed to the Spanish Flu that was going around at the time, but some observers suspected otherwise. Every other family member of the 3 soon was in South America, and the story was the exclusive ownership of the Cardinal and the Dictator to shape as they pleased.


    Those who still believe in Fatima deserve the bishops that they have.

  9. Joan, I am sorry if I gave the impression that I was critical of “moneyed” people, I am not at all. But look at those programs. They are helpful and are centered on Justice, but you do all those programs and then suggest that you might have a sexual/ victim support group, or a gay/lesbian support group that might discuss the possiblity of same sex marriage, or a divorced/remarriage group, all these in terms of justice for people seeking some true healing from the institution, and see how quickly these groups will be shut down. No lay voice will be heard except one from the AD, ? Brian Tierney saying ” shut that program down. There will be deviation from what the church teaches”.
    No further discussion, money or not, good justice programs or not.
    When there is absolute power and control, there will never be any real discussion.

    1. Father, I am thinking of some considerably more independent folks whose areas of concern have been primarily poverty oriented. These guys would probably not be that involved with the Churchy stuff…They have used the system when their justice concerns are compatible with Church issues…ie inner city school support….but the folks I know operate on a lot of different levels….certainly not just Church agendas. They often support independent nuns charities.

      They have accomplished some wonderful things, are genuinely generous, pretty sophisticated…and probably would simply fund and support abuse programs, protective services for kids, gay/lesbian programs through some other non Church entity.

      I think it’s a sign of the times….perhaps your Church/corpse analogy with an emerging, far more independent focus.

      1. Joan
        You are so right. There are good and bad people everywhere. No matter how people identify themselves or how others label them.

  10. Definition of Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective… Based on the above, how can anyone have confidence in the Catholic Church as a whole let alone the AD of Philadelphia? The American President features a heated debate between the president, Michael Douglas, and his senior domestic policy advisor, Michael J. Fox. Fox is trying to convince the president to be more aggressive, and he says with great passion: People want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand. The president responds coolly, People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty; they drink the sand because they don’t know the difference…Anyone with sense of confidence or self-worth would / should be put off by the presidents response here however Jay Devine (former PR Director for the Philadelphia AD) was quoted as saying “we represented 1.4 million Catholics, and, “We have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn’t tell them things we don’t want them to know” when trying to have an article in the Inquirer killed about the abuse… Maybe we do drink the sand, not even realizing that there is a better alternative…

    1. I believe the Devine quote was in reference to an article that was highlighting Bevilaqua’s lavish spending habits. Basically we aren’t supposed to know anything about anything. That won’t work with this generation and certainly will not work with the present generation of kids. A priest I spoke to felt the same way. He said that priests were used to having the power and people were used to giving the priests that power,similar to the way people deferred to doctors or other people in authority. Now a patient would think nothing of firing their physician or going for a second opinion,years ago they weren’t even given details of their prognosis..times they are a changing. This priest felt a continued power grab by the hierarchy and many clergy, will be the ultimate downfall.

      1. It’s the continued clerical power-grab coupled with the hierarchy’s failure to apply the “best practices” that have emerged over the decades in the disciplines of psychology, sociology, philosophy, ethics, organizational leadership, etc. that will lead to its demise or downfall. An informed laity lives, works and breaths according to the body of knowledge formed by these disciplines. When the hierarchy proceeds in ways that are antithetical to it, or that defy it, post-modern minds are rationally and conscientiously obligated to reject it. When we say the Church is no longer relevant, we mean it no longer “speaks” or operates according to knowledge.

      2. Those decades of psych, soc, philosophy, ethics, organizational leadership, et al are key to Catholics ‘growing up’….behaving like responsible adults, exercising primacy of personal conscience et al….Good point Kate….

      3. “That won’t work with this generation and certainly will not work with the present generation of kids. ” C4C bloggers believe the victims, want safety for kids, and have any number of good, admirable intentions. What about something for the “kids” to turn to when and if they find their parents, priests, bishops and catechism teachers have “feet of clay?” This is just as important as trying to protect them from sexual abuse. Their eternal souls are at stake.

