Progressive Christians, let’s talk about it | Denis Knapp



I really enjoy writing about Patheos. I also like to read other Christian bloggers on Patheos. From other Catholic bloggers to progressive Christians, Patheos provides a seemingly endless source of enjoyable reading. Also, while I disagree with other writers on several topics, I appreciate the investment of time and effort required to write a blog consistently. In my reading of other blogs, I have questions, especially for those who consider themselves “progressive” Christians. I include in this category the Catholic progressives.

In this article, I lay out the questions that often come to mind when I read about Patheos progressives, Protestants and Catholics. I do not wish to “dominate” other Christians or assume an air of superiority. Honestly, I want to know how and why other people come to different conclusions than mine. A better understanding comes through open and honest dialogue.

So, progressives, let’s talk about it.

What does the Christian life look like?

As someone who considers himself a faithful Catholic, I see the call of the Church as a call from Christ to the fullness of Christian life and holiness. Catholic means universal, so the call to holiness is also universal. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2013 “All Christians, whatever their state or condition of life, are called to the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity.” All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

To achieve this perfection, the faithful must use the strength given to them by the gift of Christ, so that . . . Doing the will of the Father in everything, they can devote themselves wholeheartedly to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbour. Thus, the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as the history of the Church clearly shows through the lives of so many saints.

2014 Spiritual progress tends towards an ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called “mystical” because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments — “the holy mysteries” — and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the particular graces or the extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to a few to manifest the free gift given to all.

From my reading of progressive blogs, the call to holiness seems to engender an accusation of judgment and superiority. If not, please correct my error. All sin and fail (Romans 3:23).

What does the Christian life look like to you?

Who/What holds ultimate authority in your life?

Also, as someone who converted to Catholicism (from an anti-Catholic stance), my change of heart took months. I explored all facets of Catholic theology and practice – orthodoxy and orthopraxy. During my confirmation service, the priest (replacing the bishop) asked me if I accepted everything the Church taught as true. My understanding of that moment, then and now, was that I placed my personal spiritual autonomy under the authority of the Church. However, this does not mean blind obedience to the personal interpretation of bishops or priests. This means that I submit my personal theological opinions to the Church. I give deference to the Church in matters of faith and morals.

So who/what holds the ultimate authority in your life?

Why the lack of charity towards those who disagree with you?

Moreover, the most troubling aspect of some progressive bloggers (not all) is the lack of charity and willingness to dialogue with those who disagree with them. Their blogs are more like monologues than dialogues. For example, calling conservative bishops “wh*res” and conservative Catholics “racist fascists” is not only wrong, but highly uncharitable. Do not mistake yourself. I am for freedom of expression. But the vitriol directed at conservative Catholics is appalling. Below are some recent examples that I have personally been subjected to. Although I am not called by my name, my writings are referenced. As this blogger does not allow me to make a defense on her blog, I respond to her accusations under her comments. His full article is here.

Examples of Lack of Charity

Example 1

My friends, if the tactics are to thwart medicine/science, gaslight, abuse people, coerce votes, oppress others, harm the vulnerable, marginalize them, endanger lives and even to kill to achieve the goal of “getting them into heaven”, so it’s not from God or his love for humanity. It also goes against fundamental doctrines of Catholic Social Teaching and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2358) which are rooted in tradition, scripture (over 2000 Bible verses), history and moral doctrine, especially in areas of the sanctity of life. and the Dignity of the Human Person which are non-negotiable Catholic Teachings.

The blogger’s reference to “get them into heaven” seems to call my post, Bishops: Please help us get into heaven. In this article, I share an open letter from Regis Martin to Crisis review to all Catholic bishops. In this letter, Martin pleads for the bishops to fulfill their primary duty as guardians of the souls that God has placed under their authority. Every word of my article and every word of Martin’s letter reflects official Church teaching. Absent from my article (all of my articles) and the letter is any attempt at denial, gaslighting, abuse, coercion, oppression, prejudice, marginalization, endangerment and threat of dead. Even suggesting the latter is an attempt to damage the character of those with whom the blogger disagrees. As an aside, the blogger should read paragraph 2359 of the Catechism.

Example 2

I have to say why I agreed with Patheos to remove the ability for others to comment at the end of my posts. A few on the Catholic right got so aggressive on most of the posts that I just didn’t have the strength to keep my faith, stay in the Catholic Church and fight them. So when Patheos reached out and offered to disable comments for my column, I agreed to make this change for my own spiritual health and the spiritual health of my family.

If you read my comments to this blogger, you would see that I didn’t do it in an “aggressive” way. I try to always engage others with the utmost respect when commenting on their blogs or mine. Also, pointing out our disagreements and challenging assumptions is not aggression. Otherwise, how can a better understanding be achieved if not through dialogue?

Example 3

One on the Catholic right in particular “exercised his right to speak his mind” to the point of arguing over almost every post, then introduced families like mine to the Episcopal Church while he and his “remain legitimately Catholic” since our “fewer” Families are not “good enough”. This trad has acted with more authority than the Pope who lovingly welcomes our families of atypical children.

My blog is The Latin Right… But I digress. The article in question is Allow me to introduce you to the Episcopal Church. My reasons for writing it appear in the opening paragraph. It is said:

I joke about the title of this article. All people, whatever their origin, I desire to join the Catholic Church. I do not wish anyone to leave the Church of Christ. My joke underscores my concern for dissenting or heterodox Catholics who I believe are more theologically in line with the Episcopal Church than the Catholic Church.

And in my conclusion:

Unfortunately, many heterodox Catholics remain poorly educated. They place more value on their personal beliefs than on those of the Church. Therefore, I believe they might find a more suitable home within the Episcopal Church.

Also, nowhere in my article are the words “remaining legitimately Catholic”, “less than” families and not “good enough”. Therefore, I don’t understand why she put those words in quotes. In several posts, this blogger clearly states that the Church’s teaching on human sexuality does not apply universally to all Catholics. In fact, she argues that universal application amounts to harm and even death. Given that perspective, suggesting a church that agrees with this blogger seems like a better bet, in my opinion.

Why the lack of charity towards those who disagree with you?

Progressive Christians, let’s talk about it

In conclusion, I again ask for the continuation of the dialogue with the progressives.

To recap my questions:

What does the Christian life look like?

Who holds ultimate authority in your life?

Why the lack of charity towards those who disagree with you?

As always, my comments section is open to respectful dialogue. Let’s reason together.

Read my other writings here.

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