The Catholic Church is Now Pissing Off the People Who Actually Like Them

We know Catholic leaders are mostly a bunch of men who don’t want to hear any legitimate arguments as to why they’re wrong on issues like contraception usage and gay marriage.

We also know that most Catholics who are not part of the hierarchy don’t buy into what their “superiors” tell them. Catholic women use birth control. Many Catholics support gay marriage. The list goes on.

So when they Arlington Catholic Diocese sent Sunday School teachers a “Profession of Faith” they needed to sign, some of them balked at the idea that they have to “firmly accept” anything the Church teaches about faith and morals.

Ditto with being forced to adhere to the “will and intellect to the teachings” of Catholic leaders.

“I’m just shocked, I can’t believe they’re asking me to sign this,” said [Kathleen] Riley, who said she may keep her own children out of the parish education program in the fall. “The bishops are human, and sometimes their judgment is not God’s judgment. We always have to be vigilant about that. The Holy Spirit gives us the responsibility to look into our own consciences.”

[George Mason University history professor Rosemarie] Zagarri said the oath was a “slap in the face” to Catholics who have remained active and close to the church despite controversies.

“Although I fully understand the authoritative role of the Catholic hierarchy in defining the teachings of the faith, in my view only a person who is willing to abandon her own reason and judgment, or who is willing to go against the dictates of her own conscience, can agree to sign such a document,” she wrote to Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde.

I’m loving this implosion from the sidelines. The Church isn’t going to back down from their awful ideas and the decent people who actually like the Church are finding more and more reasons to get the hell out of there.

Keep it coming.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Gordon Duffy

    The profession of faith is something to be mumbled verbatim with no thought, not something to be read and signed!

    • mobathome

       You mean it’s a “click-through”?

    • MarylandBill

      Naturally some might think so, but actually, I think you will find historically various professions of faith, whether this one, or the Nicean or Apostle’s creeds tended to elicit much debate.  

      Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant theologians have been debating points of faith and what they have meant for centuries.

  • http://www.mygodlesslife.com/ Tris Stock @mygodlesslife

    One wonders if, should these parishioners refuse to sign, they will be excommunicated?

    • Reginald Selkirk

       Did you actually read the article? They would not be excommunicated, they would just not be allowed to teach Sunday school.

      • http://www.mygodlesslife.com/ Tris Stock @mygodlesslife

        Yes. I read it. I even did a search for how many times the excommunication was mentioned on this page. including this post, it will be three times; twice by me and once by you. Not in the post at all.

        Perhaps I should have used the term Sunday school teachers rather than parishioners. My bad.

    • amoramens

      What? Of course not.

      Look, if I showed up at a Buddhist Temple and said I really liked a lot of things about Buddhism, and believed a lot of it but thought they were wrong about some important things… I think they’d probably welcome my questions and I could reasonably expect them to honor my own independence of thought. But I’d feel a little silly demanding that I be installed as a teacher of Buddhism.

      • http://www.mygodlesslife.com/ Tris Stock @mygodlesslife

        Indeed, but we are not talking about Buddhists here, are we? We are talking about Catholics. Name one instance where people have questioned the official Catholic teachings and have been warmly embraced by the hierarchy to the extent that “they’d probably welcome my questions and I could reasonably expect them to honor my own independence of thought.”

        If the RCC were in any way serious about such an enterprise, they wouldn’t be asking people to sign such a rigid and authoritative declaration that actively inhibits such behaviour?

        Why would you feel silly, are not your opinions of equal or better calibre to those in authority? If not, why hold them in the first place? Surely it would be better, if one truly believed what one held to be true to be actually true, to work within the system rather than outside of it?

        As Hemant has alluded to both here and in other posts, what business does anyone have being a Catholic if your beliefs are so far detached from the official church doctrine? By that token, what business does the church have investing time and effort in your anti-Catholic practices? 

        • amoramens

          Name one instance? It happens all the time. What do you imagine goes on at Catholic university theology classes? Or in RCIA classes for prospective converts? Or in official avenues of ecumenical/intereligious dialogue? Or when Catholics express doubts or disagreements to their pastors?