  11. WR…I love the The American President, know that quote…but I have a further quote for you….Michael Douglas goes on to say that democracy is a tough graduate school agenda! Politics 101…..and that it calls for us to protect with every fiber of our being, the right of others to hold a position that we hate with every fiber of our being…

    I am no fan of institutional Church behavior…especially where abuse is concerned. I am thrilled with the Lynn verdict and deeply hope that more such verdicts are in the offing….I am profoundly offended by Jay Devine’s comments ….but in the final analysis in a free country it’s up to the laity to figure out the Church’s machinations….We can help by identifying some of them.

  12. Thanks Be the Change, I have been thinking a bit about the Gallup poll, Father W’s and my discussion and I come up with several thoughts.

    It’s not surprising that Catholics lag Protestants by 12 points on institutional

    trust….Protestants have far more control of money issues,more decisionmaking power…. there is more transparency…and Jason Berry and others make the point that folks contribute relative to their trust. And that doesn’t begin to factor in the abuse debacle.

    I think that a new Church is happening as yet we blog. I think about my generous friends who probably would not even try to affect Church policy on controversial matters but simply move on and work with groups who shared their agenda on those points, while still supporting inner city school programs with a church flavor.

    I think about Simone Campbell and her bus tour…visiting 9 states and the programs nuns run for the poor AND presenting local legislators with the Bishops recent statements relative to federal budget justice for the poor and the multiple problems with the Ryan Budget.

    I think about ‘community service requirements’ that kids, catholic and otherwise countrywide are required to perform…and the range of issues and responses they are learning about…has to widen their charitable perspective.

    I think about parishes that I know who independently fundraise large amounts of money and then, based on the members volunteer activities, parcel the funds out to everything from domestic violence programs and soup kitchens to poverty lobby organizations like NETWORK…(not the traditional catholic groups).

    Or put another way, I think folks are growing up…they are making independent decisions based on personal conscience relative to a huge number of issues. I think these guys ARE the Church…and it is increasingly healthy.

    1. I am consistently finding a theme running through many of the finely written posts here , and in some other quarters:
      Laudable as it seems on first impact- the idea that helping the “poor, the downtrodden, the underprivileged, etc.” is redemption, is salvation, is the “gospel.” No, no , no — that is what the scriptures call “works” and Paul has a pithy response to the argument that good works can save a sinner:
      Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

      1. Of course good works are laudable,and it is admirable to do good works; what is implied though is that ‘good works ‘ can be a substitute for faith in what Christ has done for us.
        1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

      2. Joan said: “Nicolas…not trying to earn salvation, just trying to help folks who need it.”
        Sure enough Joan, my point is — where we are “tearing down” the institution which has been the hope of salvation for so many, we must direct them to the real source of salvation; not simply to the good works that result from changed lives. So many seem to want to avoid believing the gospel that leads to changed lives and the resulting “good works.”

  13. The growing lack of confidence in organized religion helps explains why the “NONES” are on the ascendancy.

    From an LA editorial: “The Rise of the Nones” is one of 10 trends changing American life, according to Time magazine’s March 12 cover story. That’s because the “nones” — those who mark “none” on surveys that ask them to identify their religious affiliation — are the fastest-growing religious group in the United States.”

    And the “Nones” are the third largest in the world.

    What the Roman Church desperately needs is a theological “aggiornamento” (updating) as John XXIII initiated. Had he as many years as pope as JPII, the Roman Church would not be in the sad shape it is today. There might not have been a JPII.

    The Roman Theology sorely needs an “aggiornamento.” It has too much fear in its doctrine and morality.

    I attempt to address this issue in my book, The Theology of Fear.

    check it out at – emmettcoyne.net

    1. Father, not only does the Church ‘have too much fear in its doctrine and morality’….it has a seemingly total lack of respect for the action of the ‘Spirit’ which can be found ( if listened to) in its laity…and no apparent trust in the laity, either.

      I pray nightly for another John 23.

      1. Joan, be careful what you pray for. Pope John 23rd was Not so great. I have documentation that he outlined how to protect priests from the sexual abuse scandal Perhaps DrWho might be aware of it. It is under a latin title!

      2. Vicky, the Latin title was Crimine Solicitationes and it was used by SNAP when filing suit at the Hague….a long quote from the citation is as follows:

        Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse
        Expulsion threat in secret documents

        Read the 1962 Vatican document (PDF file)
        Share 1254

        Antony Barnett, public affairs editor
        The Observer, Saturday 16 August 2003 20.27 EDT
        The Vatican instructed Catholic bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual abuse or risk being thrown out of the Church.
        The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a ‘blueprint for deception and concealment’. One British lawyer acting for Church child abuse victims has described it as ‘explosive’.

