Pope admits sadness at influence of professional liberal Catholics on Church

In his interview with Peter Seewald Pope Benedict admits his sadness at the influence of professional liberal Catholics, particularly those advising bishops, especially about their media image. He agrees with Peter Seewald’s analysis that these liberal Catholics are compromised by a ‘culture of doubt’.

The Holy Father refers to these liberals in positions of power and influence in the Church as ‘professional Catholics, who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops.’

Peter Seewald: ‘A “culture of doubt” is very much “in” these days, and it has found a comfortable nest even in media outlets associated with the Church. In many cases, editors simply take over uncritically the slogans circulating among the usual critics of the
Church. Bishops follow the lead of their media consultants,who recommend a soft line in order to avoid any damage to the bishops’ liberal image. And when, on top of that, huge media concerns belonging to the Church remove religious books from their main sales lists—doesn’t this raise doubts as to whether we can still speak credibly about new evangelization?’

Pope Benedict: ‘ These are all phenomena that one can only observe with sadness. It is sad that there are what you might call professional Catholics who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops. We must really make an effort to change this. In Italy—where there are far fewer enterprises run by the Church as an institution—I observe that initiatives arise, not because they are set up by the Church as institution, but because the people themselves believe. Spontaneous new beginnings arise not from institutions, but out of an authentic faith.’

Protect the Pope comment: It seems that Pope Benedict, like many of us, has given up on Church institutions dominated by liberal professionals, such as catechetical centres and Education services (Of course there are a few faithful and loyal catechetical centres and Education services, but they are the exception in my experience).

Pope Benedict makes it clear that he doesn’t look for signs of renewal and hope from those institutions of the Church top heavy with liberal professional Catholics but from people who have an authentic faith outside the institutions.

Commenting on the Pope’s remark, Fr. de Souza observes: ‘It is easy enough to point to the managerial bishop or the administrative pastor and lament the lack of fervour for the faith and the absence of evangelical criteria in decision-making. But could not the same be said of any diocesan office in Canada, the staff room of any Catholic school, the executive officers of any Catholic social welfare agency or the bureaucrats that administer the vast panoply of Catholic organizations?’

As a Catholic blogger observes, ‘many vibrant, young, and faithful Catholics who would love to offer their all to the Church are left to find work in the secular world. Why are all the professional jobs in the Church held by dissidents?’



2 comments to Pope admits sadness at influence of professional liberal Catholics on Church

  • John

    This is interesting. I’ve recently been studying about institutional development and the extent to which insitutions influence and shape the people – and the extent to which the people influence institutions.

    What is clear is that an uprising of the people needs to take place in order to alter or abolish the current institutional establishment in Britain – and indeed around the world.

    At its core, it will require Catholics to understand the intellectual basis of their faith to combat the emotional and irrational liberals, and their allies. It’s easy for false, emotional arguments to win if one doesn’t have the intellectual tools to correct them.

    Anyway, Pope Benedict XVI truly is a God-send. He gets it!

  • Serge

    The Bishops have received a very special grace of the Holy Spirit, and have numerous years of instruction in the Catholic Church Doctrine. They are supposed to be praying and meditating and be in a very intimate communion with Christ and the Church. They are supposed to be very knowledgeable of human nature and should really be very human. They are experienced, knowledgeable and have been chosen to lead, right? So why do they turn back to “professional liberal professional” in order that those lead them into a good image communication to the rest of the population. Isn’t this breaking away radically from the attitude of the real shepherds chosen by Christ and his Church? Do you recall of any saint, apostle, Father or Doctor of the Church that was so concern of the image he may be putting forward? Afraid that he would be rejected by people of different opinions?

    When the blind (those professional liberal ‘so called’ Catholics) leads the seer into blindness…

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