          I agree completely with the point you’re making when you ask “If not, why hold them in the first place?” But here’s the critical distinction. I wouldn’t (and don’t) feel silly disagreeing with the teachings of a given form of Buddhism. But given those disagreements, I would certainly feel silly insisting on my right to teach Buddhism to Buddhist children.

          As is demonstrated weekly by American Catholics beyond number, the church can be a very welcoming place for those who dissent from her teachings. But declining to name such a person as a parish catechist is surely not unreasonable?

          In general – and I’m not directing this to you personally – critics have to choose between beating the Church with the “lots of Catholics dissent from its teaching” stick or beating it with the “crushing of independent thought” stick. But surely one can’t have both.

          We should probably admit that much depends on one’s personal or anecdotal experience with the Church, which is of real but limited objective value. Clearly a lot of people have suffered various forms of intellectual abuse at the hands of the clergy. If the Church taught that clergy didn’t sin, this would be a pretty damning circumstance. But the hierarchy sometimes being jerks doesn’t affect the truth of Catholicism any more than atheists being jerks affects the truth of atheism. In both cases, the model predicts and accounts for the possibility that any given member may be stupid, wrong, or wicked. And that includes the Pope.

          But I really do think my experience of independent thought and reasoning being encouraged is far more typical than others’ experience of it being discouraged. I further think that it can be shown to be in harmony with the actual teaching of the Catholic church, while the stifling of rationality can be shown to be in disharmony with it.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            You should feel uncomfortable teaching Buddhism until you are well versed in the ideas of that philosophy. But there is no single interpretation of Buddhism, and no central authority to create one. Many teachers have unique interpretations, and have thought deeply on the matter… which is what qualifies them as teachers in the first place. Not that they follow any particular interpretation of another, but that they can intelligently present their own.

            You really can’t compare the way Buddhists teach to the way Catholics do.

            • amoramens

              Can’t compare? Of course I can. If you mean “can’t identify”, well, I’m not. I must be writing very poorly, because I’m making an extraordinarily simple point here. It holds for any system of thought not absolutely devoid of positive content.

              If [thoughtsystemX] is held by and essential to [institutionX], it’s reasonable for the leaders of [institutionX] to prefer [thoughtsystemX] to be taught by people who profess [thoughtsystemX].

              I don’t agree that having a unique interpretation and having thought deeply are sufficient qualifications for teaching. Do you really think that? Wouldn’t that mean that Eckhart Tolle, for example, is qualified to teach quantum theory? There’s a reductio ad absurdam if ever there was one.

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                No, you can’t compare the two, because there is no Buddhist institution, and there is no Buddhist thought system.

                You obviously don’t understand Buddhism at all. A Buddhist teacher is basically defined as a person who has reflected deeply on his philosophy, and is then able to share his interpretation. Of course, not all who have reflected in this way choose to teach, but all who are respected teachers have done so.

                Your argument regarding QM is a non sequitur, since QM isn’t Buddhism.

                • amoramens

                  I think I see: your sentence beginning “many teachers” referred only to teachers of Buddhism. I took it to mean teachers in general. That renders the last paragraph of my last post irrelevant.
                  Can we set aside the Buddhism thing? I think you’re wrong, but it’s so far off topic and I’m happy to proceed with a more acceptable example. Substitue Islam. Or Marxism. Substitute anything that is a system of thought and that has taken or could take institutional form.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I don’t think it matters what religion you pick. If you go to them and ask to teach, they should rightfully test your knowledge. They should test your teaching skills. But what point is there in asking what you believe? Anybody can lie about that.

                  The reason the teachers in this case are pissed- and rightfully so- is because being asked to sign the document offered amounts to a declaration of a fundamental lack of trust. None of their teaching skills have been challenged.

                  The odds are that most of the teachers do not believe in the ultimate authority of their church’s leadership. Some will quit before signing, some will simply sign, knowing they are lying. The end result is a less respectful staff that has had its lack of trust in Church leadership reinforced.

