Thursday, February 05, 2009

Christine: tell us it ain't so!

Finding this comment on Pastor Weedon's blog, I had to double check whether this was written by Christine or PE:
To be honest about my own bona fides, I spent most of my childhood and young adult life as a Lutheran (including some LCMS congregations) but have been a member of the Catholic church for the past ten years. Coming to the conclusion that the Catholic church is no longer the church she claims to be I am with a repentant heart going back to my Lutheran roots so that I may once again be truly "catholic."
My immediate reaction is that I must have misread this comment - but I don't quite know how I could have...

Have you somehow managed to make some sort of sense out of PE's arguments, Christine?

19 Comments:

At Thursday, February 05, 2009 1:24:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

The link doesn't work (for me).

So, without context, let me say:
"Go, Girl!"
(-there's only so much paternalism
any of us can take! )

btw: what is 'LCMS', please?

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 1:30:00 pm , Blogger William Tighe said...

If the Catholic Church is "no longer" the Church she claims to be, that means she once was what she still (as ever) claims to be. So when did she cease to be it? If by 563, then the Oriental Orthodox are the right inheritors of that claim; if by 1484, then the Orthodox. No Protestant denomination has ever claimed to be the Catholic Church; Lutherans, have, at most, claimed that they, in professing what the Lutheran Confessions assert, embrace the Catholic Faith in its purity, but still have not claimed that the sum total of Lutheran bodies constitute the Catholic Church. But the historical Catholic Church (whether one identifies her today with Rome, the Orthodox or the Orientals) has constantly identified herself (before Constantine as well as after) not merely as that body which professes "the true Faith," but as a sacramentally united visible body manifesting a certain sacramental structure as well. I do not see any of this in Lutheranism, and thus find myself unable to believe that Lutheran bodies constitute "the Catholic Church" any more than Adventist or Anglican bodies.

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:07:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Hi David,

No, you haven't misread. I wasn't going to address it here today in light of the developments regarding your possible ordination to the diaconate and the outcome of that endeavor. I think your diocese made a grievous mistake, you would have made a fine deacon.

But as to my move back to the LCMS, yes, I'm afraid it's true. I'm not sure that I can make sense of it to all the wonderful Catholic Christians I have met here at Sentire, but I'll try.

I've been having this conflict for the better of the last year and a half, before I made the online acquaintance of our august fellow blogger, Past Elder.

David, I can't speak to the situation in Australia but I can no longer convince myself that the church I thought I was joining is the Church as she is in the U.S.

My husband's words to me when I asked him to petition for an annulment to enter the Church were "don't say I didn't warn you." As a cradle Catholic and product of parochial education all his life he knew of what he spoke. I'm afraid his position is pretty much the same as PE's, that the Catholic Church of Vatican II is not the Catholic Church of Pius X and after the changes at the Council, which to him were radical, he no longer saw any reason to attend Mass.

But even that was not my reason for the move I am about to make back.

I'm simply tired of going to Mass, seeing most of the people no longer even bothering to genuflect with the tabernacle in full view. I'm tired of homilies that speak so little of the grace of Christ and the wide-spread Pelagianism I still see in the Church in America.

I noted with sadness that the LCMS still celebrates the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord. For Catholics it morphed into Mary, Mother of God which in turn is morphing into "World Peace Day." World Peace day? And it's not like there aren't enough Marian feasts in the liturgical year.

I miss the beauty of Lutheran worship, her hymns, her deep and heartfelt trust in Christ and what he has done for us. I miss the pastor as "seelsorger" of his flock. The anonymous megaparishes where the priests never really get to know their parishioners are too distant for me.

I want to take up my idenity as an evangelical catholic again.

And lastly, I don't think even Papa Benny, as gifted as he is, can turn the Church around again. There's been too much water under the dam.

I will always hold this blog in the highest esteem.

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:23:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Christine,

Attend your local Traditional Latin Masses.

Regards

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:51:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Hi Anonymous,

I remember the beauty of the Latin Mass. My Catholic dad took me when I was a little girl.

I'm afraid it's more than a matter of "Rites". To be Catholic involves a whole different way of thinking that I can no longer subscribe to. In all honesty, I'm not sure I ever did. I've been trying to convince myself lately that what I thought I believed I still do in fact believe.

Being Lutheran is such a joyful, Christ-centered thing and let me be very clear that I am speaking about Confessional Lutherans. It's no secret that there are Lutheran bodies that no longer identify as such.

