Monday, 17 June 2013

But seriously, what are the prospects for Catholic Christianity in the West? (Whether Roman or Orthodox)


When the leadership are the problem, the priesthood; then for the laity under corrupt authorities who are leading them astray as fast as they can contrive - well, there is a real problem.

My impression is that - consequently - there is a strong Protestant element especially in the most orthodox and traditional Catholics.

I honestly don't see any positive tidal trends in Catholic Christianity in the West - just small eddies and counter-currents, memories, ideas and hopes, as the ocean recedes.



Brandon said...

In your opinion, are we truly living in the End Times?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Yes, that is my opinion; but of course I do not know what *you* mean by End Times. I got this from Fr Seraphim Rose and a lot of 19th/ 20th century Russian Orthodox Holy Men - also it is confirmed by the Mormon 'Latter Day' Saints church.

However there is no timetable, indeed it is explicitly stated in the Bible that the end cannot be known in advance but will come like a Thief in the night - however we know we are somewhere in the end times, they have st least *started* - the beginning of the end, as it were.

ajb said...

Who knows?

Perhaps: larger families in a religion -> more seminarians from said families -> more priests?

This seems to be what is happening in at least parts of N.A.

Can you expand on what you mean by:

"there is a strong Protestant element especially in the most orthodox and traditional Catholics."

Do you mean simply that they are schismatic?

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I suppose I mean that they are, necessarily, disobedient.

imnobody said...

Well, I am convinced that modernity is the secularization of some Protestant sects. So the modernization of Catholicism entails its Protestantization - new word.

Being a Catholic, having been born in an European Catholic country and living in a Latin American Catholic country, this is obvious for me. Some features of modern Catholicism:

- Saints lose importance. While my grandma prayed to several saints, today's Catholics pray to God, Jesus and sometimes Mary.

- Mary is important but less important than yesteryear.

- People tend to rely to their conscience more than to Catholic authority.

- The Bible takes more importance than tradition

- Charismatic movement is taking over in Catholicism. Charismatic groups emphasize a personal relationship with Jesus, emotion more than rationality or doctrined. More or less like the Great Awakenings

zippycatholic said...

This is the modern conundrum: now that the Revolution has become utterly dominant, being against the Revolution is itself revolutionary: everyone is a revolutionary. There is no non-revolutionary place to be in the modern world, as long as one draws breath.

When disobedience reigns supreme one literally cannot help but be disobedient, whether with the zeitgeist or against it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@imn - Benedict XVI hoped to make the church more devout as it contracted; but this was thwarted by the degree of Leftist infiltration of the priesthood, and at the highest level.

This is what has been so dismaying about not just the church, but all major institutions under Leftism - they have not only contracted but at the same time diluted - persecution has led to apostasy and not to a strengthening of faith!

Bruce Charlton said...

@zip - I think the situation of traditionalist Catholics was easier under Benedict since it was clear that he was on their side.

Not any more. Francis seems to regard poor relief as the major priority for the Roman Catholic church, which, in a world where there is essentially zero poverty - by world historical standards - helping the poor is synonymous with state bureaucratic provision.

This plays straight into the hands of the Left, as does his radical anti-traditional rhetoric. All of which will energize the Leftists in the church, and emphasize that traditionalists almost wholly lack support from the senior Bishops and this time from the Pope himself.

To remain a traditional Catholic, and to argue for it, therefore forces individuals into what could be termed a Protestant stance - at odds with the mainstream authority of the Magisterium.

It also makes it very difficult for traditionalist lay to try and *do* anything structural about the problems and flaws of the church, since this would tend to be working against the church authorities, most importantly the Priesthood.

None of this is fatal to faith, of course; but does seem to dictate that sincere and realistic traditionalist faith within the Roman Catholic Church will be quietist, submissive, withdrawn, pessimistic - and not the kind of Chestertonian extravert, active, fighting Christianity which so many converts hope for

AlexT said...

There's always the SSPX and SSPV(and several others), for the Romans, and the Old Calendarists and Old Believers for us Easterners. They are not big or important, but they are steadfast, dedicated, and have an explosive birth rate. In other words they are healthy. Find them and attach yourself if you can, they will be rocks to cling to in the coming storm.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AT - my point exactly.

Old Believers were tortured to death etc - in line with the place and time; and SSPX were excommunicated, ridiculed, slandered etc - in line with their place and time - a modern Orthodox example is the 'remnant' ROCOR, which is having a very hard time of it.

To join either was/is to place oneself outwith the authority structure/ hierarchy, and to set up a schismatic church (which is the parallel with the Reformation) - even when/if this involves a mere handful of Priests (regarded as renegade non-priests by the authorities).

And such microscopically small churches with such few priests means that it is actually *impossible* (not merely difficult) to be a devout Catholic (by the standards of the past) since there is such little opportunity to partake of in Holy Communion, participate in the Liturgies and the rest of it.

Indeed, due to the secualr nature and organization of modern society, it is impossible to be anything more than vestigially Catholic by the standards of the past - since there are essentially zero living Saints, very few monsatics of advanced holiness, very few in religious orders of any kind.

The laity no longer participate in in that Catholic religious life which permeated all other forms of life such that in the past there was no fully secular realm - all of life was brought within Christianity.

All gone: long gone.

Proph said...

I used to have a somewhat rosier view of the Church's future than I do today. I once believed all the canards we hear from Catholic neocons: that the priests emerging from seminaries today are supermen who'll turn things around, that my generation will transform the Church, that the "reform of the reform" is continuing apace, etc. No more. I don't even see preliminary signs of repentance. Just lots of people going with the flow, unaware that they're being swept out to sea.