The Souless America

Quahom1

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VATICAN CITY - "Pope John Paul II warned several U.S. bishops Friday that American society is in danger of turning against spirituality in favor of materialistic desires, giving way to a “soulless vision of life.”


To fight this, the pontiff argued, the U.S. church must study contemporary culture to find a way to appeal to youths. He made his remarks to bishops from Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee who were making a periodic visit to the Vatican.

The American church “is called to respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world,” John Paul said.

“Taking up this challenge, however, will require a realistic and comprehensive reading of the 'signs of the times,' in order to develop a persuasive presentation of the Catholic faith and prepare young people especially to dialogue with their contemporaries about the Christian message and its relevance to the building of a more just, humane and peaceful world.”

John Paul added: “An effective proclamation of the Gospel in contemporary Western society will need to confront directly the widespread spirit of agnosticism and relativism which has cast doubt on reason’s ability to know the truth, which alone satisfies the human heart’s restless quest for meaning.”

All bishops must visit the Vatican every five years. This year is the Americans’ turn, and several regional delegations already have met with the pope."






Hmmm let's see, first some yahoo Bishops threaten to refuse to grant communion to secular government politicians who refuse to side with the church in certain points of view, then the Pope, dares allude to an America with no soul, and falling into a materialistic way of life.

This, coming from the head of a religious corporation with a net worth more than that of half the countries of this world, with 10,000 suspected child abusers within its ranks, with corporate headquarters right smack in the middle of "hedonist Heaven" of Europe... how ironic.

Don't get me wrong, I love the catholic church, I just can't stand the idiots in positions of athority within the church. I can understand why some one like Dr. Martin Luther, would place the 96 points of contention up on a post in the middle of town, denouncing this foolish arrogance, and assumed athority over all people.

Talk about blatant attempts to encroach upon the seperation of church and state...they must be out of their minds! Keep this up and there will most likely be a second reformation, right here in the United States, by American Catholics. Maybe that would be best, an American Catholic denomiation, seperate from the Church of Rome. Hmmm, that version would then be called protestant...works for me.

What damn hypocrits the Vatican is. Souless America? I got your souless, right here.
 

iBrian

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Quahom1 said:
VATICAN CITY - "Pope John Paul II warned several U.S. bishops Friday that American society is in danger of turning against spirituality in favor of materialistic desires, giving way to a “soulless vision of life.”
I hope this quote is taken from the 1950's. :)

Then again, since when has the Papacy ever kept with the times? :(
 

lunamoth

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a differnt POV

"Pope John Paul II warned several U.S. bishops Friday that American society is in danger of turning against spirituality in favor of materialistic desires, giving way to a “soulless vision of life.”

Umm, well, I'm not Catholic, and I am disturbed by some of the things I've seen in the Catholic Church lately, but I think that not only was Pope John Paul II correct here, he would be negligent to not try to appeal to his flock and point out spiritual dangers, as he sees it.

It is a strange thing that in our country, in nearly a pitch of religious fervor by a large number of people, we are yet a very materialistic society. I tend to believe that while enjoying life's comforts and conveniences is not in itself evil, too much emphasis and attachment to material things does get between us and God. And hey, guilty as charged here.

It is wrong to use religion as a bludgeon or a whip. It is wrong to use secrecy and obfuscation to hide misdoings by a religion. It is wrong (and not effective) to go about condemning everyone to hell that doesn't conform to your way of thinking about God. But this is not what is going on here. This statement does not strike me as threatening or political. It is a warning to the flock as a parent would warn a child not to jump into a raging river.

He didn't say Americans are in danger of losing their souls. He said they are in danger of holding a souless vision, which to me means they are not thinking about life as having a more noble, higher purpose. The soul can soar, but not if it is stuck in the muck and mire of material things.

Hypocrisy can't be avoided, really. Our religous instruments are made up of imperfect human beings. I don't want to get into a debate about the infallibility of the Pope because as a non-Catholic I don't have to accept this and I see no need to berate the idea to those who do. Yet someone has to speak on behalf of the teachings of their faith with as pure a heart as can be mustered.
 

