Monday, November 19, 2012

Confounding! Trying to find the political box to put the Catholic Church in

We are a Church that is seemingly backwards thinking on social issues and far too forward thinking on issues of justice. We are seen as conservative fuddy-duddies on the one hand and are accused of being Marxist radicals on the other. ... As much as people try to wedge us in with the Republicans (or the Marxists), we aren’t going to be wearing elephant or hammer and sickle pins anytime soon. 

The above, from Sr Theresa Noble, one of our novices. You simply must read the whole piece about naming our Catholic political ideology.


Anonymous said...

I've done many wrongs, some of which both left and right would want me crucified for had the practice continued.

There's alot of of good that you may do or have done(in regards to Christians) but the underlying belief that non-believers will go to hell is backward as well as some other things ...It isn't loving nor is it justified for most, excluding me.


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Simon, you seem to have a mistaken understanding of what Cathollics believe.

Here is an official statement, from back in 1963: "since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery." Kind of theological language, but it is saying that each person's salvation is worked out by the Holy Spirit on an individual basis; we believe that every person who will be saved gets to Heaven through Jesus, even if they do not know of him or explicitly believe in him. That's the official stance of the Catholic Church.

It could be that you have been informed or even taught something else by someone who is not fully instructed in these areas. It is also easy for the media to characterize our teachings in a package that gets things just exactly wrong.

I can only write about what Catholics believe, of course. And I have met some very sincere Protestant Christians whose beliefs seem to match your description. Some of these persons have indicated to me personally that Catholics are "unsaved," too. I am not especially offended by this, because I know that God is my judge, not the person in front of me (no matter how big the Bible they carry!). However, it is irritating to see groups undertake mission trips to convert the Catholics in Mexico or the Philippines. If they want to save people, you'd think they would go all out and win the Muslims for Christ. (But that's just me being snarky.)

For more on how Catholics understand this question, including some historical perspective, you might find this helpful:

Anonymous said...


I'm a bit slow, honestly, i'm not the smartest to put it lightly. What If someone who has known Christ and then becomes an atheist could they still enter heaven?

What if i reject him even though i've been Catholic?

What possible reason would a sane human believe in all this anyway?

A man who brings the dead back and comes back himself too. Ironically, he died as a man and only came back for a short time to have a chat with his buddies.

He was born from a human when he could have skipped all that birthing process to actually make himself known properly.

Sounds like a man to me. Maybe one who said some nice things. Apart of course ,which ever way to want to interpret it, he said you only get there through him.

If he knew us prior to our birth and we had some kind of "thinking" soul then i would have liked to have opted out. Not only for my sake but for others.


Anonymous said...

I guess you're all the same after all,


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

I have very limited online access this week, and barely enough time for prayer. I hope to give you a more developed answer when I have time to actually prepare something thoughtful.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, i didn't see my last comments so i guessed you didn't want to talk about it.

I'm embarrassed now, sorry again.

Sister, i'm expecting too much i think so i'll best leave it. Maybe my constant mocking will lead to me having a "St Paul moment"...Only joking.

Best i can hope for is maybe a lightning strike to the head?

I don't get out at all so i'm able to be online nearly all day and night...Apologies once again.


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Don't worry about it, Simon! You are in my prayers in a very special way. In fact, I think grace is working overtime in you, so won't you please pray for me? Even if your prayer is something along the lines of "God, if you exist, please listen to me..." that counts (and God has been known to answer just that sort of prayer).

Anonymous said...


It would be very hard for me to even try and pray with true sincerity.

I wouldn't want to be a spoiler but my comments( the one not published) about, and the hint i gave should really give you a good idea of the terrible things i've done.

There's no grace in me Sister. If you can believe one sure thing about me, believe that.

I'll be in honest in that a part of me seeks a finality but i'm too cowardly so that's a no,no.

