So today is Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. I am stuck at home, sick with a cold, haven’t trained in four days, frustrated, trying to pull myself together to teach Jiu Jitsu tonight,.. and oh yeah I am officially a ‘Theologian.’ That sounds kinda nice,.. I think…
In 2011, beginning the process of discernement, I couldn’t have imagined myself struck with a nervous breakdown, and instead was intent to continue along. Perhaps God has other plans? Nonetheless,. I stuck and completed the academic formation and thus last night was rewarded. So now with a little academic weight I can answer some ill founded rumours!
Alpha: I am not for or against ‘Alpha.’ I participated once in an encounter from a protestant perspective and was told to just concentrate on basic ideas of Jesus we all share,.. This perplexed me, because well, ‘basic’ Christianity is the Catholic Church. The root word in Protestantism, remains ‘protest,’ and what they protest, is the Church. The issue that I bring up and am more convinced of more than ever is a crisis in thinking. Proper philosophy has been removed from the schools, and in its place ‘modernism’ has become the norm. Thus its red headed step child ‘relativism’ is given carte blanche in today’s secular world. Thus the Catechetical component of Alpha,. (Is there one? ) is replaced with an emotional approach stressing ‘feelings’… I feel that for me, Jesus is a good man. (Just as legitimate as saying ‘For me, its discriminatory that human beings can’t fly by natural means.’) In the end, the new Evangelization, I believe must address a crisis in anthropology and until that gets resolved, we will attempt to ‘protestantize’ our language not taking into account that the terminology is different in Catholic circles. Thus this can and has led to a ‘universalism’ of sorts. (The belief that whatever denomination you are, just be a ‘good’ person and you’ll be okay, because everyone goes to Heaven.)
Traditionalist: I will never identify myself as such. I prefer Catholic. To paraphrase a priest friend of mine, the ‘ist’ represents ideology, something that I firmly believe is poisoning many in our Church. While I have my preferences, I will not take away the right to prayer for a community that prays as such. I will however exercise common sense with regard to sensibilities. An African choir helping an African community complete with their own rites and customs,.. Amen. Liturgical Nazis imposing an African choir to a community of Native Americans because its entertaining, that is the problem. Doctrinally speaking, the Church follows the Council of Trent for Her doctrines. Vatican II is a pastoral council, not a doctrinal one, and while there is doctrine in Vatican II, it is simply a reiteration of a doctrine already established. Issues such as Ecumenism, Interfaith dialogue and Religious freedom are not doctrines. They are pastoral applications for today’s world. (Religious Freedom was drafted during the Cuban missile crisis.)
Modernist: To the ‘Traditionalist’ crowd, I get leveled ‘modernist.’ Well, I do enjoy speaking with people, I try to smile and enjoy ‘praise and worship’ (albeit outside of Mass) from time to time. I take time to listen to the other side and will vigorously defend their right to free speech in order to foster authentic debate. This is how we learn. The Fr James Martin stuff?.. He has a right to his opinion, however when he functions as a priest, his opinions must surrender to the Church’s. Too often the ‘Left’ throws around words such as ‘tolerant’ and ‘openness’ yet they are the first to squelch any debate defending the authentic teaching of the Magisterium. Again, true Thomistic thought must be the standard for any Catholic education. As far as the pastoral practise, that requires common sense.
Pastoral ‘Theology:’ Ahhh yes, the ‘Megatron’ to my Optimus Prime! Modernism, giving way to subjectivism and relativism brings with it an entire truck’s worth of new ‘subjects.’ While I am not against ‘pastoral’ theology, I’m against it being considered an academic endeavour worthy of 3 credits. Pastoral means forming the heart, and yes learning new techniques, but unlike something clear, like logic or math, the Quebecois pastoral ideal in my opinion means castrating oneself! Speaking in soft feminine overtones, and fluttering about using child like Jesus is my buddy approach. The Church’s idea of pastoral is different, forming the heart and accompanying like a Spiritual Father, not an androgynous creampuff. Alas, sorry for the sarcasm, but as a child coming home with a report card, my dad checked out math, science and language. Art, music and gym didn’t quite make the ‘cut.’ (Despite my fondness for gym class!) The approach that I used in Parish was simple,. Prayer, followed by common sense (that term again). A month before my nervous breakdown, I did the blasphemous,.. I questioned the ‘pastoral theology’ being shown, and by doing so questioned the Quebecois model thereby causing French canadiens nightmares and seizures! (Btw, as an aside, my tutor in the parish I was assigned was French Canadien and pretty much agreed with my assessment) Oh well,.. Have I mentioned that I signed up for Sasquatology? Just as legit as Quebecois pastoral theology, because well, neither of the two are quantifiable. What would I replace it with? Anything with Don Bosco's name attached to it! I would hold seminar style workshops, but never an academic class for the pastoral approach. People and needs are different, and if you ask anyone who is being honest, they find it very demeaning and childlike. As always I invite anyone to disagree with anything I say! Together we may be able to agree on something! :)
To conclude, I enjoy debate and will continue to furnish posts that invite people the think. Am I right, wrong or somewhere in the middle, a society is never more alive and healthy than when we can honestly debate and truly search for Truth. I pray everyday for the grace of humility, as now more than ever, I’m gonna need it!
St Ignatius of Antioch…………………………………………………… Ora pro nobis!