Marsh

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Soulless America vs. Soulless Americans

When I studied American history for the first time, I was amazed by one thing that I never knew before: It was impossible to separate America from Christianity. Most of the original northern colonies were founded by different dissenting Christian sects, after all, and so much of America's pre-20th century history revolved around Christian values, Christian ideals, and church life in general. The things that come to mind off hand are the two great awakenings, the social gospel, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, slavery and abolitionism, etc, etc.

Equally astounding is the way in which America has changed in this respect, especially since the Second World War. If anything, I would have expected that war to ignite another great awakening. To some extent a third awakening has happened (I'm thinking about Billy Graham here), but not the kind that I would have expected, and not when I would have expected.

I have to agree that the West (not just America, but also Canada and Europe) is losing the soul that it once had. I think that materialism is on-target, but I think there is more to the story than that.

Israel became proud of itself, and as a result forgot about God. I think that the West as a whole is pretty proud as well, and that the same thing is happening. I'm a Canadian, and I can tell you that among university students in Canada it is becoming more and more, well, fashionable to reject Christianity specifically, and religion in general.

In my opinion, Americans are not soulless. However, like all people, they are not immune from the disease, and the disease spreads easiest in countries like America: strong, patriotic, and free-willed.
 

Quahom1

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Interesting points, all.

No Brian, that was quoted a week ago Friday. :(

Marsh- "I'm a Canadian, and I can tell you that among university students in Canada it is becoming more and more, well, fashionable to reject Christianity specifically, and religion in general."

I find that fascinating Marsh, considering the fact that my concept and acceptance of Christianity came into full bloom, while living in Canada during the 60s and early 70s. The Essex county farmers were hard working, godly people who loaded up their hay carriers with any and all who wanted to go to Sunday service (an early version of car pooling I think). Somtimes we even had an Ontario province police escort (local cop). When Lake Erie's winter storms damaged homes, the community pitched in to rebuild without being asked (like a page of Amish history). I miss those days.

And as far as losing the soul they once had, well I agree with continental Europe, but I don't agree with the US having lost its soul, and I'm not certain Canada has either (maybe in the big cities, but certainly not in the country side).

The Vatican has been touting the death of the American society since its inception in the 1700s. That is because the church could not control protestant Christians (who were and are in the majority here). And a funny thing happened when the Bishops in the US declared that no dissenting government representitive would receive communion...alot of non Catholics sided with alot of Catholics in condemming the Bishops' declaration.

See, we are a bunch of rather educated "heathens" here on the American continent, and the Vatican can't stand that. We dare say NO.

Lunamoth- "Umm, well, I'm not Catholic, and I am disturbed by some of the things I've seen in the Catholic Church lately, but I think that not only was Pope John Paul II correct here, he would be negligent to not try to appeal to his flock and point out spiritual dangers, as he sees it."

Fair enough, however, I am catholic and America is not a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of people. Our collective ancestral memory causes us to bristle at anything that remotely resembles the atrocities and hypocracies of the leaders (both secular and religious), that infleuenced our families to come to this new land.

You also alluded to the Papacy being a parent, attempting to warn the child against folly. Well, the Bible also says "parents, do not provoke your children to wrath" (that is frustration, belittlement, constant critisizm).

We don't need the church coming down on us...we're hard enough on ourselves.

Here is one more thought:

Relatively speaking, let us compare the generosity of the Roman church to that of the United States (the nation losing its soul).

The church has been around (officially) for about 1700 years.

The US has been around (officially) for 229 years.

The church recieves its income from outside sources (parishners).

The US generates its income from within.

The church negociates, and ponders at what percentage of charity it will provide.

The US historically provides aid as though its coffers are bottomless.

The church has never let a debt owed it go unpaid.

The US has written off more debts owed it than Carter has pills.


