Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hope for the future of homiletics

It should be said that any Catholic blogger approaches with extreme trepidation the writing of a post which may even have the appearance of the mildest sort of criticism of anything that Father Zuhlsdorf has written. But my favorite poet has written something apropos regarding fools rushing in and angels fearing to tread, and I'm certainly not an angel.

Besides, this post has been nagging at me since I read it yesterday:
A reader writes asking about “bad homilies”:

Every once in a while, you get a real clunker, one that isn’t just theologically weak, but turns what should be a feast into over microwaved junk. What is the proper response?

You want to know what to do?

Get down on your knees and pray for the priest who gave it.

Fast.

Do penance for his intention.

Be happy you have a priest when many – many – don’t.

That is what you do.

There is more in the same vein here.

Now, I want to begin by saying this as clearly as possible: I do not disagree with Father Z.

Let me say that again: I do not disagree with Father Z...

...if, and ONLY if, by "clunker" and "over-microwaved junk" the original letter-writer is not referring to heretical or borderline-blasphemous homilies, but only weak, silly, or poor ones.

If the letter writer was referring to heretical or blasphemous homilies, then--and note well--I still do not disagree with Father Z. The first course of action should still be to get on your knees.

The only slight mild sort-of disagreement I would have at that point would be to say that the matter ought to rest there--which, again, I will say to be clear, is not something Fr. Z. has actually said, so I don't know if you can even properly call it a disagreement.

I think that pastors, vicars general, vicars of priests, and bishops have the right to be informed when a priest under their jurisdiction is regularly delivering homilies in which the priest's regular attempts at theological creativity strays into actual heresy.

"But, Red! But, Red!" some of you might say at this point. "How is a lay person supposed to be qualified to recognize homiletic heresy, as opposed to a bad day or really unfortunate phrasing or a fine point of theology which the lay person himself might not fully understand?"

Simple. First, note my use of the word "regularly." A one-off situation in which a priest slips up should be viewed with the utmost charity; we have all experienced what some call "foot-in-mouth" disease.

Second, any lay person can double-check, using both online and offline sources, some homiletic statement or theme that seems too odd to be Catholic. Is it true, what Father said, that the Church teaches Mary didn't suffer the loss of her virginity even though she gave birth? Um, yes, actually. Is it true, what Father said, that Mary was only the mother of Jesus in His human nature and should not really be called the Mother of God? Um, no, of course not.

Some might wonder whether heresy actually crops up in homilies these days. Sure, maybe back in the bad old 1970s, but now? Alas, here are some things I've actually heard at Masses much more recently than that:
  • Mary was an ignorant peasant girl who never really understood anything the Angel told her.
  • Mary and Joseph had a normal married life and had other children together; the Church just doesn't want to admit that, because, you know, sex and all.
  • It's perfectly fine to refer to God as "She." I've heard this in several forms, ranging from the idea that since God is genderless He didn't really choose to present Himself using male pronouns to an apparent belief that one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity is a woman, or at least ought to be.
  • From a deacon who was also a guardian ad litem: if he'd been assigned Mary and Joseph as a case, he would have assigned Jesus a social worker because of their poverty and lack of decent transportation, their homelessness, and the fact that the Child didn't have a car seat. (Now that was an interesting Christmas Mass homily, let me tell you.)
  • On All Souls' Day a few years ago, the priest saying Mass got so heated during his homily in which he ranted that the Church was wrong, wrong, wrong to view All Souls' Day as a penitential day and mandate violet vestments when we should be celebrating because all of our loved ones are now in heaven with God--that he tore off those vestments and said the rest of Mass in his white cassock.

There could be more, but to be honest I've developed a habit of a sort of protective tune-out when homilies start getting too, too strange; I figure that in terms of sinfulness, I'm caught between the Scylla of not paying full attention to the homily and the Charybdis of percolating to a boiling point of unholy wrath in the middle of Mass. I suppose I could use the homily as the opportunity to pray for the priest when this sort of thing happens, except that the one thing that will really get you noticed is any attempt to pray during Mass, as that is the one thing that must never happen.

