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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paradigm Shift

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis is beginning a Planning Process involving obtaining feedback from parish leaders and all Catholics in the area, as a way to answer some major problems and needs faced by the Church today.

This is all well and good, for clearly we DO have some issues to address for infidelity is rampant in the Cities, and never was it more apparent than in yet another diocesan meeting I had to attend.

This process requires that parish employees first attend a meeting so that our designated leadership (via the Chancery) can explain what is happening and why, and to get our own feedback, give us a chance to speak with others with similar jobs, and in so doing help the archdiocese prepare for the concerns we have especially given what we see every day.

Again, well and good.

Of course, their main goal is NOT to deal with infidelity, although I'm going to be perfectly honest...MY main goal IS!

Recently I attended one of the parish-employee-directed meetings and was seated at a table with several other people from other parishes, some geographically close to mine, some not.

I felt like I was at a Call to Action meeting.

The first person to speak up immediately ranted against the "bad leadership" of priests and in so doing completely ignored the Gospel Mission we are given at Baptism, and compared the Church to a corporation, wanting priests to be more worldly, apparently. Or, instead, to "trust us" (the laity) to lead things for them (the Priests) so that they (Priests) could actually just be a sack of a sacramental machine, much like a Pez Dispenser.

I wanted to ask him if he was a member of Connecticut Voice of the Faithful and whether or not he planned a similar coup that took place in the Bridgeport diocese early this summer. (I didn't. I held my tongue.) I also managed not to point out the obvious canonical problems in his fiery argument, realizing that "pearls before swine" actually applied.

Sadly, this theme of "TRUST US!", I learned, was also taken up by other tables in the room. I will say more on this later.

It Gets Better....

There was a woman sitting near me whom I admit fully that I "profiled" as the feminazi "glass ceiling oppressive Church DIE" rebel common to today's religious education programs. Sure enough, as soon as blustery "make the Church a democracy and trust us" guy said, "let's ordain married men!" she jumped in with the bloodcurdling rallying cry of "ORDAIN WOMEN NOW!"

I seriously almost threw up on the spot. And burst into tears. Both, actually.

Just BEING there was perhaps one of the most spiritually excruciating experiences of my life as I first realized that I needed to retain my resolve to listen and hold my tongue. I wanted to leave so badly I had to hold onto my chair, realizing that for better or worse, God had set me there for a reason and so I prayed to the Holy Spirit with all my might.

The Holy Spirit wasn't very interested in actively talking to me, however, although I realized I could not remain silent.

I could not deny Our Lord in this crowd, and, as they say, "Silence gives consent." I would NOT consent! I could not be silent!

I glanced at one person at my table, a man somewhat near my age and from a very good parish, hoping he would jump in so that I could continue bleeding from my mouth mutely and not have to eject the bloody gory end of my tongue before speaking. He must have taken a vow, too, though, because he didn't say anything.

Yes, I spoke up.

I said firstly that we were addressing the wrong problems; we are CATHOLIC and as Catholics, we are NOT called to be bureaucrats! We are called to be FAITHFUL! I said that we can't hold priests responsible for the drop in numbers of Catholics fleeing to Evangelical communities, for WE are at fault!

People aren't leaving because of priests who are not businessmen...they are leaving because WE THE FAITHFUL HAVE *NOT* BEEN FAITHFUL!

I pointed out that all we need to do to see success is look to those parishes that have proven themselves to be "Vocations Factories". We need to look at what they are doing (which ALWAYS has to do with FIDELITY to the teachings of the Church), and we need to imitate it in our own parishes.

I said that if we don't put Christ first and foremost, if we don't practice prayer and fidelity, then every single program or process we institute will fail just as it has for the last 40 years.

We've lost sight of who we are, and if we don't do what we are called to do by Baptism, then we are going to be responsible for a lot of lost souls.

That's a Fact.

I keep hearing the term "Paradigm Shift"

...and every time I hear it I cringe because it's one of those hokey buzzwards dissidents love to use, but I suspect their reign is coming to an end.

In fact, I KNOW it is because in the entire 2000+ years of Catholic history, dissidents have been trying to destroy the Church from within...and no matter how many victims they spiritually and physically murder, they are denounced, they are cast out, and their ideologies FAIL.

Yes, there is a "Paradigm Shift" taking place, and it ain't goin' where the VOTF/ CTA people would like it to go.

paradigm shift, noun
Definition: a fundamental change in approach or assumptions

Yup. That's what's going on.

