Please Join Two Initiatives for Reform Focused on Baptized – Not Bishops

From Martin J. Leahy, Ph.D.

Years ago I concluded that my dysfunctional church family would never change.   But, along came Catholics 4 Change, people here gave me new hope. The courage of many (I could name names) inspired and challenged me to act.

I have been active for the last year in the American Catholic Council.  Just like C4C focuses exclusively on protecting children, ACC has a single focus: changing church governance – how we are led, who holds power, and how decisions are made.  Unless we have a new leadership model and new ways of decision making none of the other issues that matter will change.  We are also different in that our energies are directed toward the grassroots – the baptized not the bishops. Reform and renewal groups have tried tirelessly to effect change through appeals to the bishops for 35 years with few results. We leave it to Francis to challenge the bishops; some are already unhappy (see Archbishop Chaput’s Right-Wing Funk).  We do not see ourselves replacing any reform group rather we want to support them by, as Father Michael Doyle would say, “doing our bit,” in our case — changing who holds power.

Two initiatives are being rolled out this Fall.

The Leadership Development Weekend will strengthen the leadership competencies of anyone who identifies as a leader or feels called to leadership in Church reform/renewal. A leader is someone who influences; he or she might or might not fold a formal leadership position.  This is also an opportunity to bring people together with diverse causes in a movement whose power is weakened because it is fragmented. The first weekend is taking place in Chicago on October 25-27.  Given my day jobs as leadership development professor and consultant, ACC leaders have asked me to facilitate this weekend.  Future weekends are planned for NY, FL, and CA.  If interested in attending, see ACC Launches Leadership Seminars Across US.

Listening Assemblies are two/three hour gatherings of people who identify as Catholic to include everyone from those who attend daily Mass to those of us who have not been to Church in years.  This is an opportunity for people to share how they have been hurt or disappointed by the Church and suggest actions they believe are needed to change the local and universal church.  It is a chance for them to be heard without being judged.  Some who attend will choose to create an action plan for local change and carry it out. If you would like to host a Listening Assembly, see Listening Assembly template.

Is anyone interested in working together to plan a couple Listening Assemblies in Philadelphia and the burbs with one or two that focus on this topic – what changes are needed in the church to protect children?  There will be an organizing meeting at my home (New Hope) on the night of September 6. Email me ( or join the local Meetup group to keep posted on when Listening Assemblies are being offered.

Thanks to Susan and Kathy for allowing me to share these opportunities with you.


PS  I know that for now the courts and legal changes are the best bet and quickest way to protect children in the RCC. The efforts above are a secondary strategy.

52 thoughts on “Please Join Two Initiatives for Reform Focused on Baptized – Not Bishops

      1. I’m sorry Martin. I did not understand your response.
        Padre Donal
        Missionary in the El Yunque Rainforest

          1. Dear Miss Kate: Truthfully, the “church” is far from their minds most days as they are busy trying to feed their families and live in some measure of security and dignity. I, personally, do not see my Missionary role as preaching the “church”; but rather, I am attempting to be, the compassionate presence of Jesus Christ, in the midst of the poor and suffering. I prefer to think of myself as a messenger from God (an angel?) to show with me life as well as my words, that God loves them and is with them and sent me to tell them that He loves them.
            I have no funding but my pension and donations and I put together little bags of what ever I can pull together (toothbrush, soap, cookies, face cloths, etc) so I can give each person a bag on which I have written GOD IS LOVE.
            I suppose what I does is little, but I feel it is a prophetic act and that God has sent me to be good news to the poor. Please pray for me.

          2. Padre Donal,

            What you do is what I hoped the larger Church would do, but they didn’t. You help people; they (prelates) hurt them.

            Is everything OK following yesterday’s storm in the rainforest?

          3. Dear DrWho13: ! WOW! You know about the storm! I am impressed. 🙂 The roof on my Chapel/Office/Residence is in bad shape, so YES there were a few inconveniences -ha ha. You have to see me running around emptying buckets and trying to mop up at the same time. It is very comic!

