Skip to comments.Why did so many seek to revolutionize the Church in the 60s and 70s?
Posted on 02/24/2014 2:34:59 AM PST by markomalley
In my college years I worked with a company that built and serviced pipe organs around the Washington DC area. During those years I probably entered some 300 different churches both Catholic and Protestant.
Of course, as a Catholic, I particularly loved going to the Catholic churches. I especially loved visiting the older city parishes that were built back before the revolution. I had grown up in the suburbs where almost every church was built after 1955, when church building took a decided turn for the worse: Ugly bland, beige buildings with carpeted floors and potted plants. A plain wooden table and two candlesticks for the altar, almost no statues not even a crucifix, but that strange 70s invention known as the resurrected Christ was on the walls floating in midair with his hand extended. Maybe there was a cross behind him, maybe but he certainly wasnt nailed to the cross. We are resurrection people was inevitable response to those of us who wondered what ever happened to the very Catholic crucifix.
So there I was a young man in my early 20s toolbox in hand to tune and service a pipe organ. I would walk into one of those old city parishes, its soaring ceiling, more often than not it was ornately decorated with beautiful carved stations of the cross, stained-glass windows, beautiful high altars made of marble and carved wood, statues and burning candles. You could even smell the candles and the incense.
Every now and again Id walk into an old church and be gravely disappointed, someone had wreckovated it: painted its beautiful walls beige, demolished its altars, turned its pews sideways sideways and carpeted its terrazzo floors. Such a tragedy I thought.
No one really taught me to think this way of preferring old churches. My parents were not all that traditional in terms of Catholicism. Somehow I just felt the magnificence of beauty in my bones. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the human person is wired for beauty. Somehow we innately appreciate symmetry, proportion, order and so forth.
Once weve seen beauty its hard to get it out of our system. Having grown up in the sterile suburbs and sterile suburban churches I was largely unaware of beautiful churches. Yet in my early 20s, as I walked into many of them, some of them with a faded glory, so many of them wonderful to behold, I never got it out of my system. But of course, Im not supposed to. Having seen beauty, I am meant to be drawn to it and to its beautiful message.
So in my mid 20s, my questions began to grow. What it happened? Why did we set aside such beauty? Why had we even destroyed some of the beautiful things we already had?
One day I asked an older priest why so much had been discarded by the priests of his time. I thought Id get a straight answer from him, because he had been one of those priest who reveled in all things new, and come to regret that many wonderful things of been discarded and lost.
I paraphrase the answer he gave in the first person. May he rest in peace; he died some years ago. But I remember his words well and he said something like this:
That was Fathers answer to me. I appreciated it, first of all because I trusted him. He was no rebel. He had come to see many erroneous insights for what they were. But he did at least have this testimony, that many who undertook the revolutionary cry did not do so with malice. They thought they were doing well, they thought they were doing good.
Let me be clear dear reader, I do not write these reflections as a complete repudiation of any updating or changes that occurred back in the 60s and 70s. Ecclesia semper reformanda. Yet most of us looking back on that time do not see a few minor updates, but a great rupture in the hermeneutic of continuity. And the rupture was about far more than art and architecture. It was about the shredding and scrapping of time test theological teachings in favor of trendy sociological and psychological substitutes, questionable moral theories, dubious Scriptural theories and the like. It was about open disobedience to liturgical norms and the casting aside of our spiritual traditions in favor of far Eastern and non-Christian philosophies and the like.
It is one thing to make necessary adjustments, for example as languages change, and our terms need adjusting. As new possibilities emerge for evangelization (such as the Internet and social media), we ought to use them.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen considered by most as a conservative was actually quite cutting edge as he exploited a new open-door called television. But he combined age-old wisdom with modern forms of communication.
Too many of us in the Church have not gotten this balance right and favoring the new, we discarded the old. Who are not like that wise man the Lord just praised: Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old. (Matt 13:52)
I do not argue here for a wholesale return to the old days or to an exclusively Latin Liturgy. My first concern remains those who demand we change our doctrine to suit the times. We cannot. Liturgy debates and changes permit some leeway. But not the doctrines and solemn moral teachings of the Church.
Even today, far too many in the Church who want to go on making the mistake described above by the older priest friend who spoke to me. How desperately they want the Church to adapt to the modern age, by discarding the received doctrine, tradition and wisdom of God. Too many would have us reflect the modern age, more than Christ. In order to be welcoming modern and sophisticated, they want the Church to succumb to worldly demands that we cave on many issues related to marriage, sexuality, life issues, and Church authority and governance. We cannot survive, they say, unless we make these sorts of changes.
