The Catholic Church always seems to be a lightening rod for the salient issues of the day, whether it is abortion and euthanasia or social justice and global trade. It goes with the territory of Jesus’ command to his nascent church to “go out and teach all nations…”
Of course it is not surprising that a world that gives more allegiance to Nicola Machiavelli and Karl Marx would not rest until the Church’s strong voice was sufficiently muted or even eliminated from the global marketplace. The public disdain the Church has suffered also goes with the territory because Christ promised that the world would hate his followers and they would be persecuted for it.
None of the above bothers me. I love “being a Catholic,” that is being part of something much greater than myself. The title suits me and has become part of my personal identity. When I meet someone for the first time, it is usually the second or third thing that comes out of my mouth. The fact that I am a husband, father, grandfather and Mets fan usually are in the mix.
With that in mind, I think it fair to say my Church is going through a very difficult time. As the guardian of truth, it is obvious, even to the unobservant who the Church’s enemies are on the outside. However sometimes its enemies have breached its interior walls and are hurting the Church from within.
It is not my goal to savage or passionately attack my “modern” church, which is far different from the Church of my formative years. I am deeply offended by the so-called sex scandal, which has unfairly cast a scarlet pale over the entire priesthood. I think our leadership has bungled the job because too many of them chose to be modern bureaucrats instead of saints in the making. They shuffled too many bad priests to other venues where they exuded their venom.
I find it much more disturbing than the scandals of the 16th century over the sale of indulgences. One can only calculate how much damage this has done to the Church so many of us love deeply.
The Church has weathered other serious storms from persecutions to world wars and papal imprisonments. It has endured murdering popes and popes, who have been murdered— libertines, and all sorts of human frailties and yet, it still stands. So I feel confident that it will truly heed Christ’s words and exist “until the consummation of the world.”
Don’t get me wrong— I am not a traditionalist on the brink of apostasy and schism, like God bless him—crazy Mel. I still believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that has evolved from the Petrine Rock over 2000 years ago. The Catholic faith has been the most important influence in my life and deeply entwined with my eternal destiny. There is an indelible seal seared onto my soul from my Catholic Baptism in 1943 that will stay with me until death.
That fact does not mean I cannot voice my displeasure at things when I believe the Church has taken a wrong turn or has promoted something contrary to what I will call the “test of reason,” —like government-run health care!
Why so many of our leaders, including our church leaders trust the government is beyond me. I wonder what the bishops must say to each other when they discuss in private the fact that most of our “Catholic” leaders are pro-abortion.
Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on that wall? If they are acting reasonably, don’t you think they have failed to teach the right message?
As someone who has always tried to learn, think and apply his thinking to the issues, events and challenges of his circumstances, I hope that what follows will get Catholics and non-Catholic alike to think about the eternal questions of the their lives and seek the truth that will set them free from the entanglements and bondage of sin, distraction and materialism.
What I write and what I say is the direct result of a lifetime of reading, thinking and talking about my Faith. My faith has not been static. In many ways it has grown. I have changed those things that I can change and have defended those ideas and beliefs that I believe to be unchangeable and absolute.
I could be wrong in what I say and write but that stems only from inferiority in research or a failure to fully comprehend, given my human and frail intellect. My errors can never be charged to a lack of religious fervor or indifference to religious belief. So whenever something happens down your pike, just ask yourself the question:
“Does it make any rational sense?” Isn’t that what God gave us a brain for?
I have been getting some very interesting comments on my blog. One that really caught my attention was the fellow who signed it, Pastafarian. I couldn’t find it in my dictionary so I had to go on-line. A Pastafarian is someone who belongs to a parody religion.
Personally I don’t find religion very funny though religious people can be a hoot. Some things are just too sacred to be parodied. A parody religion is like the anti-religion— these people actually exist and they usually are agnostics or even atheists. I think atheists are usually as good at making jokes, as are the Germans. Of course a German comedy is one of the world’s great oxymorons.
According to Wikipedia, this funny religion was “invented” as a whim by Bobby Henderson in 2005. I don’t know much about Mr. Henderson and he knows even less about religion. I found the history of his “new” religion to be unworthy of even a skit for Saturday Night Live. Pastafarianism grew out of his satirical protest to the Kansas School Board decision that required intelligent design as an alternate to biological evolution in their public schools.
For the name of his new “cult” Henderson chose Pastafarian, which is a portmanteau, which means the blending of the sounds from two different words, such as spoon and fork to create an entirely new word, such as spork.
According to Henderson Kansas never defined their Intelligent Designer. This left its description open to someone with Henderson’s creative juices. The result was his deity—a grotesque Flying Spaghetti Machine that closely resembles something one might send back to the chef on pasta night at the local Italian restorante. His FSM has bulging eyes, thin pasta curls, wrapped around two very large meatballs—probably a sophomoric attempt at scatological humor. His “god” looked more like a video game with an identity complex than a religious deity.
Henderson proclaimed the canonical beliefs of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism presumably on two giant menus, in what he called his Open Letter. On his website Henderson is described as a prophet. I hope he realizes that prophets are never respected in their own times.
Their central belief is that there is an invisible and undetectable and presumably unlovable Flying Spaghetti Monster, which created the entire universe after drinking heavily. The Pastafarian belief of heaven stresses that it contains beer, volcanoes and a stripper factory. This sounds like an Ivy League College. Hell is similar, except that the beer is stale, and the strippers have VD. Maybe this is their idea of a Catholic college.
The Pastafarian tome is called the Loose Canon. In place of the Ten Commandments, it contains the eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts. ABC’s Ted Koplar once commented that some religions have 10 Suggestions instead of commandments. Too bad Henderson could not have found two more to keep the theological symmetry going. They also believe that pirates have gotten a bum rap because of the medieval monks who distorted their religious significance. Wait until Dan Brown reads this.
But of greater concern to Henderson must be the fact that with so many different kinds of pasta—linguini, ziti, ruoti, lasagna, even rigatoni, his religion is immediately threatened with denominational fracture. I mean can one not envision someday a sign for the Third Church of the Holy Ravioli?
While some may find his satire amusing and even innocuous, Henderson has not really added anything to the debate. His is just an alternate form of religious belief that they trust is the correct answer to the mysteries of life. I just wonder what the FSM would say about the meaning of life with its attendant pleasures and pains. Eat more pasta?
In fact I think Henderson’s religious imagination is puerile and pales in contrast to that of the Greeks, Romans or even the Aztecs, who had much more sophisticated gods and goddesses. His religious mythology sounds like it came out of the bottom of cheap wine.
I really doubt that FSM’s patriarch and chief prophet has a scintilla of truth behind his jokes and parodies, which in the end merely make his religion serve as a self-parody of a seeker who has nothing better to do on a Saturday night.
There is a delicious irony about Henderson’s parody religion. Their kind of anti-religious sentiment could not be possible without evolution, which believes that it effectively killed off God. Darwinian evolution is a theory that cannot be proven. By nature God cannot be put under a microscope. Evolution is founded on the notion of randomness with is contradictory to legitimate science and discovery, thus undermining its claim to scientific certainty.
Christianity is founded on reason—that an Intelligent Being created an orderly universe that elevates human beings. Is not Christ the Logos, the incarnation of divine reason?
So both religion and evolution can be reasoned to but not proven. Both have to be accepted on a basis, not of demonstrable truth but on faith. Which is more reasonable, the one founded on luck or chance or the one founded on reason? So the real joke is on the intellectual elite who live in a Woody Allen cosmos where they can laugh God out of existence. I hate to pop their bubble but the joke is really on them.