October 23, 2000
volume 11, no. 209
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW for Monday, October 23, 2000
Beware! It can Happen to us as well!
"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, 'Who do men say that the Son of man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in Heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it'" (Matthew 16:13-18).
We Catholics can be pretty smug. With all the dissent, apostasy, etc, with the incursion of New Age theologies, neo-pagan rituals, and the 'spirit of the times' (Zeitgeist), etc, we smugly say, "Christ promised that His Church wouldn't be overcome by the powers of death, the gates of hell." True, It won't. After all, we have 2,000 years of proof that It won't. Schism's, heresies, apostasies have come and gone, and the Church is still here. Yup, pretty good. So, we Catholics go around with an almost Alfred E. Newman (Mad Magazine character) attitude of "What, me worry?" But what of those parishes, those Dioceses that these things occurred in? Consider Germany with Luther, or England under Henry VIII. Once, they were Catholic, true and loyal sons and daughters of the Church, the next? Did the Church escape unscathed? Hardly, how many souls were lost? It's happened before, can it happen again? Sure it can.
If you were to ask a devout Episcopalian, twenty, thirty years ago if her church would; approve of bishops being elected by their dioceses, approve contraception and/or abortion, or sex outside of marriage or homosexual behavior or unions, they would tell you NEVER! Or if they would allow divorce and remarriage, inclusive language liturgies, or being open to New Age rituals, they would probably laugh at you. The notion would be absurd. But that is exactly what has occurred. This transformation began an exodus from the Episcopal Church to the Catholic Church. The magazine "New Oxford Review" began in 1977 as an Anglo-Catholic (Episcopalian) magazine, but in 1988 they became Roman Catholic. Why? Because they saw their church slowly being taken away and they were powerless to do anything about it. But many haven't, why? "….isn't the Catholic Church just ten or twenty years behind the Episcopal Church?" Indeed, the changes in the Episcopal Church are almost a carbon copy of what we hear many in the Catholic Church calling for. How did this occur?
"It is an act of charity to cry out against the wolf when he is among the sheep." (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life.)
If a movement can't overcome something by force, they need to find other means. If one cannot find people who will support them, they must create them. You do that by infiltrating schools and teaching the 'new' theology, or at least a theology so ambiguous that anything can be applied to it. Start or transform, trusted publications to spread your message. Of course, it helps if the world view applauds such practices. Seminaries begin teaching the new theology, and practices selective admissions. Not for their faith or orthodoxy, but for their ability, or willingness, to accept the new theology. These 'priests' of the new theology then rise in the hierarchy, becoming bishops. Soon, their Dioceses take on their 'heterodoxy'. First one Diocese, then another, and another……….And if anyone, even a member of the hierarchy, opposes them, then, depending on their strength, they either 'work for compromise' or simply silence them.
That's what happened to the Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church over the past decades there were many fine Christians who took this falsely charitable approach. They said, let's talk with these earnest, if somewhat loosey-goosey Episcopalians - let's try to understand why women want to be priests, etc.
And, you know, pretty soon those fine, kindhearted Christians weakened under the pressure of the Zeitgeist, and said, "Well, maybe. Let's, for the sake of harmony, have priestesses. We'll consider it an option, an experiment. We'll just see how it works out…."
And what was not long ago an option is now mandatory." (New Oxford Review, Oct. 2000, Editorial, pg.4)
Recall the "Common Ground Project" of Cardinal Bernardin? Sound familiar?
The Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) General Convention in Denver (July 5-14, 2000) saw what appears to be an almost complete collapse of Christian teaching in favor of a New Religion which is not Catholic at all (they often call themselves Anglo-Catholics, a third form of Catholicism with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy), and the façade of Christianity.
To make this short, the Convention caved on everything but same sex marriages, and that was only narrowly avoided. According to Lee Penn (It's Not The Episcopal Church Anymore; NOR, Oct. 2000, pg. 13-22) the measure was defeated by two votes with the laity, one vote by the clergy, and 18 votes by the Bishops. However, same sex marriages are already taking place in 60 ECUSA dioceses, 57% of the total dioceses.