                • 3lemenope


                  If you go to them and ask to teach, they should rightfully test your knowledge. They should test your teaching skills. But what point is there in asking what you believe? Anybody can lie about that.

                  The point is to be consistent with their own metaphysical views. To them, the belief itself is significant and has effects. Given that stance, it is reasonable for them to ask, even if they have no way of checking to see if a person answers truthfully.

                  Besides, is there any other arena (besides, possibly, the practice of criminal law) you can think of where the preferred course is to not ask a question simply because the answer given might not be truthful?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  They are asking the question too late. They are asking it of people who expect they have already earned the trust of their employer, and then that employer acts in a way that says they have no trust at all. That’s a stupid management practice, and all it has done is produce a school that will probably work less well.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3OVQCPEBPJDT7U5IRPKEMYRAGA Ishmael

       No they will not be excommunicated but they will be prevented from teaching their false Gospel as Catholic Doctrine.

  • gski

    Same concept as the pledges politicians are expected to sign.

  • Jonni

    It’s like with the bible, and downloading the new iTunes; no one actually reads it – you just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree”!

    • LesterBallard

      Then you get turned into a HumancentiPad.

    • eskomo

      Well, except for the signing, dating, and witnessed.

  • http://twitter.com/Moctavius Moctavius

    Nothing says, “I’m on the wrong side of history,” quite like a loyalty oath.

  • Mary Lynne Schuster

    This was my favorite from the comments on the article:  

    “There is so much confusion in the Church these days–what is needed is less dialogue and more dogma. ”

    Yep.  That’ll fix it.    

    • RobMcCune

      This is why I love Catholics, they say stuff that seems like a poe but they’re not as appalling as the fundies.

  • katiebot

    As a former (and quite traumatized) catholic, it’s nice to see the laity starting to stand up to the clergy.  It’s hard for them (the laity) to do so – catholics are indoctrinated quite young to fear and love their clergy.  This formal (as in, recorded by the media) statements by these two people is encouraging to hear.  I would never go back to the church (I’m not too keen on religion in general ; ) but if the laity can change such an old, mysogynistic, and obviously predatory institution into something not quite as awful, I say more power to them.

  • machintelligence

    From a comment on another blog,  by otrame : “faith is gullibility dressed in it’s Sunday best.”  I could not say it better.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    I know people who would have no trouble signing it. I find it so creepy, but there are people who believe the Catholic Church is always, always, always right, not matter what. No questions asked. Ever.
    I know they have faith that God makes sure all the teachings are right, but it seems strange to have that faith when history directly contradicts that.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    said [Kathleen] Riley, … “The bishops are human, and
    sometimes their judgment is not God’s judgment. We always have to be
    vigilant about that. The Holy Spirit gives us the responsibility to look
    into our own consciences.”

    Read your Bible, and learn you church doctrine. Jesus H. Christ gave his disciple Peter, the first bishop of Rome to power to declare moral law not just on Earth but in Heaven (Matt 16:18-19). The official doctrine of the Holy Roman Catholic Church is that this incredible power passes from Peter to subsequent bishops of Rome, aka the Catholic popes.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Yes. To which the proper and rational response is:

      The bishops are human, and sometimes their judgment is not God’s
      judgment. We always have to be vigilant about that. The Holy Spirit
      gives us the responsibility to look into our own consciences.

      And we should be clear that “bishops” includes the Bishop of Rome.

    • Guess Who

      I can only shake my head sadly at people who don’t even comprehend that the family name was not “Christ.” Mary and Joseph Christ indeed! And Mary’s maiden name was…..? Jesus name would not have even been Jesus. He was not Roman. He was Hebrew. His given name would have been more likely Jeshua or Joshua, if he ever really even existed as portrayed in the book of ancient, anonymous, mistranslated, unprovable documents.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Of course the family name was Christ. And the first name was Jesus. But people get the middle initial wrong quite frequently. It’s actually “F”.

