Failure of Churches, Whose Fault

Loutzenhiser's picture

This question has been circulating in my head for the last few days and seems to be a subject of prime interest among several members here, so I thought to start this thread to try to answer the question.

First let me be clear in that I do not believe that all churches or pastors are failing in thier resposibility to God. But I do see many churches and pastors failing or struggling in the winds of adversity that blow through the religious community today. WHY?

Let me set up our situation here. We live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, west of Seattle on the Kitsap Peninsula. We are home to some of the richest and most technical businesses in the world, ie., Microsoft, Real Player, etc.. In this region the fastest growing religion is Wican. That is New Age witchcraft. In our area the highly praised kids are the Crystal and Indigo children. For more information on crystal children link here. Church attending christianity is some %6.5 of the population. The large churches here (average membership 600 to 5000) either teach christianity/hinduism or prosperity message. For example Casey Treat. On the small end we have several congergations that use sheperding such as the Apostolic Lighthouse. (I feel for the women in that church. TJ and I have "rescued" 3 of them from thier controlling/abusive husbands.) The fastest growing christian community in the area is the storefront pentecostal movment. Small churces of between 5 to 50 members. The problem here is the lack of umbrella or oversite allows for some "intersting" beliefs to flurish. The Church of God of Prophecy is the largest number of this group. Here one can find everything from Mary, Jesus' mother as the literial wife of God to "It is not your fault you are failing in life. You must remove the Demons that are controlling your circumstance". A little something for everyone. We even have large congeration with an excellent pastor who teaches that water baptism died out with the Apostles (extreme dispensationalism), Grace Bible Church.

Can one wonder that I am seeking for the tenets of the original church?

The highest category of failure among the mainstream pastors in this area is "the other woman" and the second is (and this shocked me) pastors who come to believe that they are Jesus or are a direct messenger of God (in other words their words have precedence over the bible). Latest victim to that one, one of our local Nazarene churches.

Now the question is what do we do about it and how can we go about purifying God's church. Or do we just start over again with a new movment? How about the Spiritual Cleanliness Movment? What basic tenets should God's church embrace? How do we keep the pastors and congergation pure and inline with God's word?

jwmcmac's picture

I wrote a version of this

I wrote a version of this post the other day at a ‘Catholic’ site on the net . . . and I think it fits in this discussion . . . sort of. This is my understanding of the Teaching of the Catholic Faith, along with my own opinion of such.

I just lost my Mom. I was able to hold Mom's hand all the night and the next morning, praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy and the Saint Michael and some wonderful Scriptures and Psalms which I found in a copy of the Magnificat which I had with me. Mom couldn't talk and did not open her eyes, but she would squeeze my hand occasionally. She went back to the LORD very peacefully, after having a tough time of it the previous days following her stroke.

The Celibate Priest from the Cathedral miraculously (as they are so busy these days) took the time to come and anoint my Mom while she was suffering at the Hospital. After she passed away, this same Celibate Priest took the time to volunteer to offer the funeral Mass for Mom at the Cathedral, the only way Mom could get all of her 8 children in the Catholic Church together again at the same time, I think.

The Priest even came to the Rosary and Visitation on the day preceding the funeral Mass. Then he also came out to the National Cemetery to Bless Mom before interment. This Priest barely knew us. Getting a funeral Mass at the Cathedral is barely possible sometimes these days due to so few hours and so many requests.

Anyway. I Love the Church. I Love the Faith.

Now to my comments on the married Priest vs Celibate Priests.

He who gives up Mother and Father and Family for my sake will receive a hundred fold, the Scripture says.

For Catholics, I believe it is not right to try to have both a natural family and be a Priest. In the Catholic Church a married Priest would entail the mixing of two Sacraments . . . though possible . . . I don’t think it is a good idea in the vast majority of cases.

I don't care how good an example a Married Priest may set, the vocation to be a good personal family man would conflict with his vocation to be a Spiritual Father (Family man) to the entire Parish. It is primarily the Priest's Vocation to be a good Spiritual Family man who offers Sacrifice for his entire Parish as his family.

The natural Family man is a natural Family man. The Priest is a Father of many Families, on the Spiritual level.