            I need to raise about $15,000 to fix the roof. I usually do two mailings a year asking for help. Sadly, this year my parents (85 and 84 years old), for some reason seemed to have “snapped” for awhile and began attacking me verbally by phone and by email. I became very, very depressed and could not motivate myself to do the second mailing to ask for donations. It is too late now, I believe. My parents finally pulled themselves together. You know what? They do not even remember the hurtfully things they said and wrote to me. But, sadly, I am a very sensitive person. While I think that makes me a good priest; I suffer for a long time after I am attacked. In this case, as it was my parents, I suffer all the more.

            Sorry, I did not mean to ramble on and on.

            Dr. Who 13: I thank you for your concern and support.

          4. Padre Donal,

            When I worked in Sierra Leone, I, too, functioned as a “angel” of sorts to an entire civilization living out doors, starving, and dying of malaria. Then, one day, I began to talk about the Church. Our discussions enlivened the people in a way I never imagined! Great dignity emerges when the body and soul are fed in conjunction with the intellect– when the whole person is fed. The people I worked with were poor, hungry, and illiterate but, still, they hungered for the opportunity to think critically, to confront problems and issues, and to form opinions, resolutions, and ideas. The intellectual food I fed them triggered a spiritedness I will never forget. Dignity and self-esteem flourished in the face of hunger, hardship, and disease.

            You never could have told me…

            Kate FitzGerald

  1. Anybody that thinks that Listening Assemblies is going to help anything but yourself by getting all this garbage off your chest is right in that respect but will do nothing as the hirarachy does not wish to change ever. I have been blogging for 12 yrs. I feel I have made a difference but nothing is really different,. They still do their own will.

    1. Glorybe,

      Ditto to Father Wintermyer’s comments. Thanks for the caution. I agree focusing on hierarchy would be a bad bet. And, I, for one, need the support of others in order to have the courage to reach out to grassroots Catholics.


  2. May I add that I believe that “glorybe1929” is correct in the assessment that the hierarchy is not interested in listening nor in any way giving up power or their assumed authority.
    The importance of such listening groups is to support those who are afraid to make the leap of faith and decide to take matters in their own hands. Helmut Schuller called the people of the church “citizens”, and as such we have power also and that power will help each one of us to evaluate what is necessary for one’s true sense of faith. Faith is no longer “doctrine nor dogma”. Rather it is a deep sense of commitment to the meaning and message of Jesus.
    Any group that helps liberate one another from hierarchical overlords is a benefit to the whole church.
    Tonight’s news presented investigators of the Sandusky affair and it seems more and more that major officials of the University had the knowledge and colluded in cover up of these crimes. It appears clearly that they will be held responsible. Only when the same challenge to church authorities is pursued will there be any justice for sexual abuse victims, not simply the predators but those who knowingly and willingly colluded in cover up and failed to notify parishes that a pedophile was being assigned to the parish.

  3. EXCELLENT comment Rev. Justice for the sexually abused is paramount. Only GOD’S LOVE CAN BRING SOLICE OF ANY KIND TO THEM..We found very little of that solice

    even when we left this diabolical institution (twelve years ago )with new beginnings in Christ Jesus ….
    Our heartache over this deception never has never healed., It is tough to deal with. But we know HIS LOVE. IN SO MANY WAYS that produce “Good Fruits” by speaking out.
    ‘re:.Facts and information about the sickening history of this FAUX CHURCH. Listening Assemblies that hear and prove the facts and history will help in getting through life ,after the generational. brainwashing.

    1. Heavy handed legal measures are the only methods that are going to stop the behavior of these prelates.

      Come on DA’s and judges, step-up and crush these pedophile protectors as you would crush a cockroach.

      1. drwho13 You know from experience in many cases we are dealing with sociopaths the only way to keep kids safe is to monitor them keep them away from kids and in best case scenario put them in jail. My experiences lead me to the same conclusion. They are the best liars in the world. After they are in jail though there is healing that needs to take place and I believe it is important people are heard and reached out to.

  4. Are there any possibilities for Podcasts or other media for those who can’t make it to a location? Remember at least one where Lisa Jackson was interacting with environmentalists on the subject of fracking. The ex-head of the EPA might not be happy about the results, but we were able to discuss issues instantly in real time. Would be nice to use the World Wide Web to our advantage and allow a discussion of strategies that work.