        The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of ‘strictest’ secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.

        They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to ‘be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.’

        The document, which has been confirmed as genuine by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, is called ‘Crimine solicitationies’, which translates as ‘instruction on proceeding in cases of solicitation’.

        It focuses on sexual abuse initiated as part of the confessional relationship between a priest and a member of his congregation. But the instructions also cover what it calls the ‘worst crime’, described as an obscene act perpetrated by a cleric with ‘youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality)’.

        Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases ‘in the most secretive way… restrained by a perpetual silence… and everyone… is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office… under the penalty of excommunication’.

        Texan lawyer Daniel Shea uncovered the document as part of his work for victims of abuse from Catholic priests in the US. He has handed it over to US authorities, urging them to launch a federal investigation into the clergy’s alleged cover-up of sexual abuse.

        He said: ‘These instructions went out to every bishop around the globe and would certainly have applied in Britain. It proves there was an international conspiracy by the Church to hush up sexual abuse issues. It is a devious attempt to conceal criminal conduct and is a blueprint for deception and concealment.’

        British lawyer Richard Scorer, who acts for children abused by Catholic priests in the UK, echoes this view and has described the document as ‘explosive’.

        He said: ‘We always suspected that the Catholic Church systematically covered up abuse and tried to silence victims. This document appears to prove it. Threatening excommunication to anybody who speaks out shows the lengths the most senior figures in the Vatican were prepared to go to prevent the information getting out to the public domain.’

    2. Emmett, your book supports a post I submitted a few weeks ago, saying how Catholics narrowly perceive their faith, thanks to clerics, through the lens of the sacramental Church. Yet, it is via this lens that clerics exert, maintain and foster their power and control, resulting in our fear. Lost is the persona of Jesus, and the acquisition of it. Lost is a Church that cultivates love, service, freedom, inclusion, community, etc. Rev. Wintermyer put forth the same idea in one of his posts.

      How did your book escape the Vatican radar? Why weren’t you admonished for your ideas? Is it because you are no longer associated with the priesthood?

      1. Kate, you hit the hammer on the nail that it is through the sacraments that control is imposed.
        As I note on the back cover of my book, “which (the scraments) control rather than liberate members…while the Kingdom (of God) remains a vague concept. The Kingdom proclamation is a message of liberation but since Constantine in the RC, the love of power rather than the power of love, has been the praxis. Salvation may come in seeking first the Kingdom.
        My book has just been published. The hammer has yet to come down on my head.
        Stay tuned!

      2. Emmett, if the hammer came down on my head, I’d consider it a real achievement!

    3. Father Coyne,

      I pray daily to John XXIII and have had the opportunity twice to pray in front of his remains at St. Peter’s Basilica. John XXIII and JPI were living reminders that God is love.

  14. Joan,
    Thank you for your timely insights. Your comments nourished my soul. God’s grace is limitless and can move us away from the dead branches into the light and sunshine where our spirits can flourish and bear fruit. Peace and Love. Cathy

  15. I apologize that this is my 3rd listing on this specific blog, but I feel that I do have to add afew more words to the previously discussed issues.
    1. We need to realize that there are a lot of great things being done by wonderful people “in spite of the institutional church”. The notions of committed communities who sponsor projects for youth are only found in a few parishes but many places do not see the implications of what service is all about.
    2 i would like to recommend a book by Michael Morwood, From Sand to Solid Ground.
    Michael spells out clearly what the problems are which we have experienced and he tells it like it is. This Church is going nowhere. Institutionally it is has recently been frozen retrogradely back into the 50’s and before. We are not seeing back to the future but rather we are returning to the “glorious days of yesteryear” as the announcer on the Lone Ranger of radio used to proclaim. As the Pope’s Miter becomes taller and taller, the further back we go.
    3. There will not be another JohnXXIII for another 100 years. We will not be here to celebrate his pontificate. JPII saw to it that all the bishops, and I mean all the bishops are towing the vatican line and only that teaching will be tolerated. There is no room for any discussion or disagreement. The Recent German Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Vatican who had a real semblance of openness has disappeared from the scene. He is not dead, but we hear nothing of him.
    4. It is now up to the people to truly create that community of faith that Jesus wanted. Not to found a Church. That was not his idea. That notion came much later after Jesus Died.
    People have blogged about the Holy Spirit but remember that same Spirit does not necessarily reside only in the RCC. Yes there are great moments and movements of the Spirit, but the RCC does not possess the Spirit alone. The Spirit resided in the world before Jesus and continues in many spiritual dimensions in the present time.
    Oh, Oh. Are we bordering on heresy? Sorry, but Sexual abuse and coverup, lying and deception these are what constitute heresy. Could it be that the “institution” which perpetrates such evil and action is really in heresy? Totally opposed to the teaching of Jesus??
    Oh, Oh. We are really in trouble.