Bottom line: if you are complaining about homilies just because they are sort of canned, or dull, or weak, or repetitive--follow Father Z.'s excellent advice. I've known priests who speak in a nearly-inaudible monotone about nothing I can ever remember; I've known priests who use repetitive catchphrases so much that when those start cropping up I have to fight to stay with the homily, because the temptation is to think I've already heard this one; I even know a dear, kind, fully orthodox, marvelously reverent priest whose Masses are a delight to God and man, and yet whose homilies--I must be honest--are so lengthy, so tangential, so lacking in a coherent theme, and so strangely organized that I keep expecting Nicholas Cage to show up in them. :) But to complain about any of these sorts of things, ever, really would smack of the sort of lay ingratitude that I suspect Father Z. is addressing; thankful prayers are much more appropriate.

However, if you are complaining about homilies that betray, to be as charitable as possible, a woeful and concerning lack of understanding on the part of the homilist regarding some key teaching of the Catholic faith, it may--may!--be both just and right to write a letter to the appropriate authority. The letter should be kind, and short, and to the point. You should not be surprised or disappointed if you never hear back, or if the only thing you receive in reply is a letter which reads something like this:

Dear Lay Person,

Thank you for your concerns about Father Whosis's ministry and service at St. Whatsit Parish. St. Whatsit Parish is deeply blessed to have the ministry and service of Father Whosis, who sets a tremendously important example for us all of ministry and service. We hope that you will agree that the ministry and service of Father Whosis to St. Whatsit Parish are tremendously important.

Sincerely, etc.

Which, translated into common speech, means: "Dear Spoiled Catholic Brat: Quit your sniveling. Sincerely, etc."

Still, if enough concerned letters about Father Whosis are received, someone may realize that something more important than Spoiled Catholic Brat syndrome is going on, and may investigate--which is a consummation devoutly to be wished, and all that.

I have great hope for the future of Catholic homiletics, however. It's not because of the reform of the reform, though that helps. It's not because of the new Mass translation, though that will likely help too. It's not even because of the influx of well-trained former Anglican priests who are coming into the Church, though the absolute best homilist I have ever known, bar none, is a former Anglican, now Catholic priest who serves in our diocese.

No, my hope for the end of the lightly-heretical homily rests elsewhere. In a word: YouTube. Priests who used to delight in Dan Brown-esque dabblings and "new" ideas (which actually date back to the Arians, the Albigensians, or the Manicheans, among others) now must fear that any yokel parishioner with an iPhone and a YouTube channel can, with one recording, get him in the kind of ecclesial hot water that no priest ever really wants to face. And should the video go viral...! The horror.

So our children may never hear, from the pulpit anyway, random speculations about whether the Trinity exists, or whether Jesus thought St. John the Baptist might be the Messiah for a while, or whether the early Church hated and feared women and that's why we don't have female priests--all because of YouTube. For which I am truly thankful.


UPDATE: I "borrowed" (ahem) the Nicholas Cage line from the brilliantly funny Bad Banana; the original line Bad Banana wrote was that his day was so awful, he kept looking around to see if Nicholas Cage was in it. :)

34 comments:

Magister Christianus said...

I must say that this is one of the things that sends potential Catholics coming from the Evangelical world running for cover. While it may be objected that we already hold heretical views on topics like transubstantiation and the perpetual virginity of Mary, I would add that these are rarely, if ever, subjects of sermons. The sermons we typically hear are solid, orthodox, and grounded in Scripture. We hear that Jesus is God. We hear that God has sent us to Jerusalem, Judea, and the ends of the earth to teach and baptize. The only time we would hear heretical messages like you describe would be in the dead and dying mainline churches, whose ultra-liberal, social justice, egalitarian foolishness was likely born of the same ill spirit that warped certain aspects of the Catholic Church after Vatican II.

Red Cardigan said...

I'll be honest, Magister: the heretical homilies I've heard have been about as rare as the truly outstanding, inspiring ones (well, except for my former Anglican pastor, who hit one out of the park every time at bat).

Sadly, the biggest problem Catholics in the pew have during homilies is not fighting heresy but fighting to stay awake. :)

And this, of course, is why we need well-trained preachers from the Protestant world to become Catholic.

I'd like to see support for the teaching and reinforcement of homiletics as a huge priority for dioceses, but I know it's not going to happen anytime soon--not because bishops don't care, but because there are other, more pressing matters that have to be dealt with, and so long as Father is merely boring and not heretical it's not really that big of a deal for most.

geeklady said...