    1. Great idea, EGUNN3000G! Want to plan one with me. I can use my school’s technology and host 20 people in a video/audio online. Thanks. Email me or join the meetup group. Martin

  5. Martin, I always knew and believed you were an authentic advocate for reform in the Church. Over the years, on C4C, I have learned so much from you. I support your work and commend you on your effort. When the date is set for the NY Leadership Weekend, I will be there. In the mean time, I’ll be watching your efforts unfold in other places. Thank you.

    Kate FitzGerald

    1. Kate,

      I felt excited when I read you want to come to NY. I can now count on those conversations being VERY lively and passionate 😉 And, thanks for your kind words; they mean a lot to me. You and I and others on this path really need to support one another.


  6. I believe there is one true church established by Christ not by us. While changes may need to be made in the man made structures trying to change the basic teachings of the church is another story. While on the surface this group appears benign and the above ideas sound great on further deeper reading I have concerns that this group seems to part from the basic teachings of the church on so many levels.

    1. Beth, I couldn’t agree more. Anything established by “us” would be flawed from the get go. I believe the one true Church has been distorted by people. We can never give up on finding the right ways to restore Her. Those right ways may seem subjective, but I agree with you in that they must be based on basic teachings. Could you share the specific issues you found? I strive to present all the means by which children can be better protected. Discourse can only help readers choose the means that is right for them. I appreciate you bringing this up and I’m sure Martin will appreciate the opportunity to address concerns. You’ve both been so thoughtful and important to the success of C4C.

      1. Actually Susan I live near Martin and would like to meet with him for coffee sometime. He does have some very good insights. Let me reflect and I will respond. working on alittle sleep my ex was almost killed last night. A car coming from the opposite direction flipped over the divide rolled over in front of him and almost crushed him on the way to the casino. The day before I was at adoration praying God help him stop gambling. The Holy Spirit works in strange ways sometimes………in so many ways the Holy Spirit has been working in the lives of many…….including myself seems he humbles those he loves so we keep turning back to him………..

        1. Beth,

          I would love to meet sometime for coffee or tea. We might disagree on some issues, yet we both love and choose the Church as our spiritual home. When it comes to basic matters of the faith I suspect you and I are in complete agreement.

          I do want to be clear; I am committed to changing the institution — its structure and leadership model — not the faith. That will result in expanded power for the baptized who will be involved in dialogue and decision making with bishops and the pope. It will mean distinguishing basic teachings of the faith from matters of institutional practice and discipline that can be changed.

          Pope Francis said: “What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” He also said: “I hope … that the church takes to the streets, that we defend ourselves from comfort, that we defend ourselves from clericalism.”

          Clericalism is the root cause, the underlying disease that enabled the power/sex abuse crisis in the Church.


  7. Beth, so sorry about your experience with last night. Each of us is so close to real tragedy every day. He must have been surrounded with may blessings of your prayers to survive such a significant trauma.

    I know this is not the time, but please know that even though I often seem to “attack the church”, that is not the object of my anger nor my “attack”. There is so much history which truly has colored the “reality” of the church. There are so many premises which we have been taught which really are not true and as such the premises are being challenged and they will call for a serious shake up of how we understand “Church”.

    What you did in terms of prayer is the most important part of our lives as followers of Jesus. That prayer is placing ourselves in the presence of God and allowing that presence to fill our lives. Jesus struggled himself in prayer as he anticipated that he would be humiliated, tortured and nailed to the cross, because he recognized that powerful authorities hated him for what he was saying and for challenging the religious authorities and the Roman power in his country.

    He challenged the status quo as he recognized that the “priesthood” and the Roman powers were leading the people away from the Spirit of Moses and the Prophets. In a way, in our time, we have also reached that level of frustration.

    As Jesus was led by the Spirit, I also think that so many on this blog are also being led by that same Spirit in 2013.

    You and your family are in our prayers.

