Cardinal Tagle shocked by results of survey

The Catholic Herald reports:

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, said he was “shocked” by responses to the global survey on Church teaching on the family, issued ahead of October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops.

Speaking to Catholic News Service, the cardinal said he found the responses “shocking, if I am allowed to use that word… because almost in all parts of the world, the questionnaires indicated that the teaching of the Church regarding family life is not clearly understood by people.”

He added: “The language by which the church proposes the teaching seems to be a language not accessible to people. So this is my hope, not for change — how can you change the biblical teachings? But maybe a real pastoral and evangelical concern for the Church: How do we present the Good News of the family to this generation, with its limitations, with its greatness, with its unique experiences?

“We should not be talking only to one another. The gospel of the family, the good news that is the family, should be presented to families where they are and how they are.”

Is it really that the language is inaccessible?  Would simplifying the language help people understand it?  Or do we really have a much deeper, underlying problem?

I think it’s the latter.  We have a much, much deeper problem than simple semantics or language adjustment.  Some of it has to do with understanding of proper authority, especially the deference one owes God, a will to do His will.

Until people are prepared to obey God and surrender their will to His, confusion reigns.  There is a mysterious connection between obedience and understanding.  For a willing, obedient heart, understanding and wisdom are a light on one’s path.

Whenever self-will creeps in, we are no longer “standing under” God, and we block His light.

The teachings of the Church related to human sexuality are an offence to our self-will, our desire to choose pleasure over God, or to defy the consequences of our actions.

How do we get people to want to obey God?  Well, somehow we have to show through our lives the love, joy, peace and other fruits of the Spirit that follow obedience.  We have to exhibit it in such a way that people say, “I want that.”

In the meantime, suffering will teach us.

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9 Responses to Cardinal Tagle shocked by results of survey

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, said he was “shocked” by responses to the global survey on Church teaching on the family, issued ahead of October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops.

    Speaking to Catholic News Service, the cardinal said he found the responses “shocking, if I am allowed to use that word… because almost in all parts of the world, the questionnaires indicated that the teaching of the Church regarding family life is not clearly understood by people.”

    From under which rock did this cardinal emerge?

    Seriously, the responses in question are not exactly news to anybody who has been paying attention. Poll after poll and survey after survey has shown that many people who self-identify as members of the Catholic Church do not embrace the church’s moral doctrine pertaining to contraception in particular.

    You wrote: Is it really that the language is inaccessible? Would simplifying the language help people understand it? Or do we really have a much deeper, underlying problem?

    I think it’s the latter. We have a much, much deeper problem than simple semantics or language adjustment. Some of it has to do with understanding of proper authority, especially the deference one owes God, a will to do His will.

    I rather think that it is a combination of both. There are many significant points of doctrine that have not been clearly articulated for the past forty years, with the consequence that many people are totally misinformed and confused. Here, the most significant is the distinction between moral doctrine, also known as Natural Law, derived from the order of the universe by reason alone, with no reference whatsoever to divine revelation and thus applicable to all humanity, and theological (or religious) doctrine that depends upon divine revelation and thus applies only to those who hold to Christian faith. This distinction is manifest not only in many church documents, but also in the traditional depiction of the ten commandments on two tablets, the first of which contains the religious precepts and the second of which contains the moral precepts, yet most Catholics are completely unaware of it. The confusion leads to the prevalent misconception that moral precepts are fundamentally religious, and thus that it is wrong to impose them on non-believers by voting for laws that embody moral precepts when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

    But having said that, the Catholic Church has long been a church of woefully low standards. Infants are routinely baptized even though it is very clear that their parents are not “practicing” the faith and have no real intention of raising the children in it. Christian formation programs in many parishes routinely move children to the next grade even though it is quite evident that they have not really mastered the material for the previous grade and thus lack the foundation for what they are expected to study. Many parishes now require each candidate for confirmation to perform several hours of community service, but there is no real examination as to whether they have yielded their lives to the Lordship of Jesus and have truly learned to live in faith. And many couples are allowed to marry in the Church even though it is painfully evident that they are not living in faith and have no intention of living in a true Christian marriage, and yet we’re shocked that marriage tribunals seem simply to “rubber stamp” petitions for decrees of nullity. Until meaningful standards gain traction, we will continue to have parishes full of “baptized unfaithful” who need to be evangelized.

    Norm.

