Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Secularism Is Not The Problem, A Maturing Laity VS A Controlling Parental Hierarchy Is The Problem

The past couple of days I've been pondering Benedict's rebuke of Cardinal Schonborn. I've read some comments that think that because the good Cardinal wasn't rebuked for his musings on celibacy and gay relationships that this could be a signal that the Vatican might be considering some re evaluation of these kinds of doctrine. I don't buy it. These musings were ignored for the same reason my parents used to ignore the content of what we children said if in their opinion we demonstrated bad attitude. Most of the time it didn't matter if our observations were essentially correct. If stating those observations threatened the family status quo, especially the decision making hierarchy, we heard about our insubordination, not the correctness of what we were insubordinate about.

I don't know about other families, but in mine, if you were perceived to be insubordinate in presenting your ideas it was a sure bet your idea would never be acknowledged much less implemented. In my family, my parents were quite capable of slicing off the nose to protect the face. In my own family case, it wasn't just a matter of running a family it was a matter of running a family ranch. That gave us plenty of opportunity to be insubordinate in suggesting our ideas and plenty of opportunity to be summarily sentenced to stacking bales or some other equally odious task. Not surprising then I have a well developed back and shoulders.

I keep looking at the issues that are really causing angst within the Western Church and am struck with how many of them are the identical issues which cause angst in parents of teen age and younger adult children. Sex, relationships, money, transparency, and obedience. The trouble is a lot of Western Catholics have matured beyond young adulthood and yet the teaching authority of the Church is still attempting to use the same kinds of controlling techniques parents who haven't adjusted to the idea their children are growing up use to keep those children in line. Techniques which serve to underscore parental control and family hierarchy while freezing children in pre pubescent obedience. Bishops are taking to denying the Eucharist the way some parents threaten keys to the car.

Benedict's New Evangelization will fail miserably if it starts from the premise that the loss of influence for the Church is a product of secularization. This is tantamount to a parent blaming peer pressure or high school culture for the fact their children are just growing up. There's no question some teen agers get lost in the process of maturing, but most teen agers don't get lost, and generally survive the process as better more mature thoughtful people. Good parents learn to accept and adjust to maturing children. They even learn to relish the challenges posed by those children because there is also much growth to be found for parents in this process. In fact one of the most important lessons parents can show adult children is that growth and maturation is a continual process. It never has to end. It's what keeps us young at heart.

Holy Mother Church is walking a path similar to the over controlling mother. In the end the only children left to see to her needs will be her dysfuntional immature bachelor sons and her carbon copy passive agressive daughters.


  1. RCC: Really Co-Dependent Church. Sadly....

  2. Well written and balanced article. Thank you !!

  3. Thankyou for writing this. It could be written about me and my family too, sadly...
    Thankyou for articulating a sad truth. Recognition of the same sad state of affairs in someone else's life helps me deal with how it affects mine. It helps to know we're not alone.

  4. The only flaw you have in your argument is that the hierarchy itself is immature, ( spiritually speaking).

    What I mean is that the majority of bishops, ( not to mention priests), are as clueless about the meaning and implication of the faith as the laity. I doubt that many have confronted, in any depth, the "cloud of unknowing" which puts to question any concepts the ego, ( mistaken as the "center" of the person"), may have of itself and its relationship to the Great Mystery, God.

    Because they haven't a clue, how can they presume to "teach and lead" the laity, ( who actually may have a clue)?

  5. Colleen,

    Thanks for helping me keep my sanity in difficult times. This is a really terrific analysis. It should be as plain as the nose on a proboscis monkey's face; we mature from child to adolescent to adult and eventually to parent. It isn't just physical, mental, and emotional maturity either. Spiritual maturation is a natural process that should be expected. When the child eventually becomes the parent he or she also evolves from pupil to teacher. In the Jewish tradition the spiritual leader is "rabbi" which also means both master and teacher.

    As soon as I read your piece I thought of two things you and the rest of the enlightened ones might consider.

    1. In 2002 gay Catholic high school student, Marc Hall, invited his boyfriend to the prom. The school board denied Marc and his older boyfriend access to the prom. Hall sued and won the right to attend.


    (In Canada our political history is one of two European colonial nations hammering out an agreement to accommodate their different traditions. At Confederation in 1867 (Happy Canada Day!) the responsibility of education was given to the provinces. Two public religious school systems were established and funded in each province to respect the rights of each religious minority. So in Ontario we have a publicly funded Catholic school system which is therefore subject to the anti-discrimination clauses of our 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.)

