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Switch to Forum Live View Dialog: What is it and why?
2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 7:44PM #1
mokantx
Posts: 3,818
The thread on the Vatican coming down on American Nuns seems to be veering off into a separate discussion on Dialog.  I think the other thread is worth keeping in its own right, so I'm starting this one in hopes of making this a separate discussion of its own.

I see a great need for dialog in the church today.  The problem I see for the RCC, is that the world has changed, while those in charge don't seem to want it to change, so their solution is to try to use the RCC as a means to slow the world down, or somehow turn the clock back.  I don't see that happening, and sadly, if the church doesn't change, it will be left behind as society continues to grow and change.

I think dialog is a means to bridge the growing gap in the church: a gap made all the worse by those who seem to carry the mantra of "forward to Trent."  I say that because to enter a dialog, one must be willing to change.  Those who think dialog means "my way or the highway" need not apply.  The simple truth is that the church may have been founded by Jesus, but since the Ascension, it's been run by fallible men (sadly, no women).  We know today that being a priest, a bishop, a Cardinal or even pope does NOT guarantee one will live/act/lead morally, much less per the gospels.  So pretty much all of the church's positions were put in place by highly fallible men.  Why is it then that those who support the hierarchy, believe change is impossible, especially given the church's LONG history of making change? 
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 8:47PM #2
Buggsy
Posts: 4,732

Apr 26, 2012 -- 7:44PM, mokantx wrote:


I see a great need for dialog in the church today.  The problem I see for the RCC, is that the world has changed, while those in charge don't seem to want it to change, so their solution is to try to use the RCC as a means to slow the world down, or somehow turn the clock back.  I don't see that happening, and sadly, if the church doesn't change, it will be left behind as society continues to grow and change.
 



Good comments. 


Interesting you use the word 'dialogue'.  I think the term implies a conversation where both parties or all parties agree that the outcome will be a new idea or at least an understanding.  And that listening (without judgement) is a key element of the exchange. Dramatizations are one form of dialogue but they can also happen without script - which to me is its best expression - improvized and creative.


Discussion and debate are different because they involve position, defence, confrontation and argumentation.  Dialogue would meant that the suits at the palace would have to agree to a new understanding walking side by side with the interest groups or even the laity. In fact they don't even discuss or debate  . . . preferring to dictate instead.


Was Vatican 2 a creative or scripted dialogue (outcome pre-determined but novel)?  I dont' know.


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2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 9:32PM #3
Thomas A Quinas
Posts: 1,670

Apr 26, 2012 -- 7:44PM, mokantx wrote:

I see a great need for dialog in the church today.  The problem I see for the RCC, is that the world has changed, while those in charge don't seem to want it to change, so their solution is to try to use the RCC as a means to slow the world down, or somehow turn the clock back.  I don't see that happening, and sadly, if the church doesn't change, it will be left behind as society continues to grow and change.


I hope you don't mind, Mo ... and I'm sincerely not attempting to hijack this thread, but I have to ask precisely WHY it would be sad (from your vantage point) if the hierarchal Church were "left behind" (perhaps in a Tim LaHaye sort of fashion).  If their authority is illegitamate to begin with, then it seems as though it would be 'No big whoop' if they were relegated to the dustbin anyways.  You seem to be saying that (paraphrased), "If they humble themselves, listen to the laity (+ the rest of the world), and 'get with the times', then they'll be more legite.  But aren't there plenty of other clergy (both within & without of the hierarchal Church) who already 'change with the tide'?  And if so, then how come everyone doesn't just flock to them?  Respectfully, I think something may be flawed with your premise.

I think dialog is a means to bridge the growing gap in the church: a gap made all the worse by those who seem to carry the mantra of "forward to Trent."  I say that because to enter a dialog, one must be willing to change.  Those who think dialog means "my way or the highway" need not apply.


I guess I'm a bit late to the party so to speak, but I've yet to hear this mantra 'Forward to Trent'.  To confess my ignorance, I didn't know that we ever left Trent in the rearview mirror.  It (should be) as much a reality of Catholicism now as it was prior to the VII Council.


