Culture War: January 2004 Archives

The Lay Witness just released its annual pro-life issue, which features a wrap-up co-authored by Fr. Johansen and I on our experience this past fall with Terri Schindler-Schiavo.



It's remarkable how easy it is for the younger generation of Catholics to get giddy about the graying of the post-Vatican II crowd.

I was looking over the comments to RC's post and thinking about how we need to be careful not to cross the line from driving the effort to reverse the liturgical, theological and cultural mayhem of the past century to becoming the invading army that lays waste to people and practices.

"But - they squashed our chant! They smashed the communion rail! They gave us stones instead of bread!"

I know "they" did, and I've experienced how the 60's agenda warped decades of religious education, liturgy, faith and morals. R.E. was all cupcakes and crayons for small kids, and big colorful books about love and happiness for a big kids.

And many of "them" are unrepentant.

Still, we need to work in charity, or else we will become like them.

Celebrate good times, come on!


The Reverend romance-novelist Andrew Greeley cites some studies on the attitudes of priests and tells us good news -- well, at least from our point of view:

My most recent analysis, based on survey data that I and others have gathered periodically since Vatican II, reveals a striking trend: a generation of conservative young priests is on the rise in the U.S. Church.
Now, the "I and others" in that sentence may be a little stretch: the only data he takes from his own organization's polling are 34 years old, so they reflect the "then" part of the comparison, not the "now". Young priests are decidedly different from those of 1970:
These are newly ordained men who seem in many ways intent on restoring the pre-Vatican II Church, and who, reversing the classic generational roles, define themselves in direct opposition to the liberal priests who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s.
The key, perhaps the motivating, issues of the divide are in the understanding of sex:
The divisions created by Vatican II are not new, of course. Caught up in the reform euphoria that followed the council, the lower clergy and the laity almost immediately developed a new ideology based on respect for women and for the freedom (including the sexual freedom) of the laity. On these matters, quietly or loudly, the laity and the lower clergy did resist the teachings of the Church.
The ideology of sexual liberation manifests itself in the usual hot-button issues:
The 2002 Los Angeles Times study reveals that priests of the Vatican II generation overwhelmingly support the idea that priests should be allowed to marry. In the study 80 percent of priests aged forty-six to sixty-five were in favor.... Only about half the priests under thirty-five, however, supported the idea.

The study revealed a clear divide, too, on the ordination of women. Sixty percent of priests aged fifty-six to sixty-five, and at least half of those aged forty-six to seventy-five, supported the idea, but only 36 percent of priests under forty-six did.

...[Y]ounger priests are more than twice as likely as priests aged fifty-five to sixty-five to think that birth control and masturbation are always wrong, and they are significantly more likely to think that homosexual sex and premarital sex are always wrong.

But -- and Fr. Greeley is surprised by this - in spite of the older generations' enlightened liberal views on sex, they don't seem to respect women as well as younger priests do.
And younger priests seem to have a higher general regard for women than older priests do—an attitude demonstrated most clearly in the 1994 Los Angeles Times study, in responses to questions about support for official condemnation of sexism and for better ministry to women, and concern for the situation of nuns. This attitude, which is in line with the views of the laity, explains some of the clergy's resistance to the Church's teachings on sexuality.
I suspect Father's assumption here -- aligning regard for women with moral dissent -- is off-base: he doesn't mention the influence on young priests of Pope John Paul's "theology of the body", which brings together a high regard for women and a stronger adherence to the Church's teachings on sexuality.

Ah, what will we do with these young priests? They even believe that old stuff about an ontological character imprinted by the sacrament:

[Dean] Hoge reports that half the newly ordained priests he encountered believe that a priest is fundamentally different from a layperson—that he is literally a man apart.
Good Heavens, they might even have some elan.

For Greeley, the conflict is all about power, now held by a generation of "moderate men", but soon to be ceded to those unrealistic reactionaries trying to turn back the clock to 1961: those young priests engaged in a "Restoration" -- he writes as if describing a bunch of monarchists (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you).

The power is slipping away from Greeley's generation, the precious, precious power. We only wants it a little longer.

Death of Canadian Democracy


Okay, the next sentence is gonna be a little cumbersome and involve heavy name dropping.... A recent piece on homosexual marriage, the suppression of civil liberties and the death of Canadian democracy written by John Pacheco of and I for a fall issue of Culture Wars is now available on-line at the Sierra Times. Here's a sample:

"On June 15th, 2001, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Board of Inquiry fined Hugh Owens, an evangelical Protestant, and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix $1500 for violating the equality rights of three gay men. Mr. Owen’s crime? He expressed his opinion on gay and lesbians sex through an advertisement in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. This advertisement consisted of a pictograph of two men holding hands superimposed with a circle and slash- the symbol of something forbidden-and a list of Bible verses condemning the practice of homosexuality. While Mr. Owens is currently appealing this ruling, if he loses and still refuses to comply with the Board of Inquiry, he will potentially find himself charged with contempt of court. If convicted, he will likely find himself consigned to jail as the first prisoner of conscience in the war between sexual plurism and religious plurism."

Read the whole piece here

Vulgarity for Jesus!


According to the Sierra Times, the Dems have taken their vulgarity to a new low by spouting it off in a Lutheran church. This raises an interesting question, namely, will the 2004 presidential campaign require parental ratings?

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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unless you state otherwise.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture War category from January 2004.

Culture War: December 2003 is the previous archive.

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