I think the most difficult thing I've wrestled with as a Catholic in America is that too many Catholics, lay and clergy, no longer maintain that what one believes is as important as what one does. I wonder if I asked ten Catholics at the parish I attended what the Athanasian Creed is how many would know.

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:55:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Thank you, Christine. Your decision is your own and you do not have to defend it here or anywhere except in your own heart and before the throne of God (which should be one and the same! :)).

But if you are willing to discuss it further, I would simply urge you not to confuse the categories as many do so very often.

There are two issues here:

1) the question of ecclesiology. What is the Church and how is she identified? That's a theological question which will produce a theological answer.

2) the question of right practice - or conversely abuse in the church. That is a practical question and a matter of discipline and governance. And several heaped servings of culture and history.

The latter can raise questions, but it must always be the former which decides the issue.

The fact is that I can understand your reasons, whereas I can't really understand PE's because he is arguing on the basis of some kind of ecclesiology which I just cannot (for the life of me) follow.

He says that he did not leave the Mother Church because he found out his mother was a whore, he left because he found out she was not his mother.

It seems to me that you have not yet done your genetic testing yet to find out whether the whore whom we see with our eyes might not in fact still be our genetic mother, despite her horrible abuse of that motherhood.

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:57:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Bingo, Christine, you said it yourself (I was posting as you wrote your last comment, so hadn't seen it yet. We must both be on the computer at the same time. Spooky!): "no longer maintain that what one believes is as important as what one does"

Yet you are acting in reaction to what some (OK, I admit it, a majority) Catholics do rather than what the Catholic Church teaches. You are making the doing more important than the teaching.

The question remains: is the Catholic FAITH true?

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 3:30:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

"He says that he did not leave the Mother Church because he found out his mother was a whore, he left because he found out she was not his mother."

Completely not what I said. Oh well, what else is new?

Thr problem is not that no-one else claims to be the Catholic Church, it is that the Catholic Church claims to be the catholic church.

The post is about Christine, not me.

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 6:10:00 pm , Blogger Ben said...

Are there Confessional Lutheran parishes to be found?

I've found none in my area, except one that ~might~ qualify, though even there the liturgical situation is about par for the course with other Catholic parishes. I don't know how it is where you are Christine, but there are plenty of good parishes in my area that have reverent liturgy.

Is the main issue you have the lack of liturgical reverence?

I don't see how becoming Lutheran is going to fix that...

And as far as the general level of piety among people... well... do you teach CCE?

I certainly feel your frustration with the cattle-like nature of so many Catholics, unthinking and unfaithful... I just haven't really found it to be any different anywhere else.

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 6:14:00 pm , Blogger Ben said...

"I'm simply tired of going to Mass, seeing most of the people no longer even bothering to genuflect with the tabernacle in full view."

Wait, honest question, because I don't know:

Do Lutherans genuflect? What do they do with the Eucharist when they are done with it... do they have a tabernacle?

 
At Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:42:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Hi Vicci -- to answer your question, LCMS can mean two different church bodies, the Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore, or the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod. On this blog, the reference (so far) has been to the latter, as that is the one to which I belong as well as the American pastors who comment here regularly. There is no fellowship between the two, the "other" LCMS belonging to the Lutheran World Federation with whom we have some serious issues about what is Lutheran.

The LCMS referred to in these posts was founded on Monday, 26 April 1847 in Chicago IL by 12 pastors from 15 Lutheran parishes established to serve German immigrants to the US, with the original name Die Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio und andern Staaten, which means The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States.

In 1917, with anti-German sentiment running at fever pitch in the US, "Deutsche" (German) was dropped from the name, and the transition to English already long underway sped up. In 1947 the name was shortened to its present form, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. No issues re the "other states" or Ohio -- some of our best members are from Ohio -- just a more workable name and reflecting that our church headquarters is in St Louis MO.

In no sense are we the "Catholic Church" or the only place where you can find the catholic church of the Creed. We are members of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). Please check us out at our website www.lcms.org

 
At Friday, February 06, 2009 2:22:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Dear Ben,

To clarify a bit of background, I am European (German) by birth and was raised by a Lutheran mother and Catholic father. My sister and I were raised in the German Evangelical Lutheran Church but I had exposure to Catholicism through my Dad and his Catholic family.

You are quite right, if the issue were simply one of liturgical reverence and lukewarm Catholics it would be a small justification.

When I made the move to the Catholic Church ten years ago I really thought I was well prepared. I had some misty memories of the preconciliar Church as I saw it as a child. My Dad would take me occasionally.

