Liberal Catholics: An examination of the "Catholicism" we find among Liberal theologians
We love the faith that Jesus handed to Peter and the apostles, which emerged through the theological inspirations of the Early Church Fathers.
We don't like terms like "liberal" and "conservative" to describe Catholicism, because we believe that the Church is not conservative or liberal, but it will endorse the Truth wherever it lies. On one hand, the Church takes a "liberal" position on the poor and says, take care of them. On the other hand, the Church takes a "conservative" position on the moral teachings that Jesus gave us. This includes Christ's teachings on sexuality, marriage, obedience to God and reverence for his Holy Word.
There are claims that the Magisterium has dropped the ball on Vatican II. At the centre of this movement against the Magisterium is the claim that the Lumen Gentium document calls for the Church to revise its position on "there is no salvation outside the Church" and that we should be a lot more open to other religions as valid ways to heaven. They wonder why the Church is so old fashioned and slow to change.
Some liberal theologians think the role of Magisterium has outlived its usefulness. They question the role of Mary, they think the Church should endorse women's ordination, and gay marriage. They think the Church's position on contraception is backwards. They think infallibility of the Magisterium is a myth. So therefore all Dogma is open for grabs, especially purgatory. They don't think we need to pray for the souls in Purgatory, because they say it is a theological creation of the middle ages to control the masses.
They tend to hang out on the east coast USA and Europe.
Examples of challenges to doctrine by liberal catholics
- Scripture is not inerrant, and only parts of it are the Word of God, it should be read with a critical eye. Many of the miracles can be explained in natural ways, like the miracle of the loaves came from people sharing what they already had.
- Purgatory is an invention of the middle ages to keep control of the masses and keep them obedient to the Church.
- There is no hell, or if there is a hell, it is not forever and there is a way to get out of it once you are there.
- The Church should not be so firm against abortion in hard cases, and pregnant youths.
- Contraception is the only real way to reduce abortions. Chastity is unrealistic.
- Sexuality is complicated and we should not be so firm on the requirement of no sex before marriage.
- The Magisterium is an "old boys club", not the institution put in place by Jesus to guard and direct the Church.
- Mother earth is not only a creation of God, but it is god (this view is less common than others listed here, but more common than you would think).
- Calling God "Father" is sexist, never mind that Jesus called him that. (Note: God is without gender, but Jesus was clear and not "sexist")
- Same sex attraction is very complicated and the Church should not make an absolute pronouncement that it is disordered to act on it.
- The Eucharist is a great unifying symbol, and a tool to remember Jesus, but that's about all it is. The only true Eucharist is the assembly of the people.
- Mary Magdalene is a better symbol of femininity and truth than Mary, who they perceive to be overly docile.
- Confession is a good psychological cleansing, but that's about all it is. A priest isn't necessary to reconcile with God
- Baptising is a good tradition that fosters belonging, but it is not the means of salvation. God is Love, and will save every well-intentioned person.
In short, just about every sacrament is questioned, most dogmas denied, and moral teachings undermined. Our prayer is that one day the majority of people with theology degrees will focus on teaching the Word of God, rather than challenging it. Perhaps, dissident "catholic" universities need to share the blame.
Here is an interaction between myself and a liberal Catholic of that generation. It is here.
In many respects I totally agree that we need to revisit the faith. We need to come alive in Christ. I do not think that this renewal and examination should undermine the wisdom that has been handed to us through the ages. The newspapers are calling the liberal movement a new Reformation, which instead of separating from the church, it is trying to change the Church from within.
We believe in unity for the Catholic Church and I don't believe that unity is possible without the Magisterium. We simply have to look at the experiment of Protestantism to see how quickly division enters into any movement that is not without central authority. We believe that is why God gave us a Magisterium and why he promised to protect its dogmas against error. (Mat 16:18)
Let us consider Jesus' prayer for unity, "that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I am in you." (Jn 17:21) I hope this will help us to love one another as He has loved us. (Jn 13:34). "Let us not give up meeting together... but let us encourage one another." (Heb 10:25)
- Pierre Teilhard vs Wolfgang Smith
- Richard Rohr
- Women's ordination
- Married priests
- Gay marriage
- Lumen Gentium
- Email exchange with a liberal
- Mary's Role
- Did the church squash women mystics?
- Joan of Arc
- Muslim faith
- Why is the Church so slow to change?
- Da Vinci Code
- New Age
- Church against women?
- Father James Martin's book: Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community ...