As an employee in this archdiocese, let me explain to you the dominating paradigm in religious education:

Eucharist is a "banquet" and we are called to the "table", there is no hope for vocations because no one wants to be a priest unless he can have lots of sex but never mind the kids, women are not choosing religious life because they can be paid better to be social workers and work in our parish programs and secular non-profits that partner with us while we enforce acceptance of homosexual behavior, contraception, and "reproductive rights" in alignment with the current political regime. Being Catholic is about "doing stuff" so anyone who is not involve must GET INVOLVED so we should start a "CatholicCorps" to make sure everyone has busy hands, but never mind the kneelers, we'll have CatholicCorps remove them as soon as possible because the old paradigm has passed away. And if we don't cave in to the culture, then everyone will go to the Evangelical communities and we're losing them because priests aren't good business administrators and so it's their fault people leave. Priests suck. Sin is social and the hierarchy is the worst offender and we hate them.

Let me please be the first to give you the paradigm that drives the Springtime of Evangelization:

1. FIDELITY! People want a faith they can DIE for, and in our watered-down wimpy programs that deny our beliefs, we are nothing more than protestants. In all honesty, though, give me a faithful Protestant any day over a dissenting "Catholic", because a good Protestant is faithful to what their religion believes and many have encouraged me to be obedient to what the Church teaches! A dissenting "Catholic", on the other hand, is heading towards the dam in a canoe without a paddle and they're oblivious to the oncoming tragedy. Dying in the dam isn't noble, it's stupid.

2. HOLINESS! Our holiness comes from the SACRIFICE of Christ, the Son of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, spouse of our representative the Blessed Mother, our model in how to imitate Christ. We need the Sacraments, we need to recognize that Holy Communion (The Eucharist) is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

If people are leaving the Church for some protestant mega-church with a good band and a charismatic preacher, then WE HAVE FAILED in instilling the importance of the central importance of our Faith!

3. TRUTH! People don't leave Truth. They flee lies. They only flee Truth to the degree that it's uncomfortable and demands something of them, but in that fleeing, they reconigze the Hound of Heaven and they come back in humility and joy, realizing what they've lost by running away. Those who go away and stay away have NEVER been introduce to Truth, for if they had possessed it, they would have retained it.

Like it or not, although dissent is pervasive, and the socialist ideology that rules our Nation also currently rules our local diocese, a paradigm shift is coming, and it's codeword is FIDELITY!

There's so much more to say...add your own below in the combox.

But I do have more to add on this.


I blame, we, the Faithful, for letting it happen.

If we had paid attention more to our own spiritual formation, we would not have led others astray, even unwittingly.

If we would properly order our priorities, we could spend more time in prayer, we could attend Mass more often, we could offer our sacrifices for the Church more faithfully and more efficaciously.

If we would immediately reject those writers and "theologians" who, with the scent of sulpher on their breath and in their "scholarship" ask us to "bend the rules" and find a loophole around Catholic Moral Teaching, or outright despise it, we could stomp dissent into the dust even more permanently than the heretics (Arians) stomped Bishops like the Martyr St. Flavian into the dirt for his valiant defense of the Nicene Creed spoken by several Christian religions today!

(They didn't win then and they won't win now!)

To Parents

Yes, I'm ranting at YOU now because I see it every day: YOU are the primary teachers of your children!

You have NO RIGHT to complain about the state of the Church today if ANY of the following describes you:

1. Sunday Mass and any other Mass is optional because we've decided other things are more important or convenient to our family

2. Dropping kids off at school or parish religious ed is sufficient for their spiritual formation.

3. We don't talk about religion and spirituality at home

4. Bashing religious beliefs of anyone is one of our favorite topics of conversationn. Anyone who professes to love Jesus and talk about Him freely is fodder for our between-events diatribes on what's wrong with this country.

5. Complaining about Church teaching and denigrating being Catholic as we drive to Mass or to religious ed. or Catholic School is one of my family's traditions.

6. I'm too busy to be involved with my child's religious formation. That's why I pay strangers I don't know to present a curriculum I haven't investigated to do once per week for some of the year.

7. Why should I attend a parent meeting? My family is occupied by dance lessons and sports. I don't have time.

8. If the Church would ordain women I'd be faithful, but until then I'm going to cling bitterly to my grey hair and peace signs and failing memories of Woodstock because without those things, I am nothing.