... But are you 'willing to change', Mo?  Is the LWRC 'willing to change'?  From what I can gather (... and do correct me if I'm wrong), you (& they) already have quite a few preconceived notions at to which side needs to do a preponderence of changin'.

The simple truth is that the church may have been founded by Jesus, but since the Ascension, it's been run by fallible men (sadly, no women).  We know today that being a priest, a bishop, a Cardinal or even pope does NOT guarantee one will live/act/lead morally, much less per the gospels.  So pretty much all of the church's positions were put in place by highly fallible men.


There never was any "guarantee" that being a clergyman would alleviate immoral behavior in a person's life, which is why Jesus talked about scandal 'n' milestones.  If you believe the OT, then G-d instituted the Levitical priesthood, which is what Eli's sons were (1st Samuel Ch 2), and yet they were wicked anyways.  I know not wether you believe that they were put in place 'by a highly fallible god'.

Why is it then that those who support the hierarchy, believe change is impossible, especially given the church's LONG history of making change?


That depends on what you mean by 'change'.  Papists probably want certains kinds of change just as badly as 'revisionists', but others not so much.

If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to his divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us. -- Uniformity with God’s Will by Saint  Alphonsus Liguori
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 6:45AM #4
quandampaupere
Posts: 245

Buggsy was saying above that a key element in this process is the ability to "listen without judgment".


And that is precisely a growing impossibility both in society at large and more specifically in the RC church as a societal mirror. Our society becomes more judgmental and polarized. We are now at the solid threshold of "do not bother me with the facts". The Rush Limbaughs are taking over and controlling the language of the debate. And of course, so is the Vatican in their written statements. The latest example is the statement regarding the nuns in America. Or the bishop's drive on "religious freedom." He who controls the language of the debate has the home court advantage on the turf. 


If people are not willing to listen openly we all know that dialogue is a waste of time. And that is exactly what I concluded prior to leaving the church, because the hierarchy refuses to listen. They have the Lockbox on the Holy Spirit. Others apparently see the times as reflecting a crucial need for discussion. So do I, but I know that it is not going to happen in the Roman Catholic church and most other places. 


True dialogue requires co equal status and respect, not something the bishops practice. So for those who want dialogue, it probably will result as it frequently does....people in the same pews talking to one another, reinforcing their own beliefs and gaining precious little in understanding the position of the other side.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 8:23AM #5
quandampaupere
Posts: 245

An article in the NCR: "Vatican laments Irish dissent, silences priests" [4/26/12] is the latest example of stone walling. Altho reporting on events in Ireland, it is equally applicable to us. In the face of crying need for dialogue, this is what we get:



"The Vatican seems to be drawing a clear line in the sand. From Rome's view, whatever the future shape of [Irish] Catholocism will be it must be a future marked by a greater adhearance to church teaching."


Good luck. Even when some balance is placed in possible discussion, the results are disasterous. Some months ago, the Jesuit editor of America magazine was fired, after bending over backwards to present both sides of several issues, because he offended the all powerful ubers.  Not one word, not even a hiccup of protest from the catholic press association. And so it goes. On this web, Ted was kind enough to leed discussion about a Catholic Congress being held somewhere in Minnesota. The local ordinary was tripping over himself to make sure that everyone knew that this was not part of the Roman Catholic Church. And he encouraged boycott, while strictly fordidding his priests to attend, even in civvies.


  Now we are in the age of McCarthyism. Only a matter of time till implosion into irrelevancy on the faithful and fully catholic road to Trent.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 8:28AM #6
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,744

I think people are predisposed to make a snap judgement. Studies from neuroscience show that our brains have made a decision regarding how to respond/react before we are consciously aware of it. Then we "make up" reasons for why we responded or reacted as we did. It's human nature.


I do still think dialog, in the sense of an exchange of ideas, is possible. I don't even think people have to be "willing to change" in order to dialog. I think dialog for the sake of simply hearing the other person's views, in order to understand why they think the way they do, is valuable up to a point. The point where it becomes not particularly valuable is when people just keep repeating their own views, and nothing new is being learned or discovered. 