Sister, take all the time you like in responding or not..I may say things that would leave a sour taste so just exclude those comments when they come up for as long as i'm here. I don't mind and i've bookmarked your blog.


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

We have a few minutes before leaving, so I thought I would take this time to try to put a little something together for you, Simon. I don't feel that I am the best person for this, but I owe it to you to try.

When I read your comments, I see a very conflicted soul. It is as if part of you really, really believes in God, in Jesus, in eternal life, but there is another part that is worried that if all that is true, then you are in the proverbial deep doo-doo. So maybe it is better to just write it all off as so much nonsense. Except that it seems to be what St. Paul called "God's foolishness"--it turns our expectations upside down. God become a wailing baby? A Virgin Mother? A dead God in a tomb? (Remember the story of C.S. Lewis' conversion from atheism to Christianity? He raised these same issues to Tolkein, and said, "Come on, we all know these are myths!" And Tolkein said, "Yes, but they are myths that are true." God can speak to us in every language, even the language of paradox; even nonsense language; even baby talk.

Maybe the issue is not really God or the Bible, or even the misguided believers who seem more preoccupied with damnation than with Heaven. Because you hinted that there are some choices you have made that you are very worried about. I won't pretend that it couldn't be all that bad. I'll take your word for it: that you have committed some outright atrocities. Human beings are capable of some awful things. And maybe you are stuck in a kind of habit or addiction to really harmful behavior; things that keep on hurting you and others, and you don't see a way out. 

There is still good news for you, even in that case. Because the God who was big enough to become small for us is bigger than the worst evil we can accomplish. (It can be a kind of grandiosity to think that our sin is too big for God to handle.) St. Paul wrote a great passage about what it feels like to be stuck in a pattern of sin--he even said, "I agree with God's Law in my inner self, but there  is another law, at war with the law in my mind... it is sin in me, doing what I myself do not want." To me, that sounds like what you wrote when you said there was "no  grace" in you (even though there is, because I can perceive it very clearly). 

You don't have to identify yourself with sin or evil, even when you commit it yourself. And God doesn't look at you like that either. He doesn't say, "Oh that's Simon. His nickname up here is 'Pure Evil.'" Instead, God says, "Oh, that's Simon. He is really being set upon by sin these days; it is causing him no end of suffering. My heart goes out to him."

And he really did "go out" to us and let us do our worst to him personally, in his own body. He is personally familiar with what it means to be rejected, hated, ridiculed, thrown away. (There is a line in the Bible that says "I am like a dish that is broken." Do you feel like that sometimes? Because that is Jesus talking. Which means that you and Jesus have something very personal in common. Which is not a bad situation to be in.)

I know I can't answer your questions the way you might need them answered, and Lord knows I can't solve your problems, which I understand are many and deep and painful. But I can tell you that there is meaning in your life, and that God exists and is closer to you than you can fathom, actually enthroned in your heart whether you are a living saint or the worst sinner living today. 

I wrote your name in my prayerbook, on the page of the ancient prayer, "Come, Creator Spirit." May the mysterious God who created you to to share his infinite life keep you and guide you and protect you, all the way to Heaven.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

By the way, I don't think I got a comment from you that was left unpublished. I usually do that via email, just clicking the link. There is just one person who sends frequent very inappropriate comments; that is why I had to put the comment moderation.

Anonymous said...

You know, for all the wrong i've done i would not fall foul of believing in a so-called loving god who sends those who know him yet reject him too..Not unless of course he is able, which he tends not to be, to talk to those people either way before or as they are about to die.

It's cruel and heartless and i don't know how anybody would accept that and call themselves lovers of all people..It's mass genocide.

If you don't want to publish this its up to you of course but at least you'll rememebr what i said..P.S I don't need any kind of rehab for the deviant acts i've committed in the past..i saw the wrong and now i'm free of it all.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Hi, Simon. Sorry I haven't been able to continue the conversation, but I have remembered you in my prayers, and so have the other sisters in the choir. Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Do you know the story? I think it speaks very much to what you are saying. Here is a link to a translation of the first written narration of the events of 1531 (translated from the Aztec language, which was still being spoken at the time):

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sister, I'll take a look..You seem quite alright considering my dislike for certain aspects of religion..Other nun blogs don't publish my stuff.