    1. Father W, please never apologize for more than one comment…it often takes a bit of discussion on C4C to define an issue, tease out the truth and your contributions are genuinely helpful, in that process.

      I especially like your comment about the Spirit operating in parallel universes!!! Not only in the RCC.

      I think that is exactly what has happend and is happening.

      I have been struck for years by the graciousness, hospitality and generosity of folks from many other denominations, or from none at all. In fact, I think their behaviour typically outshines ‘traditional’ behaviour by a factor of at least 10.

      It’s the old ‘by their fruits you will know them’…..My candidate for very special thanks in this last decade is Lynn Abraham…without her diligent and determined efforts, we would not have the first conviction of a Church management official in the US.

      It’s my hope that folks will operate in a variety of universes, taking what is useful from each one with an ‘adult selection process’…..

      I am a Richard Rohr fan and I think he would be supportive of the parallel universe phenomena. Thanks again

      1. Joan and Rev. Wintermyer, the Spirit may operate in parallel universes, but according to the article Susan cites, the parallel universes have their own lack of confidence issues. While institutional Catholicism is on the lowest end, the other religious institutions aren’t faring much better.

      2. Kate, can’t speak for Father W. but for myself, I see the Spirit operating in loads of non religious places. I see it in the actions of some media and political folks, in the arts and sciences, in classrooms, and family settings, and a few boardrooms, in the folks Nickolas Kristoff so often mentions ….it’s the old ‘eyes that can see, ears that can hear and hearts that are open’ motif.

        By temperament I am an optimist and think that the ‘parallel universe’ is very very large and clearly operative. The Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley was busy defining the Church as the World. I think they had it about right.

    2. I love your postings. You write much and behind your truthful words you say even more!! I get it! Thank you from a survivor.

  16. Yes, the comnmunity of faith Jesus would want…I wish Fr. Wintermyer had been my pastor.
    Thank you, Father, for recommending Michael Morwood.

  17. Fr. Jack, wow! BADA BING … you are right on target > and, at a recent sit down with Michael Morwood (Australia, now Kirkridge retreat center), he said he would not spend one more minute trying to reform the institutional church … yep! and to Michael and to you, Fr. Jack,
    I wholeheartedly say AMEN!

  18. Reverend
    Thank you for that very powerfull message and gift from the Holy Spirit.
    For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2
    Joan I too can testiify to that “factor of at least 10.”
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

  19. To those who are discussing Fatima… I personally am at a point of confusion. I don’t know what to think. If I may refer those interested to the site that follows. I found it after reading one of the links above.
    It is from a Fr Kramer…pretty interesting needless to say….

    As far as the institutional church, it is lost. I am saddened by the fact that I want to go to church, but after being there for 10 minutes I am just flat upset… so instead of leaving, I’m not currently attending. Honestly, that is driving me crazy. I don’t know what to do about it.
    In spite of that and my failures, I do try to follow what the Lord teaches. And I am of the opinion that V-II was on the right path, but was high-jacked.

    If I may refer you to a book by one of the contributors to this site, please see;
    The New Dance of Christ; Discovering Our Spiritual Self in a New, Evolving World
    by Anthony T. Massimini.
    It is a wonderful and uplifting view of the Gosple. It is truly “Good News”!
    Peace to all who search for the Word!

    1. tomg/txman28
      You say, “I’m not currently attending. Honestly, that is driving me crazy. I don’t know what to do about it.” I would not presume to tell you how to live your faith as faith is a very personal thing. I can’t possibly know what God wants you to do. My advice would be to determine why you’re not attending pray, state your problem and ask prayerfully “what should I do?” Then be silent, have a quiet spirit and your answer will come. You’ll know because the “driving me crazy” will stop and you’ll have peace. When something is “driving me crazy” often it’s because He answered and I don’t like His answer.