The RCC is an authoritatrian system. Without the hierarchy deciding dialog is important, any dialog among church members outside the hierarchy may be of interest to the parcipitants for a time, but it won't result in any changes in the Church. Changes in the RCC come from the top-down. It's not a democracy, it's a dictatorship. I don't see bottom-up changes from dialog. That may happen if there is a full-out revolt, but not from talk. We've seen tens of millions of US and European Catholics leave the Church, and that didn't result in changes, other than the church becoming more focused on rules, dogma, and consolidating power in Rome. That shows it would take a world-wide exodus to make the hierarchy do something different, and maybe then the hierarchs would just sit on the Church's wealth until they die.


The other hard truth is that there are plenty of people who like hierarchical systems, being told what's right and wrong in black and white, and not having to deal with uncertainties and gray areas. There are enough of them to keep the RCC going for a long time. The way I see it, the RCC can just keep going the way it is for quite a long time.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 9:34AM #7
mokantx
Posts: 3,818

Apr 26, 2012 -- 9:32PM, Thomas A Quinas wrote:


Apr 26, 2012 -- 7:44PM, mokantx wrote:

I see a great need for dialog in the church today.  The problem I see for the RCC, is that the world has changed, while those in charge don't seem to want it to change, so their solution is to try to use the RCC as a means to slow the world down, or somehow turn the clock back.  I don't see that happening, and sadly, if the church doesn't change, it will be left behind as society continues to grow and change.


I hope you don't mind, Mo ... and I'm sincerely not attempting to hijack this thread, but I have to ask precisely WHY it would be sad (from your vantage point) if the hierarchal Church were "left behind" (perhaps in a Tim LaHaye sort of fashion).  If their authority is illegitamate to begin with, then it seems as though it would be 'No big whoop'


[snip]




Thomas


Thanks for the reply.  Not sure I can answer all you've asked, but I'll try.


First off, I would be sad to see the RCC left behind.  I see a great deal of good work, both historically and current, coming from the church.  That work requires the time and talent of many people.  If the church withers, so will all of those ministeries.  That said, I'd have no problem if the church threw out its current orgaizational structure, and adopted something that gave the laity a much stronger voice in church governance.  To answer another question you asked, I'd just continue this concept by noting that I don't think I'm alone: what draws a LOT of people to this otherwise flawed organization, IS that it does a lot of good work, and that the hearts of so many of its people are in the right place.  Sure, there are a ton of "alternatives" out there.  And I suspect there are a lot more Catholics leaving for these other religions than we've seen in a very long time now.  But for many, it's gonna be the RCC, or nothing.


As to the forward to Trent mentality, I think we see this movement growing just about every week in the things the bishops are proclaiming and demanding.  For folks like me, this is truly sad.  Vatican II dwarfed the Council of Trent in terms of scope, size, participation, etc.  It was a true Council of the church, and likely about as open an event as the church has ever seen.  Yet since the death of John XXIII, there seems to have been a concerted effort by the bishops to undo much of what was done.  Actually, let me correct myself.  I don't perceive that they're trying to undo ALL of VII: only those things that empowered the laity, and required the bishops adapt to the new reality in the church. So whereas Vatican II seemed to call all of us to go forth into the world, be a part of that world, engage in that world, and lead that world, the bishops seem ever more to want Catholics to either do their bidding, or leave the church.  What we've got now seems very unhealthy, and we need look no further than the US Supreme Court.  Whether we like their rulings or not, SCOTUS is DOMINATED by Catholics.  They sit on both the conservative and liberal sides of the court. It COULD be seen as an almost stunning victory for the Catholic educational system, and for the diversity of thought contained within the Catholic culture.  On at least one level, the makeup of the SCOTUS would seem to be the perfect outcome from Vatican II.  But its not.  The partisan bickering of the bishops, the constant sniping, the threats, etc., suggest that the bishops are far from satisfied by the Catholic dominance. They come off as angry, controlling, and ever disappointed that these Catholic jurists are not giving the bishops what they want.  I think a strong argument can be made that the bishops would much prefer one or two Catholic Jurists, if those jurists would just do the bidding of the bishops.  I don't see that as consistent with Vatican II at all.