Hey, i'll let you get on with it..You seem quite talented although i haven't really seen you sing on your own..I only had a quick look at the youtube link..I, however have no talent at've sung thinking i was ok but it's only when others hear you, you know how bad you are,and i'm not that good at all.

Look, I may go off the cuff at times so you can just leave out some things that you might consider distasteful.I doubt you'll tolerate me for too long but that's ok....I can only express what i truely feel though..I will never believe and i don't understand how someone so intelligent can do it unless it's what keeps them going in life.

Well, i will just say one thing about Tolkien..I like many of his books that i know of but need to read them properly because i'm slow at times and i tend to start and stop when reading.

He had a good imagination..Just like other Christians..haha

Believe it or not i had First Holy Communion and Confirmation once upon a time but i'm not sure if the church wants to excommunicate me these days..I'll have to write to the pope to ask.

I'll have to look out for you reply at a future date..I only really use yahoo mail so i don't know when you unless i keep coming back..turning pages is a little slow on my old PC too,,,byeeee


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Something for you to watch and enjoy, Simon!

Anonymous said...

Ok, i followed the link and will watch it but don't expect miracles..haha...Reading the title of it was already an indication of what to expect from you.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

I really thought you might be able to resonate with some of Jennifer's story, because she uses some of the same expressions as you in how she saw the Christian story. I am not trying to force anything on you; you are your own person.

Anonymous said...

It's a Miracle!

Nah,not really...thanks anyway for the vid.

Yes,it's true, she mentioned stuff when she was an atheist that i mention to believers sometimes.

Of course you're not forcing things upon me. Seeing that you and that other lady are obviously smart in many ways..I mean she spoke eloquently where as i am not, in the the written word and spoken form.

The only things that seperate us after all that is my disgusting,awful..well, you know, my past..I've read in your other posts on here what you find nasty, horrible and evil and you would be describing me,and other fallen memebers of your church.Oh and there's the fact you believe in what to any rational person would be absurd..

But who am i to judge right? You, all of you that may read this, could verify these words i write and transport them to the nearest authority of you had the definitive proof of what i did and how you would not only cast me aside but would make sure i never came anywhere near your family or friends.

You do believe, and even i could say ok, so there might be a creator or creators.But to go further as you do and think a man was a god and did all those things?

The only reason your religion spread was merely by missionaries...Your god chose to visit one small corner of the planet, ignoring every other human being..Many of which already had their own belief system..Who are you to say they are wrong and that you might be cast into their version of hell for not believing in their particular god?

You know what i meant by that..That someone like me who knows about The Nazarene will go to hell if i reject your belief.

But me, my worry wouldn't so much be with me and my salvation, although i'd obviously be afraid if your god was "The One"...No..See with me although i detest myself(as you would if you knew) i would not want to abandon other non believers who have done little wrong in their live except not believe in your fairy tale.


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Peace be with you, Simon. What is past is past; over; forgotten by God and man (except for you yourself). You are not "replaced" with whatever awful thing/things you did. They are over, you are alive, able to be transformed day by day.
Anyway, while there are many things in your comment that I could respond to, I think you are just playing games with me at this point, so I will only respond to one.
I don't know what you are referring to when you mention things I have written "your other posts on here what you find nasty, horrible and evil and you would be describing me,and other fallen memebers of your church". I don't often write about things that are nasty or horrible, after all. Are you putting me in some kind of a box? Stereotyping me according to some image of what a nun "must" be like? Putting words in my mouth (or on my blog)? It doesn't really affect me if you do, but it keeps you in a box of your own making, and I would think that just causes you more suffering.
So I would still urge you to pray the prayer of the agnostic, "God, if you exist, grant me peace!" (What do you have to lose?)