  8. Rev. Wintermyer, Thanks for your kind response and your prayers. I don’t see you as attacking the church. I understand where you are coming from to a certain extent. Many times I myself have referenced Jesus flipping over the money changers tables. I believe you are correct many are frustrated with the current “status quo” at times I myself as well as many others have been angered and also saddened by the state of the church. I was just listening today about how the “establishment catholic media” doesn’t even seem to acknowledge nor talk about the mess the church is in presently. I took church history in college and both my dad and uncle were history teachers. My dad also taught about southeastern cultures and religions so I have had exposure to a lot of different ideas on religion, beliefs etc. My view on faith and religion was rather complex but as I get older the simpler my faith seems to have become. Again mostly because with my dads illness I realized somethings I am never going to be able to wrap my mind around and somethings I am just going to have to accept til I get to ask God in heaven. That being said I realize things were not always how they are presently in the church. We don’t hear much about womens role in the church in Jesus time but I realize they seem to have been more active then we have been lead to believe. Also in the past priests have been married etc. Somethings have changed from the past and some have remained the same since Jesus time. The things that have changed from the past mostly likely can be changed again. There are some things that were true then and remain true today. Since Susan had asked maybe my question for Martin or really anyone that wants to respond is what makes the catholic church different from other Christian religions in your eyes? I just see from reading the American Catholic Council website it seems very similar to many protestant denominations. I guess its objectives seem vague to me and almost an anything goes mentality. Maybe Martin could clarify more what the American Catholic Council believes as far as teachings they follow. As for their interest in making kids safer that is awesome that’s why we are all on this site.

    1. Beth,

      If you give me something specific that struck you as protestant I can respond.

      For ACC, beliefs include the Creed, the Beatitudes, the Gospels, and the two great commandments. See its mission statement and the Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. These are the official statements from the group.

      As for me personally, as a Catholic I share the Christian faith with others outside my tradition. What makes Catholicism different?

      *The Eucharist is central

      *Mystery — my tradition has a deep reverence for mystery, the non-rational; this is reflected in our liturgies and monastic/contemplative traditions. (Latin hymns and incense can sweep me up and have me experience the presence of God.)

      *Social Justice – more than any Christian denomination, we take Matthew 25 very seriously: “I was hungry and you fed me…”

      *Mary and the saints are revered and loved

      *Teachings are based on scripture and tradition. The magisterium or teaching authority has three parts: the bishops with the Bishop of Rome as a first among equals; theologians; and the sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful).

      For 35 years institutional leaders have been obsessed with doctrinal purity: everyone has to believe the same thing. For me, what holds us together is how we live our lives. Francis is shifting the focus back to living the Way given by Jesus. Like his namesake he tells us: “go and preach the gospel, if necessary, use words.”

      Let’s continue this discussion in person.



      1. Martin looking forward to meeting you and I am sure our discussion will cause me to examine my faith even closer which isn’t a bad thing.

  9. May I enter into this dialogue with you two great minds. I am very serious. You are true “seekers” and that is the most important part of being a “religious” person, one who truly seeks truth.
    The great problem since before and during and after the Reformation has been arrogance and ignorance. As the Church became more corrupt in the middle ages, there was serious challenge from people who say and understood that corruption, not just of morals but even of “teaching”. Reading john O’Malley’s book on the Council of Trent, one would have to say that the Roman Church and the Papacy never wanted a council to be called and then when it did, it was almost forced to gather the bishops and that was always in fear that “power” would be taken away from the Pope.
    One of the early priest challengers was promised protection if he appeared to explain his questioning. He was arrested and tried without any defense and burned as a heretic. He had no desire to be heretical, but he had serious questions.

    Does one think that Martin Luther was going to come to any sessions of the Council when he saw what Rome had done to a previous questioner of teaching.

    Protestantism is not a “dirty” word and we also need to learn from them what “church” really means. To argue that the Eucharist is a real dividing point is fairly useless. There is serious meaning to what people experience in trying to live the life of following Jesus.

