Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sensus Fidelium Discussion Continues

Thursday’s post, “
If the People Don’t Believe It, It’s Not True,” has generated much discussion – both in the comments section of that particular post, and on at least two other blogsites.

As you may recall, I shared on Thursday excerpts from a 2003 National Catholic Reporter article by Arthur Jones. In this article, Jones interviews Richard Sipe who shares his thoughts on Roman Catholicism’s underdeveloped sexual theology, the need for reform in this area of church teaching, and the power of the sensus fidelium (the “sense of the faithful”) which, Sipes contends, it at odds with the hierarchical church’s understanding of the meaning and purpose of sexuality. In discussing this last point, Sipe offers the quip: “If the people don’t believe it, it’s not true.”

As I said, Sipe’s views on both the church’s sexual theology and the sensus fidelium have generated an interesting exchange of ideas – both here at The Wild Reed and on the blogsites of my fellow gay Catholic bloggers William Lindsey and Terence Weldon.

I particularly recommend the following informed and articulate reflections on this important issue offered by William and Terence:

A Reader Responds: Standing Newman on His Head - William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, September 25, 2009).

Sexual Ethics and the Sensus Fidelium - Terence Weldon (Queering the Church, September 25, 2009).

And More Synchronicity: Newman Again – Misappropriating and Misrepresenting the Facts - William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, September 26, 2009).

Church and Laity: More on the Sensus Fidelium - Terence Weldon (Queering the Church, September 27, 2009).

For previous posts, comments, and links on the sensus fidelium, the magisterium, and “faithful dissent” see:
The Truth About the Spirit of Vatican II Finally Revealed!
Reading the Documents of Vatican II (Part 1)
Reading the Documents of Vatican II (Part 2)
Reading the Documents of Vatican II (Part 3)
Here Comes Everybody!
Robert McClory’s “Prophetic Work”
A Catholic Understanding of Faithful Dissent (Part 1)
A Catholic Understanding of Faithful Dissent (Part 2)
The Many Forms of Courage (Part III)
Responding to Excommunication
A Church That Can and Cannot Change
Will We See Change?
The Catholic Challenge
The Treasure and the Dross

Image: “Sensus Fidelium” by Annette Falk Lund.


Mareczku said...

I read those articles. Quite interesting. I think that the Church will at some point have to deal with new findings about the science of human sexuality. I think a lot of the trouble in the Church has been causes by a philosophy that basically saw almost all sexual activity as a mortal sin. This leads to a trivialization of sin. For example, if the Church considers things such as French kissing, self-gratification, use of condoms by men or birth control pills by women, relations between a same sex couple in a committed relationship, to all be mortal sins then when a priest rapes or molests a minor to some of the bishops and other priests this is just another mortal sin. When normal sexual activity is considered evil then it takes away from things that actually are evil.

Mareczku said...

I will share something that happened to me. Our diocese has an Encourage ministry. This is a support ministry for the families of gay people. I talked to the priest that was in charge of this ministry. I was upset when I found out that the priest that taught me Religion in High School was a predator. I told the priest that it upset me that this priest took an 8th grader on a trip and made the kid have sex with him. The priest's comment to me was, "Well the kid was committing mortal sins too." I was stunned. I told the priest that I strongly disagreed and this annoyed him. He told me never to speak to him again.

Terence Weldon said...

Mareczku, you are absolutely right. This exactly parallels the experience in the secular field of apartheid South Africa. When it was a crime to to take a family to the wrong beach, to stand in the wrong Post Office queue, or to sit on the wrong railway bench because of you skin colour, all respect for the law was gradually eroded. It became routine for people to disregard first these minor regulations, then more substantive laws on residential separation and miscegenation.

The banned resistance movements began to operate increasingly openly, creating their own de facto public holidays, and developing what amounted to a parallel government structure in the black townships.

When eventually apartheid was formally dismantled, this was simply a realistic recognition of plain fact. But the legacy remains: there is still widespread disrespect and disregard for the law,as shown by continuing widespread levels of crime and corruption.

It is not only in the church that laws and regulations which are not respected do not deserve to be retained.