09 May, 2010

Roman Catholic Priest at the Intersection of Faith and Doubt - NYTimes.com

Roman Catholic Priest at the Intersection of Faith and Doubt - NYTimes.com


  1. "'Obedience is a two-way street — it involves a great deal of trust, and the trust part is very, very low for me right now,' he said. 'You can’t promise obedience when you feel like you can’t trust the person you’re supposed to obey.'"

    Like the old tradition of swearing fealty, it must be reciprocal for it to work. Otherwise all you have is a tyrany with "willing" slaves in an all-or-nothing situation that leaves a lot of good people wanting more and being resigned to remain unsatisfied. That is no way to build. It's on a foundation of sand.

    Question, though, Tim: I notice that he is referred to as Mister Bowers, rather than Father Bowers, but he still retains the title of Reverend. What up wit dat, please?

  2. "Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times
    The Rev. Robert J. Bowers, in charge of outreach and reconciliation at a center in Boston, hugged Julia Sullivan, a former parishioner.
    “You can still love your God and not go to church,” Mary Jo Keating, 71, asserted forcefully to her friends gathered around a table the other day.

    And yet a nagging thought poked at her conscience. “Do you have to be a good Catholic or a true Catholic?” Ms. Keating asked. “Can’t you just be a Catholic?”

    The Rev. Robert J. Bowers, his open, puckish face capped by his gray buzz cut, offered solace, if not a solution. “You are redefining what it means to be Catholic, to be Christian, a religious person, a believer at all,” he told Ms. Keating. “The litmus test used to be: Do you go to church every Sunday? Yes. Do you support your pastor? Yes. Do you go to Mass and Communion and confession?”

    But now, he said, “there is no litmus test.”"

    Some might be suprised to learn the word "catholic" is not in the Bible. The dictionary says it means universal. Probably most Roman Catholics think it refers only to a Roman Catholic. In fact, the word is also used by people in other churches.

    Many have lost confidence and trust in their church. But in the Gospel according to John, Jesus called people to faith in Himself. The idea of blind trust in fallible men is a mistake which we are seeing the consequences of. Throughout the gospel of John, Jesus emphasized belief in Him as the only way. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47

    "And Jesus said unto them I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John 6:35

    "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlastiing life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40

    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

    So those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit(John 3:3) are catholics regardless of which earthly denomination they belong to. They are "fellow-citizens with the saints" Ephesians 2:19


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