Cleansing Fire

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Fr. Barron on WYD, Pope Francis and a Question for CF

August 6th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot325It would be hard to do justice to Fr. Barron’s summary of Pope Francis’ message at World Youth Day and beyond, so his words should stand on their own:  http://youtu.be/Izl3rrvC8Xo  and if that doesn’t work try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izl3rrvC8Xo&feature=youtu.be

The point is not so much to admire or repeat the message but rather to ask how do we, as an on-line community, fit into this Call?

This question is NOT a criticism of anything that has gone before, but rather is an invitation to explore our mutual opportunity to serve the Lord.

What do you think?

 

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25 Responses to “Fr. Barron on WYD, Pope Francis and a Question for CF”

  1. avatar Scott W. says:

    I am having a beastly time with Youtube lately. I’ve gotten about a minute into before it crapped out where he describes that the kids respond over the years with energy and enthusiasm, which I don’t think anyone disputes. Can someone give me a summary of what else he says? Thanks.

  2. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    2 reasons I’ve become cautious of Fr. Barron:

    1) He spoke extremely critically of Dr. Ralph Martin’s analysis on Hell.
    http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2012/12/03/saving_the_hell_out_of_you.html

    Obviously, there is no easy answer to the question of who or how many will be saved, but one of the most theologically accomplished popes in history, writing at a very high level of authority, has declared that we oughtn’t to hold that Hell is densely populated. To write this off as “remarks” that require “clarification” is precisely analogous to a liberal theologian saying the same thing about Paul VI’s teaching on artificial contraception in the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

    btw – Dr. Martin replied here:
    http://www.renewalministries.net/wordpress/?p=348

    (this was a while ago and I don’t know if there is any more to the story)

    2) Fr. Robert Barron Denies That Adam Was a “Literal Figure”
    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2011/09/fr-robert-barron-denies-that-adam-was.html

    It seems Fr. Barron is pretty confused about what is/isn’t authoritative teaching. That said, most of what I’ve seen/heard from Fr. Barron has been really good, but I do find the above rather troubling. And I also find myself in a similar position as ScottW, so I haven’t actually seen this video.

  3. avatar Gretchen says:

    I watched the video. It was nice. Fr. Barron confidently explains what the Holy Father meant by his recent comments at WYD, and what V2 evangelicalism is all about and what it should look like as far as the laity is concerned.

    Assuming he is correct in describing what Pope Francis means, I would say that CF is certainly doing what the Pope desires, which is to say, to “shake things up.”

    That said, as a convert, I am concerned about a perceived desire for the laity to act like evangelical Christians as they interact with the world. Having come out of that world, I find it is not as successful as is often assumed by Catholics. We are talking apples and oranges. The evangelical Christians must rely upon a never-ending stream of new converts willing to make a public altar call confession of faith in Jesus Christ. This is the weekly scenario: A pastor makes an impassioned call to the unsaved in the congregation (often those who are brought by friends, family, and neighbors). He/she is quite good at stirring up emotion. The individual(s) feels the call and approaches the altar. A confession of faith is made. The newly saved Christian is taken to a room where he is given a Bible or some other literature, and often a “buddy” is assigned who is available for questions and to help the new Christian begin his walk of faith. A baptism is often scheduled (even though many evangelicals feel it is a symbolic act).

    And that is that. The recidivism rate (of those who quit going to services and revert to a non-Christian life or Christian-in-name-only life) is very high. Part of this is due to the doctrine of “Once saved, always saved.” Those who become lovers of Scripture are usually those who retain a desire to continue attending services and attempt to live a Christian life. I attended one mega-church congregation for awhile, and if all who professed a belief in Christ had stayed, they would’ve been bursting at the seams. While they had a large congregation and were doing well, it had more to do with the popularity of the preacher and his preaching (think about it, most of these congregations are built on the personalities of the preachers and eventually fade away when the preacher goes to his eternal reward or has a great fall).

