Rorate Caeli

Ralph's Reading Comprehension Quiz

“There is, I would say, a recurrent situation in Church history - using the word 'church' in the widest sense - where an excess of charity threatens unity. You have a clique, an elite, of Christian men and (more importantly) women, who are trying to live a less worldly life than their neighbors; to be more attentive to the guidance (directly felt, they would tell you) of the Holy Spirit...The pattern is always repeating itself, not in outline merely but in detail. Almost always the enthusiastic movement is denounced as an innovation, yet claims to be preserving, or to be restoring, the primitive discipline of the Church... I would have called [this] tendancy 'ultrasupernaturalism'. For that is the real character of the enthusiast; he expects more evident results from the grace of God than we others. He sees what effects religion can have, does sometimes have, in transforming a man's whole life and outlook; these exceptional cases (so we are content to think them) are for him the average standard of religious achievement. He will have no 'almost-Christians', no weaker brethren who plod and stumble... the emphasis lies on a direct personal access to the Author of our salvation, with little of intellectual background or of liturgical expression... at the root of it lies a different theology of grace. Our traditional doctrine is that grace perfects nature but leaves it nature still. The assumption of the enthusiast is bolder and simpler; for him, grace has destroyed nature, and replaced it."

Ronald Knox, Enthusiasm

How many significant Church issues of the present day does Knox touch upon in these few words?

(1) the feminization of the laity (Mass attendance predominantly female; participation in oodles and oodles of brand new lay “ministries” predominantly female)

(2) the tendency of those among the laity who consider themselves “more attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit” to exalt the “inner voice” of conscience at the expense of the “outer voices” of doctrine and dogma

(3) the usurpation of Church tradition by the projection of an eccentric, highly romanticized vision of the early Church as the model for all to follow

(4) identification of ecumenism with an emotionally soft-centered “hugginess” that supersedes doctrinal strictures

(5) disparaging of liturgies in which the categories of worshipper and that which is worshipped are held in the sharpest distinction

(6) association of actual grace with the prestidigitation that pours a quart of milk into a top hat and produces a cuddly bunny

Feel free to add your own.

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