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In defense of the Catholic Church

Hey guys. I've been doing a lot of thinking about our discussion on Friday night regarding the Catholic Church, and I feel I must defend the religion that I am a proud member of.

I did some research about this whole "priest gay sauna" thing, and the real story is that the sauna is part of an apartment complex that was purchased by the Church a while back. They were unaware that the sauna was a meeting spot for homosexuals when the building was purchased. Yes, there are a few clergy that live in near vacinity of the building, and one that even owns an apartment in the same complex, but there is no proof that any of them "lure children in" to the building (which was the exact accusation made).

In general, I have always felt a strong anti-Catholic undercurrent from some of the members of our group. I respectfully ask those members to stop with the snide and derogatory comments. Yes, there have been horrible mistakes made by members of the Catholic Church in the past, and some of those mistakes were made by some of the highest officials. However, I challenge any of you to find an organization that is run by people, religious or secular, that does not have any members who make stupid choices. We are human, and we make mistakes. And, instead of focusing on the bad choices our members make (which are the only ones that ever make the news, of course), maybe we could try focusing on the TONS of good things the Church does.....the charitable organizations, the social justice initiatives, the counseling and helping those in need, etc.

I do want to apologize for the comment I made about the local nuns here in Erie. I have a great deal of respect for them - they do a ton of community work for our city, and our Diocese would not be half as strong as it is without them. My problem with SOME of them (not all) is that some of them claim to speak on behalf of the Church but yet what they teach is very counter to the Biblical and Magisterial teachings. Now, I am not saying that our teachings should never be analyzed or questioned - I believe they should. And while I agree with about 95% of what the Church teaches, there is indeed about 5% that I wish the Church would change. However, I do not agree with some of the methods that our local nuns use to try to advocate for that change, which ranges from simply teaching incorrect doctrine all the way up to defying Rome. The better method is dialogue and peaceful debate. Yes, the Church changes slowly, which can be VERY frustrating at times. But, I do believe that our current Pope especially would be one open to fruitful dialogue.

So, again, I would ask that the members of our group who vocally bash the Catholic faith to please stop doing so. Thanks much!



  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Duly noted, C. Sorry if I personally said or did anything to offend. I stayed quiet largely because I hadn't heard about those things, so hopefully my silence or typical sarcastic remark wasn't mistaken for faith bashing.

    Regardless of my personal feelings or beliefs as they relate to the Catholic faith, I feel strongly that everyone should be permitted to have their beliefs as long as they don't directly encroach on others. I think it's no secret that we're all on different levels in terms of our faith, yet we've all struck a balance because our respect for each other as friends and brothers has superceded these faith differences. This may have been an example where our boundaries were encroached in this way, and for my part, if I contributed in any way, I apologize.

    Hopefully this gets handled to everyone's mutual satisfaction. If there's anything you need to say to me personally from here, though, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

    Thanks gang. Much love, as always! :-)

  • Hey, C.  Your friendship means more to me than anything.  Afterwards, I felt that I had made some rather poor choices in conversation.  I'm sorry that you felt under attack.  NOTHING I said was meant to be an attack on YOU, and I apologize for the misunderstanding.  I'd much rather apologize to you in person, but if you feel comfortable posting your thoughts and feelings on the boards, then I'm happy to say so.  Sorry, brother.
  • edited October 2014 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down

    I generally hate having these conversations on the internet but I can't let the nun thing go that easily.  Hopefully you realize that this is not an anti-Catholic position but actually just a pro-nun position.  IMO, it is actually a pro-Catholic position because I truly believe that no group of people lives the gospel more than the nuns but you obviously disagree with that so I won't refer to it as such.

    I honestly feel like you are talking out of both sides of your mouth a little here.  It seems that you are claiming that the church isn't perfect but that we should look at what they do holistically to make our judgments (a sentiment that I agree with 100% as a practicing Catholic).  However, it doesn't seem that you are willing to extend the same attitude to the Benedictines (and possibly other nuns).  Is there a better way to go about getting their point across? Possibly, but just because they are going about it in a way you disagree with doesn't mean their organization is bad.  I would argue all the great things they do far out weigh that.  Also, I am not so sure that "Rome" or the bishops want to have an open or peaceful dialogue with them.  My opinion is that they probably just want to sit down with them to tell them to shut up and fall in line.  I am not on the inside, though, so maybe I am wrong.  I can't really blame them though given the way Rome has treated the US nuns in general the last few years. 

    Also, doctrinal discrepancies don't only happen from nuns.  While there is no organization of priests, so it isn't completely apples to apples, I often hear very different things when going to mass depending on who is preaching.  For example, a few months ago at St. Jude's I hear Fr. D. going off about how all these people are going to hell.   This is quite a bit different than what I got from Fr. H back in junior theology when he taught that God is so forgiving that he doesn't think anyone is in hell.  That seems like a pretty big doctrinal difference but no one seems to be up in arms about that kind of discussion???