So... What's the proper way to deal with the priest that, during his homily, tries to make the congregation do football-esque devotional cheers?
I'm willing to put up with and mentally attend the football themed homilies without complaint, but being urged to participate in pep rally style devotional cheers during Mass is just repellant.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

"Sadly, the biggest problem Catholics in the pew have during homilies is not fighting heresy but fighting to stay awake. :)"

Well, there we have the common denominator of Christianity.

The guardian ad litem reminds me of a story called "Inn," featured in Isaac Asimov's Christmas, in which a greasy punk in strange clothes and his very pregnant wife knock at the door of a church during a snowstorm, and are kept out of the church by the assistant minister because if you let homeless people inside they pee on the carpet and steal the communion silver, just call the van from the homeless shelter... until a member of the choir recognizes who they are. The man keeps saying "Erkas," which is Aramaic for "lost."

fxkelli said...

There's a big difference between a really bad homily, one that doesn't really move the folks in the pew, or worse yet just offends the preferences of a select few. Certainly there are no shortages of critics who get fired up about just about everything under the sun. But, after all that, the content of the homily is something of great importance. It's value should never be minimized or deflected regardless of whether we should be grateful for the other roles of the priest.

Patrick said...

"And this, of course, is why we need well-trained preachers from the Protestant world to become Catholic."

I respectfully disagree. Current RC priests won't learn from that. Current priests should be trained to deliver better sermons. It's all about writing and speechmaking and I believe most parishes have at least one qualified teacher sitting in the pews who would do it for free. But good luck telling Father O'Malley that he needs continuing education!!

rdcobb said...

We have been blessed with three really good priests/homilists since we joined our parish three years ago. (One liked to use the homily to concertize too much; he also had his own YouTube channel for such purposes.)

But of the three good ones: one is very straight to the point, one is very enthusiastic (especially about the Eucharist), and the third gave very academic homilies (and the first I ever heard about abortion).

I think the problem most priests/deacons have with the homily is either (a) they have no point -or- (b)they try to do to much, making five or six points when two is all most people have the attention span for.

Anthony S. Layne said...

Great post, Red. Um, have you had a bad experience with contradicting Father Z? I don't know, because I have yet to do so. Many of my bad experiences have come from contradicting some of the commenters on his blog, but not himself.

Also, I'm saving the Nicholas Cage line. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Fr. Z's advice is typical for priests who are insecure and criticism phobic. Since when do priests get a pass for sub-par homilies? And, aren't we praying for our priests enough, ad nauseum? Really. The laity is often as or more educated and rhetorically-aware as what our seminaries have produced. The time is past for assuming that the folks in the pew cannot form an objective assessment of the homily they've heard. We're here, we're lay, get used to us. And, while you're at it, dear valuable priests, learn how to preach! This should have been a part of your formation. If you never hear the bad news that your homilies are duds, you can never improve. Priests should seek the feedback of their flocks. At least, notice how many heads have sunk to their chests. When a bad homily hits the fan, I always have a good book handy. No priest has the right to waste my time.

Red Cardigan said...

Anthony, I've never had a bad experience contradicting Father Z. and he's far too much a gentleman for me to ever expect one. His commenters are, however, an enthusiastic bunch (shall we say) and I wanted to make it clear that this is in no way some sort of attack against the good padre himself. :)

As far as stealing the Nicholas Cage line--I must confess that I stole it myself. The gentleman whose Twitter handle is "Bad Banana" often has screamingly funny one-liners, and not long ago he wrote something about how his day was so bad that he kept looking around to see if Nicholas Cage was in it. :) Outright theft is the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to writing.

"Bad Banana" is here; I owe him that much, at least:

http://twitter.com/badbanana

Anonymous said...

Ha! That's an interesting conclusion!

I have been hearing some great homilies lately. Of course, I have one request, if someone, anyone, could mention Confession and how its actually a critical part of our faith, that would be great. Although that would involve actually talking about sin, which is also kind of drag.

~ Ann Marie

Fr. Philip Powell, OP said...

Homilies will not improve in the Church until lay folks demand that they be improved.

Dioceses and religious orders spend tens of thousands of dollars on a priest's education. . .hundred of hours of classes, supervised ministry, tutorials, and hands-on liturgical training.

