Thursday, September 13, 2012

Playing Church.

OK, here is the deal. About one mile south of my church of St. James the Just, there is a little white church. I am told that it was a Southern Baptist church at one time. When I came to Ogden nine years ago, it was Glory to God Community Church. I found out later that it was a Metropolitan Community Church. Yup, the gay denomination. Not just gay friendly, but of, by, and for gays. Even the World Council of Churches won’t let them in as even that liberal organization doesn’t think that sexual orientation should be the foundation of a denomination. Later I heard that the pastor was an ex-Catholic and failed Franciscan seminarian. Well, I had heard more than I wish I had about that happening. All of a sudden a few years ago, the sign was changed and it had morphed into Glory to God American Catholic Church. That denomination evidently went under and now they have joined a North American Old Catholic Church out of the North East (headed by an ‘archbishop’ who received his formation via mail) and the pastor has been consecrated a bishop.

All along, they have received glowing coverage in the local media. They are open. They are inclusive. They don’t turn people away like the ‘other’ Catholic church. Their clergy has ‘life experience’. Etc, etc, ad nauseum. They are insistent that they are Catholic, just not papal Catholic. Last Christmas, they even had a sign out front, “Not your mamma’s Catholic church.” (Unintentionally true--the Blessed Mother has nothing to do with it.)

No doubt you can tell that it bothers me. I don’t like heresy and schism. Not by a long-shot.  And when that heresy and schism masquerades as Catholicism, my blood pressure redlines. It is false advertising. It is like Mormonism claiming to be theologically Christian. Or Scientology claiming to be a religion. Or Wicca claiming to be the survival of pre-Christian paganism. It just isn’t true. To be Catholic is to be in communion, spiritual, doctrinal, and juridical with the Successor of Saint Peter. It is to be part of the Church founded and sustained by Christ Himself. Catholic isn’t just about having the right vestments, using our ritual books, or aping church life. And people are deceived. Deceived into thinking they can be Catholic without embracing the whole of the life and teachings of the Church in union with Rome.

They claim to have Apostolic Succession. They might have, but I doubt it. The history of the Old Catholic schism is full of simony and dubious ordinations. Add to this the fact that they will ordain women and their orders are doubtful at best. But being Catholic is more than just having Apostolic Succession. It is about being in communion with the Church founded by Christ. This they are not. They jettison any doctrine they don’t like or conflicts with their lifestyle. Protestantism without the integrity of Luther or Calvin.

Fundamentally, I think they are, for whatever reason, playing Church. Maybe it gives them emotional comfort being in something that looks like the Church but does not have the demands of truth. Maybe the like playing dress-up. But in reality, though I doubt they consciously know it, they are doing the work of the Father of Heresy, the Father of Schism, and the Father of Lies.

Let's Try This Again.

Well, I think I'm back to blogging. Why have I been gone? Primarily because the things I have been thinking about were non-bloggable. No, I haven't had a crisis of faith or ill-health. Just somethings can't be processed publicly and that is what I do when I blog. (Is is also why I sometimes get into trouble when I blog. :) ) Also, things in the parish have required a lot more of my energy over the last year or so. Things haven't slowed down, but I think I am dealing with them better.

So, I think I am back and hope to be posting more. More about the faith, guns, politics, zombies and horror movies, and science fiction and fantasy. Oh, and whatever else my squirrel-adled mind is attracted to. You are welcome to come along. However, please remember that this is my blog. If you don't like it, find something else to read.