A group in Austria has published seven recommended changes to how the Catholic Church should function. I like the list. Their website has a guest book. Seeking some tool of procrastination, I wrote something there rather than here. Efficiency being holy, I'm writing here, too. It took a while, since I wrote it in German. One point I made, however, is that over the past 2,000 years the Church has changed; yet we still hold ourselves to be "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church". Of course these words come from the Nicean Creed, which any long-term Catholic knows. However, at this point, since I certainly don't know the Creed -or any other part of the Mass in German other than the offering of Peace - and wished to use that wording in writing to a bunch of German-speaking priests, I sought the text auf deutsch on that wonder of wonders, Wikipedia.
My education for the day: The American Catholic Church uses the Nicean Creed accepted in 381; the German Catholic Church uses the original version from 325. I didn't realize there was more than one. I like ours better. I'm actually quite surprised at how very close the current version is to the one from more than 1700 years ago.
The German ends with We believe in the Holy Spirit [boooooring], with nothing about Her role in our faith.
Ours ends with We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, with the Father and Son She is worshipped and glorified, She has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. [perhaps long-winded, but at least comprehensive in highlighting many of the differences with the evangelical/pentacostal sects]
As much as I approve of the social justice policies of the US Council of Catholic Bishops, they fall prey to the same limited vision as their fellows in the Vatican. The USCCB is changing the official text for the Celebration of the Eucharist (ie., Mass). I'm torn between thinking change is ok, after all, that's what I want the church to do and thinking "this sounds stupid and has no apparent purpose other than being closer to the old-fashioned version pre-Vatican 2 text". Here we go, back to mea maxima culpa. The new Gloria sucks. Just sucks. The only exception to my disregard of the new text is that the end of the Nicean Creed uses the first person, "I believe / I confess / I look". I confess I like the fact it makes the profession my personal. I really want to know who voted against the changes (173-29).
So, how badly do I think it sucks? How much is the change going to influence my decision to attend Mass? Will I go to the physical building, leave Mr. Gopher with the Jr. Gophers in our regular pew and go read a book in the social hall? Or sit there in silence? Yes, I'm emotionally attached to the current version. I've used it for the past 45 years. I have sympathy for the people who were confronted with the changes from the 2nd Vatican Council. But those changes were made to keep people in the church and to involve The People in the Mass.
What do these new changes provide?
a) A power trip for the Bishops to remind us of who has the power?
b) A sincere belief that the changes from Vatican 2 were detrimental to the pious and devout expression of our fidelity to the dictates of Jesus to achieve the Salvation promised by the Messiah?
d) All of the Above?
Would I stop going to church because of these impending changes? I suppose it says something about my devotion to the holy Church of Rome that my answer is: hmmmm... I'm not sure.
Does the form of the Mass have such a big impact on enjoying it? Should enjoyment be a criteria for going to Mass? The annoyingly conservative parishes use the same words we do. It is, in part, what makes the church universal.
I go to Mass and belong to a Catholic parish when my adherence to the Church's teachings is at times tenuous. Why? The same reason I belong to the Green Party: no one has it all right. I'll pick the one that has the greatest proportion of what I think is right. The willingness of local parishes to pursue good works tips the scales. Does that make the Church a social organization? At times I think people look more at what their parish is doing, and consider a generic "Christianity requires us to do Good Works, I'm doing good, therefore I'm fulfilling my requirement as a Christian" to be the only justification for belonging to a specific denomination.
Yes, I realize being a member of a religious group is voluntary and if a person doesn't like it, one can leave.
I was confirmed my last year at university, when I was 21. I was questioning my choice to continue to return to the Roman Catholic church. There was, after all, no pressure from anyone to belong to any church. One evening at Mass, I paid more attention to the check list presented by the Nicean Creed: one god, check - creator of all, check - Jesus son of god, check - messiah, check... and so on. At the end I decided that I could agree with all of them as the core items of faith. Everything else is optional. Question answered.
I know so many Catholics who don't want to stop being catholic, but are frustrated by (i.e., fed up beyond human comprehension with) the Church's
Birth control is almost universally ignored by young (or middle-aged) (or older) (hell, maybe all) Catholics. I don't accept the theological conclusions about why it's wrong. If virginity and the absence of sperm does not present an insurmountable barrier to the Almighty, a little bit of fragile latex shouldn't either. Theological flippance aside, it boils down to a question of who gets to choose when I have children: me or God. Why shouldn't I? Because God knows best seems equally flippant. The Jr.Gophers both spent a few months lobbying for a little sister. I had to explain to them that we thought 2 was a nice number for us. Tubal ligation isn't really in their vocabulary yet.
The boys in Rome present a bureaucratic and human (not divine) obstruction to our method of worship. The church runs on theology; theology is simply the human conclusions about what they think god is/wants/means.
I know many who have changed their relationship with the church; we just accept that the bunch of old men over in Rome are ignorant of the beliefs that we, the Faithful, have while concurrently refusing to accept that we should participate in any meaningful way in developing the Church's theology. I simply cannot imagine anyone, not one single person in the Vatican actually giving a damn about my opinion about theology. I could tell them Jesus Christ, Son of God was the Messiah and they wouldn't care.
A 2nd Reformation is not out of the possibilities for the Church. I'm sure they didn't think the first one would happen. I'm sure they don't think another could. I'm not familiar with the popular sentiment in Luther's era (the 95 Theses were written in 1517), but where would you go, if you refuted the Church of Rome in the 16th Century? You'd likely be socially ostracized, rejected by your family and friends. Today? Few would care. No one would even know outside of your immediate circle of friends.
The Church has a choice: they can change their relationship with me (us), or they can stay the same without me.
I have a choice before me: change my relationship with God or change my relationship with the Church. I can no longer be faithful to both.