    I was thinking about this case because Mrs. p2p and I know some of the people involved in this case. One person, a very conservative home-schooling Catholic insisted that they were going to make an example of Marc Hall and his, to use your word Colleen, "insubordination". How dare he! We'll show that little insubordinate sodomite brat! They were literally blinded with rage.

    Marc Hall got a court injunction to attend the dance. The judge also ordered the school not cancel the dance. The Catholic school board definitely lost the case. Once there is case law they realized they also lost their legal authority to discriminate in other matters too. (Although the case was on its way to our Supreme Court Marc withdrew in 2005)

    The reason I think about this case is that Marc was not the first to attend a school prom with a person of the same sex. Teenage girls, (most heterosexual but lacking a "date") have always been able to attend school functions together without problems. Boys have done so although less often. As long as homosexuals kept quiet they could thread their way through too.

    2. Leadership theory is generally out of favor except in the military and in business studies. It is concerned with the acquisition and use of power in interpersonal relationships and in organizations.

    Leadership is more about the attempt to influence others than anything else. If the attempt is successful one's power is increased, otherwise it is diminished.

    The Vatican along with the most orthodox and conservative among the laity see leadership only in the context of formal authority.

    Even the military, arguable the most hierarchically rigid of all organizations, has moved past the Vatican's understanding of how best to influence, or lead other people in the context of the organization. Individuals, organizations, indeed the entire world today is complex. Our world requires flexibility, innovation and the ability to adapt to survive.

    So there's my morning meditation. Neither individuals, families, nor organizations can, or should, rely on formal authority alone.


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  8. Ohhh nooooo!

    Sorry for the double post. I attempted to post and got a message that the comment was too large. So I broke it in have and posted again.



  9. Anon, I was actually going to write about that, but it's also a generational difference in world view as well as one of maturity.

    For instance, my father thought my chosen field psychology was total bull shit and for the life of him could not understand why I wasted my time on that when I could have easily been a doctor or a lawyer. His view of life was very black and white, had definite chains of authority, and for him also very stable. He believed what worked for him and his generation should work for everybody. After all they saved the world from Nazis and Communists. He was very loving, responsible, and mature--given the world view he believed in. He just couldn't adjust to the fact the rules and world had changed and so never saw the need to change much himself--plus living on a ranch in Montana he didn't really have to. He was isolated and supported by the surrounding culture. A ranching culture we women used to call the last of the secular feudal systems.

    Benedict is very similar in that living in the Vatican, amongst peers from his generation, he isn't really motivated to question his world view. This is a world view which includes a very limited definition of what it means to be a human person and easily lends itself to 'othering' groups of people.

    If I look at the history of my parents generation one of the 'bad' things they were very good at was defining 'in' groups vs 'out' groups. This is why I am not the least bit surprised that Benedict is using the papacy to define an 'in' group of Catholics with his pursuit of a Catholic identity. He is offering us the opportunity to be in the 'in' group but only on his terms. This is probably about as far as his understanding of Christian charity extends. That is a big problem in a multicultural global society.

  10. p2p the Mark Hall story is interesting on a number of fronts. First it illustrates the capacity of the existing Catholic world view to 'other' and see those who won't be 'othered' as insubordinate. It also illustrates that when rage is induced by perceived insubordination that the ragee is completely incapable of assessing the future consequences of pursuiting their rage.

    In Benedict's case with Schonborn, the message most of us are getting is that protecting the rank is far more important than the criminal behavior of individuals who hold the rank. As you point out, the military is well beyond this concept, fulling understanding this mentality leads directly to 'fragging'. Now a days an officer -- more than not---has earn the rank and keep earning it. Again as you point out, this is one of the big changes in leadership theory. In the athletic world it's the "you are only as good as your last play" mentality no matter what your position.

    The other point you make is that couples of girls have never been a threat. That's true because girl couples do not threaten the prevailing predominate male culture in nearly the way boy couples do. Straight men find girl couples sexually stimulating not threatening. Every porn dealer knows that.

  11. I deleted your double post p2p. Blogger has been messing up a little bit the last 24 hours. You aren't the only one who got the 'post too long' thing.

  12. Thanks Colleen,

    Fragging is the most extreme example of military insubordination.

