Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Liberalism in the Church: Attraction or Detraction?

April 14th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

To a group of people arguably most closely our brothers and sisters in Christ (ie conservative Evangelicals), liberalism in the Church is a major detraction.  That’s right – the effort of false ecumenism (bending the Truth) actually does the opposite of what true ecumenism is supposed to do: bring those outside the Church into the fold.  When a conservative Evangelical sees the stronghold that liberalism and progressivism has on our institutional Church, it serves as one more reason that the Catholic Church couldn’t possibly be the One, True Church instituted by Jesus Christ.  I’ve had people ask me, “you don’t point protestants to Cleansing Fire do you?”  My answer is, “yes, I most certainly do”.  Wouldn’t it just scare them away?  On the contrary, I believe it’s better to let them know that being a Catholic doesn’t mean voting Democrat, pretending that Truth is something beyond our grasp, and reducing the Christian Faith to warm-fuzzy feelings.  In my opinion, it’s good to let them know that to be authentically Catholic is to be repulsed by much of what goes on in our diocese.  If we don’t get this message across, then we have little hope of enticing one of the largest and most fervent religious group in America.

The post grew out of two articles I recently read:

ATTENTION PRIESTS! How Well Are You Doing Your Job? by Jimmy Akin

The problem is this: The Catholic Church has an appalling lack of evangelistic activity, especially in the developed world.

Liberalism in the Catholic Church by Sean Patrick

Lastly, if you are not yet Catholic and are turned off by seeing liberalism in the Church; know that Christ’s calling of you into the Catholic Church does not depend on waiting until there are no liberals or hypocrites in the Church. And know that the Catholic Church can certainly use you to join the cause.



12 Responses to “Liberalism in the Church: Attraction or Detraction?”

  1. Ben Anderson says:

    the liberalism to which this post refers to is anything that veers away from being simply Catholic

  2. Thinkling says:

    Patrick’s post uses a Blessed John Henry Newman quote to define liberalism. That definition sounded a lot like what I would call “relativism” which I would have preferred, as you ask 10 people what liberalism is you’ll get 11 answers. When one says relativism, people pretty much know what you mean (even if their opinions of it mught vary:P)

    Labels are funny things. I read some Christopher West and even tried reading his primary source material (not for the faint of heart, BTW), and came to recognize how true the person was who called John Paul II a “radical”. Yet if you tell 99% of people that he was a radical, they’d have you committed.

    It’s funny, Truth is metaphyically pure, and yet deviations from it can occur in an infinite number of directions. I have grown to be frustrated with the myopia of the Left/Right false dichotomy, a sort of trapped-in-Flatland-esque nightmare when reality is in 3D, or more. I think, e.g., Mark Shea bears a similar distaste for that false choice and our philosophies’ captivation and sometimes even enslavement to it.

    Coincidentally (or not?) Fr Longenecker’s column today describes another “dimension” of dissent. His is correlated with the liberal/conservative one but they are by no means synonymous.

  3. MD says:

    I came across a great book (it’s in my car atm) called “Liberalism is a Sin”

    It has an imprimatur.

  4. Scott W. says:

    Instead of getting hung up on one word and before we get on a road to re-establish the English language, I’ll try responding to the overall point of the entry. Obviously this is about the kind of ecumenicism that attempts to shuffle some of the more distinctively Catholic truths off the stage in an ill-advised move to get along better with non-Catholic groups. It may be a good intention to make Catholicism more palatable, but the effects are disasterous such as RCIA classes that don’t mention Marian dogmas at all, hostility to the practice of Eucharistic Adoration, and Catechumens and Candidates entering the Church with heads full of mush. I recall an account about a Catholic who had a non-Catholic friend who attended mass back in the olden days and was appalled at the respect given to the Eucharist. To him it was rank idolotry. For whatever reason, he went to a Mass more recently and he said it didn’t bother him anymore: “It was obvious no one there believed what the Church teaches about the Eucharist.”

  5. Nerina says:

    Scott W. – great comment!

    Thinkling – I agree the source material for TOB is definitely intense. And JPII was “radical” in many respects. You make a great point about labels.

    False ecumenism (i.e. all faiths are the same as long as we focus on God or “whatever works for you as long as you don’t hurt anyone”) has been a disaster. The “tyranny of relativism” has certainly been at play in the institutional Church for a while and our diocese is a vivid example of the fallout.

  6. Thinkling says:

    @Scott, yeah apologies for the near-sidetracking of the thread. I’ve never met a soapbox I didn’t like.

    But I do get the idea and fully concur: “It may be a good intention to make Catholicism more palatable” Yeah but what road is paved with those?

    Thanks Nerina. Can’t wait to get my hands on the (apparently) new and improved translation of TotB.

  7. Much Afraid says:

    “to be authentically Catholic is to be repulsed by much of what goes on in our diocese.”

    consider this:
    “People who regard themselves as authentically Catholic rarely enjoy being be told they’re not, or that they’re only selectively so.”

    and this:
    Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan, Colorado Springs: “No one can claim to be authentically Catholic if he or she is not in communion with the diocesan bishop and the Pope.”

  8. Dr. K says:

    Much Afraid – in the future, please post the full links instead of redirects. Thanks.

  9. Raymond Rice says:

    Why do people expressing thoughts on here use fake names, coded names or other devices to describe who they are?? Are we in some kind of danger by posting our opinions under our full family name and the names given at baptism???

  10. Christopher says:

    (insert link here to cf FAQ on why anonymous voices are needed). Ben’s post of a few weeks ago I think had some good info.

    Raymond, what purpose would a name serve you? I don’t write for this site but If you want to meet up in person give me your email, phone number and church you attend. I’m happy to talk in person if you are feeling the need for a face to face dialog.

  11. militia says:

    yes, Raymond, some people in some parishes, with some priests are in danger. Or at least they fear they are in danger. We only slowly and in some circumstances grow into “Go ahead and persecute me for His Name Sake. I’ll be blessed.”

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