Winter, 2001 - Vol. 5, No. 1

Des Plaines, IL, Feb., 2002. This is the first Toes' Newsletter to be issued in e-published format, and we'll devote some few lines to a description of the web site where it is to be found.

News from the Home Front.

The Treasure of the Seven Sacraments.

Sounds like an adventure novel, doesn't it? Well, it does have a litterary connection, and maybe you could call the Bible an adventure novel. The sacraments, Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick, all impart specific graces, so it's more than just a ceremony. In fact, the early Church Fathers often exhorted the faithful to partake of the two repeatable sacraments (Confession and Communion) on a regular basis.

Liberal vs Conservative in the Church

The Catholic Church, especially in America, has been going through quite a bit of internal change since the First Sunday of Advent back in 1963. That was the first time we had an English language Mass. Now days, we refer to "Pre" or "Post" Vatican II based on that date. The impact of the changes fell differently on different people. Some held that putting a basket of money up by the alter was sacrilege like the money changers in the temple, while other's assumed that change itself was license to change other things "in the spirit" of Vatican II: taking out the kneelers, "liturgical dance" So now we have contention, and it needn't be that way.

We had polar opposites on the two sides of the country - Cardinal O'Connor in New York, and Cardinal Mahoney in Los Angeles - both Catholic, both successors to the Apostles, yet one conservative and one liberal. They were often voting in opposition to each other at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Was the one right and the other wrong? I propose that it's more like the right-brain / left-brain of the body of Christ. Both sides are necessary, and both sides bring Christ to the world. It is similar to John Paul II's analogy about the Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches, where he refers to the church breathing with both lungs.

The Conservative side holds us to "what the Church has consistently taught", while the Liberal side moves us to compassion for those who do not believe. When Cardinal Bernardin went to Rome just before his death, he confided in a friend about his hope that one day women may be ordained. Others say that this could never be because Jesus and the apostles were all men, and that it would confuse the imagery of Christ the Bridegroom if represented "In persona Christi" by a women. I personally don't understand all the intricacies of the arguments, but I'm not worried about it, because if it's not a doctrinal issue, it's at least a discipline, and they need to be followed too. I don't know if it's ever been proclaimed "excathedra", but if so, that would end the argument. My guess is that it has or will be, because of the Church's warning to the Anglican community about their intent to ordain women; that it would put up a tremendous road-block to echeumenichal efforts.

First of all, how dare the Church change everything like that? Well, it wasn't "everything", just practices - ways of doing things. Doctrines were not changed, and will not change, though they may be more fully defined in time. But leave us not forget: the Second Vatican Council was essentially a re-start of the First that had to be suspended in the 19th century due to war and shicainery (I have no idea how to spell that). Even more important than what changed, is what remained the same in essence. Many doctrines were defined more fully, and much direction was given to the Church to follow. John Paul II, like his namesake predecessors, has spent most of his pontificate implementing these directives of the Council. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church was a directive of the Council, not something JPII came up with, although he started the process going with gusto, and saw it's completion.

The next issue will feature an article on the effects of the age of relativism on religion, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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