"As a liberal Episcopalian priest noted in a recent sermon to his Chicago congregation, 'the resolution [of the July General Convention] clearly is intended to refer …to heterosexual couples that are living in committed relationships outside of marriage.' Wittingly or not, ECUSA has now reduced Holy Matrimony to merely one of many 'lifestyle options'." (It's Not The Episcopal Church Anymore; NOR, Oct. 2000, pg. 13-22; Lee Penn)
Some other things approved? The Labyrinth. Even though it has been proven to come from the New Age leader, Jean Houston, and promotes the walking of the Labyrinth as "a way to contact the Divine Mother, the God within, the Goddess", a Labyrinth walk was incorporated into the Jubilee Eucharist. The committee in charge of making a new liturgy for the sick and dying agreed to "Jesus, our Savior, our true mother who feeds us." Jesus? A mother?
During the convention, one of the delegates, a priest, performed an Anglo-Catholic rite of purification and protection from evil by salting the members of the Convention. Liberals, moderates, conservatives alike. Maybe it worked, since a prominent homosexual lobbyist within the ECUSA declared that the action was aimed at them. Suddenly, the apologies were running fast and furious, and the offending priest was to undergo a 'pastoral follow-up' after the Convention.
Because the Boy Scouts refused to allow openly gay scoutmasters, the ECUSA parishes that hosted Scout troops were told to "open a dialogue with the unit leaders, scouts and their parents regarding discrimination against youth and leaders on the basis of sexual orientation." Of course, in this jargon, dialogue generally means dictates. However, smokers got nailed.
Who was not censured? An Episcopalian bishop who consistently writes books and makes speeches denying the Christian faith. He writes columns on an online sex magazine. Another ECUSA bishop who founded the United Religions Initiative. Now before you wonder what's so bad about this, it's extensively influenced by Wiccans and New Age activists, not other Christian denominations. Or the Secretary of the Convention who distributed a booklet which had an article entitled "Yes, Dorothy, Witchcamp is Probably Coming To Kansas." It promotes a summer camp for adults which "brings together a community of adults for a week of earthly magic." The list goes on and on.
Why do I talk about the Episcopal Church on a staunch Roman Catholic Web site like The DAILY CATHOLIC? Because what's happened there can, indeed, happen here. One day, we may find ourselves in a parish which is no longer Catholic. In fact, some already do, but don't even know it. We get fuzzy, ambiguous teachings from the pulpit and the religious classroom. Heterodoxy is promoted as tolerance and openness. According to a teacher in a Cincinnati High School, God is not all-powerful or all-knowing. And though He created the world He HAD to rest on the seventh day because He was exhausted. Ergo, God cannot do anything, anytime, anywhere. This 'theology' was even published in the Jesuit liberal publication "America" June 3-10, 2000, under the title "Parenthood and the Attributes of God." In Ireland, their proposing to remove seven passages of Scripture from the Lectionary because offensive to contemporary society and give an undesirably negative impression of women. The 'offensive' passages are Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Titus 2:4-5; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; 14:33-35; and 1 Timothy 2:11-15. (The Catholic World Report, Oct. 2000, pg 12) Or how in Australia the Bishops Social Justice Statement is nothing more than a capitulation to radical feminists. "Much of the statement reads, in parts, as if written by the same feminist religious who instigated the project- as it may well have been." (Ibid, pg 32-34)
And not only is the Labyrinth making strides within the Catholic Church, other New Age rituals and practices have encroached into the Church.
As it was with the Episcopalian Church, so it is with the Catholic Church. Dissent, apostasy, and heresy is present in rectories, Diocesan Chanceries, Catholic Universities, colleges, High and Elementary schools, as well as in RCIA and CCD/PSR classes. Along with the world media, they're 'retraining' us via 'Catholic' periodicals. National and Diocesan newspapers and Magazines, retreat centers, etc. They're in the religious Orders, especially women's (who have traditionally been tasked with teaching the faith to the young.) And if you try to discuss it with them, you'll more than likely either be patted on the head as though you were a foolish child, or slammed and slandered as an ignorant troglodyte.
Not fun. But then……..
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than His master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on My account, because they do not know Him Who sent Me" (John 15:18-21).
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." (G.K. Chesterton; Chapter 5, What's Wrong With The World, 1910)
"Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision." (Ibid Orthodoxy, 1908)
October 23, 2000
volume 11, no. 209
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW
Return to Front Page of Current Issue