Never mind that denominations that have done just this, such as the Episcopalians and many branches of the Lutherans and Methodist have suffered far worse declines than we. Still many go on that we must better reflect the modern wisdom and age in order to appeal to it.
But really, have we not learned at this point that seeking a reproachment with the world only ends in the further erosion of the church and the ultimate impoverishment of the world. Our modern world is in a mess, and in darkness, because we have failed to be what we are supposed to be, a light in the midst of darkness, and the sign is often contradicted.
It is not the job of the Church to be popular, to reflect the thoughts of the times, or to parrot worldly wisdom. It is the job of the Church to reflect the views her founder and head Jesus Christ, who speaks in the Scriptures and sacred Tradition he handed down to us. Is not our job to be appealing, or even numerous. It is our work to proclaim that which is been received, whether in season or out of season.
In the past two weeks and the Sunday readings St. Paul has also hammered away at this theme. He calls us to remember that we live in a world that is arrayed against Gods wisdom, which mocks and ridicules it. If we are configured to Christ and his Cross, we will often be called fools. But as St. Paul writes, the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.
Those who come to Gods house do not simply need another voice to parrot the same thing they hear from the news anchors and the talking heads or the intellectuals of the University. What the world needs and what every Catholic needs when they come into the Catholic Church is someone who speaks Gods wisdom. The world will often called this foolishness, call it out of touch, backward, intolerant, bigoted, homophobic; but we speak the wisdom of God. Perhaps then, to conclude, here are some reminders of what Paul has been teaching us in the sacred liturgy the last three weeks
Msgr Pope ping
Remember the “Jesus Freaks” of the early ‘70’s? LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline, etc. can do weird things to people if consumed in mass quantities (no pun intended) often enough.
Better they became Jesus Freaks than go over the edge and end up like the Manson family...I think for most though, it eventually wore off but they retained the most positive aspects of those experiences.
Whatever the outcome, they were on a slippery slope because playing with those kinds of drugs is like playing with psychological fire.
The author touched on, but didn't develop the smell of an old cathedral
Probably most arresting is the ever so faint aroma of the benediction incense.
The olfactory sense is one of the most powerful and least appreciated (imo) of the five and as we can all attest to the smell of a new car, only one attending since childhood can appreciate the smell of incense in a Catholic church ... but mainly (again, imo) the larger and more ornate cathedrals.
I think all those archetectural nooks and crannys just have a way of capturing and preserving odor ... almost like ... the walls have noses (as opposed to ears)
I grew up in Holy Name Church and, (reference the building near the end) though I haven't set foot in the building in about 50 years, I'll just BET'cha there's a smell in that building that may bring tears to my eyes.
Please do not misunderstand, I am referring to a building, not a liturgical doctrine.
As a Catholic I can say that sums it up nicely.
That, and the subtle smell of beeswax.
Contemplating this whole subject ... I hope I get an opportunity to visit before I die.
Homosexuals actively infiltrated the Catholic Church-mostly through Georgetown- in order to bring it down from within. Part of the Cloward Pivin strategy.
The invention of the traveling mic.
"...A rich harvest
The harvest of Vatican II is impressive. Often people have forgotten what happened and how much was achieved in practice. So many things are now just taken for granted as common that the faithful are not even aware that such a sensitive change was due to the council.
But if one would make a list of all the fruits of Vatican II, one would see how greatly the Council has changed and renewed the Church..."
I recall reading many years ago an author’s theory that much of the change throughout the Protestant world came about because of the Vietnam War. Young men of draft age found they could avoid military service by enrolling in divinity school. Once finished, these same men discovered they could use their respective churches as power bases from which to continue their original social and political activism and rebellion.
So, over the process of time, these religious leaders moved their churches from theology to social activism and social justice issues.
There were easier ways to deal with the draft than to become a Christian minister for life.
The Mormon church though, did get to hand out their own deferments, for instance they sent Mitt Romney to France.
“There were easier ways to deal with the draft than to become a Christian minister for life.”
The author I read didn’t intimate the ministers enrolling in divinity school intended to make the ministry a career goal. It was a way to wait out the draft. But then some discovered that churches could be a ready-made power base for continued activism. Not saying all or even most were like that, by any means.
Romney would have served a two-year mission and while some may have used it to avoid the draft, two years is a lot less than four years plus graduate studies in divinity school.