      • MarylandBill

        Most documents are not provable, what of it?  As for mistranslated?   With the possible exception of one Gospel which might have been written in Aramaic first and then translated to Koine Greek, we have most of the New Testament in its original language and scholars have been debating various translations for centuries.

    • kaydenpat

      Not all churches interpret those scriptures as Jesus giving Peter power to declare moral law.  And not all churches hold that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome (or the 1st Pope).  So you saying “read your Bible” is amusing.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        Not all churches…
        .
        Since we are talking about one particular church, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, I have to wonder what point you think you are making.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          The point is that you were saying it is something that is clearly stated in the Bible. But since many churches disagree, than it is obviously not very clear to everyone that reads it.
          So the Catholic Church may believe that God gave this power to the popes, and therefore, the CC is right about everything, but other Christians or even Catholics don’t see it that way. They may agree with the church’s teachings, but they don’t see the popes as infallible just because the popes interpret that verse as making them infallible.

  • allein

    From the article: “And the church’s teaching is meant to be a service, not to coerce or oppress. . . . This is just to say the church is a reliable guide, more reliable in these matters than what I read elsewhere. There’s something more transcendent than just my own judgment.”

    I can just see the ad for that ‘service’ – Save time and let us do your thinking for you!

    No, thanks.

  • Mrtilman

    Unfortunately it only means they are being driven out of catholicism, not xtianity.  I have family members that have gone to the darker side:  fundie xtianity from catholicism.

  • viaten

    This shows how little the Catholic Church’s faith is in their members.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      It’s never been about their members.  It’s always been about the church hierarchy, and power.  The only power that the members have lies in cutting off the money supply, or walking out the door.  If they won’t do that, then they remain in the control of the bishops.

      I’ll be watching for the next crackdown; I think they are good for our side.  For as Princess Leia so wisely said “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

      • viaten

        Maybe faith isn’t the right word, but the Church wants to force commitment from its members, commitment they see they’re losing.  It’s very much about the members, indoctrinated members that financially contribute and vote, or will become contributors and voters.   It’s where their power comes from.

      • viaten

        I didn’t mean to say (earlier) it’s not “about” the church having power and organizing themselves to get and maintain it.  It is from one point of view.  From another point of view, it’s also very much “about” getting and keeping members as well.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3OVQCPEBPJDT7U5IRPKEMYRAGA Ishmael

       No it shows that the preachers of false Gospels will not be allowed to masquerade as preachers of the One True Faith. If they want to preach their own personal truths then they can always join one of the 40,000 Protestant sects that each have their own subjective truths.

      • viaten

        On second thought I agree, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with having faith in their teachers, but forcing teachers to leave if they don’t fully comply with church teachings.  They figure they can count on those who sign annually.  I wonder how many teachers sign it and still insert their own bias in their classes.

  • http://bpleland.wordpress.com lsomers

    Every Catholic, Episcopalian, Orthodox and other Christian should already know the entire first part of this confession of faith. For Episcopalians it is generally part of every Sunday Eucharistic service. It is the Creed first issued by the Council of Nicea called by Constantine in 325 CE, with some additions – but all of them more than 1,000 years old. The part that should upset Catholics is the addenda which are clearly of recent invention and are little more than an attempt by a rapidly disintegrating Medieval Tyranny – the Papacy. But NONE OF THIS doctrine is new – it has all been around for centuries. What is surprising to people, most of whom probably don’t really remember their religious education classes anyway, is they are being asked to sign a document that affirms what they are supposed to believe and do anyway.  I think it is mostly the shock of realizing that the hierarchy’s view of what it means to be a good Catholic is vastly different than what most Catholics think it is – except for Opus Dei members – who’ve always known this.

    If you don’t like it. You should leave. I did.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Tracy.Bradley1 Tracy Bradley

      Yep – though when we recited the apostles creed at church it was slightly different wording. Shorter, more punchy. :)

  • Amoramens

    The Profession of Faith doesn’t ask anyone to stop thinking. It does ask that if someone has thought their way to conclusions contradicting the Catholic faith, that that person not take a position teaching the faith. If a charter school based on atheist humanism asked teachers to sign a Profession of Disbelief in God or something, I would consider that a logical and coherent step. Wouldn’t you? Or would you take it as a sign of domineering and fear-driven oppression of independent thought that an atheistic humanist group preferred that atheistic humanists teach their classes about atheistic humanism?