It is not too much to ask that our priests be willing and able to produce interesting and orthodox homilies. No one needs brilliance or eloquence or theatrics.

Fr. Philip Neri, OP

Anonymous said...

the place where I have found the most trouble with heretical homilies is in small town usa, where there are not enough new priests to replace those from the 70's, so they are pastors of multiple parishes. This causes some sever consternation on the car ride home after mass, where my father and I woulod explain the heresies we had heard, and the mass abuses. eventually, we had to stop going to those parishes, but we have not found a better parish in this diocese. Another thing that disappointed us was that, last week, instead of a homily on the epiphany, we got one on "immigration". I ask, why do that on a feastof such great importance?

Authentic Bioethics said...

Setting weak, goofy homilies aside and speaking only about heresy or heterodoxy... We have found that some priests are pretty consistent, and if at a particular parish heretical homilies were rare, it was only because of the rotation of priests celebrating the Mass we attended. Our response was non-confrontational: We joined a parish run by the Fraternity of St. Peter. The homilies are always quite good (in their content at least). And at the same time, we avoid all the liturgical silliness that tends to occur at some parishes. Sorry if people take this as a dis to regular parishes, but Mass is what feeds us and our children. The last thing we want is for them to leave Mass angry in imitation of their parents, which was what was happening at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion parish.

Margaret said...

There is another way that the internet can be a help in overcoming bad homilies. On a day when your parish priest has delivered a real clunker you can go to EWTN.com or their YouTube channel and watch a beautiful homily there. The Franciscans always give inspiring and faithful homilies!

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Erin, how about just getting into a good Bible study so that Catholics can learn about things for themselves, and not have to rely on incompetent or heretical homiletics?

Praying for the homilist only focuses on the homilist. It doesn't deal with the listener's knowledge or understanding.

Donna Ruth said...

It's not often I LOL at a blog post, but the Nicholas Cage line evoked a loud guffaw. Thank you for posting this.

I admire Fr Z and was taken aback by his posting (and it seemed there was no avenue for commentary for this one). You addressed all the points I would have made, including the snotgram one might receive back from the local chancery. One pal wrote the bishop and received the reply, "I received your litany of your complaints ..." Howzzat for those chancery dwellers whose usual mantra is "we are church" (that is, except you rigid antediluvian dogmatists who have nothing better to do than bother us with your tired nitpicking)?

We finally had to leave our last parish because of heterdoxy coming from the pulpit (it did not go unchallenged). The repeated underlying theme was that we were all saved and we're all going to heaven (um, so, Father, why do we bother coming to Mass?).

Yes, pray and fast, absolutely, but when the brethern in the pews next to you are happily and ignorantly drinking the spiked koolaid of error, then we who are aware have a solemn duty to confront the pastor, and, if that does nothing, alert the chancery. As you suggest, it may produce a go-away-you-stupid-neanderthal reply, but that does not matter; we have fulfilled our duty (well, not really, it's back to the drawing board of prayer and fasting).

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Donna, I recommend for your consideration the following from Carol McKinley's blog, "The Tenth Crusade." McKinley is a devout Catholic who has tried confronting the chancery in Boston, to no avail:

Catholics who called the Chancery to report corruption, crimes, were 'listened to'.

When the listening was over, that was the end of their actions on the matter. Naive people who are 'listened to' inside of the Catholic Church feel a tremendous sense of relief. They did the right thing. It is implied in the listening that the people they told will then 'do something' about it.

But, they don't. They only veil it or shuffle it.

Some whistleblowers returned to a Chancery to insist something be done about it.

That's when they did something.

They used money, 'obedience', a sob story, to get people of good will to be silent.

If the whisteblower wasn't satisfied with those offers, they would circle the wagons to slander him or her as a whackadoo. They were bullied, threatened, shunned.

The priest being reported was protected. Some of them honored with public statements from the Archdiocese saying what a swell guy he was. Sometimes, they roasted them with honors.

You know what has changed from the above?

Not a thing.

In my opinion, the whole dynamic is worse than it ever was.


more to come....

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

My point, Donna, is that the Church is so corrupt that the powers-that-be don't really give a rip how bad the sermons are. Those same PTB are far more concerned about their personal comfort and political influence than anything eminating from any pulpit.