As to willingness to change, I can only speak for myself.  My answer is yes, I am willing and open to change.  On the hot button issues, I'll be happy to change as soon as a dialog can convince me that the church's position is right.  I say dialog, because what the church has written and DONE thus far has NOT convinced me.  If homosexuality really is "intrinsically disordered" as the church's leadership says, then why have they allowed what we're told to be 40% of their ranks to be gay?  If the bishops are not empowered to ordain women because Jesus did not, why do the bishops not travel by donkey, as Jesus did?  If priests may not marry, how is it that Jesus personally selected Peter, a married man to be the "rock" upon which he would build the church?  The list goes on and on, but the simple fact remains that much about our world has changed and the church needs to be constantly reassessing it's positions.  I think it started that process in Vatican II, and that was a good thing.  But it needs to continue: the church needs to constantly make itself new.  I don't see that happening with the bishops these days, on just about any level.  When I see sincere efforts, I will listen.


The key, as I see it, is dialog: a sincere listening by ALL parties, to what the others are saying.  Through that discussion will emerge the "whys" of everybody's positions.  And it's only when one can begin to address the "whys" of the other party's position that I think change is possible from within.  If it's a one-way discussion, it's not dialog, and change will not happen.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 9:35AM #8
jlb32168
Posts: 13,280

Apr 26, 2012 -- 9:32PM, Thomas A Quinas wrote:

But are you 'willing to change', Mo? Is the LWRC 'willing to change'? From what I can gather (... and do correct me if I'm wrong), you (& they) already have quite a few preconceived notions at to which side needs to do a preponderance of changin'.


That is my point, TAQ, although, you’ve said it much more diplomatically.


As you’ve said, there doesn’t seem to be much of a disposition for change on the part of those who call for dialogue with an open mind.


Apr 26, 2012 -- 9:32PM, Thomas A Quinas wrote:

That depends on what you mean by 'change'. Papists probably want certains kinds of change just as badly as 'revisionists', but others not so much.


My point has always been that many of these changes, which might be good ones, also bring with them ideas that the ancient Creeds of the Church should be sliced, diced, and julienned because the idea of virgins having babies is just silly.


Perhaps some traditionalists might accept that these changes were of God if they didn’t come with other rubbish in tow; however, progressives don’t seem to have gotten that idea.

Victim of this, victim of that, your mama’s too thin and your daddy’s too fat, get over it! - the Eagles
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 9:52AM #9
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,744

Apr 27, 2012 -- 9:34AM, mokantx wrote:


As to willingness to change, I can only speak for myself.  My answer is yes, I am willing and open to change.  On the hot button issues, I'll be happy to change as soon as a dialog can convince me that the church's position is right.  I say dialog, because what the church has written and DONE thus far has NOT convinced me.  If homosexuality really is "intrinsically disordered" as the church's leadership says, then why have they allowed what we're told to be 40% of their ranks to be gay?  If the bishops are not empowered to ordain women because Jesus did not, why do the bishops not travel by donkey, as Jesus did?  If priests may not marry, how is it that Jesus personally selected Peter, a married man to be the "rock" upon which he would build the church?  The list goes on and on, but the simple fact remains that much about our world has changed and the church needs to be constantly reassessing it's positions.  I think it started that process in Vatican II, and that was a good thing.  But it needs to continue: the church needs to constantly make itself new.  I don't see that happening with the bishops these days, on just about any level.  When I see sincere efforts, I will listen.




Mo, the RCC hierarchy can't go near this slippery slope! One question leads to another. Was Jesus really born to a virgin? Did he really rise from the dead? Was Jesus really God? Was he even an historical figure? What is God? 


I think that's at the heart of the resistance to dialogue. It's not so much an unwillingness to change -- as you pointed out the Church has changed through the times. It's an unwillingness to engage in questioning of beliefs. 

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 9:55AM #10
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

I was kicked out of an order by Rome for whistleblowing, and no one with the equivalent rank has ever apologized or invited me back in. When I first told my story here almost 12 years ago, several members at the time cast me as an enemy of the Church and "dialogued" with me accordingly. So I'm the enemy. So be it.

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