    There is a lot of confusion about doctrinal issues but they could be discussed and expanded to embrace all of us and not held as reasons to “kill or hate”each other as the “100 Year War” had developed. We are not at that point, yet Catholics and Protestant in Ireland still seethe below surface, Eastern and Russian Orthodox still have some type of ” hatred” to the Roman Church and they do not even care about Protestantism. Too often, we, RCC, do not even care about what others think or why they think the way they do.

    So I am not really sure that we can say that “we” are the “real” Chruch. I do not think that there is really any such Institution.

    How confusing is this excoriation to your good and wonderful questions???

    1. Thankyou Rev. Wintermyer.That was a lot of food for thought. The one thing that doesn’t confuse me is Jesus in the Eucharist I know he is there 100% and that is what gives me peace in our confusing chaotic world…….he can and does amazing things and I will witness to that……til I die:)

      1. I have a problem with Eucharist and the catholic child …How is this a concept fit for children?
        Do we really tell our kids that God demands that at age 7 they must eat Jesus’ executed body which a priest mystically processes out of bread? – And they must be in a state of grace…also facilitated by a priest. And why should a child want to drink blood? Macabre, sickening, illogical and just plain wrong. Why tell kids that we believe it is the nature of God to parse Himself out exclusively to qualified catholics?
        We catholic parents have inherited so many archaic, confusing and unwholesome concepts which aren’t fit to teach kids. We let corrupt leaders with zero spirituality dictate our faith to us. They have proven that they care nothing for children and yet we send our kids to their schools to be exposed to their teachings. Why do we let them warp our children’s innocent ideas of a gentle, loving God (one who does not hang scarily bleeding from a cross because of their sins, while they try to get to know Him) ?

        1. Crystal I am sorry you feel this way. Romans in the Christian days had a lot of similar thoughts. I believe it because Jesus said it and its in the Bible people could not accept it so they walked away. I was not always close to the Eucharist but Jesus in the Eucharist has spoken to me many times and helped me put a predator in jail. Maybe sometime I see you again at a vigil we can talk. My dads sufferings helped deepen my faith and bring me close to the Eucharist and it has just gotten better from there. I read the Bible a lot and about Mother Teresa and was struck by the fact that the only way she could do her work was to spend an hour every day with Jesus….have you tried it? Most of the Saints were very dedicated to the Eucharist. You will find it very rewarding it just takes time and humility. Jesus humbles me all the time I don’t like it but it brings me closer to him. Scott Hahn has a good book called Lambs Supper that explains the mass it is very insightful I don’t know if you read it.

          1. “All the things that you have learned and accepted and heard and seen in me do these. And so shall the God of peace be with you” Philippians 4:9

          2. Thanks Beth,
            The purpose of my above post was to say that it concerns me that many of us catholics immerse our children in teachings which may be lacking in truth and inappropriate for them. Religion can be a dangerous enough place for kids.
            You obviously have a deep faith and i am glad for all that you have been able to do because of it.
            However, it’s a very “catholic” tendency to assume that others are not as close to God as we are, and have not carefully journeyed long and hard in their faith just because they do not believe RCC teachings. I don’t believe that the meaning and message of Jesus relates to the catholic notion of the Eucharist…the dogma simply does not square up with my intelligence.
            I don’t find myself in need of inspiration or spiritual counsel on this …And i’ll pass on the extra humility. Jk!! I like where i am in my relationship with God.
            (I started Hahn’s book some time ago, but lost interest early on. It wasn’t for me.)

          3. Crystal, Thanks for taking the time to respond. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but my mom left the catholic church for awhile when I was little and I was exposed to probably every form of Christian faith imaginable as a kid it was disruptive at the time but looking back now it was a good experience as far as digging deep and critical thinking on what I really believe. I had an interesting childhood as my dad taught southeast Asian history which include religion that coupled with my atheist grandfather who by the way came to all our baptisms, communions and confirmations pretty much exposed me to every belief system possible 🙂 Anyway I was on a steering committee at a Presbyterian church for a playgroup and the moms there were from many different religions and faiths I even attended a Bible study there. I admired many of them and their faith in Jesus Christ many had an excitement in their faith that is lacking in the catholic church. Overal they made my faith in Christ stronger. The only thing I missed was the Eucharist. They even asked me a “catholic” to talk about my faith journey with Christ and I talked about my dad and Mother Teresa and many came up later to say they were moved. I am writing this to say I have seen and experienced the great faith in non-Catholic people and it to can be amazing.