    • Tim S. says:

      Norm, do you know of any parishes where the annual visit and blessing of families in their own homes is still being done, as required by Canon Law 529 §1?. “In order to fulfill his office diligently, a pastor is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care. Therefore he is to visit families, sharing especially in the cares, anxieties, and griefs of the faithful, strengthening them in the Lord, and prudently correcting them if they are failing in certain areas…” That was routinely done when I was young and I believe really made a difference; churches were full back then and not being closed right and left.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Tim,

        You wrote: Norm, do you know of any parishes where the annual visit and blessing of families in their own homes is still being done, as required by Canon Law 529 §1?. “In order to fulfill his office diligently, a pastor is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care. Therefore he is to visit families, sharing especially in the cares, anxieties, and griefs of the faithful, strengthening them in the Lord, and prudently correcting them if they are failing in certain areas…” That was routinely done when I was young and I believe really made a difference; churches were full back then and not being closed right and left.

        Not in my diocese — but I also do not see the word “annual” anywhere in Canon 529, though annual visits may have been the custom in the past in some places.

        Anecdotally, I can remember only two occasions when a Catholic priest has ever set foot in my family home, and in neither instance was it a priest from my own parish. The first was some time after my dad took the “Kudu” training course for Scouters and a priest assigned as the Scout Chaplain of another diocese, who had been in his group in the course, came for a reunion event and stayed at our home overnight. The second instance was a few days before my mother died, when the abbot of a nearby monastery brought her the sacrament of the sick in our home. Many clergy seem to develop friendships with a few of the more involved parishioners who invite them to dinner, or tea, or whatever, quite frequently, but I have never known a pastor to visit all of the homes in his parish in any systematic way.

        The reality here is that many of our parishes are quite large — a couple thousand registered families — so a pastor simply does not have enough time in a week to get to know everybody in his parish as well as a Protestant pastor would get to know the members of his (typically much smaller) congregation. His personal priorities have to be those who are most in need of his personal ministry, and he must rely on others to assist him — extraordinary ministers of communion to bring the sacraments to the sick and to other shut-ins on a regular basis, parochial vicars to assist in visits for the sacrament of reconciliation and the sacrament of anointing, etc. Of course, he should meet regularly with those who assist him in this way to ensure that he is well informed of each parishioner’s situation and that their needs for the sacraments are being met.

        Incidentally, this is one area in which things have improved greatly since the Second Vatican Council. The reform that encouraged the clergy to greet the people leaving church after mass has created a situation where most of the pastors now at least recognize the faces of their regular parishioners. When my mother died, I brought a relatively recent photograph when I went to meet with the pastor concerning funeral arrangements. He did not know her mother by name, but he did recognize her face as somebody who had been at mass every Sunday until about a month and a half before she died in the photograph. In the early 1960’s, I seriously doubt that very many Catholic pastors would have recognized even the faces of the preponderance of those who were at mass every Sunday.

        Norm.

  2. Timothy Stevenson says:

    Oh, they understand it. They just don’t like it, or don’t have the attention span for something they don’t care about.

    “You can’t have divorce.”
    “I don’t like that. Why not?”
    “Because Jesus said. *inaudible* and the writings of Popeinnocenotpayingattention says *mind trails off to wonder what friend is doing on facebook* ”

    Imagine that, magnified to the scale of entire societies and countries.

    Even more annoying are the people who think they can reason their way out of what the Church teaches. It’s like filibustering the same way children asks “Why” just to annoy you into not making them do what they have to do.

  3. Gilbert C. says:

    He’s shocked? Everyone, a leader of the Church is shocked about something that’s been going on for decades now. Well, we’re shocked that he’s shocked. I mean, he didn’t know? And he’s a cardinal? I remember when Pope Benedict XVI was shocked about the child abuse scandals. I can bet you, there will be more shocking things to come.

    I remember a story about a beatnik couple going to a child psychologist to get their son in control. “We’ve tried nothin’ and we’re all out of ideas!” I wonder which generation of churchmen that sort of sentiment belongs to?

    If we get any more accessible, we’d have to go back to stained glass windows and picture books about what the Church teaches.

    And they say we’re in the Springtime of the Church?

  4. Rev22:17 says:

    Gilbert,

    You wrote: He’s shocked? Everyone, a leader of the Church is shocked about something that’s been going on for decades now. Well, we’re shocked that he’s shocked. I mean, he didn’t know? And he’s a cardinal? I remember when Pope Benedict XVI was shocked about the child abuse scandals. I can bet you, there will be more shocking things to come.

    Yes, it smacks of the police chief in Casablanca who is shocked that there’s a casino in town.

    Norm.

  5. Donna Kelsch says:

    Well…the Philippines is very Catholic, and the Catholic population there probably do understand the Church’s teachings on Family far better than those in very secular North America. Many vocations come from there, and are transplanted here…religious sisters and priests for example. A person is, in large part, a product of their culture, so it would not be unreasonable for Cardinal Tagle to be “shocked” at the GLOBAL response to the Church’s position on this. After all…Cardinals have much to be responsible for in their own nation…which is where their focus is.