    If you want to teach the Catholic faith in an official capacity (even as a parish-sponsored Sunday School teacher), what’s unreasonable about attesting that you actually believe it?

    • Coyotenose

       No. Generally, informed atheists would not even consider demanding that their employees sign loyalty oaths policing their thoughts. Being a minority that experiences discrimination, we’re well aware of where that trend leads, and of how, even as private citizens, it violates the spirit of the Constitution. That’s what irrational, powerful entities do, and it isn’t at all compatible with Humanism anyway.

      • amoramens

        You’re using the language of coercion and that isn’t a good fit for this situation. Choosing teachers who believe in what they’re signing up to teach is not accurately described as “demanding…loyalty oaths” or “policing their thoughts.”

        Will I try your patience if I attempt another analogy? Let’s say I apply for a job as a Professor of Evolutionary Biology and note in the interview that I’m a Creationist and think evolution is a bunch of bunk. When they choose someone else over me, does that constitute the demanding of a loyalty oath, or the policing of thought?

        How is this different, except in the degree of the magnitude of the dissent?

        • amoramens

          just so we’re clear, I don’t think evolution is a bunch of bunk.

        • allein

          Applying for a job teaching evolutionary biology and letting slip that you are a creationist who doesn’t ‘believe’ in evolution would simply tell me that you don’t have the required level of education and understanding of the material to effectively teach it. Expecting that one would have that education and understanding of their subject isn’t the same as demanding loyalty or policing their thoughts.

          • amoramens

            I agree with all of that. 

            And I concede that it’s partially valid as an objection: it’s clear that basically everyone who approaches the subject with an open mind and does the appropriate investigation will conclude that evolution of some kind is a feature of our world. The same can not be said, for instance, of the Trinity.

            But while I can’t say that everyone who really studies Catholicism with an open mind ends up accepting it, I can say that I’ve never met someone who didn’t profess Catholicism whom I really felt “got” it. And adherents of other religions describe the same experience.

            If I want to understand Judaism, I could certainly benefit from a non-Jew who had studied Judaism exhaustively. But if another, equally well-educated teacher, also professed and lived the Jewish religion… could anyone really believe that this latter teacher has absolutely nothing additional to contribute over the nonbeliever when it comes to understanding Judaism?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      It’s much different to say, “Yes, I believe in all these things” than it is to say, “I believe in all these things and I believe the people who teach these things are completely infallible, so I submit to everything they have said and will say.”

      • amoramens

        But that’s not what this means. All that stuff about “magisterium” etc. is simply the less ambiguous long form of “I believe that what the Catholic Church teaches is true.” A lot of people in the pews can’t make that statement without disclaimer or exception, and that’s fine. But it’s reasonable for a diocese to choose people who believe all of the faith as catechists, rather than people who believe some of it.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      If I ran a charter school as you describe, I’d consider it highly inappropriate (and probably illegal) to require the teachers to sign a Profession of Disbelief. What I would expect of them is that they could effectively teach the curriculum required by the school’s charter. What their actual beliefs were would not matter, unless they prevented them from teaching the material.

      If the Catholic school has a problem with the performance of the teachers, that’s one thing. But playing Big Brother and trying to manage the internal beliefs of the teachers is inappropriate. Of course, it’s doomed to failure, since anybody can lie to keep their job, and it smacks of a kind of desperation that comes from seeing a decline in membership, major shifts in the opinions of members, and a significant loss of respect for the Church leadership by the laity.

      • amoramens

        I agree that there are cases in which personal belief need not pertain to efficacy of teaching. I can imagine that someone who denied the principle of noncontradiction and therefore denied the validity of mathematics could still teach 2nd graders their multiplication tables. Teaching religion or philosophy is different from that.