    This is one reason why the Christian sects are continually evolving, to the point that they now mimic the entertainment industry and must come up with ways to keep people in their seats.

    All of this is not what I perceive to be Catholic evangelism. My sense of living an evangelical Catholic life is to live the teachings of the Church openly, to declare them in my work and private life, to live my life as a servant of the Church. There is no one in my life, no one, who does not know I am a follower of Christ, that I am always ready to speak of the hope that is in me. My life revolves around the Church and its sacraments. I consistently implore family and friends who have fallen away to come home to the Church (knowing that it is not as simple as an altar call). I think most of us have symbols of our faith around us in our homes, our cars, on our person (crucifixes, rosaries). I love to explain the Catholic faith to any who have questions.

    The Catholic life is different than a non-Catholic Christian life. The sacraments are vital to a healthy and ongoing faith. If those are minimized or suppressed in importance, than lapsed Catholics or non-Catholics will not see the difference between Catholicism and other Christian sects. And isn’t this what we see in the DOR? The Mass is slowly being taken over by the laity, which effectively suppresses Holy Orders. There is very little preaching about Church teachings on marriage, contraception and abortion. Never anything about the Last Four Things, unless it is the assertion that we’ll all eventually get to heaven because of God’s great mercy (and yes, I have heard that straight from a priest’s mouth).

    Parishes are suppressed and churches sold/destroyed, Catholic schools closed. It makes it more difficult to live a faithful Catholic life when the very hierarchy that is tasked with spreading the Faith is actively engaged in suppressing it! Whether it is through a mistaken or a darker agenda, is beside the point.

    I could go on, of course. In a nutshell, a faithfully-lived Catholic life IS as evangelical as you can get. It simply proclaims Christ and His Church. It was designed by God to proclaim the Good News, from the highest Church official to the lowest penitent. To be Catholic is to be evangelical.

  4. avatar y2kscotty says:

    I have a question: how would you like to have Fr. Barron as your bishop? I wonder if he’s on anyone’s list.
    (This might be really off-topic, for which I apologize, but I do think that Fr. Barron is quite orthodox.)

  5. avatar Hopefull says:

    The term “New Evangelization” seems primarily directed (though not entirely) at the laity. I’m not about to disagree with the need or purpose, but I think we need a corresponding term to also be repeatedly used: “New Reformation,” aimed principally (though not entirely) at the clerics. It would include being faithful to and preaching on ALL church teaching, re-establishing Catholic education, opening churches, being more available for confessions, being faithful to the liturgical norms, and on and on. We need a New Reformation, not as a breakaway but as a return to the Faith in its entirety.

  6. avatar Scott W. says:

    I have a question: how would you like to have Fr. Barron as your bishop? I wonder if he’s on anyone’s list.

    If it was a choice between Bp. Clark and Fr. Barron–Fr. Barron all day x10^5.

  7. avatar DanielKane says:

    I suspect that Fr. Barron would someday become a bishop and if he is sent here, I would be happy. While I have not exhaustively studied his work, the work that I have seen is of high quality. I have had more issues (fraternal disagreements if your will) with Mike Voris than Fr. Barron and I still like Voris.

    As a life-long Catholic (although having admittedly spent a few decades in the wilderness) – and I say this as a point of reference only; the role of the laity is to sanctify the culture. “In this way the lay person engages himself wholly and actively in the reality of the temporal order and effectively assumes his role in conducting the affairs of this order. At the same time, as a living member and witness of the Church, he renders the Church present and active in the midst of temporal affairs.” (APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM #39).

    Re-stated, what occurs inside of the Church (building) is Father’s responsibility – liturgy, sacraments, formation…and what occurs outside of the Church (building) is mine. I enter the Church at least weekly, get forgiven, fed, motivated and I leave to be leaven in the home, work, social arenas I enter – to “make a mess” as Francis states…to call “foul” when they legislate same-sex marriage, to be an lived witness to the Gospel by treating subordinates with dignity and superiors with respect, to not lie, cheat, steal, etc. Taken a step further, to not be anti-sin but pro-virtue.

