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Dignity SnatchersThis past Saturday, we were 189 days from the start of the Stealth Sex Synod of 2015. In the below post, the OBJECTIVE REALITY theme will be expanded by examining how the other Christian sects are coping with OBJECTIVE REALITY in the post Second Vatican Council environment, an environment in which they found themselves after the advent of “the new springtime of the spirit of Vatican II”.

With respect to the specifics of this analysis, we will examine how one protestant church from the Methodist sect, one who did not possess the financial wherewithal of the Roman Catholic Church and the patrimony that the generations of Faithful left for its upkeep, has fared in its earthly journey to its omega point, or whatever it is that this sect journies toward. And I am stating the above with all due respect to whatever it is that they believe in.

Before we start our analysis, what needs to be mentioned is that the mainline protestant sects were also affected by the Second Vatican Council. It was their representatives who aided and abetted advised the conciliar neo-modernist’s in the transformation of Catholicism from a Deo-centric theology into a non-threatening, more protestant friendly anthropocentric sect religion.

In turn, the conciliar transformation of the Catholic Church had its unintended consequences in the form of a knock-on effects on these protestants sects as well, with the “mainline protestant sects” bearing the largest brunt of the negative fall out.

Over at the Acton Blog, a story appeared that is of particular interest, one published on the 27th of March 2015 tilted Why An Urban Church Abandoned Traditional Charity (see here). The story is a very interesting read in its own right. However for our purposed here, this story is an illustration of how one mainline protestant church, through no fault of its own, got sucked into the OBJECTIVE REALITY that is the “new springtime of the spirit of the VII”. This REALITY and bad decisions made in response to it, nearly destroyed the congregation. Presently, this Methodist church has initiated a process to transform its theological strategy Lord’s pastoral call in an attempt to save itself from the trash heap of history the “spirit of Vatican II”.

Our jump off point for this analysis will be one that is very familiar to the loyal readers and it comes from the John Lamont essay that was provided to the Rorate Caeli blog and appeared on the 1st of January 2015. (see here) The relevant passage is the following:

The key to the neomodernist capture of power is however also the reason for their failure to sustain a religious culture. Neomodernism is not like Protestantism, which contains ideas with a positive content as well as being a rejection of Catholicism. These ideas – justification by faith, and the like – are not correct, but they say something substantial, and have an appeal that can give rise to an important movement.

Now, from the above passage, one can easily draw the inference that when the post-conciliar church abandoned Thomism, it abandoned the part of Catholic theology  that is derived from the natural law. In other words, the post-conciliar church abandoned the part of Catholic theology that is “known through the natural light of human reason”, thus becoming “theologically protestant”. In other words, Catholic theology was left as a neo-modernist version of “sola scriptura”. On the other hand, neo-modernism contains no “positive content” in its own right. Here is the relevant passage:

Neo-modernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.

The last sentence is a statement of fact, and applies equally to Catholicism of the modernist Rome variety as well as to post-modernist protestantism. Both branches of Christianity are “dying away“, albeit for different reasons.

As for the proof that the neo-moderist Catholic Church is dying away for the above reasons, the most recent proof that the above is a correct assessment comes via Willem Cardinal Eijk and his recent announcement that he intends to close “the vast majority” of churches in the Netherlands due to “mistakes made after the council“. (see here)

With respect to the protestant sects, the effects that the “new springtime of the spirit of Vatican II” had on them is even more calamitous. If we agree with the Lamont assertion that protestantism is based on two elements, i.e. “ideas containing positive content” and the “rejection of Catholicism“, then it follows that by becoming “protestantized, the Catholic Church eliminated one of the two central pillars of protestantism, i.e. the “rejection of Catholicism”. Or to put it another way, how could the protestants, in this new reality reject something that is inherently and implicitly protestant, and that they themselves helped create? (see here) The answer is that they could not and can not.

One other aspect of this story needs to be mentioned here. Reading Acton Blog post and other analyses regarding how much greater the destruction of the protestant sects has been during the period of  the “new springtime”, it can be easily inferred how LARGE a part the “rejection of Catholicism” played historically in the raise de etat of the mainline protestant sects. Actually, we may even be in a position to put a number on it. But this is a subject for a different day. Excuse the digression…

Now to our particular case, i.e. the Methodists in particular, here is the lead paragraph from the Acton Blog post: (emphasis added)

In the early 2000s, Broadway United Methodist Church had a series of outreach programs, including a food pantry, after-school program, clothing ministry, and a summer youth program that served up to 250 children per day. Today, these programs are completely absent, and it’s no accident.

When putting the above paragraph into context with the point made by John Lamont in his Thomism essay, what become apparent is the following: the outreach programs, such as “food pantry, after-school program, clothing ministry, and a summer youth program” did not provide any new “positive attraction” element to this church of the Methodist sect.

One could also easily infer that the reason the Methodists instituted the above identified programs was that they needed to replace the loss of the “rejection of Catholicism element” that underpinned their protestant theology. However, the  “positive attraction” element that the Methodist’s were trying to replace, was not attained through implementing “traditional charity” programs such as a  “food pantry, after-school program, clothing ministry, and a summer youth program.” And one can easily make the case that the reason why this Methodist church instituted these types of programs in the first place was to retain its congregation and/or to attract new members.

Actually, there is more to the story than just an expose on an ineffective program that was instituted by the Methodists. It turns out that these programs that were instituted where not only ineffective in maintaining/attracting members, but turned out to be harmful as well. Here is how the Methodists explain that situation with the “traditional charity” programs:

They’ve been killed off,” writes Robert King in a fascinating profile of the transformation for Faith and Leadership. “In many cases, they were buried with honors. But those ministries, staples of the urban church, are all gone from Broadway. Kaput.”

One of the things we literally say around here is, ‘Stop helping people.’” says Rev. Mike Mather, the church’s pastor. “I’m serious.

And why were these award-winning programs killed off? Here is how Rev. Mather explained it:

The church, and me in particular,” Mather said, “has done a lot of work where we have treated the people around us as if, at worst, they are a different species and, at best, as if they are people to be pitied and helped by us.”

Reading the above, one is struck by how close the above types of programs and attitudes resemble the haircuts for the homeless, showers for the homeless, free visits to the Sistine Chapel for the homeless and the homeless handing out Vatican flyers in St. Peter’s Square. Along with all the help of a poor church for the poor, while disregarding the aspect of Faith. You see, dear reader, God will not ask you if you went to mass, just if you fed the poor. But I digress…

So what is the thinking and approach of the Broadway United Methodist Church these days? For the answer please read the article, since it is irrelevant to this post, however here is how the results look:

The new approach has led to people rediscovering and harnessing their God-given gifts, sharing in various services and activities with those around them, uncovering a renewed sense of dignity and purpose, pursuing paths to new businesses or livelihoods, and discovering an overall sense of community connectedness and flourishing.

Now with respect to the above, I am not exactly sure what this new strategy entails, which is why I sent you dear reader to the post directly. However one thing I am certain of and that is this: it has very little to do with becoming a religious non-governmental organization.

In other words, the new strategy has ceased to be one of a church acting in the role of a “dignity snatcher”.