The belief of liberal Catholic is, as I see it, somewhat different from what ordinary Catholics (or Christians) believe. I think they would describe it as follows.
We do believe that there is a God, or Goddess of sort. This Being must not be referred to in the masculine, because the Being is clearly very inclusive.
This Being appears to have had a son, of sort. A truly terrific chap, well yes we can call him His son, because he was so good, but I wouldn’t make it too confusing anyway.
Still, just because the son was so amazing it does not mean he was always right, right? Take the matter of the apostles, where he only chose men, discriminating against poor Magdalene to kow-tow to the social prejudices of the time. We are very good and inclusive people today, free from prejudices; but Jesus, terrific as he was, probably also had his. Wonderful chap, though; wonderful!
We have therefore already seen that Jesus probably has a sexist bias (look, he always calls the Being “Father”: I mean, how sexist is that… ) and that he had no courage to defy the social conventions of the time in matter of patriarchate (he could with many others: sabbath, bleeding women, poor people, & Co., but he did not have the gut to allow even his mother to break the glass ceiling of the Christian Board of Directors…). Fortunately, we now have the Spirit, who tells us what is what.
Jesus also founded the Church; well, at least he founded one church, I mean… well… He founded one church but every church is actually his church, isn’t it now, provided they do no harm and have their heart in the right place. Actually, He did found his church, but we must not forget every other church leads to salvation anyway, so it is a matter of choice, really…. also please do not forget non-Christians are also clearly part of Christianity, then Jesus might have been a bit on the macho side (terrific chap, though; amazing! such JOY!) but the Being (let’s call Her so) would certainly not leave everyone out, would She now?
Therefore, Jesus created the vanilla ice cream taste, but you are perfectly free to choose chocolate, stracciatella or pistachio, provided it’s good ice cream made with a lot of joy and inclusiveness.
Speaking of which, the Gospels also tell us Jesus was, alas, extremely homophobic. We must not judge him for this of course, then he lived in an extremely homophobic society without today’s Good News of Inclusiveness. Still, the way the chap spoke about that open and inclusive gay community in Sodom is really disgusting, and we think it should be taken away from the Gospel because it’s really, really out of line. Must be a later interpolation, for sure. I mean, to compare gays with people who do not want to believe in him, hello? Not that it is so bad to not want to believe in Jesus, of course, but you get my point…
Also, just because Jesus was so nice we must not think he could not be gullible, or that after his death and – some say – resurrection (which you would not have been able to photograph, though) his organisation could not get it all wrong. In fact, already his appointments were very bad; look at Peter, always going around with swords and even using them, talk about non-violence! Much worse happened, though, after Jesus’ death, with a strange chap called Saul bringing in his sexphobia, extreme homophobia and wanting to judge everyone around him. Hey, Saul or Paul, who are you to judge?
He even wanted wives to be obedient to their husbands, can you imagine that? Talk about women’s liberation! What a joke…
It went on afterwards, of course. The Apostles and their successors conned Jesus, in that after his death they transformed the Church (erm, church) into something completely different from what Jesus (chauvinist and homophobic as he clearly was; but hey, those were the times…) would have wanted, and this got worse and worse as the centuries went on and the “First Christians” were betrayed (after they had betrayed the message of Jesus, see above) with a modified liturgy, the pomp and circumstances, and the riches and power of the church.
Some men of God had intervened in the meantime, like the extremely creative German monk and the holy Frenchman who established himself in Switzerland. They created stable churches alternative to the one of Rome but of course full of Spirit, and it took some time before we Christians learned that every Christian church is equally worthy, not to mention the other religions which are, of course, very worthy too, then Jesus is love and peace…
During all this time, the Holy Spirit was generally rather silent at least within the Roman Church, whilst the Lutherans, the Calvinists and the others were clearly inspired men of God. We who in the end still call ourselves Catholics had to wait for the second half of the XX century before the Spirit started to talk to us too. Before that it was, clearly, utter darkness.
Admittedly, the Spirit took a while; but when He spoke, boy, that was spectacular! A complete renewal of the Church (erm, church) started to take place, and the Spirit now started to make everything new: a new liturgy of course, replacing the old one that was such a big obstacle to the understanding with our brothers and sisters in Christ. A new way of being in the world, a world that is not the enemy anymore, but our friend, to be embraced in peace and harmony! Out went the old devotions, the stuffy things, the unbearable triumphalism, the pomp and the tiara. We reassessed everything in the light of the Spirit: confession, mass obligation, altar boys, devotions, Friday penance, war, capital punishment, fornication… the very concept of sin became a new, much more joyous meaning, then whom does it help to talk of our weaknesses in terms of sin? Why all that brimstone? Hell is probably (very probably) empty anyway, so relax and enjoy the ride! Or do you think God would be so cruel as to send someone to eternal torment? Co-me oo-n! If this were so, than I would be very clearly better than God, then I am so inclusive! So he must be, too!