    Perfect at that? Hardly. That is why Mass and Confession are offered weekly and we dedicate whole seasons to the renewal of person.

    So, forgiven – led – fed – sent. Or liturgically gather – proclaim – fed- sent.

    That is the model and it is recycled weekly at least. Because THE SENT PART IS THE HARD PART. The world is unforgiving, stinky, loud and obnoxious (and that on a good day) so at at minimum a weekly renewal of vocation of the laity is indicated.

    The confusion occurs when a staffer offers some feeding or motivation that the Father needs to do. Like if I got Ben or Diane here to assume my role as husband and father…that would be on its face disordered even though Diane and Ben are great people whom I admire they would be assuming a role not their own. This is complaint #1 – #5 of C.F DoR dot com. Laity (the “super-laity” of Diane Harris’ apt description) do not want to be laity but priests (of sorts) and the priests assume a more “lay” mantle…”just call be Bob”, don’t kiss the ring, dilute of truth to save face or circumstance (translated as pastoral. Even with the best people and the purest intent, it is disordered on its face.

    Even the most recent dust-up regarding the locking of the door. Having worked for several priests and a few bishops, the smart ones would NEVER lock the door personally even if told to. They would get a layman to do so. Because it pertains to the temporal order. It is decidedly not “priestly” to do so.

    Here at C.F.Dor dot com, the laity want to be fed, led and motivated. But like any sane person, they reject fallacies presented as truth because it is contrary to reason. Fallacies of liturgy with super-laity preaching (motivating), fallacies of Sacramental roles as heads of parishes (priestly job), fallacies of Sacramental life with Confession being optional prior to Holy Communion (contrary to Canon Law and the CCC), dancing girls at the altar and so on. Laity dressing like priests…

    All disordered confusion. Which, BTW is part of the attraction of the Extraordinary Form. It is well ordered and we all know our roles. It is comforting and less distracting. There is less hijinks.

    The people of God show up on Sunday to be forgiven, led and fed and for a long time, we get the diagnosis of freedom from sin without Confession, mediocre homiletics, and thank God, a legitimate Eucharist. Intellectually they check out (taking their check book with them) and stray to Calvary Chapel where they are led and motivated or worse, just go home.

    So, I think we here at C.F.DoR dot com are making a mess. Just like a baby at the bottle, we want good formula. And just like a baby at the bottle (or breast) we reject adulterated milk by spitting it out and raising a ruckus – or as Francis describes it, a mess.

    And there is a life cycle issue here too. What is the #1 source of priests? Well formed laity. So of course their is a priest shortage. We ask the world of a young man at ordination and can not reliably tell him what his role will be. How long is the line of men who give up everything to be subordinate to Ms. Super-Laity and sit by impotently while Ms. Super-Laity offers a reflection that would get a 6th grader a C for presentation and a D for content?

    Who here would go to a doctor that smokes, or that allows his assistant perform surgery? Not me.

    The culture will improve when Catholics act like Catholics within the temporal order. This is WYD 101. From Blessed JPII to holy Francis, that is the solitary message. It is as old as Catholicism.

    When we fail to do so, the temporal order fails as well. Exhibit A is NYS.

  8. avatar JLo says:

    To get back to Diane’s question about what we can do further in the spirit of CF, I’m thinking of both Fr. Barron’s saying that the laity got a different message from V2 than was intended (and we certainly experience that here) and run around WITHIN the Church putting themselves front and center; and secondly, something Richard Thomas said at another thread (regarding St. Thomas the Apostle’s battle to stay open), where Richard said that when coming to Rochester an enthusiastic Catholic looking for Catholics like him, he did not find them in parishes but in organizations. Putting those two elements together and thinking as Diane asked us to, is it possible for CF to host a liturgy say once every couple weeks at a parish with an on-board priest and have the Novus Ordo Mass with some Latin and some wonderful Catholic music and perhaps night prayer straight from Liturgy of the Hours? It can be a wilderness when the only place we find lovers of orthodoxy is here at CF!! We need each other in person, in community, in worship. The Church gains strength in numbers and dead-center-with-the-Holy Father Catholics. With the Holy Spirit’s endorcement, the evening could become THE place to be and grow and grow and grow, in attendance and attendant joy, thus spreading true Catholicism. Many of us are getting through our Holy Mass by closing our eyes so we are not distracted and thus discouraged by the nonsense we see. Would not a gathering of those who LOVE the Church as She is SUPPOSED to be send out a call and have those Holy Sacrifices bursting in numbers of attendees? Just a thought, as was requested. +JMJ

