Sunday, February 01, 2015

Fr. Perrone: Cognitive dissonance, doubts, and reassurance about Catholic truth in the postmodern world

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, February 1, 2015):
During the past week I have intermittently suffered from a feeling of disorientation (I pray you, do not dial 911 until you have read unto the end.) I have had the recurring thought that maybe the Catholic Church is now something other than what I have always known it to be (jargon of the day would have it that the Church has “morphed” into something else–hideous expression!). This followed upon reflection on several things: some proposals that were made to the Pope at the inconclusive Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family (sic!) last fall; reading an article proposing a new kind of Catholicism; being reminded of some bizarre liturgical practices that are the norm in some diocesan parishes; and the report that sexual practices among the young have now little to do morality but only with their measure of the personal freedom. My self query is whether or not some new Church and new society have emerged having left me behind in a now passé world. Am I a remnant of some former time who has simply failed to grasp the “new truth,” or who has not come to realize that there are no fixed truths? Alienation from reality is a psychotic condition, of course, but at least I am hesitant about being in doubt. On the other hand, if what I have always believed is correct, and if truth is truly obstinate, and if the teaching of the Church is infallibly true, then some things in the world are far, far off kilter. 

In my home school class this last week, the word “immutability” came up in a passage of text referring to God–He who is unchangeable by His very nature. This is characteristic of truth itself, ordained by God as irreformable. Why then the confusion? The human mind, howsoever stable, can tolerate only so much questioning of truth without suffering ill consequences. It seems that the time, being “out of joint,” has made me wonder whether I have had it wrong all my life about realities which have been known as stable and unchangeable. I have felt what a famed atheist (J. P. Sartre) in another context called “nausea.”

Now having recovered from this mental delirium, I wish to declare confidently that the Catholic Church teaches the infallible truth revealed by God in matters of faith and morals. I also declare that what is true of the nature of things must always be true. 

Now with my foot once again on level ground (cf. Psalm 26) I can remind you about Candlemas Day. Our solemn high Mass will take place Monday at 7:30 a.m. when we will celebrate the Presentation of Christ in the Temple with the procession with blest candles. 

On a sad note: In two weeks, on Sunday February 15th we will bid farewell to the Order of the Holy Cross with a little reception in the gym following the 9:30 and noon Masses. Please come to express your gratitude to the priests and nuns for their presence and work in our parish over these twenty-some years.

On a brighter note: DVDs of the Grotto original musical play McGivney! have just come in for sale at our gift shop. Performers are our own Grotto parishioners. Cost is $12.95 plus tax. Proceeds help recover costs in presenting this play.

Fr. Perrone


JM said...

I know these symptoms well!

Son of Ya'Kov said...

When I would debate Fundamentalists and Evangelical Protestants I would claim that on the day the Assemblies of God start ordaining Lesbian Pastors the Catholic Church will still have an all male Priesthood and still teach gay sex acts are sinful.

So I am not surprised here.

OTOH given the divisive nature of Protestantism I would not be surprised that in not too distant future the remnant of conservative Protestants will just form a new denomination that is relatively more orthodox.

70 years ago we didn't really have Evangelicals as we know them today. They where called Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians etc and they were conservative (sans their Reformation errors).

But the Church will stand firm in the end always.

Pertinacious Papist said...

True, Ben.

And in a personal conversation with Fr. Perrone today over lunch, we were contrasting Christ's promise to be with the Church till the end of the age with Christ's other observation, which was to question whether He would find faith when He returned to earth.

What you've described about Protestantism is exactly what's been happening. My more relatively "orthodox" erstwhile colleagues in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have broken off from that body (the ELCA) after it began ordaining cohabiting homosexuals, and formed their own new denomination. The story of Protestantism.

I agree, the Church will stand firm in the end always ... even if it's only five people on different continents!

God bless, - PP