I have found since that one can read, study, and go through all the preparation one can but until one is an active participant in any organization, from the inside, not the outside looking in, one never gets the full picture.

In the U.S. fortunately we still have some faithful Confessional Lutheran congregations and that is where I will be headed.

As far as the issue of genuflection is concerned it was important to me as a Catholic because it tells me a great deal about a parish when the majority of people don't bother to genuflect anymore before the tabernacle. If one truly believes that the reserved Presence is there, why would one not genuflect? It was certainly universal in my father's time. There was no question of what that tabernacle represented.

Lutherans are liturgical Christians and Luther kept much of the Mass in his revised liturgy, but reservation of the Sacrament was not kept. Following the New Testament mandate that the the Lord's Body and Blood are given for us to eat and drink unto salvation and the remission of sins, reservation was discontinued in the Lutheran churches.

To try and give a more concise answer my views on ecclesiology, Christology and soteriology have come back to what I believed as a Lutheran. Holy Scripture has always been very important in my spiritual life (as it is for all Christians) and the way that Scripture informs the Confessions and life in Christ as a Lutheran are my bedrock. I also miss the beautiful sung liturgy of the Lutheran Church. Her hymns glorify Christ and what he has done for us; they are rich with Scriptural and theological concepts.

The liturgical movement which began in the Benedictine monasteries started out as a good thing but some of the more liberal elements at the Second Vatican Council took it much further than it should have gone and we are living with the consequences."

The way the Church understood herself and her mission prior to the council has changed. She has become too apologetic about what she believes in the fear of "offending".

This is only a small part of the story. I will always acknowledge what is good, true and holy in the Church of Rome. I just can't call her home anymore.

 
At Friday, February 06, 2009 2:50:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Dear David,

Your comment:

Yet you are acting in reaction to what some (OK, I admit it, a majority) Catholics do rather than what the Catholic Church teaches. You are making the doing more important than the teaching.

The question remains: is the Catholic FAITH true?


Actually, I a not reacting to what "some Catholics" do, but as to what the official Church is doing.

Is what the Catholic Church teaches true? Most certainly -- in part. Insofar as she teaches that Jesus Christ is the God-Man, the Word who became flesh, dwelt among us, died and rose again. The Catholic Church most definitely exists within the catholic Church.

I no longer believe, however, the Catholic angle of what Christ's death and resurrection mean for us.

I once again believe that Christ's death was the fulfillment of His once-for-all sacrifice for the life of the world and that in Holy Communion we receive the fruits of that sacrifice at His gracious initiative. We don't need to go back to Calvary, it's a done deal nor does that mean I have adopted the evangelical view that once saved, always saved. Our salvation was bought at a bitter price and I hope to live my life in thanksgiving for this great and holy gift.

The Marian doctrines of the RC and even the EO no longer make sense to me. Scripture shows that at His Ascension Jesus said that all power in heaven and on earth have been given to him. Hebrews tells us that in these last days God has spoken definitively through his Son. He doesn't need to send Mary through apparitions to remind us what it means to be Christian and yes, I know officially that apparitions are considered private revelations that are not binding on the faithful, but in practice it doesn't work out that way.

I have labored in vain to find either the terms "hiereus" or "sacerdos" applied to any Christian pastor in the New Testament. They seem to only be relevant to Christ, our only High Priest. Presbuteros does not mean "priest."

I also fear that the Catholic Church is heading in the direction of universalism in some quarters. How many times have I heard a very confused religious Sister (and even layperson) say that we should not offend Muslims by trying to convert them. Well, that is precisely what the Lord calls us to do. Not to whack anyone over the head with the Gospel, to be sure, but to graciously invite.

The Communion of Saints? There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the Saints and all my departed love ones pray for me. They are living in the full charity of Heaven and could not do otherwise.

But I no longer feel compelled to invoke them.

These are only some of the issues which with I am at odds now with Catholic teaching.

 
At Friday, February 06, 2009 11:02:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Dear PE,
thank you for the explanation. My contact with the LC (Aust.) has been in the SE states (SA and Vic) where the heritage is one of German migrants fleeing religious persecution. (as I have been told) In the main I have found the people to be rather lovely, if somewhat idiosyncratic.
One thing that always amused me was their desire to know 'where you are from?' and 'who was your mother/father?'
I dated a Lutheran for some time, and often attended worship. The structure (music, scripture and preaching) is rather compelling.
I don't understand the nuances of some of the 'liturgical' arguments on this Blog.
But, like art, I know what I like!