For Fr. Z to suggest prayer and fasting as the primary antidotes is nothing but a subtle form of clericalism. Yes, prayer and fasting are necessary. But when are priests and prelates going to take responsibility for their own behavior, let alone their own homiletics? Lumping the primary responsibility on the laity is nothing but a cop-out.

Word verification: swaymen

And more than a few women, too, I hope. ;)

Red Cardigan said...

Joe, we don't agree on a lot, but I did want to thank you for sharing that blog post. I was looking for something like that for today's post, and you've made my life much easier! :)

De Liliis said...

The cure for bad homilies.

And another cure to learn how to give good ones.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Always glad to help, Erin. :)

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Joseph, I once was offered some kind of Gospel Tract by a very sincere young man with slicked back blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. I replied, "Thank you, I prefer to read the original for myself." He looked around in genuine perplexity and asked "What's the original?"

See, Protestants do it too.

While I an skeptical of people arguing that "Jesus did this, therefore he meant us to do it exactly the same," e.g., as to whether women can serve as priests, I think it may be relevant in this instance that Jesus did deliver homilies, and instruct his disciples to do the same. He did not say "Read for yourself and let others do likewise."

We read for ourselves, in part, so we may evaluate what we receive in sermons and homilies and such

Patrick said...

My church commissioned a study of the sermons over the past year and the main topics they covered, as compared to what questions were coming out of the pews ("What one question would you ask of God?"). In short, BY FAR people want to know (A) why we are here, what God wants of us, (B) why God allows such suffering in the world. A few other topics scored much lower. However, most sermons were about dogma matters, church matters and sex. Most surprisingly, no sermons in over a year dealt with death and dying - something that touches everyone. It was very informative.

Sal said...

I must offer up a prayer of Thanksgiving for our priests, both of whom give excellent homilies.

I always take notes, so let me check my notebook for recent topics:
Personal Peace. Judgment: Particular and General. Prayer: How to. Christ the King. End Times: No Rapture. Advent and Confession. Raising Holy Families

They are both products of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which may have something to do with it. Or not.

eulogos said...

If a priest said from the pulpit that Mary and Joseph had "a normal married life" and had other children, I would stand up and contradict him from the pews.

I would only do this in the case of a really clear and easily contradictable heresy.

Everybody might hate me, but at least no one would leave unsure of what the church teaches on that point.

The only time I actually did this was when the priest was using the pulpit to push his own political views and then went farther and stated that Christians could not support any war, and ought not to enlist in the military which is just making yourself into a hired killer, and so on. This was during the first gulf war. I knew several people in the congregation had sons in the military of whom they were proud, and that they would be upset by this. I stood up and argued with him. He was so angry that he showed what a pacifist he was by saying he hoped my oldest son would get drafted (although I don't think there was a draft then) and get killed in the war.

I just didn't think he had the right to use the pulpit in that way. If he had wanted to discuss just war theory and say why he didn't think a particular war was just, that would have been a different matter, and that is what I tried to get him to do.

I'd like to think I'd do the same to defend the honor of the Blessed Virgin, but you never know when courage will strike you. But I don't think there is any requirement that one just sit there and listen unprotestingly to anything which is said.

It may disrupt the smooth surface of things, but is that more important than anything else?
Susan Petereson

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Prior to Christianity becoming the Official Church Of The Roman Empire, Christians WERE, by and large, prohibited by their own church from serving in the army, not merely because it was in service to a pagan emperor, but because serving in the military was a sin. Somehow, by the time of Theodosius, ONLY Christians could serve in the Roman Army.

I actually don't have a problem with anything Susan said, particularly when the priest was being so insensitive to the families proud of their sons' military service, but Susan, this is God's Annointed, the man appointed by Holy Church to TELL YOU what the faith requires of you, because you don't know what the Bible truly means without him to interpret for you.

How do you know when you know that the priest is teaching something other than what the church teaches?

Kevin O'Brien said...

My Guide to Bad Homilies

Kevin O'Brien said...

Erin,

I'm starting to get it.

Siarlys is a sola scriptura Protestant. God bless him or her, but enough is enough. How about one comment per post from Siarlys?

Joseph is a bit more interesting, and his anti-clericalism at least has some sense of justice behind it. But, again, how about one comment from Joseph per post?

Same for me!

By the way, Eulogos, you are my hero.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Oh, Kevin, you are so quick to stereotype, and so slow to comprehend.