    The disrespect the church hierarchy is getting today has a lot to do with the unwillingness of the followers to follow. Note the interpersonal relationship is one of followers consenting to follow the leader. That's quite different from behavior simply motivated by fear of breaking rules.

    Did Jesus invite us to follow? Or Command it?


  13. Jesus knew He couldn't command followers to follow. It violates the God's law of free choice. Had He done so He would have aligned Himself with a completely different energy. That's exactly the choice He was offered by Satan in the desert--to command reality to conform to the will of His ego.

    Tough one to get over.

  14. I'm reading something by (and about) a sage from the 4th century and I think it pertains: The Place of the Presence. And the "Presence" is not based on rank or hierarchy or ordination. It is GIVEN!

    Long article by an Orthodox monk:

    The article begins with this quote from a modern Spiritual Father:

    "[The Elder] lives as a normal man, just as any other

    living man, but he is as well the one whom God has

    taken and set apart, and who in consequence no longer

    lives quite the life of the present world. While indeed

    he walks the earth, he senses in some sense that his

    head is in the sky; that he sees heaven; that he sees God...

    [He is] the spiritual father who makes God tangible,

    powerful, living, intense, and true."

    To me the problem of Benedict is that he fails the test of Holy Man. He is not the "Place of the Presence" - and sadly, he disparages the "Presence" as so clearly manifested in the "places" he believes God has abandoned, the secular real world of flesh and blood manifestations of God's surprising efforts to enlighten - even today, even among some who are cast out for being "gay" or not catholic enough or "whatever".

    We, who genuinely seek God's presence are failing to find it where Benedict tells us to look. And he refuses to look where we happen to be finding it!

    God is most present in human souls, where he has chosen to take up residence. It is this sense of God's Presence in a holy person that evangelizes. IMVHO.

    And fancy vestments are not a sign of God's Presence. Far from it!

    If you have no time to read the article, look down to Part 2 and read the quote from Aphrahat.

  15. Another bombshell!

  16. Colleen -

    If you recall, Ratinger began to carry with him the ceremonial cross of Pope Pius IX with him early in his papacy. In all Masses & official function in the Vatican. This was an obvious indicator of the type of pope he valued & would emulate.

    The various uber-Conservative/Traddie sites & blogs cooed endlessly with pleasure over this.

    Now do you know anytning about Pius

    IX? Suggested reading:



    ....note carefully the scandalous episode with the 6 year old boy.

    Now, have you ever actually read & contemplated the 'Syllabus of Errors' which he promulgated? Each of the listed statements are considered to be in error & heretical:

    Read it carefully. Most of what is says is VERY wrong, in light of the Gospel.

    In truth, Pius IX - who forced the bishops of Vatican I (whose who did not flee & disgust!) to support his dogmatic assertion of "Papal Infallibility" -s it father of Ratzinger. Without the former, the uber centralized govt. of the Vatican as we now know it would not be. Nor would the P2/Opus Dei banking scandals have occured.

    Review the life of Pius IX. The man was a nutjob. Perhaps bipolar.

    He played Chess with God - and lost. Because he convened the 1st Vatican Council to solidify & enable the increased temporal power of the papacy & Vatican.

    God thus allowed his enemies to remove nearly all temporal power from Pius.


    Anon Y.Mouse

  17. I'm glad to see that someone else reads Fr. Golitzin's articles.

    I had the privilege of being in some of the first classes he taught as a professor back many years.

    The "crisis" of authority is not just in the RC church but also in all Christian churches.

    Authority no longer comes the position itself but from the person her/himself, that is, from some deep experience of the sacred, ( the feet on the ground, the head/heart in heaven).

    People now know this on instinct which is why authority is in crisis.

  18. Mouse I've studied Pio No No quite a bit. The Syllabus of Errors should be a must read for all Catholics, and so should the history of Vatican I. You can't study the man's life and not come to the conclusion he slipped a cog or two in what was way too long a papacy.

    I can't remember who wrote this, but the writer said the worst popes for the Church were the ones who were in office the longest. After a while the office seems to rot thier brains and they get further and further out of touch.

    In my mind Benedict is another exampe of this phenomenon. Even though he's been the official Pope for five years, mentally he's been in the state of absolute authority for far far longer.

  19. "Authority no longer comes the position itself but from the person her/himself, that is, from some deep experience of the sacred, ( the feet on the ground, the head/heart in heaven)."