No matter what similarities can be drawn . . . the entire dynamic is so different and the focus is so different as they are not properly brought together in one person as to be a Priest and natural Family man . . . unless that person were Saint Joseph, who we Catholics Believe Himself led a Celibate Life with Mary and CHRIST, typifying the Life to come. Saint Joseph and JESUS Himself are good examples to us of the Life of a Priest . . . both being Celibate. Yes! Joseph was perpetually Celibate because Mary was perpetually Celibate . . . at least that is what we Catholics Believe . . . I know some here do not believe this as do we. I accept that.

To me . . . although there may be some pastoral benefit . . . there is no Spiritual benefit to having a Priest who has his own personal family. Many parish members would only resent that such a Married Priest and his personal family receive benefit from the generosity of the parishioners who themselves may not be so well off. And most of the time, their resentment would be of substance . . . because such a Married Priest would not even be focused on Sacrificing his Life for CHRIST but rather his daily duty and responsibility would be in the order of this . . .

1) toward his personal family and . . .

2) then for his parish and . . .

3) then perhaps for CHRIST and other Church Members if he has the time . . .

. . . otherwise he would be negligent toward his personal family and all would fall apart.

Though this reversed hierarchy of focus, on the physical and natural level, is necessary and proper for a natural Family man . . . it is totally wrong for a Priest.

To a Catholic’s way of thinking, the male should either get married and be a Family man . . . right and proper . . . or . . . Be a Priest who offers His Life in Sacrifice to CHRIST to Serve GOD and all the Families of the Parish and Church at large . . . or . . . remain single and celibate.

GOD will reward such a Sacrifice by a Celibate Priest on the Supernatural level with the Priest becoming a Spiritual Father of every Family in his parish.

Not so the personal Family-Man/Priest. That Married Family-man Priest will have his own responsibility and reward already . . . his own personal Family . . . if that is what he is looking for.

This said . . . I am not opposed to an Episcopal Priest becoming a Catholic deacon, or even a Catholic Priest, with the current stipulation that they will not marry again should their spouse pass away . . . as is currently allowed, but rarely, by dispensation.

Paul said . . . "if you are married, live as if you are not." Joseph did that. Some older married couples who genuinely Love one another come to that Celibacy in their old age . . . some other older married couples who genuinely Love one another do not come to a state of Celibacy in their old age. Either of these is acceptable in the Catholic Church.

The idea is still to be as chaste as possible for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven where they neither Marry nor are given in Marriage.

Young couples should be fruitful and multiply, as Scripture indicates. That is their Vocation . . . raising new Life in the natural order and bringing them up as good and Faithful members of the True Faith in CHRIST.

We Catholics don't mix these Sacraments of Marriage and Priesthood . . . unless you have the manner of Joseph or JESUS in mind.

Now, that is my opinion, backed by so very many Priests and Bishops and Popes and Doctors of the Faith who have gone before me.

I know this doesn't suit the modern mentality . . . which seems to want to allow contraception and wants to allow so many 'freedoms' in the name of 'WHAT?' . . . .

There is not one single sexual sin which will disappear, or even improve in numbers, by allowing married Priests . . . not even one will improve based on that way of thinking.

Slightly off the above . . . married vs Celibate Priest . . . train of thought:

The Modern contraceptive mentality is wrong in my opinion, the Church officially calling this thinking intrinsically evil. I'm not arguing this. We do have NFP . . . but that’s another thread . . . and it is not ‘contraception’. No one has to Believe me . . . or anything I say or Teach . . . especially if only my opinion.

We Catholics do have to Believe the Teachings of the Church if we wish to receive Her benefits in the Sacraments. Believing what the Church Teaches is an absolutely necessary part of being Catholic. Scary for most of you? Not me. It is wonderful. But don’t worry, you and I don’t have to Believe anything that is a sin, even if the Church were capable of telling me such a thing. And I am not allowed to commit a sin just because the Church ‘supposedly’ told me to do it. Nope! I can’t have an abortion, even if the Church said I could.

The Church consoles us by telling us the Truth, not by allowing us to Believe a lie. She pastorally calls us to repentance by telling us the Truth and giving us a way back to the Truth through the Sacraments . . . especially the Sacrament of Confession.

GOD Bless you all for allowing me to say these things . . . with which you do not have to agree . . . but thank you for allowing me to say what I Believe.