          4. Oh and as far as teaching our kids it all depends on what you believe is true. And I do understand the point you were making.

      2. Beth, First your ex, you and your family are in my prayers.

        When I see the Bread Of Life, I don’t know whether to fall on my knees or just enjoy the feeling as I consume our Lord. It is special every time I do. I remember not being able to to even say I love you to my wife or children as I laid in the bed, possibly dying from a stroke. A few days later I was able to consume Our Lord.. When God gives me the strength I go to Church and receive Our Lord in violation of the letter given to me from the pastor. No other church is the same, even those with “communion”.

        The day before my dad passed away I had the opportunity to be in the room as he talk to many of my deceased relatives. I read about it when I did an audit of medical records, but I am thankful for that Gift from God. Because of my wife losing her mom in high school and my father’s stroke when I was in high school, I am always worried about who will protect these young children. I know I did a poorer job than I thought for my young siblings. I know when a girl was raped in my daughter’s elementary school, I needed to explain in detail what rape was. Now, I had to struggle to get to church to see if a young man who lost his father was there. Have not seen him in years, but my wife felt I should get in contact. After walking several miles and aiming for that park bench – couldn’t find him, who appears? We had a nice chat. No matter what I feel about the church, I can not allow it to interfere with my love of God or God’s people.

        Ed Gunn

        1. Ed thanks for sharing those beautiful stories. I admire your inner strength to keep going. I don’t know if I told you before but I was a nurse on a brain injury floor and I was privledged to witness the courage and faith of the human spirit in so many of my patients it made a big impression on me on how different people overcome obstacles . You are a very brave faithfilled and determined man.

    2. Rev Wintermyer,
      In meeting Martin a few questions arose in my mind that maybe you could answer and I will also research them further myself. Did the early church laity elect their bishops ? and if so when did this tradition stop? Did the early church have female priests and or deaconesses and if so when did this fade out? and what proof do we have of this? Also have priests always been the ones to consecrate the Eucharist and again what supports this view. Just interested in what you have to say . I took church history in school and I need to brush up on all these questions. I think these questions are important because child abuse is an abuse of power and bishops wanting to maintain their power has led to a lot of abuses of power and covering up for themselves and others.

  10. I hope I can assume that this particular topic is starting out as it appears; i.e., not exclusively on the subject of CSA. Therefore, some of what I have to say will be on a wider basis, and not be subject to personal attack as in the past over its content. But
    be that as it may, I do have something of value to contribute to the present discussion:
    I begin by noting that “Protestant” is misused in the present context and meaningless because present day non-Catholic denoms don’t know nor believe the tenets which were held by the 16th century reformers, e.g., Luther, Calvin etc. So, to call ACC
    “Protestant” is faulty to that extent. That being said, the completely non-Catholic, and non-Reformational opinions of the ACC should be recognized as non-biblical or even “Non-Christian”, if indeed a bible-based Christianity be the measure.
    The “long story” made short is that a restoration of bible authority only begun in a small way by Luther et al way back there,needs to be re-ignited if we are to once more see ourselves and multitudes saved from eternal separation from Christ.
    Re: Beth’s question asked of us all: In my eyes Beth-
    The C.C. is not different from “other Christian religions” but —
    [and here is the flaw in all “religions”] It is man trying to make his own way to being accepted by God — think Cain. God will never
    accept that, but will accept and bring to heaven all whom believe
    the truth of the gospel of Christ, of the Cross, that which was revealed to our Apostle Paul by Christ from heaven after the cross. (I Cor. 15:1-4, Eph. 1:13, Eph. 2:8,9 etc. etc.)