        Maybe I’ll be most clear if I systematize:
        1) It is likely that one’s teaching presentation of a religion will be affected by whether one holds the religion to be true.
        2) It is reasonable for religious leaders to take an interest in how the religion is presented.
        3) Therefore it is reasonable for religious leaders to choose teachers based partly on their acceptance of the religion.

        It seems you’re disagreeing with #1 and holding that religion is like multiplication tables, and that one’s acceptance or denial of the religion is absolutely irrelevant to one’s capacity to teach it. Is that our point of divergence?

        Part of our disagreement might be rooted in my belief that catechism is not just about passing information, but about being convincing. There’s a sense in which I do want people to reach their own conclusions about – for instance – rape, but I care very much that the conclusion they reach is the correct one. Very much indeed. And I wouldn’t choose someone who endorsed rape to teach a class on Christian morality, no matter how much they pledged to be accurate. Isn’t that reasonable? And if so, why shouldn’t the same principle apply to less extreme and clear-cut examples?

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          All teaching is about more than passing information.

          As it happens, I’m on the board of a charter school. We expect our teachers to effectively teach evolution, and to effectively teach how humans are changing the climate. Both are controversial and both require skilled teaching. I do not know the personal opinions of either of our teachers with respect to these subjects. I know they are teaching the material effectively, which is what matters.

          Teaching religion is no different. We know that many pastors and priests are atheists, and their congregations are unable to tell. It isn’t about beliefs, but about the ability to teach. The Catholic school under discussion here hasn’t suggested that their teachers are failing in any way.

          Asking for a loyalty pledge is fundamentally un-American… something we associate with authoritarian regimes. Of course, the Catholic Church is the ultimate authoritarian regime, so we shouldn’t really be surprised. But neither should we be surprised that this absurd and ultimately useless imposition is pissing off a lot of their own members.

          • amoramens

            To see if I’m understanding you: 
            It seems you’re proposing a sort of Turing Test, if I may invoke  another Patheos.com favorite. You believe that someone who didn’t fully profess Catholicism could be indistinguishable as a catechist from someone who did. I don’t agree. Is that a fair assessment from your perspective?

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              That’s not quite what I’m arguing, but it’s reasonably close.

              I think it is a fact that atheists are able to teach religion in a way that is indistinguishable from the way theists teach it. And in this case, we’re (presumably) not talking about something as radical as atheism vs. theism, but simply the degree to which people consider their church’s leadership to be infallible. Asking them to attest to this proves nothing and changes nothing… except whatever the effects are of a bunch of disgruntled employees (not to mention their friends and family).

  • Eric

    Excellent.  I’m sick of people who self-identify as Catholic but disagree with virtually every position the Church takes. 

    • 3lemenope

      Why? What investment do you have in a Catholic’s doctrinal purity?

      • vexorian

         Err, I would guess it is more like. There is a census, so these guys say they are Catholic, and the Catholic church looks very powerful. So they try to use this power on politicians to push their discriminatory, sexist, anti-progress beliefs.  But in reality, no one actually believes their dogma. It is worse in Latin America, where they can claim to be the majority’s religion even though no one really cares that much about their dogma.

        So, that’s something that can make you sick, if these people were honest to themselves and admitted they are not really Catholic, we could get rid of that problem.

        • 3lemenope

          But the presence of people who identify with a label but differ from ideas traditionally associated with the label is exactly how such institutions change over time.  Which is why I’m especially perplexed when people complain about Catholics differing from the church in a way that they view to be positive; wouldn’t you want those people to stick around, and help bend that powerful organization away from their present harmful positions? Yes, for a period there will be large numbers of people differing from the hierarchy, but over time the position of the Church erodes, first in practical effect, eventually in actual doctrine.