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    In the 90’s there was a wonderful core composed of people from the St Thomas More
    Ass
    , the Catholic physicians guild, The Woman’Health Center, The Knights, and people from several parishes. We would share certain liturgies,conference and speakers. But the parishes themselves were mostly barren

  10. avatar militia says:

    What would we think of making an effort to bring truly outstanding speakers in, monthly or quarterly, to the DoR? Maybe in one parish, or over a weekend at 3 well-spaced locations? Resistance at the parish level can be offset by meeting on a campus or at a hotel. Sometimes prophets (and critics) aren’t heard in their own land but someone from outside can say what needs to be said.

  11. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    often a “buddy” is assigned

    I’ve often thought something like this could be a good thing we could coordinate via some sort of online connection. I mean you can have online connections with anyone, anywhere, but what we can offer is the local touch of actually going to a coffee shop and meeting up with people and really delving into deep conversation. Pairing people up with similar situations (sort of like how the “Coming Home” network does for protestant ministers). We could pair people up with similar backgrounds, interests, family circumstances, etc. I think everyone has an interest in discussing religion. The reason it can be so hard to discuss is that rough conversations can make future family/friend relationships really difficult. But if you go meet up with a total stranger face-to-face at a coffee shop – it’s sometimes easier to open up and ask the hardball questions like “so tell me, Catholic person – your Catholic tradition suggests that Mary was endowed with the gift of reason at the moment of her conception – and you think you have the truth, how exactly?”

    The gift of cleansingfire for me has been the amazing people I’ve met. There are so many good, orthodox, Catholics out there who have helped me in so many ways. Without the Internet (at least as a starting point), I’m not sure I would’ve connected in this way. I think there is great potential for combining the Internet with the personal (the great Catholic both-and)

    Speakers and liturgies sound interesting, but I think what might be more practical for us is just a general meet and greet to start.

    I’ve mentioned this one a few times:
    http://streetevangelization.com/

  12. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I’ll also concur with much of what Gretchen stated so very well. For me, I found myself turned off quite a bit in the Protestant world by the whole, “be like us” mentality. Participate in all of our activities, dress like us, talk like us, etc. This leads to trying to be cool, trying to find the next best thing, the next big book/author/concept/trend. And I see many of these same ideas creeping into the Catholic world. (I’m obviously oversimplifying and probably not being completely fair, but am trying to make the point). Being a Catholic is so much different (as Gretchen stated). I’m not out there telling people to be like me and do all the things I do. I’m just telling people to listen to God, to read the Saints and try to imitate them, etc. Much of it comes back to what it means to be a good Catholic. And this is where we can never neglect our inward focus. What does it mean to be a good Catholic? Does it mean that I should be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion? Should I be a lector? Should I join a committee? No! Not that those can’t be good things, but it’s not like those are paths to heaven. I should read Scripture and other spiritual material written by the Saints. I should learn the truths of my faith (not by bits and pieces, but by thorough, systematic study). I should perform acts of mercy. But most of all I should learn to love God (and neighbor) through every action in my life. I should completely resign my will to God’s. That’s going to look a lot different to a lot of different people given their state of life, social class, etc. This message makes absolutely no sense if we aren’t doing these things ourselves. If our parishes are defiant to Catholic teaching, then how much sense does any of this make?