Anonymous said...

Sister, i wasn't punished for what i did and some people told me not to keep hinting or openly saying it,even the last nun i knew...I came out with what i did..I wasn't caught...It was strange though..It was like being being suddenly invaded in my brain with someone different...the good side of us..I let it all out to my mum first i think..It was like the most emotionl thing ever..almost religious...I never cried so much and couldn't catch my breath so i made whooping noises.

Oh come on Sister, we all put each other in boxes..You ain't no saint either..You pointed out 2 different boxes you think others put you under, which isn't interely true. You yourself now are putting others in boxes by generalising about them...Oh, and by the way..You showed great restraint on those consevatives more than say..the Bleeding Hear Liberals...Take a look: Radical Marxist-hammer and sykle compared to fuddie-duddies and elephants.Maybe Christian Talibanists who want to interfer with other peoples lives and infiltrate true freedoms with religion would have been more appropriate..War on Christmas? what a joke..all people want are their dignity such as marrying without harrassment and so forth.

I would be almost certain,by your reply that you wouldn't care what image or sterotypical box i or anyone would put you under.,,btw, i didn't say you OFTEN did it either so you shouldn't throw "popcorn"...You haven't questioned who i am yet have you and had even the slightest thought i might be that person writing bad stuff to you?..It's ok though, we all have bad thoughts..I still do about horrible things and then i scold myself for thinking such things.

Speaking of suffering..It's usually somethin Catholics talk about alot isn't it? Like enduring it and lamost loving it to an extent..The thing i hate the most is the free will excuse you put on your god..He has it to if he exists.

I would refer you to the story of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. How the mother superior refused to administer morphine to the suffering woman...

And how would you expect a non believer who dislikes your god to pray? You do relaise it doesn't work don't you? Like when your god's wonderful creation Sandy was about to hit the US..People prayed but what good did it do? I bet many of them didn't realise it already killed many in the Caribbean.

Anonymous said...

I forget to say...

I am not playing games with you seem to be stereotyping me...I think straight out of the box and sometimes it might be wrong, i admit that.

I thought you would have replied about the issue of going to hell for not believing..Most Christians know about that and don't most think it true?

Anonymous said...

There are a few more things i need to add..First,although i haven't worked for over 20 yrs and i sit in my room all day i still feel tired. I sleep and wake sporadically so sometimes i get grumpy with people around me and i say things and lash out..Funnily enough, it's when i feel tired that really nasty thoughts pop into my head too...Take not though, although these thoughts arise, i quickly rid myself of them and gurantee they would never become reality..I dunno why i'm saying things like guarantee because i doubt some people would believe me but i say it..and i mean it..anyone who doubts that can go jump.

I think i should say sorry mentioning words i plucked out here and there from your blog and didn't really read everything properly so you might want to forgive me.

Lastly, i just looked through my comments to you about my "self-realisation" of the things i did. I mentioned things like "invaded with something different", "good side" and "almost religious"..These things might send angel bells ringing in your ears sister, telling you it was something godly that compelled me to say those things..I'm here to assure you it wasn't, it was just me and my complex and somewhat dim-witted brain.

Lastly, sorry for all the typos, grammatical errors etc..I didn't educate myself enough.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Simon, I don't take it personally; don't worry. And I don't hear "angel bells" in your story, either. I think of you as a person who is struggling with life, and this saddens me. I hope you have people in your life who can help you find a healthier pattern of living from day to day.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for at least allowing for some of my comments to filter through..The one about the lady in the video however seemed to have disappeared into the ether.

You know i'm struggling but hey, it could be worse, i could be your god who stands aside while some of us do harm to one another or when one of his "Natural" wonders kills people when he could intervene.

I guess your last comment was a goodbye so i'll bid you farewell..Love others as you do yourself? what rubbish!!