I'm not writing any more about bishops

My grandmother always used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I think that's pretty ridiculous advice, actually, but when it comes to the official leaders of the Church, I'm going to follow it, at least on this blog. Starting now, I mean.

I started blogging in 2003, and for a couple of years my blog was basically what it has been in recent months -- occasional comments on the hierarchs of the Church and the people who too-uncritically follow them, and not much else.

I decided in the summer of 2005 to delete nearly everything and start fresh with a new direction. Instead of constantly writing about what I was against, I was going to write what I was for. I wanted to focus more on philosophy and theology and spirituality, and for a while I think I basically did that. But I feel like I've gotten sidetracked again.

I haven't decided that religious leaders don't need to be criticised for their failures. They most certainly do -- something Jesus demonstrated quite forcefully by his own example. There are a lot of terrific bloggers who do that well, far better than me, and I will continue to read them regularly. But I feel my own strengths lie elsewhere.

I haven't posted much lately, and it might be another week or so before I post again, mainly because it's nearing the end of the school year, which is a hectic time for any teacher. The summer will undoubtedly be a more productive period as far as my blog goes. I've already started a lengthy post (probably a series of posts) on the related subjects of authority and obedience, and I want to get back into writing more about faith development and evolutionary spirituality and good stuff like that.

More later.


Another fine episcopal appointment by JPII

[T]he Sacred Council teaches that bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ. (Lumen Gentium 20)
Just something to keep in mind while one reads the following AP story (emphasis added by me):

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian archbishop said adolescents are "spontaneously homosexual" and in need of guidance, while society at large is pedophile, according to a Wednesday report.

Archbishop Dadeus Grings — a conservative priest who has made controversial statements in the past — told the O Globo newspaper at a Brazilian bishops conference that society's woes are being reflected in the sex abuse scandal enveloping the Roman Catholic Church.

"Society today is pedophile, that is the problem. So, people easily fall into it. And the fact it is denounced is a good sign," Grings told O Globo.


Grings denounced the abuse within the church, but he said internal punishment of priests guilty of abuse was sufficient and that police should not be involved.

"For the church to go and accuse its own sons would be a little strange," he said.

The archbishop also said it was important to help children avoid homosexuality.

"We know that the adolescent is spontaneously homosexual. Boys play with boys, girls play with girls," he said. "If there is no proper guidance, this sticks. The question is – how are we going to educate our children to use a sexuality that is human and suitable?"

Grings also said the acceptance of homosexuality in society could pave the way for the acceptance of pedophilia.

"When sexuality is trivialized, it's clear that this is going to affect all cases. Homosexuality is such a case. Before, the homosexual wasn't spoken of. He was discriminated against.

"When we begin to say they have rights, rights to demonstrate publicly, pretty soon, we'll find the rights of pedophiles," he said.

The archbishop has made controversial comments in the past.

In 2003, he argued that only 1 million Jews died in the Holocaust, though a few years later he recanted. Experts say 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.

Last year, he outraged Jewish groups in Brazil by telling a magazine that "more Catholics than Jews died in the Holocaust, but this isn't known because the Jews control the world's media."

Grings told The Associated Press at that time he was trying to advocate for the millions of non-Jewish victims of the Nazis.

* * *

Grings was appointed bishop by John Paul II in 1991. [source]

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"Addition by subtraction"? Or is it more like a "brain drain"?

Not every Catholic is troubled by the church’s dwindling membership. According to some conservative priests and thinkers, the sex scandals and conflicts with the Vatican have shaken out the fair-weather believers. The conservatives want a return to the Latin Mass and an end to challenges to the Vatican’s authority. A return to tradition would likely result in “a smaller but much more fervent and evangelizing church,” says the Rev. John McCloskey, a former Wall Street executive who’s an outspoken advocate of the traditionalist movement. The shrinkage would be only temporary, he says, since as liberals left the church, it would be strengthened by the core of tradition-minded Catholics who obey the church’s ban on contraceptives and rear large families. Such families would inevitably produce more sons, some of whom would enter the priesthood. Thanks to a conservative renaissance, says McCloskey, “the church in America may well be on the cusp of a more vibrant era.” [source]
If it's true that 96% of married Catholics use birth control (and apparently the US bishops think this is the case), and if all of those Catholics were to leave the Church, the "tradition-minded Catholics" who remained would have to have some pretty massive families to replenish the Church's numbers.

Somehow I think the hierarchs, who quite like the money they get from the contraceptive-using majority, will find a way to prevent that from happening.
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