  13. avatar DanielKane says:

    I would just mention that being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and bring the Eucharist to the ill and home is a great means of holiness, a real sacrifice and extremely humbling. While I can not imagine a circumstance that would require me participate in the liturgy assisting at Holy Communion, I have in the past and will in the future bring the Eucharist to the home bound, ill and those in nursing homes. In this particular area, there is a real need that for the time being laity must fulfill (or have people go without the sustenance of the Eucharist in their most trying hours.

  14. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Dan. What a good service that is and I hope I didn’t downplay it. Re-reading what I wrote, I realize it was poorly worded – which is what happens when I type too quickly. Those things can certainly be aids on the path to holiness, but not in and of themselves. They must be sustained by a deep relationship with God (which is ultimately up to us to constantly make room for Him).

  15. avatar Scott W. says:

    I would just mention that being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and bring the Eucharist to the ill and home is a great means of holiness, a real sacrifice and extremely humbling.

    Capital suggestion. I’m going to contact my parish and see about this. Thanks.

  16. avatar Gretchen says:

    I always like the idea of a Theology on Tap type of gathering. Breaking bread together is an intimate and comforting way to form a lasting group of like-minded individuals. Personally, I’ve always wanted to form a book club devoted to reading Catholic works. I envision something like the Inklings, where a whole evening would be devoted to Catholic writings, food, and drink. I also think that meeting weekly would be better than monthly. It would require a true commitment and a rearranging of one’s life, but it is very difficult to build a lasting sense of community when meeting only monthly.

    I noticed that in my old parish in Corning, that “community” was almost the first thing that was destroyed when the priest was replaced with a pastoral administrator. After that, things quickly devolved and now it is all about trying to put in place Protestant-like programs to mimic or rebuild what was destroyed.

    Some of the faithful tended to form small groups outside of the larger parish community to continue the community that had been destroyed. These ad hoc groups are keeping the flame of Catholic identity alive.

    I think CF does this for the online community, but I also agree with Ben that connecting with people in a physical location would do a great deal of good for all involved.

  17. avatar Nerina says:

    So many great posts here, but I really want to commend Daniel on his 4:20 comment. I also want to echo what Ben said about actually meeting people, in person, through CF. Like Ben, I have found the personal friendships formed as a result of writing for CF to be invaluable. I don’t get around here much anymore, but because of my initial lurking several years ago, I ended up meeting people who led me to the TLM (which I love)which includes singing in the choir (which I never thought I’d do in a million years). I’ve also participated in countless Rosaries and Vesper services. They have all deepened my faith and increased my commitment to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I know some people have made assumptions about the type of Catholic who visits this site, but they need to know that there is so much more to all of the contributors and visitors than what ends up in a post or in a combox. If there were a way to have meet and greets, I’d be up for that!

  18. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I remember many outstanding speakers talking at large restaurants in front of hundreds of people. That’s great bit having a solid priest and parish would be the ideal situation

  19. avatar JLo says:

    Love your ideas, Gretchen and Richard and militia: Theology on Tap, book review clubs, speakers. Perhaps regularly scheduled coming together of all the wonderful organizations we already have is another good idea and opening such conferences up to all those interested in a solid Catholic program. Wonderful ideas that I pray CF will perhaps run with. +JMJ

  20. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    When the catholic Physicians guild. Held their conferences say on NFP they would have a theologian, NFP teachers and physicians all presenting

  21. avatar BGP says:

    Ben- I may be able to shed some light on why you are uneasy with Fr. Barron. The vast majority of what he produces is great, but he embraces the ‘new theology’ his favorite theologian is VonBalthasar. Balthasar was a heretic his heresy was subtle, he taught that our Lord suffered in hell after the crucifixion and that we can believe hell is empty. I’ve noticed Fr. Barron tends to elevate theology over church teaching and historical belief.

    Also I am always uncomfortable with celebrity clergy.

