Vatican to take steps in Fatima?

Vatican to take steps in Fatima?

Portuguese media are reporting that the Vatican is about to remove the bishop of Fatima and the rector of the shrine. The reason given is the recent instances of the Dalai Lama and a group of Hindus to use the shrine for prayer services. (Pictures taken from a Portuguese television report on the Hindu ceremony have been posted online.)

On the other hand, according to the report, the Portuguese bishops are denying the report. Plus,some of it doesn’t make sense. It says the Vatican has told the bishops’ conference to replace the bishop of Fatima and the rector of the shrine or they will. Well, the conference can replace the rector, but they don’t have the authority to remove and replace a bishop, only the pope does, and even then his authority to force a bishop from office is limited.

  • Well said.  That seems to be a growing problem in this culture of tolerance… water it down so it looks like yours.  Ignore the basic tenets of the Christian Faith.

    I have a Catholic friend whose child was dating a Hindu.  The friend read a book on Hindu and quipped that “Hindu was most probably the closest thing to what Christ meant”.  I could but stare.

  • We have two problems. 

    On the one hand, if we fight for the right to make our faith dominant, we are going to end up killing each other.

    But when we turn instead to tolerance, which is the only reasonable way to co-exist in a world which is rapidly becoming religiously pluralistic on every continent, we slide into syncretism.

    The only way out of this is to find a way to hold onto our beliefs—our traditions—while at the same time permitting others to hold onto theirs.  I don’t think any of us has the foggiest idea how to make this happen.

  • There is a third problem…

    A portion of the world’s population would like to solve the above two problems by creating a world religion to encompass all of us.  Those who want to hold onto tradition must oppose this ideology while at the same time opposing syncretism coming through interreligious dialogue. 

    It’s difficult to separate one problem from the other.

  • A fourth problem goes along with the other three. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations. Letting people remain whatever religion they happen to be without offering them Christ is not an option for Christians.

  • It may not be an option, but it is becoming the norm.  Missionary work seems to be taking the course of adopting the religious rituals of other cultures.  This is especially noticeable in the communities of women religious.  This trend is most shocking when those religious rituals are pagan.

    The nuns working with Fr. Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme are especially focused on this.  Their Council of All Beings is much closer to Indian shamanism – a form of channeling – than it is to anything Catholic.

    There is also the entire Pentecostal/Charismatic involvement with Baptism in the Spirit, and attendant phenomena.  While this isn’t native religion, exactly, its roots are not Catholic, either.

    The practice of reiki is also taken from the spirituality of another culture, as is yoga.

  • Carrie, the problem is that none of those approaches have to do with the actual truth.  To be a Christian, including a Catholic, means to believe God has made it so, and that therefore anything that contradicts it is simply false, a human fabrication.  It’s not a matter of being in a comparative culture, or being in a popularity contest or believing something *more true* (on a sliding scale) than anything else.

    If Hinduism says something that “sounds good”, for instance, because of the possibilities of human imagination or human development, it would be an fortunate accident.  But it isn’t the truth, qua truth, unless it comes from Revelation, and Revelation is Christian, and before that Jewish.

    Sometimes Christians, falling over themselves to convert or to protect, have gotten stuck on the similarities between cultures or religious claims.  Those similarities are anthropological or developmental only, because the human imagination can only come up with things in a certain realm, making for “fortunate accidents.”  These similarities are there to be used for evangelism, etc.  BUT they are not evidence of shared truth if the other culture/claim is not Christian.  They are anthropological/developmental accidents.

  • Added to that, many Christians, especially Catholics, have all this cultural baggage of their own which they believe is part of the Christian religion.  Don’t get me wrong—I don’t have problems with “big-T tradition.”  But some of the “little-t traditions” confuse people who are not well-taught in the Faith.

    Religious truth is not about culture in a direct sense.  I mean by this that my Anglo-Saxon heritage alone is not what makes me Christian.  Indeed, my cultural background is not revelation.  =)  I am Christian because Christianity is TRUE.  I accept the Christian truth claims.