If any of the above, or similar, belong to your thought process, then you have NO RIGHT to complain when your children leave the Church, or have bitterness about it, or what have you. In fact, you don't even know what's going on because you haven't followed your own Baptismal OBLIGATION to learn your Faith, so how DARE you hold anyone else responsible for YOUR OWN FAILURE????!!!!


At the meeting I attended, I heard a LOT from people about "trusting the laity".

Actually, Priests DO trust the laity; if YOU personally don't happen to be ONE of them, then try the process of interior conversion and try actually being FAITHFUL to the teachings of the Church. Get your agenda out of the way. The parishes that are tanking aren't doing so because of the Pastor, but IN SPITE of him.

(If random guys in a diocesan meeting can spout off an attack against priests without numerical suppor, so can I defend them in the same way....the burden of proof is on the one who brought the negative charge. Legal fact.)

But you know what? Let's talk about "trust". Yes.

If I were a Priest being ordained today, I'd be very careful about how I toss that word "trust" around. I'd get to know any lay person who professed to want to "lead" the Church, seeking the motives of that person, seeking the experience, and above all, examining that person's fidelity and obedience to the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

And that's exactly what they're (recently ordained priests) are doing. They've had good formation.

They need help, though. I agree. Priests can't do it all. But as someone who actually fell away from the Faith because of people I was supposed to TRUST who fed me infidelity, lies, and pagan practices wrapped up as acceptable Catholic teaching....

Let's just say that if I was on a seminarian's committee, I'd tell him not to trust ANYONE at the parish to which he was assigned until he had gotten to know them and their agendas. We all have agendas. If you say you don''re lying. And they know it, too. They're Priests...not idiots.

I heard a lot about "trust" in our local meeting, and I can tell you that I wouldn't trust the soul of my DOG to the people asking our clergy to trust them, much less the souls of an entire parish. I certainly wouldn't hand over MY bank account and finances to anyone who didn't understand my faith in God and how He cares for His own.

Then again, maybe that reveals a lot...those who want the keys to the parish might NOT be one of God's own, but only posers. (Just sayin' be the judge of your own souls.)

I seriously doubt any priests local to me actually read my blog, which is just as well, but I DO know that many local lay Catholics do. So I would ask this of all of my faithful local readers:


There are several "townhall" meetings which are going to be held in coming months.

GO to them, make your voices heard, write letters, leave voice mails! The Archbishop is going to get an earful of a LOT of things, but what he REALLY needs to hear is the voice of the TRULY faithful; those who love the Church, who know the meaning of fidelity, who love and trust their PRIESTS but not the lay leadership.(The biggest problem in fidelity comes from lay leadership! As an insider, I am an island of orthodoxy in a hurricane of dissent and disobedience!). I will say this: TRUST ARCHBISHOP NIENSTEDT and go directly to him with your concerns especially regarding fidelity! Be charitable, write to him as you would a beloved brother who shares your beliefs...for he does!

But do not trust your local parish staff. Speaking as one...don't even trust me. I might accidentally misrepresent you. But if you know me personally, then feel free to email me your concerns or questions and I would be happy to include them in with my own voice.

Keep an eye on the website discussing the Planning Meetings, and if you can make it...GO! Bring your friends! Show your faith and make your voice heard!

My friends, I'm really not an activist. It's actually HARD for me to speak up in person, although I keep finding that I HAVE to. I've done it twice now in the last year at major diocesan events.

I'm not a debator. Some, or many of you...are. I'm going to go to the meetings, but please, someone go into this battle and speak up for the Faithful. Do so respectfully, do so intelligently, and let the Archbishop know that he is not alone in an island of the dissent about to be presented to him.




Hidden One said...

Oh boy.

I'll be praying.

I notice that you neglected to mention the response(s) to your 'speaking up'. I'll take it that you didn't want to pop a vein or something.

Adoro said...

Hidden One ~ You're perceptive. I omitted responses both because I did not reveal EVERYTHING I said or defended, and I want to preserve the interlocutors from public embarrassment.

I DID notice however that the person who advocated women's ordination was quite red-faced while another person at our table stood up at the end in the large-group discussion and said we need to invite more MEN to consider the Priesthood. She emphasized MEN and FAITHFULNESS several times.


Patrice Egging said...

Could you maybe move to my parish? We need some 'speaking up' here, too. Mostly, we need to start praying more. We are without a priest, and have other issues I won't bring up here, but prayer is on a slow moving train to somewhere. Hmm. Georgia? I love reading your 'rants'. Truth is attractive, no matter how you say it.