Look over my sparring with Joseph d'Hippolito, who, I think, would describe HIMSELF as "sola scriptura, although maybe not quite Protestant. It is trite as well as dehumanizing to pin labels on others they haven't adopted for themselves. I can refer to Erin as Roman Catholic, because she says herself that she is one. I can't call her a Republican, because she has stated quite explicitly that she is not, although some who wish to disparage what she says might insist that she talks just like one -- except when she doesn't.

I like Eulogos too, but I have learned painfully over 57 years, almost 58, that there really are no heroes. Thomas Jefferson had his flaws, so did Thomas Paine, John Adams had his good points, even Alexander Hamilton did some things right, and Andrew Jackson was a mess.

Kevin O'Brien said...

So, Siarlys, is the Bible alone sufficient for salvation? For understanding the Faith? Are you capable of a wholly sufficient individual relationship with Jesus that needs no input from anything else but the Holy Spirit residing within you?

Sorry if I'm sterotyping you, but I'm willing to bet your answer is yes. You see, in my fifty-one years, I've learned that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or, if it looks like a duck ...

By the way, I'm needling you here to have some fun - though my underlying points are serious. You certainly seem to be a zealous Christian, and God bless you for that.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Kevin, you are perfectly welcome to needle me, and if I didn't think so, Erin would allow it anyway, as long as you stay within the bounds of courtesy she has announced. I consider it a useful challenge to hear from people who don't share my point of view. Either I can answer your argument, with sufficient integrity to affirm that I understand what I believe and why, OR... I cannot, in which case, I should reconsider what I believe.

One thing I OFTEN call people on is putting words in someone else's mouth, or labels on someone else's beliefs, as if the LABEL is sufficient denunciation. Call me a socialist -- I am one, economically speaking, although I am politically libertarian and culturally conservative. But if you tell me "as a socialist, that means you believe X, Y, and Z," I may beg to differ. Get down to brass tacks on the specific content of what I DO believe, or of particular facts or allegations, and we can have a rollicking good time kicking the subject around.

I don't worry a whole lot about my salvation. That is God's job. My job is to try to live my life, imperfectly, in accordance with the two laws on which (according to Jesus) hang all the law and the prophets, knowing I will fall short. The word of God is in the Bible, but every word in the Bible is not The Word of God. Some of it, for instance, is a recitation of historical events (or, arguably, ahistorical stories, but a good deal of it is history). A direct revelation to a navi, such as Yishayahu, or a passage that begins "Thus saith the Lord" is authoritative. But I always remember that I may not understand it correctly, and any other human being may not either.

Ultimately I am responsible directly to God, not through any human or institutional intermediary. As John Wycliffe wrote, man has no earthly spiritual overlord but Jesus. Corporate worship and fellowship are good however, because my grasp is neither sufficient nor perfect.

Larry D, if I dare mention him again, once posted some lengthy quotes from Francis de Sales and others, asking how any of us are to properly interpret Scripture without a Church to instruct us. I'll go half way on that... I don't have a perfect understanding, but neither does any institutional church. So, I must stumble on my way, as best I can, benefiting from what perspective my fellow Christians can give me (that includes Catholics, and I don't doubt that the Bishop of Rome is sometimes right), but not yielding to any human authority merely because it IS authority.

I can't be Catholic, because I'm Protestant, I can't be Calvinist or Lutheran, because I'm Arminian, and while I belong to a church that is formally Trinitarian (being descended from an Anglican connection which is descended from a Roman Catholic connection), I am in truth a lower-case unitarian, but not interested in talking my Trinitarian brethren out of it.

In my 57 years, almost 58 now, I've learned a few things too. A red rose, a yellow rose, and a purple rose are all roses, but a red carnation and a red rose are both red.

Kevin O'Brien said...

So my label for you is this: Quasi-sola-scriptura-new-criticism-believer-soft-unitarian-unconventional-socialist-combox-hog.

I am a former atheist turned Catholic. I assent to all of the Catholic doctrine and dogma, and do my best to live by it, so that the label "Catholic" is good enough for me.

May God bless us both in our attempts to follow the two great commandments.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Kevin, I appreciate your prayer. I think Occam's Razor should be applied to any attempt at labeling. The longer you have to make the label, the less function it serves.

Word verification: prowwd. That's a good one.