And so we arrive to the present day, when the Spirit is still outpouring new, joyous inspiration. We now realise condemnation of sodomy is a sad remnant of an oppressive past, then if homosexuality is not a sin (we know this from the dolphins and the penguins, who are innocent creatures of God) how can sodomy be bad? On the contrary, we celebrate (this is something the Spirit is teaching us to do a lot: celebrating) a loving commitment between two wonderful, wonderful human beings, and we think this should, one day, also be called marriage! At the very least, we should not judge, then we have read it in the Gospel; and whilst the thing with the male bishops was certainly wrong and the homophobic remarks utterly unacceptable, Jesus “do not judge” is certainly the alpha and omega of the entire Christian message! Actually, the entire message of Jesus can be summed up in this words: do not judge. Be inclusive. God is luv. There’s nothing else to know. Let’s celebrate!
Oh, how many beautiful things the Spirit is teaching us!
Unfortunately, not all is hunky-dory. Some strange people are eerily attached to the old ways, in a sort of paleo-sentimentalism the Spirit has clearly not approved, though admittedly it tolerated it for 2,000 years. They attend Mass the old way (they really think they have to attend Mass, by the way; funny, that! Do you think Jesus would die for everyone on the Cross and care who is sitting in the pew?), they say the Rosary, and are recovering all the old and dusty traditions, and all the mistakes of the past! We try,of course,to charitably inform them about the error of their ways, and point out how judgemental, homophobic, sexist, patriarchal, misguided, intolerant, fossilised, elitist, and outright fascist they are in being… judgemental; but they don’t want to listen, and get more and more in number as they are more and more misguided.. and they are so young, so young! Priests, laity, everybody!
Decidedly, young Catholics are not what they used to be… we smoked marijuana so joyously at their age…
We do not care, though. It is fun to think what the Spirit might inspire us with next, and my conscience tell me euthanasia is another issue where the official Church has remained way behind the Spirit, and which should be tackled next. We will discuss it within our group very soon, though due to the average age being somewhat over 80, we think the Spirit will have to speak rather loudly.
But we are so proud of how the Spirit speaks to us…
It occurred to me some liberal nuns and people with similar orientation play with the idea of a she-God.
It must sound very new and daring to them. besides, it takes away that dreaded figure, The Male, from the picture.
I wonder why they never do the same with Satan?
Extremely interesting post on Linen on the Hedgerow about the striking similarity of the devastations caused by Queen Elisabeth I on one side and post V II liberal Catholics on the other.
From the stripping of altars to the mutilation of liturgy, and from the promotion of the usual suspects to the neutralisation of uncomfortable priests, the methods of post V II liberal clergymen seem to take inspiration – if, forcibly, in a less violent way – from the ones used by the sovereign the senseless hypocrisy of the time called “the virgin Queen”.
This is, indeed, an interesting but not a surprising observation, if we but observe that in both cases the aim was to gradually protestantise the relevant organisation. The extent of the operation is easy to be seen, today, in many secondary but not irrelevant details, like the smiling priest greeting everyone after Mass as if he were the Vicar, or stoups hidden so well you congratulate yourself when you find them.
I repeat it once again: the future generations will see in V II and the years which followed a possibly unprecedented attack on everything that is Catholic, a shameful attempt of self-destruction for the sake of popularity, a planetary devastation on a scale not even the Barbarians could have put in place.
Isn’t it surprising, then, the same V II is still defended in the Vatican?
As we have experienced before Summorum Pontificum, liberal catholics are not weary to prophesy a great catastrophe for the Church is she decides to start taking Catholicism seriously. As if liberal Catholicism wouldn’t be rapidly extinguishing itself already, the French magazine Témoignage Chrétien (one of those rags living on subsidies, informs us Messa In Latino) expresses his concern that the Church in France might suffer oh so much if there is a full reconciliation between the Vatican and the SSPX*. Some of the arguments brought about to justify the alleged haemorrhage of faithful are as follows:
1) France is the “historic cradle” of the “Lefebvre movement” and still today its most important stronghold. It is not clear to me how this should cause people to leave the Church en masse. The SSPX being bigger in France doesn’t motivate one more to leave the Church, if this is what he wants to do. Rather, I’d think that France is the country where the reconciliation will bring the most copious fruits, because the SSPX is more present on the territory.
2) Reminiscences of the war in Algeria play, allegedly, a role. One never ceases to be amazed at what excuses people may find.
3) The “trauma” of the “affaire Gaillot”, the ultra-liberal bishop who was kicked out by JP II. The reasoning here is that if you give the boot to an ultra-liberal bishop, people will defeat en masse if the Church reconciles herself with the SSPX. This would make halfway sense, if the supporters of Gaillot were very many, and very angry. But as they are very few, and very much dying, one doesn’t follow the logic.
Dulcis in fundo, bishop Vingt-Trois – the head of the bishops’ conference – is invited to make pressure on the Pope unless he wants to be considered a lightweight compared to his predecessor, Lustiger. The appeal to the vanity of one man is not likely to obtain much of a result, as here the problem is rather that Pope Benedict would seem to be very interested in a full reconciliation. Témoignage Chrétien admit it themselves when they notice, whining a little, that “the Curia doesn’t seem much interested to the feelings in France”.
One can easily imagine that such “don’t do it or the Church will explode” argument – which very resembles a “don’t do it or the schismatics will make a schism” argument – will be much used by others in France and elsewhere. Thankfully, it may well be that the Holy Father is simply of a different opinion.
* This is FSSPX in Latin, and SSPX in English. I read them around both, and never can decide which one to use.