Mike said...

If they want the church to ordain women, married men, etc. they can have their wish. I'm sure there is a fine Episcopal church somewhere nearby. If they want to be in a Catholic church, they should learn what that means. Just sayin'.

Adoro said...

Patrice ~ That's just the point. You don't need me or anyone else to come to your parish for anything other than moral support. It's YOUR job to spread the Faith. It's YOUR job to speak up. Not mine.

If what your parish needs is more praying...that belongs to YOUR sphere of influence.

Is Truth attractive when it means that YOU are the one called to put your neck on the chopping block?

I'll do it again and again, but what I'm DEMANDING here is that YOU are all doing the same.

It's the only way to bring about the paradigm shift from dissent to Faith.

Adoro said...

Mike ~ I ignored the women's ordination comment, not considering it worth my time, but as for married clergy I said to the offending party that it is a discipline so could be discussed, but isn't proper to our venue and I pointed out it hasn't worked for other religions as they have the same problems we do, and worse.

I'm all for the door hitting them on the way out to hurry them along...and aid in their conversion once they realize WHO they've left.

Patrice Egging said...

Yes, ma'm! I know. And I do. I was asked to present the cards for all to sign, to stop abortion, etc. By the priest. So I did. MAYBE half of the people signed them. I was asked, by the priest, to put up a poster for the pregnancy center at our stewardship fair, and since it was before an election, to put up a previously used poster, to pray for an end to abortion. No mention of any names. very simple. When I brought it to set up, I was confronted by two parishioners, yelled at, who gave me permission (the priest) you might as well say vote for ___ _ _ _ _ the pro-life candidate, SHOCKED EYES WIDE What did I do to cause this. I talked to the priest, he'd been getting phone calls, in response to a letter that another parishioner sent out asking people to vote for specific people, and why, and how it fit with the church's teaching....hmmm .... politically "working" me, priest said he'd put the poster up in the back of church. It was never there. The man who yelled at me, apologized the next day, but..I can still see and hear the whole exchange. I try to understand. It's hard, in some ways, but, since I was the director at the pregnancy center for a long while, I know that an angry person probably has a lot of pain in their life. So, I try to allow for that, too. All of this to say....I know that I have to speak up. And I do. I try to pick my battles. And my foot is quite comfortable in my mouth. I should have made some paragraphing...but this is really a vision of my mind at big ramble. My little sister in Christ, we must be somewhat alike!!!! blessings...

Adoro said...

Patrice ~ I'm so sorry you suffered that, and will continue to do so. God bless you for doing all that you do, and KEEP DOING IT!

I have less patience than you. By far.

Let us set about and change the world, if only one soul at a time....

Patrice Egging said...

You know, we can try. We can be faithful, and try. Being the voice crying out in the wilderness..well it's not fun sometimes. And there are times, like now..for the last year..that I have retreated from the front lines in my hometown arena and am sort of hiding from the lions. I guess I am recharging, readying for the next battle. With all that's going on nationally both in the Church and in the public arena, there are a lot of battles. And we may not win them all. Purging. Puking. all of that nastiness.... And I'm talking about me and what I see that I need to do in my own soul. It's got a lot of cleaning up to do way down deep...I'm reading, again, Progress Through Mental Prayer by Edward you know this book? good stuff. So, reading and meeting other warriors on the unlikely places like blogs, and twitter, etc. And figuring out what place my music might play in all of this mess called life. hmmmm Enough to sleep on. Later...

Adrienne said...

Yep - been there, done that. Ugh! And I'll never, ever do it again - anywhere, in any Church.

All those meetings are so non-productive. The priests and bishops need to "man up" and take back the church.

My old pastor used to say with some scorn that in the "old" days parishioners were expected "to pray, pay, and obey." Sounds about right to me.

Maggie said...

Oh, boy, I would have been right there screeching/throwing up/crying with you. This is hauntingly similar to how things go at some of my diocesan meetings. However, we're dealing with two warring camps- the ProgCath people similar to what you described, and then myself & other "young fogeys" -- a contingent of more orthodox "conservative" Church employees who feel incredibly oppressed by the ProgCaths, who currently have the seniority and the numbers advantage. Several of my young priest friends have lamented that because they don't have seniority yet, they feel they have to suppress their (correct) theology at times or risk riling up every 45+ priest who attended the seminary of fluff.

