A 1960s CHILD WATCHTOWER (PLEASE WRITE TO: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com)

" The More We Learn, The More We Realize Just How Little We Know, And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned " I come from the dramatic, revolutionary, albeit violent, yet 'magical' 60s. Opinionated and challenging, I write about current events, geopolitics, globalization, history, music, mainly classic rock, philosophy, pop culture, politics, religion, sociology, and anything else that defines the person which I am. 60s Child

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Location: Miami, Florida, United States

I belong to a special generation, the 'Baby Boomer Generation', all 70 million of us. Mine is the countercultural, culture-changing, music-influenced, society-altering, rebellious, and revolutionary generation which grew up during the dramatic and violent, while in many ways exciting and 'magical' 1960s. After all these years, I still feel totally identified with the 60s, as that decade defines me. Although I was both a participating and observing member of the 'flower generation', I am a conservative in my political and sociological principles. As much as I appreciated the freedom and radical liberalism of the 60s, I nevertheless did not support the anti-war movement. I am also Roman Catholic, and teach catechism. AS I CONSIDER THE MUSIC OF THE 60s AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE CULTURE, AND CONSIDERING THAT EVEN AFTER 40 YEARS IT RETAINS ITS POWERFUL ALLURE, I WISH TO SHARE SOME OF MY 60s FAVORITE GROUPS: ANIMALS, B.BOYS, BEATLES, B.GEES, B.S.&T, CHICAGO, CREAM, C.C.R., C.S.N.&Y, E.L.O., E.L.P., 4 SEASONS, G.F.R., J.HENDRIX, KINKS, LED ZEP, MAMAS & PAPAS, M.BLUES, R.STONES, R.ORBISON, S.& G., WHO, YARDBIRDS EMAIL: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com

Thursday, October 06, 2005

THE MODERN LAITY'S ABUSE AND MISUSE OF THE CHURCH



October 3, 2005

THE MODERN LAITY'S ABUSE AND MISUSE OF THE CHURCH
AFTER VATICAN II


This is the fourth letter of my ongoing 'polemic' between a Roman Catholic nun and myself over what I believe have been the, although unintended, negative results of The Second Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church, better known as Vatican II.
Dear Sister KJ:
After having given a most favorable review to my first 'journal' report, sprinkling the 5-page-long document with compliments, you proceeded to 'lower the hammer' and really let me have it for the ideas and points I expressed on my second journal.

Actually, there was one paragraph in my first journal, which you also took exception to.

I merely wrote "We cannot just sit still and say that we 'have faith in God,' and have nothing to show for it.' 'That is not enough and is disingenuous even to us mere mortals, as you can figure that God can 'see right through you' and be able to measure your true faith."

You implied that I was ignoring God's compassion, and that such behavior or statements would "frighten people, and children (in particular)." You even admonished me not to address my young catechism students this way, as we should never threaten them with the possibility of God's punishment as a result of their misdeeds.

While I do not subscribe to the Protestant, or particularly the Baptist way of teaching by fear, or threatening sinners with eternal punishment in hell, I still insist that we should teach both adults and children that every action has a consequence, or that everyone is accountable for their actions.

I do not stand-alone in believing this, as it is exactly a product of my Roman Catholic upbringing, up to and including my experiences as an adult.

During my adulthood, I have belonged to at least five different parishes, all in different cities and states.

Over the course of thousands of sermons, homilies, lectures, bible classes, catechism courses, presentations during retreats, and private and social conversations with dozens of priests and experts on catechism of the church, I have heard time and time again that there is no room for ifs, ands or buts where God's Commandments are concerned. There are no gray areas. There is no compromising with the Lord.

As I have been taught, we faithful Roman Catholics are 'committed to the exclusive service of God.' And, 'as God remains always faithful to us, likewise He therefore demands uncompromising fidelity from us.'
Ten Commandments do not say, "Thou may not." The Ten Commandments clearly and strongly say, "THOU SHALL NOT!!" God, therefore does not leave us any room for error, negotiating, or for interpretations of His laws. There they are, edged in stone, "Thou Shall Not," clearly making us responsible and accountable to Him if we even waver a bit from His commandments and laws.

Of course I do not threaten children with 'fire and brimstone' or with eternal condemnation in hell should they sin. However, if I am to remain true to my faith, and true to what I have been taught, I must somehow communicate to them that every deed has a consequence, and that they will be held accountable for their actions.

On my second journal I express the opinion that the present church is in "dire shape," and you 'loudly' noted that "you don't know dire'! 'let's look at the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages". I assume you meant that compared to the scandal-ridden church during the middle ages, today's church is in way much better shape.

I did not mean "dire shape" referring to the pedophile and homosexual scandals, which have plagued our church for quite a number of years and have only surface over the last decade. I was only referring to its lay people.

