Friday, February 05, 2010

Abolish Everything

A while ago I posted a note on my facebook page of the little life axioms that I have come up with over the years, some of which regular readers will recognise. A lot of them have to do with the Church and the first four kind of sum up my feelings about the Church that have really come into maturity since I have come to Rome:

1. Never trust anything Catholic that is less than 500 years old.

2. Abolish everything.

3. Never join anything.

4. Never found, start, organise or volunteer for anything.
They're survival tips, really.

Among the long and growing list of things that I would abolish entirely if I were ever put in charge are the New Movements.

John Allen, with whom I rarely agree, points out one of the problems with the New Movements: that conservatives in the US think they're the bees knees. New Movements = conservative in the minds the US Church, so there is little discernment about them or the threat they pose.

New Movements, that's like Opus Dei and Regnum Christi, right?

Ah, no.
When Catholics in the States talk about “new movements” in the church, there’s a tendency to think “conservative,” because the few such groups most people have actually heard of – such as Opus Dei (technically a prelature, not a movement), or the Legionaries of Christ (a religious order, with an affiliated lay movement in Regnum Christi) – do tend to lean to the right [John Allen is sometimes dryly witty, but I think his jokes sometimes get missed for being too subtle].

In Europe, however, where the new movements have had their greatest success, their ideological profile is far less uniform. That’s certainly the case in Italy, where perhaps the best-known lay movement is the Community of Sant’Egidio. Known for its efforts in conflict resolution, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, and service to the poor, Sant’Egidio is generally seen as standing on the ecclesiastical “center-left.” [And in JohnAllenSpeak, you know that if he is calling something "center-left" it is as pink as the blush on Roger Mahoney's apple cheek.]

...

Founded in February 1968, the Community of Sant’Egidio marked its 42nd anniversary Thursday night with a Mass in the Basilica of San Giovanni Laterano celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, and attended by a virtual who’s who of Italian political and ecclesiastical life.


St. Egregious is also known to be a big pusher of the usual political causes of the Catholic left.

But apart from the fact that any group of hippies and commies can get together and start calling themselves a New Movement in the Catholic Church and do any amount of harm, the whole concept is a giant capitulation. That we have New Movements at all is because of the failure of the Church.

In the old days, we had parishes and religious orders. There were a few other things, Confraternities, Sodalities, lay organisations like the Knights of Columbus and Legion of Mary and St. Vincent de Paul, but these were all parish-based. A Legion of Mary group was founded within a parish and operated from the parish. It worked within, and crucially, under the supervision of the local Church in the person of the parish priest. And if the Legion ladies started plumping for the local pro-abort politician (or whatever bad thing they had in the '50s) or invited the local feminist nutbar to speak at a presidium meeting, the PP would nix the idea and institute reforms.

The idea that you could or should go off and join a parallel Church and eschew parish life altogether, opting for some weird screwy thing that made up their own liturgical "traditions," was unknown. The Church was the parish and it was under scrutiny.

It is the failure of the parish as the centre of Catholic daily life, of parish devotions like Saturday night Rosary, weekly Benediction, Marian processions, saints days, and even bingo and pot luck suppers and sock-hops, that has allowed the canker of the New Movements to grow.

It used to drive me squirrelly that JPII was such a big fan of The Movements. He praised them, it seemed, regardless of whether they were actually working against the teaching of the Church or not. But every time he talked about how they were the answer to all the problems of the Church, I would cringe. The problems of the Church were made by the hierarchy and clergy who just seemed to wake up one morning and decide they didn't feel like doing their jobs any more.

The New Movements are a symptom, not a cure.

13 comments:

The young fogey said...

Well put.

But:

The idea that you could or should go off and join a parallel Church and eschew parish life altogether.

Which the liberals (novusordism isn't Catholicism) have forced Catholics to do, then they can play high-church on you and accuse you of being disobedient, screwy and un-Catholic.

Fr. T. said...

Sock hops?

Braingasm said...

Excuse me, but "Abolish everything" is the motto of Bugnini and the failed liturgical reform fascists. Maybe you could amend it to "abolish everything newer than 500 years"?

Dymphna said...

When you say new movements are you talking about Focolare and the Kiko and Carmen people?

Anonymous said...

Ahh, JP2's fatal optimism. EWTN is still playing prays of thanks for his pontificate as if it's still running

Tom said...

Ahh, JP2's fatal optimism. EWTN is still playing prayers of thanks for his pontificate as if it's still running

William M. Klimon said...

Um, no. Almost these exact same criticisms were made in the thirteenth century by the monks and particularly by the secular clergy against what were then the New Movements, the mendicant friars. And then in the sixteenth century, the friars in turn opposed the Jesuits and other regular clerics. And on and on, through history.

The wiser course is to follow the advice of Scripture: Test everything, hold fast to what is good. By their fruits shall ye know them.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

yes, when it has been tested for five hundred years and found good, then ok. But when it starts off heretical and/or disobedient, you don't have to wait that long.

Br. Stephen, O.Cist said...

"Almost these exact same criticisms were made in the thirteenth century by the monks and particularly by the secular clergy against what were then the New Movements, the mendicant friars."

And your point would be?

William M. Klimon said...

And your point would be?


That a blanket condemnation of the New Movements is contrary to the tradition of the Church.

Br. Stephen, O.Cist said...

"And your point would be?"

That was in jest--being a monk, I still like to take shots at the friars.

William M. Klimon said...

That was in jest--being a monk, I still like to take shots at the friars.


Got it. In cyberspace no one can see you smile.

Felix said...

the point about things being parish-based ceased to be valid after the Great Leap Forward

for example, someone inveigled me to attend meetings of the Legion of Mary. I found the members were trad and the parish priest found them a bit difficult

quite simplty, escape from one's local parish is often a necessary survival tactic