    More on problems with Balthasar here- http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/theology/81-theology/170-balthasar-denies-beatific-vision.html

  22. avatar DanielKane says:

    To claim Von Batlthasar a heretic is a stern and unfounded charge. “Heresy is is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.” [CCC 2089]

    In his era Von Batlthasar was subject to the CDF, headed by Cardinal Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger, who has the intellectual capacity and the responsibility to call Von Batlthasar out, never did. In fact, he celebrated his funeral while another Cardinal (de Lubac) preached the homily. John Paul II wanted to elevate him to the College of Cardinals, but he died prior to the consistory.

    The link provided to unam sanctam catholic includes a rambling, unsigned essay that does nothing to support your claim of Von Balthasar as a heretic. It did not demonstrate error, nor obstinacy in error nor attempted ecclesiastic correction. Quite the contrary, a 10 second Google search shows the great esteem that the leadership of Catholicism, including at least the two last popes held him.

    I can grant you that his interpretation of Christ’s activity on Holy Saturday is disputed. But the dispute is not VonBathasar’s making. Rather, Christ’s activity on Holy Saturday has not been definitively declared (as say the Assumption of Mary). For those who would care to research this further one can find authortative works in First Things and Communio (and other signed and peer reviewed locations) that discuss with academic discipline his works. He (like every theologian before him, including Aquinas) may certainly have errors but errors do not make one a heretic in Catholicism.

    Are his works in some places disputed? Yes.

    Does this make him a heretic? No.

    I respectfully suggest that you rescind your accusation of heresy. It is unfounded and lacking of evidence.

    Can the same be said today of many works in theology? Yes. What can be done with Frozen Embryos? Can we un-freeze them and simply walk away? Can we implant them in an unrelated adoptive parent? Can we implant them in the egg donor (the bio mother)? Can we implant them into monastic nuns? Or single women or someday into an electronic womb?

    The present answer to all these questions is maybe. The Church has not definitively decided (except to say that implantation of an embryo in a childless couple would be forbidden) the moral status of frozen embryos with respect to implantation. Since this is (like Christ’s behavior on Holy Saturday or the nuances of the hypostatic union)a truth yet defined with certainty, much less truths that need to be “definitively held” to be Catholic, there are many possibilities for the moment and none are heretical.

    Von Balthasar in without question a theologian whose points are disputed. He is likewise, not a heretic unless one is willing to accept JPII, BXVI and Card. deLubac (to name just three) plus the founders of the Journal Communio as cooperators with heretics.

    Simply stated what our Lord did following “descendit ad inferos” in not defined. CCC 651 leave open many views of what Christ did/experienced on Holy Saturday.

  23. avatar BGP says:

    Ok, I’ll grant that perhaps… perhaps he was not a formal heretic.

    I am not a theologian so it’s possible I’m wrong but reasoning it out…. The traditional view of both Catholic and Orthodox theology is that Christ descended into hell victorious to lead captivity captive. Certain Protestants (Calvinists) have believed he suffered as the damned. Which as I understand it is Balthasars view. To suffer as the damned would require him to be alienated from God the Father which is incompatible with Catholic teaching on the unity of the Holy Trinity. You could come up I suppose, with some mental gymnastics to get around the problem.

    Similarly Universalism is heretical. One could say ‘hell does exist” ‘but is probably empty” which is effectively the position of Balthasar which makes him technically not a heretic, but please lets be realists.

    As far as recent popes and such not condemning him consider this, Blessed John Paul kissed the Koran and asked St. John the Baptist to protect Islam. Is Islam in error? Church leaders doing something about error is more the exception to the rule these days.

  24. avatar Rosemary says:

    Gretchen, I’m a convert, too. I found myself nodding as I read your posts. There were some great ideas in the rest of the posts, also. I hope you all can make some of them happen!

  25. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I’m not as concerned about Von Balthasar’s new ideas (maybe I should be – I just don’t know them all that well) as I am about how he (and others) disparaged the existing theological/philosophical system from whence he came. In doing so, that tradition has all but barely been destroyed so that now we have hardly any foundation upon which to build truth.


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