    Obviously I have a soft spot for the nuns but I am still really upset with the way LCWS has been treated by Rome even though it has been going on a couple years.  Anyways, I think in general we agree that we would like the Church to be seen in a better light.  However, when they go around reprimanding the nuns, who are generally highly thought of for the good work they do, it is kind of self defeating. 

    Post edited by airdog at 2014-10-20 17:48:22
  • edited October 2014 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    SuperCDad said:

    , I do not agree with some of the methods that our local nuns use to try to advocate for that change, which ranges from simply teaching incorrect doctrine all the way up to defying Rome. The better method is dialogue and peaceful debate. Yes, the Church changes slowly, which can be VERY frustrating at times. But, I do believe that our current Pope especially would be one open to fruitful dialogue.

    So, I don't know anything about the main "sauna" item under discussion, so I won't go anywhere near there. 

    I would be interested in a discussion on some topics, staying far away from sex-abuse, about the modern Roman Catholic church, as I like the fact this group has a wide range of opinions and views on the topic, and I am sure I could learn some things, or at least understand some different perspectives.  Of course, I also understand if people don't want to touch this discussion, as religion is always a hot button issue. So feel free to say if you'd rather discuss no more.

    I think the quote above is something I can talk to, assuming the nuns are the group problems regarding the Church's positions on women's issues (if they are not and it is some other nun group I read about, the rest of my points still stand). My suspicion is that this group of nuns (and the local Erie ones are not the only like this I gather) have spent years and years trying dialogue and debate with little to no results. Classically, that is what ultimately will lead to some kind of insubordination. I think that kind of defiance is healthy to the debate, not a hindrance.

    Now, one area I strongly disagree with the Catholic church is their position on women's issues. I'd say this is the #2 reason I am what one would call a "lapsed catholic" :P 
    Policies like the exclusion of women from the clergy and just about every stance related to women's health (particularly reproductive health) are things that I think can be shown to be actively detrimental to society, and stuck in a early 20th century world view. Now some positions I understand more than others (despite disagreeing), but maybe we can start with an easy, less hot-button item: why is it that women cannot be priests?
    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2014-10-20 23:50:15
  • Sorry for this late reply! Today was a crazy day at work. To Air-Dog: I was definitely NOT referring to you nor your comments in my post. I just want to clarify that publicly (you know I texted you earlier about it too). As I mentioned in my post, I definitely DO have a great deal of respect for our local nuns! They do a TON of work for our Diocese, and I think they are great! However, I do really wish they would choose to voice their doctrinal concerns in a better way. I can understand their frustration with how they were treated in the past, but I do disagree with their methodology. I think that you must continue to pursue dialogue behind the scenes in order to enact change, rather than publicly throw the Church under the bus. For example, Mother Teresa fought for YEARS to get her order, and she did so not in the public eye, but instead through persistent dialogue. She was successful. I am hoping that our local nuns will feel more comfortable using dialogue with our new Pope, who is DEFINITELY more open-minded than Benedict.

    As for discussing Church teachings: I am more than willing to do so! I cannot write about women priests right now, because I am crunched for time, but I will chime in hopefully in the next few days. Thanks!

  • So, was it just Joe and I you're referring to in your post? Are you referring to others who were not present? I just wanted to be sure. My recollection of Friday was that I kept silent, only acknowledging that I knew nothing of either the bathhouse thing or the nun thing.

    I just want to be sure you're not viewing me with the perspective that I attack your faith. And I want to be sure the people who you perceive to be bashing the Church to be able to clarify their position.

    Not mad about it. Just seeking clarification. :-)
  • You're fine, MattyDoo. You didn't say anything to offend on Friday. I was referring primarily to the comments that Joe said on Friday, but in a secondary way, I was also referring to some comments that other people had made in the past. I don't want to do any more finger pointing than I already have - I just wanted to put a general request out there to everyone to please be respectful toward my faith/my Church. If anyone feels I am being too sensitive in my request, please feel free to post here or contact me privately.

  • Good deal. Just making sure the air is clear on that.

    I think it's a reasonable request, so long as dissent on individual viewpoints isn't interpreted as disrespect. For example, I respect that the viewpoint of the Church regarding female clergy is steeped in centuries-old tradition and is not easily changed, but I disagree with that viewpoint.

    I'm sure there will be circumstances where we'll disagree but I assure you all that any disagreements I have are not intended in any way to be personal attacks. If ever that's disputed, I'll respectfully refrain from discussing it. Sound good?

    (Notice my segue into the topic Kevin mentioned? Smooth, eh?)
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