Jerry's Blog  1.4.231
mi propio
How a pilgrim Church might emerge
Wed August 5 2020  5:09pmFaith/Philosophy

It would be unreasonable and unjust to expect priests and bishops in 2020 to forsake their lifestyle and social status and become poor homeless pilgrims. Likewise, the vast majority of Catholic homes of today are incapable of becoming true domestic churches, with the husband assuming the role of pastor and priest. This will take time, probably several generations. But there are a few who could begin, and here's one way it could possibly play out:

Ordinariate: A body within the Church similar to a diocese with its own bishop or other head (its ordinary). It is in complete doctrinal union with Roman Catholicism but with its own internal norms and by-laws. The best known examples today are three Anglican ordinariates which have fully re-united with Rome while retaining their Anglican liturgy and married clergy.

A single bishop somewhere might request permission to form an ordinariate (see box). Or a priest could request to do so, and then request ordination as bishop, so as to be able to ordain men to the priesthood. The by-laws of this ordinariate that distinguish it from current mainstream Catholicism:

  • Married men within the ordinariate can be ordained priests, with careful vetting but without extensive formal education.
  • No priest in the ordinariate may accept remuneration for his priestly work.
  • No bishop or unmarried priest in the ordinariate may own property.
  • All adult members of this ordinariate must promise fidelity to defined Catholic teaching, especially ancient (e.g. Nicene) doctrines.

A couple clarifications: The married priest must be the husband of one wife, as the Scripture mandates. That is, no divorced or re-married clergy. The married priest doesn't earn money through his priestly ministry, but may own property and earns a living for his family through regular work or business.

This is a deliberate and radical return to ancient doctrine (orthodoxy) and practice (orthopraxy). Specifically, the ancient practice of married clergy (1 Tim.3:2, Tit.1:6), home churches (1 Cor.16:19, Col.4:15), and poor itinerant apostles (Lk.9:1-6, Mt.10:5ff, Acts) who work without pay (Mt.10:8,9). Well, concerning evangelical poverty and unswerving fidelity to Truth, there are too many biblical passages to which to refer.

It also represents a return to the ancient attitude of being alienated from the world. Literally alienated, not just figuratively. (Again, way too many Scriptures to quote here.) For this reason, and the pure devotion this would require, I would expect the numbers to be very small at first, but as more and more honest people see how authentic Catholicism can be lived in this changing world, they will join the ordinariate whose numbers will then swell. Eventually, whole dioceses might convert, and the ordinariate become the worldwide Catholic standard.

I suppose religious orders could continue to live as they do now, owning their own lands and buildings. Religious orders might also be the ones to own and operate any seminaries that might be needed for those desiring to be itinerant bishops. Important to recognize, however, that all connections with worldly wealth and power are very risky.

OK, what name should we give this experiment? "Ordinariate of Amateurs" ? "Domestic Ordinariate" ? Or just "Jerry's harebrained fantasy" ?

Amateur Priests
Dream of a Church without property
Thu July 30 2020  7:53pmFaith/Philosophy

There are Christian communities that have no denominational name, no church buildings, none of the usual ecclesial trappings. Their weekly home meetings are punctuated at intervals by pastoral visits from an elder or 'bishop'. The elder has a clearly defined territory within which he moves in circuit-rider fashion, preaching, teaching, counseling, and accepting such food and lodging as are offered him. He has no home of his own, and so is unmarried. He is allowed to own only what clothes, books and personal items he can carry in a single large suitcase.

Why shouldn't the Catholic norm be similar? The local group is the family; the husband and father being also an ordained Catholic priest. The family Eucharist is typically attended, daily and on Sundays, by Mom and the kids in a common room of the house, or a room set aside as a chapel. Nearby Catholic households that do not have their own domestic priest might participate in the Mass as well, as guests. This might include single moms, divorced men, and similar situations. On special occasions, the gathering might include other outsiders.

Have you ever lived in a small community where the resident priest offers a home Mass? Have you ever lived in the same household as your confessor? I have, and it is a very powerful experience of what the Church is and can be. In a single day, the relationship between Blase and myself might include celebrant / communicant, co-workers, confessor / penitent, and opponents at Pinochle. Mixing home life with the Sacraments tends to make both more real. That is, if the home life is real and Catholic to begin with.

Differences between this and the parish life of today are notable but do not affect the essentials. The domestic priest has full sacerdotal powers, including to hear confessions. But he must always be a true amateur: He is not allowed to gather to himself any sort of congregation or parish, he can not erect ecclesiastic buildings, and, most importantly, he can never accept salary, stipend nor any type of material remuneration, nor expect a privileged social status for his priestly work. The Offertory consists of just bread and wine; money and other material gifts are never offered nor accepted.

A number of domestic churches are organized within a specific geographical territory, each one served by a circuit-rider bishop. The bishop visits each household or small group of households in turn, preaching, teaching, confirming, and answering such questions and issues that may have arisen since his last visit. He is fed and housed by the families he serves, and over which he has true pastoral and apostolic authority. One very important episcopal responsibility is to keep vigilant watch over orthodox beliefs and practices, so as to preserve and strengthen Catholic unity. Another huge responsibility of the bishop is to interview, vet, train, and ordain new domestic priests, and new circuit-rider bishops. The vetting process is especially important to insure ahead of time that the candidate's personal and family life are sufficiently authentic and Catholic so that the Sacraments aren't taken lightly nor family life stilted. Probably in the early years of implementing this idea, most married Catholic men would fail the test.