The church ignored the atrocities of WWII, out of fear of the Third Reich.

The US went after those who committed the atrocities, out of fury and disgust of the Third Reich.

My land, as imperfect as it is, has a good soul...I'm not so certain about the Church of Rome.

And one more thing. The United States for all practical purposes, is an open book for anyone to look at.

Rome is an enigma wrapped in a secret secret, surrounded by a mystery.

v/r

Q
 

Shih Yo Chi

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I think there are two issues here, partially related. First the lack of appeal to 21st century Americans by the church. I don't think this is a failure of just the Catholic Church, but of most Protestant demoninations as well. I think the early church made decisions to advince the church's power that took it away from some of Christ's teachings. We have reached the point today where it is fairly easy to see these shortcomings in the organized Christian church and apathy to the church begins to build. It's not that we aren't interested in following Christ, but the modern Christian church does not lead in a way I can follow.

Secondly, America is in the midst of changing from the Christian roots that so shaped it's development. With the diversity of people now living and worshiping in America a new national identy is being forged. The character of Muslim, Buddist, Bah'ai and many other faiths are being incorporated into the American fabric and conscience. I hope we can grow through this time and create a new national soul that embraces all faiths.
 

lunamoth

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Dear Quahom,

Thank you for your feedback on my post. Very good points you make. It is probably easier for me to see the Papacy as a loving parent from the outside,
as one who has not been constantly scolded over the decades. I can see where it would become more than tiresome and exasperating, even approaching the point of abuse. This denying of communion to some politicians based upon their voting record really upsets me. And making a public deal of it is even worse.

Q said: "We don't need the church coming down on us...we're hard enough on ourselves."

luna: Yes, I agree so much with you here. At some point religious leaders have to trust that each person is searching their own heart, in the light of Christian/Religious teachings, and doing what they think is best.
 

Quahom1

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Shih Yo Chi said:
I think there are two issues here, partially related. First the lack of appeal to 21st century Americans by the church. I don't think this is a failure of just the Catholic Church, but of most Protestant demoninations as well. I think the early church made decisions to advince the church's power that took it away from some of Christ's teachings. We have reached the point today where it is fairly easy to see these shortcomings in the organized Christian church and apathy to the church begins to build. It's not that we aren't interested in following Christ, but the modern Christian church does not lead in a way I can follow.

Secondly, America is in the midst of changing from the Christian roots that so shaped it's development. With the diversity of people now living and worshiping in America a new national identy is being forged. The character of Muslim, Buddist, Bah'ai and many other faiths are being incorporated into the American fabric and conscience. I hope we can grow through this time and create a new national soul that embraces all faiths.
Welcome Shih Yo Chi,

I kind of agree with your first part, and I definitely agree with your second part.

It isn't the purpose of the church to admonish the people without first appealing to them. I believe the "Christian church" made the same mistake as that of the American Steel companies of the 1950s...they failed to upgrade.

Patriarchal societies tend to do this, wherein Matriarchal societies tend to move too fast. This goes for religious life as well as secular life.

When the Lutheren movement began in the 1600s the Church of Rome underestimated the "barbaric idiots in Germany", only they were not barbaric, nor idiots. This marked the point at which the Roman church lost its political power over kings (secular governments), and the people, and has never been able to recover since.

When an American Christian hears the Pope (whether we acknowledge his authority over us or not), condemn us, or threaten the same, we do not cowl before him. No we become instantly defiant. It is American nature. But the Church of Rome has not figured that out yet (and most likely never will).

Christians do not need Rome to go to heaven, and Rome can't stand that revelation.

Another thing I would do, If I were the pope. I would have every convicted "priest" guilty of abusing children, taken to Rome, and imprisoned in Vatican jail cells (hence the proof that we the church police our own). I would not let them go to the end of the days of their lives. They have destroyed the peoples' trust, especially the American peoples' trust.

The Church of Rome is killing itself.

