Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quote of the Day

. . . On a range of issues, the influence of the bishops over Catholics in America has been diminishing. According to a series of reports published by the National Catholic Reporter, Catholics have decided to follow their own consciences when deciding about moral issues. In 1987, about a third of Catholics said that church leaders should have the final say on what is right or wrong when it comes to abortion, premarital sex and homosexuality. By 2011, this percentage had dropped to just around 2 in 10 Catholics. The percentage of Catholics who say church leaders should have the final say on contraception has consistently hovered around just 10 percent. The percentage of Catholics who follow the bishops' ban on contraception is arguably much smaller even than that.

. . . The preponderance of evidence is that Catholics do not follow the wishes or dictates of their bishops when it comes to their own personal lives or the ballot box. Despite the millions of dollars spent by the bishops, the call to arms for Catholics to defend the bishops' skewed concept of religious freedom is not a hot topic in this election. On November 6, 2012, Catholics will represent about 27 percent of the electorate. The active U.S. bishops are worth about 270 votes. The 35 million other Catholic voters in the U.S. will follow our consciences as we have always done and vote accordingly.

– Jon O'Brien
"Polling Shows That Bishops' Campaign Has Failed
Huffington Post
September 28, 2012


  1. Such good news...the Church has always been the Mystical Body of Christ united with the Faithful...the bishops were intended to be shepherds, not feudal overlords. It is THEY who have strayed from the flock, not the reverse...the flock hears and knows the voice of their Shepherd...Jesus and forever...Amen !

    1. It would be interesting and educational to identify those who are studying the Catholic community from the most objective and widely respected perspective.

      You know, those whom both traditional and progressive Catholics would recognize as fair, objective and qualified researchers.

      Do such people exist? Are there researchers that would be accepted as qualified both by PCV, and say, Catholic Answers?

      I'd like to learn more about opinion polling of the Catholic community, but am not yet informed enough to know who is a real researcher, and who is just grinding their own ideological axe.

      It seems it would be very helpful to base the question of Catholic identity on hard data from some widely accepted source, instead of everybody just making some claim that suits them.

      Perhaps a future article can educate us on this?

  2. Commentfrom Ed Kohler:

    The data is both ample and clear: the Roman Catholic Church¹s control of consciences has declined precipitously in recent years. This is true despite efforts to exert greater control.

    In his monumental work, ³The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches²(1912), Ernst Troeltsch maintained that the ³Catholic Church-type has been forced to exercise an increasingly powerful external dominion over the
    consciences of men.²

    One reason, says Troeltsch, is that the Church had lost the aid of civil power, a necessary force to sustain its existence and without which it cannot ³be permanent, uniform, and undivided.²

    In addition, the Church has been losing its ³hold on the spiritual life of the nations² because many social services such as education, health care,aid for the poor, the unemployed and the elderly were now performed by
    governmental and non-governmental agencies.

    As its influence diminished outside, the Church focused its energy inside,upon its own people with such efforts as the beleaguered Pius IX¹s Syllabus of Errors (1864), the condemnation of birth control (1930 & 1968),increasingly repetitious and heated condemnations of abortion, and most recently, similar attacks on gay-lesbian sexual activity and gay marriage,
    and efforts to dictate decisions in the polling booth.

    O¹Brien¹s observations are correct. Catholics in great numbers ignore church teachings on a number of moral issues. Moreover, Pew polling says 10, maybe 20 million or more have left the church. Troeltsch, however,goes further, and says that ³The days of the pure Church-type within our present civilization are numbered.²

    Ed Kohler

    1. Here's a plan for reuniting the Church, rebuilding it's reputation, and earning new converts.

      Catholic Charities is currently the #2 social service provider in the United States, after the federal government.

      Cardinal Dolan should proclaim that the top goal of the Catholic Church in the United States is to make Catholic Charities the #1 social service provider.

      This would of course appeal to progressives, but it would also appeal to conservatives, as increasing private charity would reduce the influence and power of the federal government.

      The main reason the government has so much power, and is going broke, is that it is attempting to provide services that we the public have declined to share with our neighbors in need.

      Catholic Charities is the largely unsung hero of the Church. We need leadership that can change that. When people hear the word Catholic, the first thing to pop in to their mind should be Catholic Charities.

      I've been trying to make points like this on Cardinal Dolan's blog, and would invite readers here to join in.

  3. The Faithful are responsible for preserving the message of Christ..."The Way"...for they have always been the ones in the trenches...caring for the poor, the homeless, the social outcasts...the "sinners"...the lead like a shepherd with non-judgement, compassion & love. Very few of our bishops concern themselves with such living Faith...they beat their breasts like the Pharisees of old...the only concern for them is whether human written formulas and regulations are obeyed...the false concept if you do thus and so, you are a good practice rather than word they lead the people to think good works are not necessary.