    Wise observation. No amount of telling us otherwise is going to change this fact. Authority must also be authentic and integrated, it can no longer by assumed, assigned, or contrived.

  20. "In my mind Benedict is another example of this phenomenon. Even though he's been the official Pope for five years, mentally he's been in the state of absolute authority for far far longer."

    Actually (and I have now lost the sources for this) my information is that as the Cardinal of Munich (and with his longtanding 'friendship' with OD), Ratzinger was pivotal to the election of JPII as pope.

    At the same time,Opus Dei had long since been grooming JPI for the papacy (even though he was not a member of OD). As he was long surrounded by them & under their influence.

    Ratzinger has been a literal top dog in the Vatican for about 30 years now. Yet is it not odd that this man, prior to his (very!) brief tenure as AB of Munich, had absolutely NO administrative experience at all????

    There is much more to this then meets the eye....

    Ratz was THE key player in the inner circle which controlled & stage-mamaged JPIIs papacy. He actually wrote many (if not most) of the documents & speeches which were "written by JPII".

    Did you ever notice that the 'great communicator' always seemed to be reading his script almost phonetically? And as if he had never laid eyes on it before?

    If you can catch a rare glimpse of JPII speaking extemporaneously or diverting from the prepared text, he actually speaks like a normal person! Lucid & articulate.

    The point is that Ratzinger has actually been 'pope' for far longer then 5 years. In practical, de facto terms, more like at least 15 years. As by the early 90s JPII was OBVIOUSLY not in control of anything. He was made into a puppet by Ratz & Co.

    With a trained Opus Dei psychologist & published author on mental manipulation.....Joaquim Navarro-Valles constantly as his 'mouthpiece'.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  21. Anon Y. Mouse:

    I totally believe that Ratzi was in control all those years. He's like Rasputin to me. He is a dangerous man, as his fear and rage dominate his personality.

    I also think it's true that so many people are flailing around - feeling bereft of spiritual sustenance. The desire to provide that kept me in the RCC for a long time, till I realized I needed sustenance too. Took me a while to realize the only solution (for me) was Orthodoxy - as I needed to worship with others and personal prayer can only take you so far.

    At this point there are way too many people who've seen for themselves that the RCC no longer is a spiritual refuge for them... but while they've felt the need to jump ship, many have not found a substitute. This is a serious problem. We need alternatives for people. Former priests to begin ministering. Bishops who dare to leave and ordain people who can minister.

    This is an emergency for the faithful who need liturgy, priestly care, corporate worship.

    Or try the Orthodox!

    But I don't think the RCC is capable of changing. And yes, the huge funds of the Vatican are being controlled by those from the "dark side".

  22. Last paragraph. I really mean I don't think the Vatican is capable of changing. It appoints those who choose it's successors. Some naive people fail to realize that. So it's a self-perpetuating dysfunction at this point.

    Bishops who are sane should leave!

  23. TheraP -

    "He's like Rasputin to me. He is a dangerous man, as his fear and rage dominate his personality."

    I could not agree more!

    Orthodoxy in my view IS good, as an alternative to the Latin church. But it has been infected too (as I am sure most realize). Yet the core truths of the Catholic Faith as known pre-Nicea may be found here. And valid sacraments.

    But there are other very valid lines of Apostolic Succession as well. This would include various groups coming from the Utrecht Line...including the various forms of Old Catholics, who fled Rome on the heels of Vatican I. They retain valid orders too.

    Some would even argue that Anglican orders have valid succession. On a purely theoretical basis, I could perhaps agree. But this particular issue gets rather murky (Anglican orders), so I will not comment further on it.

    "But I don't think the RCC is capable of changing."


    "And yes, the huge funds of the Vatican are being controlled by those from the "dark side".

    The tale of that is complex & I won't even try to unravel it here. But even a Wiki search on "P2...Vatican Bank Scandal...Banco Ambrosiano"...will give enough clues to this. And much support to the reality that OD now controls the funds of the Vatican.

    Which brings up an interesting question: WHY were they so determined (for decades) to have themselves officially set up as a 'Parallel Church"?

    Think for a moment.

    If you somehow were able to 'arrange' for the Titanic to sink & were on board, would you not have stowed away a hidden lifeboat for your use?

    Anon Y. Mouse

  24. I most certainly would have stowed a hidden life boat, and it would have been stocked with all the assets of the Titanic.