Americans are trusting people, until you give them reason not to trust...then it takes along time to gain their trust back, if ever. (hell, it took one hundred and fifty years and two world wars to finally trust the British again). The Japanese did not take so long, because they wear their heart on their sleeve. It is the one thing we have in common.

A Christian looks out for others before self, that is what we are taught. The Roman Church looks out for self before others...that dog won't hunt.

v/r

Q
 

Quahom1

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lunamoth said:
Dear Quahom,

Thank you for your feedback on my post. Very good points you make. It is probably easier for me to see the Papacy as a loving parent from the outside,
as one who has not been constantly scolded over the decades. I can see where it would become more than tiresome and exasperating, even approaching the point of abuse. This denying of communion to some politicians based upon their voting record really upsets me. And making a public deal of it is even worse.

Q said: "We don't need the church coming down on us...we're hard enough on ourselves."

luna: Yes, I agree so much with you here. At some point religious leaders have to trust that each person is searching their own heart, in the light of Christian/Religious teachings, and doing what they think is best.
Hello Luna,

I am the worst catholic you'll ever meet, because I question everything. When a religious leader says "follow me", I walk in the opposite direction. If a religious leader says "walk with me", I am more inclined to go (if nothing else, to find out what is offered and to ask lots of questions). Of course the first time a "religious leader" tells me to stop asking questions, or to be quiet, I am gone.

Even Jesus never said "Be Quiet". He only said, "be still", which means stop moving, and listen. Then act.

v/r

Q
 

Quesocoatl

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Quahom1 said:
A Christian looks out for others before self, that is what we are taught. The Roman Church looks out for self before others...that dog won't hunt.
I think a little of both is, maybe, the right way to proceed with all that.
A time for everything under the Sun.

One must keep in mind that the Roman Catholic Church has been the butt-end of a war (there's that word again) from its very inception.

I am not a "Catholic", per se, but I do support the Church, out of respect for the ever-evolving humanity of my elders and the undeniable reality of the Church's impact on my life in all respects, both "good" and "bad".

This....Alexandria thing that keeps popping up. Who, may I ask, do you think is responsible for this knowledge being released? Do you think this is new knowledge or....do you think it was, possibly, a well-guarded secret saved just for us? For this day.

Once again, propaganda is dangerous. (And there's that word again, as well.)
 

Quahom1

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Quesocoatl said:
Then, maybe, you are one of the best because, in the Torah, God tells us to question Him. Practically demands it.

:D :D :D ...where do suppose I got the idea? lol

Good day to all.

v/r

Q
 

Quahom1

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Quesocoatl said:
I think a little of both is, maybe, the right way to proceed with all that.
A time for everything under the Sun.

One must keep in mind that the Roman Catholic Church has been the butt-end of a war (there's that word again) from its very inception.

I am not a "Catholic", per se, but I do support the Church, out of respect for the ever-evolving humanity of my elders and the undeniable reality of the Church's impact on my life in all respects, both "good" and "bad".

This....Alexandria thing that keeps popping up. Who, may I ask, do you think is responsible for this knowledge being released? Do you think this is new knowledge or....do you think it was, possibly, a well-guarded secret saved just for us? For this day.

Once again, propaganda is dangerous. (And there's that word again, as well.)
I love the church Qu (gotta be able to tell the difference between us) ;)

I just don't have much faith in the supposed "official leaders" of the body.

In certain church groups, the elders are the leaders and hold the people accountable for their actions, in turn the people hold the elders accountable for theirs (I'm thinking Mennonites and Amish). To refuse to accept responsibility for one's own actions is to risk being "shunned".

The Roman church historically has considered this a one way street, with it doing the ostrisizing. Now, the Roman church is learning the hard way that people give as good as they get.

As far as the Alexandria thing, well one can only keep the lid on a pressure cooker for so long before it finally weakens and blows. The church fathers acted with arrogance, superiority, and contempt for the "little people/sheep" for a long time. After awhile, even sheep produce angry Rams.

I should know...

v/r

Q
 
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