Don't renew mine.
The Global Catholic Network passed on this message: "Trying to engage the world but forgetting what is distinctively Catholic has "wreaked havoc on the Church." The message is from Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Souix City, Iowa, in his first pastoral letter, "Ecclesia Semper Reformanda".
The title is Latin. It means, The Church is Always in Need of Renewal. Oh really...? Well, if the church is "always in need of renewal" as the Bishop states, I wonder if it's occurred to him that perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong with the church?
"We need holy families, lest the Church and the world perish," he claims. [emphasis added]
The world .. ! .. like, does he mean the whole world? Holy cows, is the church really that important, Bishop?
Here's an excerpt of the Bishops thoughts:
We have a grave responsibility to build up and nurture holy families in our midst... We must do so by strengthening their Catholic faith, identity, and culture through ... sustained preaching and well-crafted pastoral ministry programs. We must give concrete help against the corrosive effects of pre-marital promiscuity, cohabitation, contraception and abortion, pornography industry, easily executed divorce, and infidelity.
Hmmm... Let's take a closer look at what the Bishop is seeking. He wants less (or no) sex before marriage, no living together, no birth control use, no abortion, no dirty pictures, no divorce, and no screwing your neighbor's spouse or the babysitter.
Gosh. None of this sounds new, does it? Apparently the Bishop is really serious. He wants all the old hat stuff of Christianity repackaged and resold. You'd think a better plan could be worked out, eh?
In a society where things like divorce and pre-marital sex are common, wouldn't it make better sense to somehow accommodate and repair the woes they bring with then rather than to think its justifiable to condemn such things altogether? They haven't, so far, gone away as a result of applying that tired out been-there-done-that method, have they? So, perhaps we'd be wiser, for example, to make changes in the divorce laws ... or better yet, to make changes to the marriage laws. And, SEX?... What's with all this preoccupation on sex? When will the church learn that sex is normal and natural?
I don't see how anything of the Bishop's renewal plan that has any real chance of "saving the world" but I didn't really believe his estimation of the world being truly at risk as a result of the decreasing numbers of Catholic families was for real in the first place. I think the Bishop is only expressing his P A N I C over the possibility that HIS job and HIS cushy lifestyle are in the balance.
His additional statements didn't win me over either:
... we must also guard against and equip families to resist the breakdown of the family that sometimes happens through over activity, the domination of communication technologies and novelties, and the cult of fun and entertainment, to name just a few dangers."
Um... what's he saying here? 'Don't use the phone or the internet or watch TV... and stop having fun.'
Yeah right, Bishop. You do that. But leave me out of it.