But eventually, I feel, most of the gray-haired progressives will retire.

And then it's our turn! Yay!

So keep your chin up.

And we'll keep praying, always.

Karinann said...

Bravo Adoro!
You hit the nail on the head with so many things but I agree it must begin with fidelity to Christ and his teachings which is the same as fidelity to our Holy Father and the Church. Our priests need our prayers and support not necessarily our leadership.
You've inspired me to take more action here in my own parish/archdiocese.
Thanks and God Bless!

Angela M. said...

This post is a keeper!

Jennie said...

I like what you say about not necessarily trusting anyone, even the staff at church. Wolves in sheep's clothing? Related to that, if I say something as part of a correction or discussion with someone within the "hierarchy" (not a real one but the one we all make up based on peaking order and politics) about church such as liturgical matters and matters of doctrine, I always try to have it be public or I will carbon copy the email (this is not personal stuff) so that my words are known by at least a couple of people who are of authority and part of the discussion. This includes our priest. Words can so often be misrepresented and allthough I am open to correction, I don't want rumor to spread about something I supposedly said or misunderstanding and exageration about my words to go without my being able to have others back up my words and my words. That includes my words that are wrong. It is the unintentional and intentional misrepresentation that I am concerned about here. I feel bad though when I am trying to do my best to fetter out the truth, that I have to cover my butt like one with wrong intentions. Funny, seen as a criminal by others who are actively distorting the truth for their own means. Conspiring to truth?

Mary333 said...

I have one word. Bravo![You can probably hear my clapping from there.]

Hidden One said...

As far as I can tell, the chief proper uses of church-related-and-caused-by meetings that involve lay people are for things the priest does not understand and/or want to deal with on his own (finances, perhaps) and for the priest(s) to subtly figure out who to call on so as to avoid the necessity of future meetings.

Adoro said...

Adrienne ~ Well, in true Catholic fashion, it should be "both/and". Bishops/Priests accepting the authority they have, AND the laity being actively involved. There were serious problems in the past, and we DON'T want to revisit them. But we've gone way too far afield and the laity are running rampant. THAT needs to STOP NOW!

But if it was "pay, pray, and obey" well, you wouldn't be doing the things that you are doing in your instruction of others entering the Church or otherwise growing in their faith. Including blogging.

Maggie ~ I wish you'd been at my table!

Jennie ~ Yup, we often have to answer to conversations or talks given publicly that someone took out of context. I need to tape my own talks so that I can play back to Father what I said. Not that he's asked, and he's never had a problem with anything I've done, and in fact, has defended me. But in the interest of covering myself, what goes for email unfortunately also goes for meetings and talks. :-(

Hidden One ~ partially true but the reality is actually a lot more complicated than that. I never realized before working in a parish. The unfortunate side effect of the huge numbers of Catholics in the world is that some type of civil organization is needed just to keep track of important things.

The problem is that it goes so awry so quickly. :-(

Anonymous said...

"(The biggest problem in fidelity comes from lay leadership! As an insider, I am an island of orthodoxy in a hurricane of dissent and disobedience!)"

Be careful. There is an air of arrogance and triumphalism in your posts that are not helpful to the cause. Let's pray for conversion on all sides of the aisle, so that one day we may be one.

Adoro said...

Anon ~ It's not triumphalism when you're the only one in your area consistently arguing for fidelity, orthodoxy, and obedience to the directives of the Archbishop in coherence with the rest of the Church. This is my lived experience. I'm personally sick of being the only one holding up that side and dealing with the triumphalism of the left.

And yes, I DO pray for that conversion, which means of course that all other religions will also become Catholic, because that's what ecumenism means.

Blessed_in_Lincoln said...

I ... am ... so ... doggone ... blessed. I do not desrve it. Adoro, you know this, but for your readers, there DO EXIST Bishops who would not allow this kind of discussion. It just WOULD NOT happen.

Adoro said...

Blessed in Lincoln ~ Actually, we have an AWESOME Bishop and it is HE who asked for this...and for good reason! I think it's going to break open this pus-filled boil of dissent and identify to him very clearly what really needs to be addressed in this archdiocese.

And I think that's exactly what he's doing....letting those who dissent out themselves.

blessed_in_lincoln said...

Sorry... did not mean to imply your bishop wasn't good. Some boils have very very deep roots. and your analogy fits beautiflly.