          • Casey Braden

            I see the point you’re arguing, but as someone who was raised Catholic and nearly entered the seminary, I understand the inverse as well.  Catholics believe in the infallibility of the Church on matters of faith and morals. There are no “different interpretations” to be had.  If you believe the Church can be wrong about something like LGBT issues or contraception, then you do not believe in its infallibility.  That’s a HUGE part of Church doctrine.  This caused me a great deal of cognitive dissonance as a young man, and was instrumental in my movement towards atheism.  

            On the other hand, I think it’s great that Catholics are trying to institute change within the Church.  But it just seems like they are putting on the display the lack of confidence they have in the Church’s moral authority.

          • vexorian

            But These people are not really causing any of those changes we want. Are they?

            If the majority of the Catholic Church was not part of the Catholic Church, then we would not need the Catholic church to change over time.

            • 3lemenope

              Vatican II, for example, didn’t fall out of the sky unbidden. Internal pressures have already forced profound changes, and they likely will do so again.  Sister Jeannine Gramick, and New Ways Ministry, are a good modern example of internal reform. They are gaining traction following the Vatican criticizing them and the Order of the Franciscans writing in response that the Vatican ought to STFU and listen.

               If you are waiting for the Catholic Church to just fall apart, you will probably be waiting for a long, long time. Meanwhile, it is better for there to be moderating pressure upon them; that can only really effectively happen from within.

  • Climacus

    This article is hilarious.  Only four out of thousands refused to sign.  Is the writer of this blog really a math teacher?  What qualifies the writer of this blog to be a math teacher?  Does it also qualify him to be a self professed theologian as well? Next installment I suppose we should expect a thesis on his lastest rocket science theory and believe that too. 

    “We know Catholic leaders are mostly a bunch of men who don’t want to hear any legitimate arguments”   Really?  I suppose the writer’s math students would also be expected to defy logic and believe our mathematician/ theologian if  he were to assert, We know 1+1=3? 

    “We also know that most Catholics who are not part of the hierarchy don’t buy into what their “superiors” tell them.”  Really?   I guess we’re only suppose to buy into what you tell us?  Again, I suppose the writer’s math students would be expected to defy logic and  believe our mathematician/theologian if he were to assert,  We know 2×2=5?

    This blog defies logic and certainly is beyond belief.  Do all atheist’s come off this ignorant?  The writer of this blog and his infallibly illogical fantasies will only be around for a handful of decades, a matter of days in the larger sense of things.  The Catholic Church on the other hand has been around and survived unchanged for over 2000 years.  In it’s own way, it also defies logic doesn’t it? 

    With teachers like this is it any wonder our High School students graduate at such a disadvantage and so challenged when it comes to critical thinking skills?

    • amycas

       Where in this article did Hemant get any kind of math wrong? All he said was that SOME of the teachers balked at the idea, not all, and he didn’t give any kind of percentage in the entire article. Can you point out something he wrote that was illogical or mathematically incorrect and demonstrate what makes the statement illogical/mathematically incorrect?

      • MarylandBill

        Perhaps not illogical or incorrect, but definitely misleading.  After all, I bet if you asked a thousand atheists to sign a statement denying the existence of God, you would get a few who would object.  It doesn’t mean that that atheists, as a general rule, don’t believe in God.  Yet, essentially, that is the conclusion that Mr. Mehta wants his readers to draw.

        • Kmsprouse

          MarylandBill by definition alone, atheist means not believing there is a god.  Just thought Id share.

          • MarylandBill

            First rule of debate, don’t assume the person you are debating doesn’t understand basic English (or Greek in this case).  I am quite aware of what the definition of atheist is.  My point was that many people are not consistent in belief and/or actions.  Thus there are some atheists who are closer to agnostics in actual belief and would not be necessarily willing to sign a statement stating they don’t believe in any God.

        • levarfan

          People really are misunderstanding the numbers here.  There were five in the story, but MANY more who are resigning over the oath, probably more than half of all the catechists at this one church.  That’s a lot.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      The Catholic Church on the other hand has been around and survived unchanged for over 2000 years.  In it’s own way, it also defies logic doesn’t it? 

      Unchanged? Are you seriously arguing that the Catholic church has never changed any part of their official doctrine? 