Since the large number and small size of the domestic churches dictate a relatively small territory for each bishop, he might be comparable to an auxiliary bishop of today, and his territory might be better termed a deanery rather than a diocese. Along with his fellow circuit riders, he would of course be answerable to a bishop or archbishop of a full diocese. The amateur status is, then, of two sorts: On one level, the married priests who are providing for themselves and their families by their own labor in the world, and who never accept a nickel for their priestly work. Above them in authority, but under them in dependency, the bishops live as homeless beggars and pilgrims.

Caveat: The ideas presented here, in addition to being somewhat incomplete and lacking in details, are also offered by one who would in any event be ineligible to fully participate. At best, I might be allowed as one of the guests on the sidelines, as mentioned above.

Now, the domestic priest requires careful vetting ahead of time, but not a huge amount of formal education. But the circuit-rider auxiliary bishop and his overseeing bishop or archbishop surely need to be firmly grounded in all aspects of Catholic doctrine and discipline. To that end, they should be taught by very trustworthy educators. This might mean seminaries with paid staff. I suppose such institutions could be owned and managed by lay people and amateur priests as non-profit entities.

On the other hand, Catholic primary education needn't require parish school buildings nor paid staff. Much of the above is premised on the notion that the term 'domestic church' should be taken literally. Well, here's another dictum that should be taken literally: that parents ought to be the primary educators of their own children. If it's normative for the man to serve as his own family's pastor and priest, it's certainly normative for the woman to serve as the home schooling mom. All aspects of life returning to a home base.

Well, many details still to be worked out, as the idea grows and takes shape. Perhaps that's the next blog article: How specifically this might gradually come to pass.

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Doctrines, Canons, Buildings
Radical thoughts about Church property
Thu July 23 2020  4:26pmFaith/Philosophy

Full-tilt panic over covid-19 has reached Nicaragua, following months of ministerial hand-wringing. To my knowledge, no outright church closings here, but that may be mostly because Ortega has not provided the desired cover of government mandates. Daily Masses discontinued at my parish. The main door barred and locked even during the single Sunday Mass; die-hard parishioners must enter and exit through the small side chapel and through quasi-barriers of shoe and hand disinfectants. Those who come forward for Communion must submit to a second alcohol hand cleansing, with Communion on the tongue disallowed. (Of course, some die-hards still bring their dogs to Mass, without face masks; am (read article)

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Fear of Death
Fear of Life is fear of death
Tue April 7 2020  1:34pmFaith/Philosophy

. . .that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.   (Hebrews 2:14b,15)

A blessed Holy Week, and a Joyful Easter to all who read this.

Panic over COVID-19 is growing along curious lines. Those who are closing their shops and offices (and churches) and hiding in their houses or behind surgical masks are generally the rich, the educated, and the elite. At least where I live, most folks who have to work for a living are trying to go about their daily business as usual. Is there (read article)

Two more false oppositions
Tue December 31 2019  10:20amFaith/Philosophy

Here are a couple more examples of true and false opposition, in which a hyper or exaggerated version of something becomes its very opposite:

Distributism vs. Capitalism

In conformity with modern parlance, I'm using here the term 'capitalism' to refer to our current experience of large corporate capitalism, what some might call late-stage capitalism. This is but a perverse exaggeration of a small-scale and more reasonable capitalism, what is now called distributism.

Distributism has been championed by such diverse thinkers as G. K. Chesterton and Thomas Jefferson. As the name suggests, distributism puts economic and political (read article)

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rev. Sun Mar 21  11:18am
true and false opposites
Wed December 18 2019  8:07amFaith/Philosophy

Patriarchy vs. Machismo

Patriarchy literally means 'fathers rule'. If you think 'machismo' means patriarchal, you've got another think coming. The machismo man may strut and crow like a banty rooster, but the last thing he is is a responsible father. The machismo spirit that some consider patriarchal is very compatible with feminism. If the man is cocky and irresponsible, it's probably because the woman is independent and responsible for everything, or because of socialist programs that undermine his paternal obligations.

So when feminists (or egalitarians) equate machismo with true patriarchy, they are equivocating. What at first (read article)

rev. Sun Mar 21  11:12am
Massive flight away from reality
Fri July 19 2019  12:30pmFaith/Philosophy

A principal symptom of psychosis, especially of schizophrenia, is a profound disconnection from reality. The patient, for emotional or organic reasons, does not relate to his surroundings in a rational manner. He often constructs his own private reality quite different from the world in which more sane folks live.

We are in the midst of the modern Dark Ages, an epoch of human history marked by a mass departure from reality. An age in which certain psychoses become acceptable because believed in by so many, perhaps by the majority. But if everybody believes in an alternate reality, does that alternative therefore become true? I think not.

100 or even 50 years ago, it (read article)

If God does not judge America soon, he'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Mrs. Ruth Graham

7/30/20Amateur Priests 1
7/23/20Doctrines, Canons, Buildings 1
4/7/20Fear of Death 3
12/31/19Versus-2 1
7/19/19Schizophrenia 4
6/2/19Times and Seasons 4
10/2/18Until 7
9/15/18Empty Chair 11
8/28/18Riddle me this 6
5/9/18Some Specifics
4/20/18Crisis of Authority 4
3/17/18Theocracy 2
3/1/18Self abnegation 1
Copyright (c) 2017-2021 Gerald DePyper - Jinotega, Nicaragua, C.A.
rev. 2021.08.16