Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The key to the current crisis in the Church

I've been wanting to post about this Catholic World News article about the book, "After Aestheticism". The book's premise is that the general lack of spiritual discipline is what fueled the recent clergy abuse crisis, and I think that may very well be the case. I feel like we've dropped the ball, as a culture and as a Church in these postmodern times.

Frankly, I'm less inclined to discuss the particulars of the abuse crisis, as I am to decry the lack of spiritual discipline--the lack of true Catholic spirituality--in the Church today. We have watered down and protestantized so much of our everyday Catholicism that it is barely recognizable. It is common, among many in the Church today to deny the existence of sin, the uniqueness of the Church and even the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Driving the development of the ascetical tradition was a religious culture of hope and love-- hope that one can genuinely train his or her spiritually destructive passions, and the expectation that the meek and merciful would achieve a love of Jesus Christ. It was the ascetical discipline that in no small measure protected the early Church from the onslaughts of pagan sexuality, and indeed, contributed mightily to the development of Christian culture.

Because the purpose of religion has changed, this ancient understanding of the ascetical tradition has faded in the Catholic Church.

We have "sold out" to postmodern culture. The Church is no longer influencing the culture. The culture is influencing the Church.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
~ Matthew 7:13


Innocent said...

A delightful co-incidence. I saw this post on your blog just after seeing the same book discussed at a Catholic forum.

By the way, HERE is a small compilation of writings on Asceticism by Fr. Most.

Yours in Christ,

Anonymous said...

Great link, Innocent! Thanks!

Staying in Balance said...

Sorry, that was me!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one! I see it every week at my parish, a quite liberal Canadian suburban one. For the last 20 years, I've been parish organist , and have played at weddings and funerals -- I could write a book! Anyway, at the close of this current season in June I'm retiring, mostly because the lack of reverence/respect and the crummy music our choir does (we have 2 directors) is getting to me. Easter sunday Mass was pure bedlam -- people were talking constantly before, during and after Mass -- and that was just the choir! any time I've commented on this, people look at me as if I've suddenly grown another head. I'll still attend the Parish, but if I hear of another one within driving distance where Catholicism is taken seriously, I'll be off like a shot. It's rather telling that in the 100+ years of existence, NO ONE in our parish has been ordained as a priest. Says a lot, eh?

Staying in Balance said...

Wow, Anon! I sympathize with you!

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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