      Jesus knew Peter denied Him, Thomas, doubted, Him and Judas betrayed Him, so I’m sure He figured the descendants of the apostles would also be human and make these or other mistakes. He also knew there would be times the apostles would not be available to preach and teach. He gave us some things to sustain and help us during those times. He left us the bible, His grace, His peace, His example, prayer, our conscience, the Ten Commandments from the Old Testaments and the Two Greatest Commandments from the New Testament: to love Him and to Love each other.
      Via the Holy Spirit He left us seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord, as well as the three virtues of faith, hope, and charity or love. You also have fellowship with others who share your faith. There are many great books on God and faith depending on your interest or need.
      Helping others will often clear your thoughts. It’s hard to complain when you meet others who have so little material things yet so much faith, hope, and love. Hope this helps. Peace and Love

  20. tomg,

    This is The Real Secret of Fatima–

    The Dictator / extreme right wing “bachelor/professor” who took over after the “miracle” kept the people illiterate, land in the hands of upper few %, news controlled, the Secret Police busy torturing and killing people, and unions illegal–for nearly 50 years, from 1926 until 1974. But he distributed millions of Rosaries, held regular religious events with confession where the people could confess their sins, and had constant updates on the magical “appearances” of “Our Lady.”

    “Antonio de Oliveira Salazar worshipped Hitler and Mussolini, but after they lost, he joined the Allies … he always kept a piece of fascism alive in Portugal. His secret police, the PIDE, were much like the Gastapo; concentration camps were set up for “enemies of the state”, news organizations were merely propaganda machines, and all schools had their lesson plans carefully monitored by “Big Brother”. Salazar also kept a little piece of the Dark Ages alive in Western Europe. In 1970, 30% of the population was illiterate, and the infant mortality rate was the second worst in Europe. The Portugese economy stagnated. Most of the land was held by 5% of the population, the vast majority of Portuguese worked in agriculture, and all union activities were forbidden. Portugal was the last stronghold of European colonialism. Salazar refused to give up colonies in East Timor, Portuguese Guiana, Mozambique, and Angola. He believed the “white man” must bring higher civilization to the ” black man”. The U.S. openly backed Portugal’s colonial claims, due to the strategic importance of military bases such as the one in the Portugese Azores. Salazar died in 1968, after 40 years in power. His regime fell in 1974, at which point Portugal left Angola, but the US continued to back South African efforts there.”


  21. bethJuly 20, 2012 at 3:50 am
    Kate this is something I think about all the time………….Jesus in many ways was abused and even killed by those from his Fathers temple “church” . How do we figure into that example? What does that mean for us? What are we to learn from his example? How are we to apply it to the church in Philly today? How are we to be true followers of Christ with this corrupt leadership? How do we witness to truth and Christ?

    Beth, I want to answer your questions not coming from me but I want to guide you to the place where your anwers are found. It is in God’s Word, and not in “every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14) — sincere , loving folk will offer their answers, but Who really has the answers? That is what is important today amidst the maelstrom of conflicting opinions and good sounding ideas.

    1. “Jesus … abused-killed by those from His … church:
    It was because of UNBELIEF.
    2. “How do we figure into that example?”
    As sinners [because of our Adamic nature] we must believe what the Word tells us, i.e., believe the gospel (I Cor. 15:3.)
    3. “How are we to apply it to the church today?” Believe the Word, not man when man preaches a different gospel.(Gal. 1:6)
    4. “How are we to be true followers of Christ?”.
    Believe what God’s Word really says.
    5. “How do we witness?”
    When we believe the gospel, the work Christ did on the cross and His resurrection we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and become His witnesses.

    1. nichols1,

      I witness to truth and Christ via reason and experience. Scripture plays no role whatsoever in my faith or how I conduct my life. I consider it to be the musings of ancient communities of people, fanatical about getting others to believe what they believed. You and I are on separate planes but possibly headed for the same destination. I hope we can respect each other, and I hope that our different points of view will fuel further inquiry on the part of both of us.

      1. Hadit,
        I certainly do respect your honesty when you say you don’t believe
        scripture is “God breathed.” Scripture is the only “Rock” I have in this world. I believe the Word really is Christ, in fact the bible says the Lord Jesus Christ is “the Word.” So , my Rock is Jesus Christ.

      2. Why isn’t reason and experience your Rock? Why do you believe when you can know?

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