  11. 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    1 Corinthians 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    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;
    1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
    Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

  12. Crystal and Beth, I have over years come to respect both of you
    quite a lot because of your posts here. I do not want to “take sides”
    or demean either of you, but I hope and pray that this can be made a
    “learning experience” for us all. The “talking points” brought up by crystal
    are remarkable to me in that one seldom sees them in “Catholic publications” since they are connected to the “root” objections bible believers have had to Roman doctrines since the origin of the RCC.
    And Beth’s views are “right on” among those most drawn to the cardinal
    doctrines of Catholicism, e.g., eucharist, priesthood, pope and magisterium etc.
    I fully understand Beth when she speaks of the “comfort or peace” she finds in eucharistic adoration and practices, because I have been there and done that, and most of all, because I have close family with practices similar to Beth in the Catholic Church.
    So, what do we say? Can both be true? Is one side or the other “cultic?”
    What IS true, and how do we know?
    At one time, long ago, the answer wasn’t that difficult. This was before
    Satan worked his thing and began his warfare to again— as he did with
    Eve, place God’s Word in doubt. This was when Satan couldn’t keep God from giving us His Word, he began to distort and twist the words into a “gospel” that denied the very meaning of the message [good news]
    of Christ. Thank God we still have our bibles, in spite of everything
    misguided men and Satan have contrived— we can go to the Word and
    study it. We too often forget, or are ignorant, that if we believe Christ—
    we have His command, through apostle Paul, to ” Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
    After all, that is all I can offer Beth and Crystal here; the Word of God.

    1. Nichols, no need for taking sides! All respectful opinions important to the shape of the discussion, right? Yours are always so well done here.
      Bottom line: I think adults should all be free to worship as we need to. And I also think when it comes to the various issues of faith, we catholics (and everyone else too) need to do our own thinking. We ought be open and honest about what it is we actually know to be real and true.
      i just want to stress that my issue is with the appropriateness, or lack of of it in many catholic teachings FOR CHILDREN…The eucharist is one of these. Most parents in 2013 do not think it’s wise to push our children to take giant mental leaps into the absurd or even into unreality when it comes to God. I certainly understand that all religion pushes the boundaries of reality, but shouldn’t we try to keep it as REAL and simple and G-rated for developing minds as we can? And I don’t know about you, and I know this is unfriendly to traditional catholic ears, but the details of the passion, the virgin birth, the assumption (to list only a few).. may not really be stories we should be introducing to the developing mind of a child.

      I don’t know the answers to how to fix catholic religious ed., but I do feel that when we indoctrinate them with way-out there, mystical concepts and rituals, we teach a kid not to trust his 5 senses in order to test reality and recognize the truth….we break down his ability to independently defend himself against all sorts of difficulties and dangers in his world….and in catholic culture this has been disastrous for too many kids.

    2. NIchols1, What you say I find extremely interesting. I think that if you love Christ and follow the commandments your are on your way to heaven just that the sacraments give us more grace to live a good life just as the Bible is a tool to help us get to heaven. I admire your faith in Christ. I had a really interesting experience in helping put my husbands predator in jail as many people of vastly different faiths but with strong faith in Christ were used by God to make it happen.Thru catholic priests the sacrament of confession and adoration my catholic faith and then members of a Bible church all prayed and we could all feel the hand of God in everything. The pastor of this Bible church actually confronted my husbands predator. This was all a very real spiritual battle bwt good and evil. I felt the presence of Christ and Satan. It was very scary to feel Satan’s presence. He followed me for a few days. The only thing to make him go away was the Eucharist in adoration. I don’t care who thinks I am nuts but there are things that one cannot see or feel with the senses that does exist. I run to Christ many times because I know Satan exists.

  13. Yesterday day when talking with Martin he was saying he had the same experience as myself in meeting Archbishop Bev at the airport and feeling an evil presence . Both these experiences were prior to any knowledge of the present scandal. Then a few years ago I ran into Archbishop Bev. at the hospital my dad was being treated for cancer. What I felt around Archbishop Bev was not evil but of an empty, hollow man and a lost soul.

  14. New Jersey details have been finalized for the Leadership Development Boot Camp, nonviolent action for Church reform.

    “Fire Up The People of God: Transforming Power Relationships in the Church”

    June 13-15, Long Branch, NJ. Click on link below for more details.

    Dates for Chicago, Tampa, and Bay Area, CA have also been finalized.

    Feel free to contact me if you have interest:


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