    In contrast, eating paczis, wearing white at first Holy Communion, doing a lot of conventional Catholic things like that, are customs.  Customs enrich those already Christian—ie. already ackowledging the Christian truth claims.  And for that reason, they are laudatory and proper when understood in their correct place—but not as a substitute for assent to the truth claims.

    We have not made as much of the Christian truth claims in the last century as we ought to have, and thus we have this huge ambiguous “who are we” problem hovering over our institutions and practices.  I think it reaches far up into the Catholic church too, perhaps way up near the top.  Just like Arianism it will have to be purged.  Who knows how that will come about? But it will.  It has to.  We cannot become proto-hindus.  It contradicts Revelation, which God has designed.

  • I really do believe that the Christian cultures which have developed are not mere random chance.  I really believe they are expressions of Christian faith, just as other cultures are expressions of other faiths.  In other words, I believe that if we are not Catholic, we don’t know who we are or why we are here.  To attempt to extract religion out of a culture while believing that the culture will be essentially unchanged is a total deception.  If we take up Hindu beliefs we will develop a Hindu culture.  It will look entirely different from what we are used to.  Much of what we take for granted must be attributed to Christianity, not to scientific or intellectual development.  If we develop some sort of world religion, the culture that evolves from that will be different from what we are used to, and will be incompatible with Christianity in some or many aspects.  There are portions of a Hindu culture that will be antithetical to a Christian culture, etc.

    I don’t know what that will mean in a world that is rapidly integrating religions, but it is a reality that we must deal with.  We cannot rest easily in a culture that adopts “pluriform truth.”  And yet, what are the alternatives?  Terrorism until Christ returns?  Terrorism is contrary to the teachings of our faith.  It is certainly unacceptable to adopt some sort of manufactured world religion to replace Christianity.  There is no home for a Christian in that.  Those who promote such a concept have not assented to the Dogmas of Catholicism.

  • No, Carrie.  Our being terrorists is contrary to our faith.  The existence of terrorism is not contrary to our faith.  It happens as an act of evil.  Evil exists.  The scriptures tell us that and tell us that we cannot belong to it.

    Perhaps you misunderstood what I wrote before also.  Catholicism exists, pure and simple, because of the Divine Providence of God.  It does not exist because you or I or any other person wills it.  Christ founded it.  Cultures based on it, are to the degree that they are based on it, fortunate and good.  To the degree that they are not founded upon Christian truth, they are merely human, flawed and capable of great evil.

    Things appear in pagan cultures that only look like things that appear in Christian cultures—worship habits, religions, etc.  They are not founded on truth, but on anthopological factors.  People do these things, but when they aren’t founded on truth, they are nothing but stuff—pastimes, false hopes, mirages, human imagination.

    Christianity is not a mirage, nor is it the act of any human imagination.  It is real, and has truth claims.  To be a Christian, even a CAtholic, is to believe and be willing to stand up for those truth claims.  Those truth claims come from Divine Revelation.  No human construct can substitute for Divine Revelation.

    People are mightily confused about this, and the current catechetical climate is not helpful at all. 

  • Christ was in the world and not in the world at the same time.  In order to follow him, we may eventually find ourselves in the same position.  We resist.  Of course, we don’t want to go there.  It may mean the Cross. 

    “The world” might mean the world of “integrated religions” as you say.  I don’t know what the final straw will be.

    We don’t hasten there, but if it becomes necessary we just might have to, just as Christ did to fulfill his mission.

    I caution you that, this may mean that we maintain the truth claims of Christianity for ourselves and for our converts, but do not aggress on others, and expect them not to aggress on us.  Til it happens.

    See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 675-677.  Whether this passage refers to this or some other event, no one knows.  It may refer to a confluence of events.

  • No, Carrie.  Our being terrorists is contrary to our faith.

    Right.  That was what I was trying to say, but it didn’t come out clearly, apparently.

  • In 674, “…that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus…”

    Do you realize what some who are trying to bring about a world religion would make of that portion of the passage?