    That is the reason for the parallel church. Orthodoxy would be by far the best selling point for a parallel church because no one is more afraid than those who protect their wealth. Orthodoxy sells fear, and banks on it, far better than any other Catholic strain.

  25. "I most certainly would have stowed a hidden life boat, and it would have been stocked with all the assets of the Titanic."

    Well, actually they did - in two ways. OD has had literal control of the 'ship's safe' (the wealth of the Vatican) for over 30 years, in addition to their own vast war chest.

    Some time ago I believe I dropped the hint that one should look more closely at things such as Legatus & their role in the literal plundering of the US economy. Under the guise of the Great Depression, which began in the Fall of 2008.

    We are speaking of the transfer of $$ billions to 'Rome'. To that which now controls the Vatican.

    Remember the two Asian businessmen arrested on a commuter train out or Rome headed to Switzerland? Who were carrying $$ billions in unmarked bearer bonds?

    Anon Y.Mouse

  26. Colleen -

    As you consider these things, remember what we spoke of regarding the meaning of the term 'Opus Dei", and of their 'Obra'.

    "Obra' is a Spanish term which CAN be used to mean 'work'. In their parlance, 'The Work". But it neither means 'Trabajo nor an 'opus' (i.e. project/construct). It has a demonic meaning. Research it.

    "Opus Dei" does not mean 'the work of God'. As in 'doing the work of God'. An Opus is a project...a collection of works (in art/music)...a construction project....something you build....a 'construct'.

    It actually means: "To make a God". Or 'the project of construction of God/a God'. The manufacture of the False Christ of Revelations.

    Have you ever read excerpts from "The Way'? You can read it online. Ask for the guidance & protection of the Holy Spirit before you read any of it. As its content is literally demonic mind control.

    No joke.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  27. Mouse, I have the commenting set so comments to posts which have been up over a week don't post until I've read them. Let's me keep up with comments on old posts.

    I have extensively researched Legatus and it's 'synchronistic' meetings in Rome 24 hours before succesive Wall Street meltdowns. I think this research finally gave me permission to admit things were really rotten in the Vatican, in conservatively financed 'religious' movements, and in the upper levels of Opus Dei and the Legion.

    Even the names are blatant if you permit yourself to accept they are constructs of the 'dark side'.

    One of the problems which seems endemic to spiritual or psychological maturity is this notion of giving permission. God will not force truth on anyone, we must give ourselves permission to see truth, but most especially when it hurts or threatens. Granting permission is all about free will.

    Even the devil has no power to force choice, but plenty of power to impede it.

    These 'orthodox' groups ask adherents to make one free choice: grant them permission to control ones life, thought, emotion, and spirituality--to in effect turn over their entire life. This then serves to help these groups impede any other choice an adherent might give themselves permission to make because the adherent does not believe he has permission to make such choices.

    This dynamic is truly pure evil. I don't need to read "the Way'. I have been thoroughly educated in it's basic dynamic--and not just from this reality.

  28. Colleen -

    Thanks for this very enlightened comment response!

    No, I do not think that you personally 'need' to read excerpts from The Way to see the problem. My question was in part, rhetorical:)

    Your observations of the Legatus meeting in Rome is spot on. I wish that others outside of the blogosphere would catch on....

    Agreed about the conservative group mode of 'impeding choice'.

    In Catholic grade school I recall the nuns warning us against mental, informal prayer. Thus struck me as odd even then. Informal prayer, taken straight from the heart ('Oh God, please help me!") is the highest form of prayer.

    Formal prayer is VERY important - like the Rosary. Prayed from the heart, with full meaning of the words, focussing upon your projected prayer intentions. This is wonderful. Mere rote recitation or as a mantra is useless (and can lead to spiritual self-deception).

    The soul who cries out to God for help - is helped. Because in such informal/mental prayer, he/she is acknowledging God as the source of ALL that is good & love. Asking for love, interior peace, discernment, understanding. It is the key to unlocking what God wants to give - but which must first ask for.

    A few words from the heart are all this is needed to begin this process.

    In plain English: the conservative/OD mode wants to prevent that process. Circumvent it. Make you go through them. Blocking you from God, while deceiving you into thinking that you are serving God through them.

    If you are praying on your own in church, they will want you to "join their prayer group'. If you refuse, the weird looks & hooded eyes become evident.....

    Yes - God forces Himself upon nobody. You must invite Him. The Devil tries to block & interfere. Yet even he has only as much influence as you allow him.

    Anon Y, Mouse