      • Liam

        Short answer – yes.

        Long answer – All of the beliefs the Catholic Church now professes were implicit in the faith from the foundation of the Church on Pentecost. However, that which is implicit must often be made explicit because frankly, we’re human and compared to God, we’re pretty stupid. I include myself in that too.

        So thus, that which was implicitly within the faith would be questioned. For example, the Gnostics questioned and denied the humanity of Jesus, while the Arians questioned and denied the divinity of Christ. The Donatists denied the love of God in Reconciliation, and the Albigensians denied the oneness of God. Seriously, every objection you can think of to the Faith has a heresy, already named and beaten long ago, which forced the Church to have a look in the Gift of the Faith and see and reveal that which was already contained within.

        You may disagree with what was taught, but it was there from the start. We just waited for the doubts before we wrote the dogmatic dictionary.

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          The original claim is that the Catholic church has been completely unchanged for over 2000 years. That’s simply not true. At one time, priests were allowed to be married. At one time, abortion was not considered murder. Those are two pretty big changes right there.

          • Liam

            OK, two things – first, the priests being married. That’s a practice, not a dogma. Don’t conflate the two. Dogmatically, the Church is unchanged. In practice? Sure – Latin Mass and Vernacular Mass. But practice is not the core of the faith – that’s the dogma, and the dogma is unchanged. Priestly celibacy is a practice, and could be changed if the Church so willed (but she doesn’t, because priests are expected to be the first to die when the martyr’s call comes, being as they are good shepherds imitating The Good Shepherd).

            Second, abortion has always been considered a sin against the Fifth Commandment. The Fifth Commandment specifically forbids murder, but under it falls all sins of aggression towards the person of another. Common assault is a sin against the Fifth Commandment. Wishing evil upon another is  likewise offensive to the Fifth. These sins are not murder, yes, but left unchecked they lead to it.

            Abortion itself is a specific kind of murder, defined in terms of its victim, the unborn. One can analogise to infanticide, fratricide, patricide and other such terms that are also descriptive of the victim.

            • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

              Liam, you’re not the original poster, but he specifically said “survived unchanged for over 2000 years.” He did not qualify his statement. He made a blanket assertion that is simply not true. Practices and beliefs have changed. I’m not interested in debating abortion, but you might want to do some research if you think that the Catholic church has always been against it.

              • Liam

                Climacus made a simple mistake of qualification. It is no less true however to state that the Church’s dogmatic teaching has been constant over the years.

                And I see your point on abortion – it was never considered permissible, but due to unanswered questions on “ensoulment”, it was not equated to murder (Aquinas lists it as a sin against marriage and the 6th Commandment). Thank you for bringing that to my attention. ^_^

    • RobertoTheChi

      Is your nose permnately brown from having it so far shoved up the ass of the church of pedophiles? Your blind faith in an institution so depraved as the catholic church defies logic and reason.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3OVQCPEBPJDT7U5IRPKEMYRAGA Ishmael

    What is remarkable is that  996 out of 1000 signed the Profession of faith. 99.6 % of any population agreeing on something is noteworthy. As far as the 4  that have the problem accepting the teachings of the Catholic Church I am glad they are not teaching youth their personal beliefs and trying to pass them off as objective truths.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      “Objective truth.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/3OVQCPEBPJDT7U5IRPKEMYRAGA Ishmael

        Who cares what you “think” when you post such trite?

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          Er, I was quoting from The Princess Bride. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

          The personal beliefs of the people in the Catholic church hierarchy are no more “objective truth” than the personal beliefs of the laity.

    • levarfan

      No, you misunderstood.  Five resigned in public emails, but only a handful of the catechists at St. Ann’s have agreed to sign it so far (many others resigned as well and more are still praying about it).   Most of the catechists in the diocese did not know about this until they read the article.  Also, the catechists already promise to teach only correct Catholic doctrine, that’s not the issue.  The issue is whether the church should ask these devoted lay volunteers to promise that they don’t even hold any private thoughts that might not agree with those of the college of bishops.


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