 
At Saturday, February 07, 2009 4:53:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Thanks, Vicci!

Pretty much all church bodies over 100 years old will not only reflect their faith, but their national, ethnic and cultural origin. As time moves on, this becomes a struggle, because sometimes soundness of faith can become confused with sameness of origin, and in countries like the USA or Australia, where the mix is relatively new as world history goes and evolving, this brings change, which is awkward in people and institutions alike.

So you have Orthodox churches with a nationality before the word Orthodox -- for example, Greek Orthodox, which our parish here struggles with it no longer being Greeks from the old country, but intermarriage and time have brought non-Greeks and non-Greek speaking -- including Greek descended! -- into the mix, and the challenge is, how to be the same faith with a different mix.

Likewise the Catholics, where in the older parts of town you can find Catholic parishes every few blocks, in origin the "German" parish, the "Irish" parish, the "Polish" parish etc, with now little but the last names remaining of the original parish mix. You can still find Spaghetti Dinners at St Frances Cabrini parish here, but there are few Italians preparing or consuming it!

Likewise Lutheran synods. All of them in our two countries represent immigrants originally from a specific place, and many of the synod mergers have reflected the change in the mix toward a newer common one. The Evangelical Lutheran Church In America, for example, is a merger of three prior synods, the two big ones themselves being the result of mergers of more ethnically defined prior synods. (The third one was a little one that got ticked off at us and left in the 70s.)

It was formed in 1988 as a body, is about twice our (LCMS) size and is the 4th biggest "Protestant" church in the US. As a body it reflects no particular ethnic derivation.

Unfortunately, as a body it reflects no particular Lutheran derivation either any more. Which gets back to why on a local level a person can encounter questions about where are you from or who are your parents in any body going back a while. They aren't really trying to be exclusive or tribal at all. It's just the surface of the struggle to maintain the same faith in the context of changing cultures.

So it goes on. And English-descended Irish-adopted German-descended-educated Puerto Rican-socially-adopted guy like myself goes to a parish in a synod where once everything was conducted in German, and lives across the street from the congregational president of a primarily African-American parish in the same synod!

Makes for some great parish dinners, or even better that hallowed institution of Lutheranism, the pot luck!

Unless -- and of course this is IMHO only -- one happens to be in a parish with Scandinavian derivation, where you may be confronted by a plate of lutefisk, which under no circumstances should be eaten by anyone, anywhere, ever. The fish in lutefisk is cod, or, and here is your first bone fide Lutheran joke, the piece of cod that passeth all understanding!

 
At Saturday, February 07, 2009 6:53:00 am , Anonymous the shameless, self-promoting Lucian said...

If the Catholic Church is "no longer" the Church she claims to be, that means she once was what she still (as ever) claims to be. So when did she cease to be it?

1960s?

I've been having this conflict for the better of the last year and a half, before I made the online acquaintance of our august fellow blogger, Past Elder.

The culprit! Poisoning the well again, huh? Passssst Elder tempting Eve, errr, I mean Christine. >:)

On a more serious note, however, here are some resources for anyone seeking conversion to Orthodoxy.


PE,

just so You won't say I forgot You, here's something for the little bittered, dis-illusioned ex-Catholic in You:

Link #1
Link #2

And here's something for the Lutheran in You.

Enjoy! :D

 
At Saturday, February 07, 2009 7:05:00 am , Anonymous Lucian said...

How many times have I heard a very confused religious Sister (and even layperson) say that we should not offend Muslims by trying to convert them.

Yeah.. right.. Ecumenism.. `bout that..

in light of the developments regarding your possible ordination to the diaconate and the outcome of that endeavor. I think your diocese made a grievous mistake, you would have made a fine deacon

Sorry 'bout that, David. :-| (Never to late to become a Baptist, though...). Seriously, David, I'm truly sorry. :-(

David the Deacon -- the Dream dat never wuz... :-(

 
At Saturday, February 07, 2009 7:34:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

The culprit! Poisoning the well again, huh? Passssst Elder tempting Eve, errr, I mean Christine. >:)

Nah Lucian, nothing quite that exotic (-:

PE has his own history for being Lutheran as I have mine for returning to same.

David would make a splendid Deacon.

 
At Saturday, February 07, 2009 8:09:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Triple Whippy!

Is it a rock dreaming it's a man,
Or a man dreaming he's a rock?

Man's enchantment lasts a long time.

 

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