While in the middle ages the church as an institution was quite 'rotten to the core', the common folk still were devoted, faithful and largely very religious and observant. However, today the church claims to have 1.1 billion members, but that is a very misleading figure, as a low percentage of those 1.1 billion members are true practitioners of the faith.

Going to church on Sundays, or sending your child to parochial school does not a Catholic make. It takes quite a bit more than been seen in church by the pastor once weekly to become a practicing Catholic. It takes more than sticking a couple of dollars into the weekly collection envelope to demonstrate your faith and commitment to the church.
I will give plenty of examples of the decay of the churche's lairy:

Look at how many women use artificial contraception. Look at how many women, most with the knowledge and approval of their partners, have had at least one abortion. Look at how many couples live together prior to saying their marriage vows, if they ever receive the sacrament of matrimony at all. Look at how many men and women are sexually promiscuous outside of marriage, even starting as young teenagers. Look at how many men and women commit adultery, having extra marital affairs. Look at how many men and women experiment with drugs and are addicts, and/or drink heavily and are alcoholics. Look at how many men and women are gamblers, (yes, gambling is a sin). Look at how many men and women belief that the church should accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. Look at how many men and women have divorced, some several times. Look at how many men and women belief that religious belief should never influence a politician's vote, therefore leaving their consciences out of the decision making process. Look at how many men and women disrespect and ignore their parents, even as adults. Look at how many men and women spend their lives while even getting into deep debt in a constant materialistic race to keep up with their neighbors and friends.

In short, look at how many 'supposedly Roman Catholic' men and women break every single commandment on a daily basis!

Do I blame the openness and inclusiveness, which took effect as a result of Vatican II?

Were these people affected by Vatican II, or were they affected by the dramatic sociological changes, which began in the 1960s?
Or were the dramatic sociological changes, which began in the 1960s partially a result of the new 'religious freedom?'
Hard to tell. It is a 'cause and effect' quandary, which I may not be qualified to decipher.
However, I do know this: Roman Catholics did change, for better or worse, after Vatican II.

You and I may never find common ground on this question.

I am a layperson and therefore live in a different world from yours, the real world. My perspective is quite different from yours, and I believe it is more in touch with the common men and women of the church. I live among them, I argue with them, I listen to them, and I know where they stand on most issues. Mine are educated opinions and assertions. You live in the safe and pristine environment of your convent, not among us common folk.

On one hand, I hear that I should not judge, lest I be judged myself, or so says the Bible. But on the other hand, my pastors, a number of priests, and religion teachers over the years have made it clear that the Ten Commandments are not to be interpreted; they are what they are, and there is no compromising with God, as I wrote at the start of this paper.

If priests and teachers can call someone a sinner, whether from the church pulpit or the class lectern, why can't I do the same , since I have learned what they know, directly from them ?

You admonished me because I dared to call Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts "a mortal sinner." I dared call a mortal sinner a man that is responsible of manslaughter, (at the very least) and never paid for it, a man that has always voted in favor of abortion, including partial birth abortions, an adulterer, and an alcoholic, among other things. Forgive me, sister, but our commandments are written in black and white, with no gray areas in-between. He did commit those sins; there is no question about it. This is not gossip or conjectures, these are facts.

What mostly bothers me is that someone with 'real moral authority' like Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, (and others before him), never confronted this evil person. Then again, why should I be surprised, as Cardinal Law is in essence now living the life of an exile in Rome, while he is being held responsible for the cover-up connected with the pedophile/homosexual scandals in the Boston Archdiocese.

You also chastise me for calling for people to be embarrassed in public for not dressing properly for church. You ask me, "Would Jesus do this?" Of course, he would do it, just as he kicked the 'money changers' from the temple in Jerusalem, as they were defaming the house of God.

This is not an original idea of mine. Usually at some point in the year my pastor admonishes us about the proper way to dress for church, just as he mandates that beepers and cell phones be turned off out of respect to the sanctity of the church and respect for others that are there to worship in peace.
Am I supposed to avoid hurting the feelings or embarrassing in public a woman that walks into the house of God dressed in a micro skirt or short shorts, wearing a tight top exposing her navel and low cleavage? Darned right I will chastise her in public if I must!

Heck, at St. Louis parish here in Miami they do not allow anyone into the church once the homily starts. As it should be. Back when I lived in Plano, Texas, I was Captain of the ushers at St. Mark's church and we were instructed by our pastor not to let anyone into the church once the reading of the scriptures began. The Result? People learned to arrive early enough for mass.

Therefore, I am not being original in any of my theories or assertions. I am just reflecting what others like me believe.

I guess we may just agree to disagree on a few points.
But realize something: I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and I take my religion very seriously. Whether I am right or wrong in your opinion, you cannot ignore that I still represent a large segment of the church, one to be taken very seriously.

May God keep blessing you and our Holy Roman Catholic Church.

A 1960s CHILD

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