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My, how I've grown

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Oct 01, 2003

OTR reader "RC" notes that the Boston boutique worship group called The People of Promise congratulates itself in its newsletter on helping Catholics exit the Church. Former Jesuit priest Mark Jones is now Mark Bozzuti-Jones, and an Episcopal priest. He thanks POP for the reassurance that apostasy from the Church and reneging on his perpetual vows are all steps in God's marvelous plan:

In many ways, I feel more excited and committed to ministry this time around. I have a wife and a one year old son. God certainly moves in mysterious ways. I had no way of imagining that my journey would lead me to a new experience of priesthood. My heart is filled with gratitude for my experience in the Roman Catholic Church, especially the fifteen years I spent as a Jesuit. ... Remaining in touch with Hank, Linda, Kay, Roger [Haight, S.J.] and Randy [Sachs, S.J.] has helped me realize that I do not have horns growing on my head and that my decision was a good one. There are times in our lives when we need to change a way of being or abandon a certain lifestyle, and that is what I did even though it was painful to do. I have no regrets and feel without a doubt that God has directed my path and continues to direct my path.

"I have no regrets and feel without a doubt that God has directed my path and continues to direct my path" -- more than most of us could say. The People of the (Re-negotiated) Promise clearly provide an important spiritual -- and theological -- service in teaching less sophisticated Catholics how to ignore their most solemn commitments while maintaining a gleaming self-image. It's easy to see how the priest-facilitators oil their way out of their oaths of doctrinal fidelity without ceasing to smile. For all that, it's odd that it never occurred to them that in dissolving the notion of a promise they dissolve the possibility of hope, which means that even their own dream-church must ultimately be an exercise in futility. John Finnis makes the point in his book Moral Absolutes:

To affirm that Bentham, Mill, Marx, and, in his different way, Machiavelli were right in their rejection of the moral absolutes, and that the whole People of God was wrong until yesterday in accepting them as truths integral to salvation (ultimate and integral human fulfillment itself), and that the Church's magisterium is wrong in proclaiming their truth to this day, is to take a long step toward denying that God has revealed anything to a people, or ever constituted a people of God at all.

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 02, 2003 12:06 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, People of the Promise Breakers have moved the web link. How wonderfully relativistic of them. Instead, I bounced around their website links and found a cornucopia of the usual cheese-eating apostasies: Centreing Prayer (Contemplative Outreach), lotsa Community, and Atmosphere and Social Justice. Little "Worship Community" thang happnin' there too (what does a worship community worship anyways? Does the community worship itself?). Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 01, 2003 11:56 PM ET USA

    To pile irony on top of anomaly on top of apostasy: Does anyone else, besides myself, find it odd that the Three Letter Acronym or TLA for these folks is POP -- a colloquial modern day, 1960's style term for FATHER? Think about it.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 01, 2003 9:23 PM ET USA

    I notice that the apostate formerly known as Father, "feels" that it was the correct decision, rather than believing that it is. Interesting.

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