    As to babies being baptized when something is know of the less than perfect Catholic standards of their parents…most priests would certainly baptism them. Is it the infants’ responsibility that her/his parents are faulty to some degree in carrying out the mandates of the Faith? Many clergy believe that by drawing them into Sacramental Life, and the grace that comes with it, as well as the personal interaction between priest and parents/family in order to arrange a baptism that the encounter offers opportunity for the Spirit to step in and lead the family to a greater participation in , and understanding of Christ and His Church. I have seen this happen in my own parish. Most priest really do try to emulate Christ. What would Jesus do in this instance? Christ would be welcoming, especially sinners who perhaps don’t even realize they are sinning ( hence – no sin ), and He would be more concerned about their openness to truth , their attempt to do the right thing than their intellectual position on this or that.

    What Norm wrote about priests having very large parishes is true. Yes, my Pastor recognizes people, the 300 plus that come to Mass each weekend. ( We are considered a small parish. ) I doubt I could do as well. He notices people he hasn’t seen before and does try to grab them for a few words to make a connection before they leave. He knows well those that are active in Church, in ministries, in volunteering regularly around the parish. All of that is normal because he is one man responsible for many things…Sacramental and administrative. Most people have no clue as to how exhausting, stressful, but richly full the life of a Catholic parish priest is….which is one advantage to not having married clergy as his life is not his own. Plus, most priests have Sacramental duties outside the parish including visiting the sick, anointing the dying, meetings required by the Bishop, praying Mass at Nursing Homes, Catholic schools, etc.. Most parish priests that I know do hot have housekeepers or cooks, and do their own washing and ironing.
    They usually have one day off a week, and it’s not Sunday until all Masses are over. If he’s lucky and they’re close by, he sees his family a few times a month, and he makes time every few months to get together with his Ordination classmates for bonding, and fraternity, and support as no one really knows what it’s like except a fellow priest. The life of a priest ( at any level ) is so demanding that it cannot be done well except by the Grace of God and a true vocation to it.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Donna,

      You wrote: As to babies being baptized when something is know of the less than perfect Catholic standards of their parents…most priests would certainly baptism them. Is it the infants’ responsibility that her/his parents are faulty to some degree in carrying out the mandates of the Faith? Many clergy believe that by drawing them into Sacramental Life, and the grace that comes with it, as well as the personal interaction between priest and parents/family in order to arrange a baptism that the encounter offers opportunity for the Spirit to step in and lead the family to a greater participation in , and understanding of Christ and His Church. I have seen this happen in my own parish. Most priest really do try to emulate Christ. What would Jesus do in this instance? Christ would be welcoming, especially sinners who perhaps don’t even realize they are sinning ( hence – no sin ), and He would be more concerned about their openness to truth , their attempt to do the right thing than their intellectual position on this or that.

      The presentation of an infant for baptism requires a parental commitment to ensure that the child will be raised and formed in the faith. Catholic ecclesial law is pretty clear that our clergy are not to baptize an infant if there is not a realistic hope that the parents will fulfill that obligation.

      Some years ago, I served with a Navy chaplain who seemed to have an excellent approach to this situation. He explained to me that, when parents who were not faithfully assisting in mass presented a child for baptism, he told them to start coming to mass every Sunday and that he would arrange the baptism when they did so.

      Note that deferral of baptism until there’s a reasonable hope that the parents will see to the child’s formation in the faith, or until a child is able to request it on his or her own, does not deprive a child of any essential grace — and, above all, does not consign a child to Hell if the child happens to die. To the contrary, the Roman Missal provides the “Mass of Christian Burial for a Child who Dies Before Baptism” precisely for such situations. This may well be an area of widespread misunderstanding, but the church does not provide Christian burial for those who are known to be damned for all eternity.

      Norm.

  6. Donna Kelsch says:

    Baptisms are not preformed “spur of the moment” , so the counseling that takes place between parents and priest in the arranging thereof is intended to take into consideration that very argument you make regarding “commitment to the Faith” Norm. Only the priest can make that determination. No one who knows the Faith, which is not as many Catholics as you would think, would believe God consigns innocence to hell. That is why a Mass for Christian Burial is also offered for those who commit suicide, as no one can read the state of their mind, much less their soul, ( unless they are one of the few that advertise it ) prior to their dead. The assumption is that they are mentally ill, lacking in one or more of the three conditions necessary for mortal sin, and acting under some type of duress that mitigates their responsibility. All creatures ( including humans ) have a life force that demands they attempt to survive at any cost…therefore to go against human nature indicates a serious malady that negates , to some degree their action. The rest, the Church leaves to our Merciful Lord to judge. It is not as easy as you imply to KNOW who is damned for all eternity. God knows. Others can guess. I wouldn’t make any bets.

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