Life Issues in Church

4 03 2009

Recently a reader asked if I had ever heard anyone talk about life issues such as abortion in church and the answer sadly is no.   Of course there may be some priests who mention such things in church however I have not personally heard them here.  I have never heard a homily here that even touches anything controversial even though  several weeks ago the readings were about leprosy so a perfect chance to talk about even that was avoided.  I think there are at least four reasons why sensitive issues like abortion are not mentioned.  1 it has been around for so long here (1950) that it seems to not be challenged or contested and just accepted.  2.  No one wants to talk about it for fear of upsetting anyone who may have had an abortion or fear of just upsetting everyone.  I think even talking about hell is avoided for the same reason its simply not a pleasant subject.  3.  People seem to be more focused on promoting and talking about peace and charity related things especially aid to poorer countries.  There is nothing wrong with being charitable etc I just think other issues are more important.   4.  the Archbishop of Denver said recently about the past forty years in the U.S which I think applies to some extent to Japan as well.

Chaput expanded, “It seems like there has been a very bad period of catechesis of people in the Church, not only catechesis of the laity but also catechesis of the clergy and it’s bearing bad fruit in our time.”

“We need to reinvigorate the Church’s understanding of the horror of abortion,” Chaput continued. “It seems that we have become deadened to the horror of abortion.”  source


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7 responses

4 03 2009
conway23

You are very right. And there certainly are priests who don’t wish to “offend” anyone (you’d think Catholics would be a safe audience for Catholic teaching, but I digress), yet there is one more important historical development that also accounts for what you’re talking about.

If you read the Vatican II documents on reforming the liturgy, the importance of the homily is emphasized and in it, and priests are urged to talk about the Scripture readings. At that time, the reading of Scripture was not a common thing for your average Catholic, and so there was a desire to bring more attention to the Bible. This may have been “radical” in 1962, but it’s commonplace now.

I understand the frustration of some Catholics who want priests to address abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage during Mass; perhaps priests could use scripture as a launching pad for discussing the more controversial teachings of the Church and in doing so, help teach the faith. I certainly would love to hear more about these issues directly from the clergy. We’ll see what happens in the near future.

5 03 2009
jasmine tea

Thank you for this post.

Since nobody talks about it, I wondered what the Buddhist position on abortion is and went looking on Google. There is a long but quite informative post here (http://www.shoken.dk/index.php?id=96), seems to be written by a Danish pro-life Buddhist. As I suspected, inasmuch as abortion is the deliberate taking of a life, it is compared to murder; however, the teaching wimps out when it allows for the infamous ‘right to choose,’ and paying for ceremonies to repair the damage to one’s karma.

Before the Church really takes off in Japan, I think she’s going to need to differentiate herself from the establishment (society, Buddhism-Shinto), starting with addressing abortion and other uncomfortable issues.

6 03 2009
Michael Yoder

I would wonder if the “average Catholic” doesn’t read less of the Scriptures than before Vatican II. The old Mass, the one I attend, does not read over a 3 yr cycle but reads the scriptures over a one year cycle where one becomes much more familar with the Word of God. When the Church and its priests stand tall and do not try to become one with “the world” then people will listen.

I believe that is why traditionalist seminaries are flourishing and the novus ordo seminaries are not. Our dear Holy Father has shown that the Latin Mass was never abrogated and it is spreading. The Holy Church will never be “popular” as the world sees it, especially in this day and age, but if it stands up for the eternal truths people will come to it. I agree with Jasmine Tea that the Church in Japan (and not only there) will need to get some backbone and speak out and more Japanese will come to it for light and life.

And may God bless those 41 new members of the Church that you mentioned in the previous entry.

6 03 2009
vee8

Good points all
conway23 wrote

I understand the frustration of some Catholics who want priests to address abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage during Mass; perhaps priests could use scripture as a launching pad for discussing the more controversial teachings of the Church and in doing so, help teach the faith. I certainly would love to hear more about these issues directly from the clergy. We’ll see what happens in the near future.

You also said the homily should be about scripture (I agree btw) however I think even some priests have forgotten that and talk about stuff that has nothing to do with scripture. So yes they should be teaching us about something scriptural and then if there is a hot topic that is on people`s minds the priest should find a way to weave it into the homily. He could even be indirect about it such as talking the sanctity of life, marriage, etc in reference to scripture. I suspect the indirect approach might go over a bit better here.

6 03 2009
vee8

Jasmine wrote

Before the Church really takes off in Japan, I think she’s going to need to differentiate herself from the establishment (society, Buddhism-Shinto), starting with addressing abortion and other uncomfortable issues.

Really good point. People need to be made aware of what Catholic teachings are and I think people like the bishops who can reach a large audience should be making these things very public and helping the laity to do so by organizing things such as a March for Life etc. There is so much I could say on this but I have to end it here for now.

6 03 2009
vee8

Also Jasmine you wondered why dont the Buddhists say anything here, as I myself have often wondered, and I think I have part of the answer. It is more profitable to keep their mouths shut. By that I mean some sects or temples make a lot of their money by selling Jizo statues and holding services for the dead babies. If they were suddenly to stop and say abortion is wrong some temples would lose a lot of their business.

11 03 2009
Sue

Thanks so much for answering my question. I am sorry to hear the answer, though! Since I have learned so much about pro-life issues from my dear, passionate Catholic friends back in the US and online I was hoping that the Japanese Catholic churches were not as silent as the Protestant ones on this important issue. It looks like those of us who believe in the sanctity of life, Catholic and Protestant alike, need to pray a lot while looking for opportunities to educate!

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