There were easier ways for someone who probably wasn’t very religious to avoid military service, I was involved in that era, including with draft issues and resistance, I never personally heard of of an anti-military guy wanting to become a minister, as an escape, years of divinity school was not exactly appealing to most draft dodger types.
Romney continued to avoid the draft as his father ran for the presidency, no man in Romney’s direct line, has ever served the United States in the military, no draft, no war, no patriotism, nothing, has gotten one to do his duty during their more than 170 years history here.
Homosexuals actively infiltrated the Catholic Church-mostly through Georgetown- in order to bring it down from within. Part of the Cloward Pivin strategy.
That strategy emmanates from much much further below.
When you say ‘infiltrate’ instead of ‘attracted to’, think of what you are trying to sell as a conspiracy.
It just isn’t rational to think that there was a conspiracy of many young men to devote their entire lives to the Priesthood of the Catholic church, just on the off chance, that at some time before they die of old age, someone will discover them individually involved in homosexual practices at sometime, somewhere.
You don’t think Satan is capable of such a conspiracy?
I meant to address post #20 to you as well.
You don’t think the structure and culture of the leadership of the Catholic church could be a natural magnet to males who are attracted to a life of avoiding and excluding females and any role involving companionship with their sex, even as fathers or husbands?
Doesn’t common sense reveal that many males who are attracted to males and repulsed by females, yet who have strong religious feelings, that some who are trying to overcome internal conflict, may be drawn to that culture and life long alliance, (and identity) with varying capabilities of adhering to the vows of chastity for life?
...could be a natural magnet...
In part it could be, but that does not diminish my response as to WHO is behind all of it. Also, look at the numbers of pedophiles attracted to non-Catholic denominations or to the public school environment. The problem of impure sex can be found everywhere...particularly in the current culture. It feeds the notion that people cannot really exercise self-control. That’s why faithful Catholics take vows sincerely and request the virtue of chastity, whether married or single.
I DO think the Church was infiltrated but exactly because it is a prime focus of Satan’s hatred. He also hates families.
The evidence of that hatred is all around us.
As for individual motives...they can be as varied as those individuals...but Satan and his minions encourage their decisions.
Satan has been quite deft in his ability to convince our current culture that SIN is a primitive concept or he merely distracts us from thinking about it by offering other entertainments.
There is only one denomination famous for homosexual sex, and that was what I was writing about in post 22, Catholic leadership doesn’t have an unusually high incidence of falling for the female organist, or falling in love with a female parishioner, they are known for male on male relationships.
If true, it must mean that Satan REALLY hates the Catholic Church more than any other Christian group.
You should read posts 22 and 24.
Satan hates all Christian churches, but the men of the Catholic denomination have created a unique culture that is always going to have issues with it’s sexual problems, being mostly male on male lust.
...but the men of the Catholic denomination have created a unique culture that is always going to have issues with its (sic) sexual problems,...
Learning the facts about the Catholic Church is a wonderful way to grow in wisdom.
There is only one denomination famous for homosexual sex.
Thanks to our wonderful, free and just press who always seek truth./sarc
Satan’s minions are thrilled with their work.
It isn’t honest to distort truth, this is what I actually posted, “” but the men of the Catholic denomination have created a unique culture that is always going to have issues with its sexual problems, being mostly male on male lust.””
You tried to turn it into something totally different, all walks of life will have trouble with sex issues, but only the Catholic denomination’s leadership is identified not with lusting for women as a problem, but mostly with lusting for males.
Key word for why I posted what I did: famous
I did not intend to nor did I distort anything.
What facts most interested you via the link that I gave?
The Catholic leadership is famous for homosexual scandals.
When people hear about a church sex scandal, they think of a man and a woman, unless the word Priest or Catholic is used, then they think of male on male sex.
I’m sure the fact that most priests are not married couldn’t be a factor in that./sarc
Again, which fact most interested you from those in the article I linked for you?
Post 22 explains it, as far as other articles, if I want to comment on an article somewhere else, I will.
Remember my original post correcting you.
To: SumProVita; MattinNJ
When you say infiltrate instead of attracted to, think of what you are trying to sell as a conspiracy.
It just isnt rational to think that there was a conspiracy of many young men to devote their entire lives to the Priesthood of the Catholic church, just on the off chance, that at some time before they die of old age, someone will discover them individually involved in homosexual practices at sometime, somewhere.
19 posted on 2/24/2014 3:10:02 PM by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee — JFK told me that “he was all for people’s solving their problems by abortion”.)