Sunday, August 6, 2017

Conservative Catholics Motto: Save the Ship, Damn the People


I recently did a post [HERE] on the article from La Civiltà Cattolica entitled, "EVANGELICAL FUNDAMENTALISM AND CATHOLIC INTEGRALISM: A SURPRISING ECUMENISM" written by Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa.  As I wrote, this article outlines the danger arising from an ideological movement in which some Catholics and evangelical Protestants have joined together to fight our evil culture.  I discussed the main points of this article in my post and showed that the authors of this article are in complete agreement with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

However, I am in a tiny, tiny minority of those who agree with the article. The Catholic Internet has attacked this article with no holds barred, mostly responding with invective, accusations of heresy and accusing Spadaro and Figuerora of ignorance of American Culture.

There are a couple of common complaints and defenses that can be found in almost all of these responses to the article:
  • Spadaro and Figueroa don't understand how America works. 
  • Spadaro and Figueroa don't understand the nature of ecumenism. 
  • Spadaro and Figueroa are actually modernists who want to promote the leftist agenda of pro abortion and pro gay rights
  • Spadaro and Figueroa are agents of Pope Francis who really wants to destroy the Catholic Church
The critics of this article make it very clear that their intention is to try to save the culture from the evil leftists who want to destroy it, so therefore the joining together to fight against evil can only be a good thing, and anyone who criticizes them in any way is a part of the evil cabal that wants to destroy everything Godly.

From Christopher Ferrara, a true radical traditionalist:
The liberal Jesuit Spadaro and his liberal Protestant co-author typify the smug certitude of the doctrinaire conformism they equate with enlightened Christianity. Praising Pope Bergoglio without realizing they are in fact indicting him as a traitor to the Church’s mission of making disciples of all nations, they declare: “Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church.” They mindlessly applaud the deliberate, self-inflicted disintegration of the Christian body politic. They preach, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but The Gospel of Conformity to the Spirit of the Age.
From the ever-dependable Michael Voris, who was specifically mentioned in the article as an example of the dangerous right wing:
"The hypocrisy of Fr. Spadaro is shocking," Voris says. "He accuses Church Militant of using theology to advance a political agenda — which isn't true — while he spends every waking hour using the Vatican and the Church to publicly advance a left-wing agenda."
From Crisis Magazine:
In contrast to the American evangelicals and Catholics who incur the scorn of the powers that be by refusing to accept gay marriage and abortion, this, then, is the vision presented by Spadaro and Figueroa: a Christianity where the highest expression of Christian values is for Christian nations to cease to be Christian, both in terms of the laws they enact and the composition of their populations, with endless dialogue and bridge building for those on the left and scorn and condemnation for those on the right. In his great eulogy for the courageous Cardinal Meisner, Benedict XVI spoke of the need for pastors who resist the dictatorship of the Zeitgeist. The vision presented by Spadaro and Figueroa does not challenge the dictatorship of the Zeitgeist in any significant respect. Indeed, they seem all too willing to serve as chaplains to the spirit of the age.
Phil Lawler of Catholic Culture, who can always be counted on to criticize and condemn Pope Francis, had his own particular take on this article, accusing the Vatican of wanting to "form a new alliance with modernity":
With a harsh denunciation of American conservatism, published in the semi-official Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the Vatican has plunged headlong into a partisan debate in a society that it clearly does not understand, potentially alienating (or should I say, further alienating) the Americans most inclined to favor the influence of the Church.
Why? Why this bitter attack on the natural allies of traditional Catholic teachings? Is it because the most influential figures at the Vatican today actually want to move away from those traditional teachings, and form a new alliance with modernity?
 Archbishop Charles Chaput labeled the authors of the article as "useful idiots" and complained that they did not know anything about America:
The divide between Catholic and other faith communities has often run deep. Only real and present danger could draw them together. The cooperation of Catholics and evangelicals was quite rare when I was a young priest. Their current mutual aid, the ecumenism that seems to so worry La Civilta Cattolica, is a function of shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power.
As an evangelical friend once said, the whole idea of Baptist faith cuts against the integration of Church and state. Foreign observers who want to criticize the United States and its religious landscape – and yes, there’s always plenty to criticize — should note that fact. It’s rather basic.

Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a “narrative of fear” — as the La Civiltà Cattolica author curiously describes it — might have made some sense 25 years ago. Now it sounds willfully ignorant. It also ignores the fact that America’s culture wars weren’t wanted, and weren’t started, by people faithful to constant Christian belief.

So it’s an especially odd kind of surprise when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.
Father Z posted Archbishop Chaput's article along with his comments on same.  One of Father Z's comments made in regard to Archbishop Chaput's statement that "The divide between Catholic and other faith communities has often run deep. Only real and present danger could draw them together", was truly illuminating:
[Right.  It is hard to understand how they don’t understand that we banded together in some respects because we are in a fight for our lives, over here.] 
Please take note of this comment: "we are a in a fight for our lives." Really? That is the "real and present danger" that we face? Is that what Christianity is all about? Fighting for our lives?  Father Z seems to have forgotten the warning given by Jesus Christ that he who seeks to save his life will lose it.



Did Jesus Christ come to earth as a human being in order to fight for his own life? Or did he come to die and give his life as ransom for many (Mark 10:45)?

Spadaro and Figueroa warned in their article, "The religious element should never be confused with the political one." Yet this seems to be exactly what this ecumenical movement has done. This joining together of Protestants and Catholics seems all about driving out the evil in the world and, in effect, creating the Kingdom of God on earth. But that was never, never the commission of Jesus Christ. The commission of Jesus Christ is as follows:

Matthew 28:19-20:
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. 
There is nothing in this Divine Commission about trying to destroy the evil in the world. I am not saying that we should accept evil. The culture around us is firmly in the grasp of Satan. There can be no denying that fact. However, contrary to the beliefs of many, our job is not to convert and transform the culture created by Satan but instead to pull as many people as possible from the evil one's grasp. We are not here to save the culture. We are here to save the people.  We have to show them that there is another way of life that will lead to true and eternal happiness.  That is why it is so important not to view them as our enemies but as lost souls who need the mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ. We cannot save people if we spend all of our time condemning them. Remember, love saves. Hate destroys. 


This ecumenical movement described in the Civiltà Cattolica article is like firemen who are much more interested in saving a burning building than in saving the people inside. They are like the captain on a hopelessly sinking ship with new leaks popping up everywhere, and instead of trying to save the people aboard the ship, they are attacking those whom they feel have caused the leaks and throwing them overboard in an attempt to save the doomed ship.

It has been 44 years since abortion was made legal in the United States, and the Religious Right is still laboring under the false belief that if they just get the right people into office and on the Supreme Court, abortion will be outlawed. God has been completely thrown out of our schools, and yet the Religious Right still believes they can somehow bring him back. Homosexuals have achieved what was once thought impossible - they are as mainstream as apple pie, and yet the Religious Right still thinks they can shove them back into a corner. Euthanasia is becoming more and more acceptable, and it is only a matter of time before it too is the law of the land. Sexual promiscuity is not only accepted in our society, it is expected.


Our culture is beyond saving.  The building is burning to the ground, the ship in going under, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  In fact, the very desire to save our culture goes completely against Biblical teaching:
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
We need to stop trying to hang on to a culture that is dying.  It is the people we need to save, not the culture.  And it is most certainly not our own lives that we need to worry about.  As Christians, we also need to remember who are real enemy is.  Ephesians 6:12:
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
These Catholics who have made it their goal to stamp out the evil in our society at the expense of souls really need to stop listening to one another and start reading the words of Jesus Christ.  I find it interesting that I almost never see the Bible quoted by those who are so critical of Pope Francis and all who support him.

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