  4. Dave446,

    The practise from the early church was to be obedient to one's bishop. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch writes, "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop.” Smyrneans 8.

    The bishop(s) is(are) to instruct us in the faith and to show us the behaviors that are inconsistant with that faith. Voting for the marriage amendment is inconsistent with that faith.


  5. I am aware of the "practices" of the early Church. However, the same "practices" departed from the "Way" which Christ showed us...respect and compassion and love for all persons...not judging...for NO PERSON was granted that authority no matter how the Church wished to interpret Scripture. The Keys given to Peter were to OPEN the way for us to come closer to the Father. As one really obvious example...Christ parted ways with the exclusiveness of Judaism. He raised women to a level of equality with men by teaching them, associating with them (regardless of their life style or "sinfulness"). Yet, the first bishops, the Apostles, Paul in particular, immediately reversed this...instructing women to be SILENT, SUBMISSIVE, etc. And so not only in this way but others the bishops interjected their own person biases in formulating the Canon...another Leviticus. Early teaching held that forgiveness of sins was granted immediately by the Father when a person acknowledged his/her failings and asked for forgiveness. Reception of the Eucharist itself...reverently and with sincere heart, granted absolution. so, what happened...the Irish monks introduced the sacrament of Penance...not because it was needed, but to encourage persons to be baptized...they were waiting for the free pass it brought to heaven. I am sorry, but the whole concept of Bishops as shepherds...guiding their flock with love and compassion...was lost long ago. The system is corrupt with the old pyramidal pattern of authority with the faithful as serving the hierarchy. Vatican II changed this to a model of servitude by the hierarchy...of course, the people are also servants. Their are good men who are bishops...unfortunately their vow of obedience to the Pope stifles he censors, forbids discussion of issues vital to the Body of Christ. But Popes and Bishops come and go...the true Church will survive...the institutional Church...though needed for corrupt and filled with evil (pedophilia, financial corruption, persecution of religious women, etc.) showing signs of fading into oblivion as Benedict XVI grasps to the old days. He has already voiced that it is better to have a smaller true Church if need be. Fine with me. But the people will follow their well formed conscience in issues he refuses to discuss or address with an open mind. In the end, the Holy Spirit will revitalize the Church and us. I respect and attend to Bishops and other clerics who teach and guide...have an open mind and are willing to explore/discuss issues pertinent though maybe controversial. As I was told as a medical student...if you attend a conference and the speaker claims this is "the only way...the only truth"...walk out then...for you will learn five years or so, his "truth" will be found false. The same applies for the Pope and bishops. Namaste...

  6. Dave446,

    I am not sure what history books that you are reading but I would suggest to you that they are grossly inaccurate.

    You write, "As one really obvious example...Christ parted ways with the exclusiveness of Judaism. " There is nothing obvious about this. While it is true that Jesus parted ways with the a certain type of exclusiveness, i.e. being born of a Jewish mother, he simply introduced a new type of exclusiveness, i.e. accepting him as the Messiah. Anyone who does not accepted him is lost for Christ's way is a narrow way as he repeatedly states.

    You write, "He raised women to a level of equality with men by teaching them, associating with them (regardless of their life style or "sinfulness")." It is true that he appreciated women in a new way, but it he did not raise them to equality in all respects. He never once appoints a woman to a position of authority over women. He never gives them the power of binding or losing.

    You write, "Early teaching held that forgiveness of sins was granted immediately by the Father when a person acknowledged his/her failings and asked for forgiveness." This is true but only for certain types of sins. The early Church new only one post-baptismal forgiveness of sins and this had to be made to a presbyter or bishop. Moreover Christ himself gave the power (distinct from what happens in the Lord's prayer) to forgive sins only to the apostles John 20.

    You write, "Vatican II changed this to a model of servitude by the hierarchy" First, it was never the case in the whole history of theology that the episcopacy understood itself theologically as the master of its servants the laity. Vatican II taught what was always taught that the hierarchy serves the brethren. Lumen gentium goes on in Chapter III to specify how the hierarchy serves the brethren by teaching and ruling the brethren, just as Christ taught and ruled us.


  7. It is obvious that you and I don't agree. And my information is not from history is from Theology studied at Fordham University as well as most recently as a diaconate candidate who completed 5 of 6 years training. I chose to exit said program as I could not continue to support the institutional Church as is. You call your site "The Progressive Catholic Voice" - hardly accurate. You merely continue blind allegiance to an institution which lies (e.g. the pedophilia crisis)at the expense of the Faithful innocents. The mystical Body of Christ united with ALL people is the only true Church - free of condemnation, bigotry, greed for worldly power - I will not waste further time following your flap trap which claims to be progressive while seeking only to defend and protect a corrupt, dying institution - whose demise can come not soon enough. Namaste.