Saturday, July 26, 2014

Venerable Archbishop Sheen on "Misunderstanding the World"

One thing I like about Archbishop Sheen is his approach to discussing the faith.  While he cracks a joke now and then (and is truly funny at times), he's not condescending or bitter when talking about problems in the Church.  He's very matter-of-fact about it all.  When you hear people quoting Archbishop Sheen, or others like Fr. Hardon, and even Bishop Schneider or Cardinal Burke, watch how they quote them.  We should all convey their teachings the way they have been conveyed by them.   Find originals and read, watch, and listen for yourself.  Here is one such example.

A short time ago, I made another post discussing some apps and online sources for finding audio and video of Archbishop Sheen.  I completed listening to a roughly 30 minute talk he gave, opening a retreat he was giving.

The specific talk to which I just listened, twice, is called, "Misunderstanding the World." (You can find other talks from, "A Retreat for Everyone" online.)

This talk took place sometime after Vatican Council II.  In the talk, he discusses the confusion over the word, "World" and says this confusion resulted in chaos, especially among the clergy and religious orders, but also among the laity.  He explains early in his talk that people were becoming worldly.  Their attitudes towards the world were changing. And, at the same time, the Church began to interact with the world and the world with the Church.

In the beginning he speaks about the Church entering the world; and, the world entering the Church.  To illustrate the first point he looks at how popes were crowned from 1914 on through Pope Paul VI.  I'll let you hear it in the audio rather than try to summarize.  After he explains it as he sees it, he asks the question: "Do you see the movement -  the Church going into the world?"

Then he shifts into showing how the world was coming into the Church (once again here, we don't have much context yet into the word, "world." This comes later).  To illustrate this next part, he makes use of the bishops at major councils.  400 years ago, at the Council of Trent, he says it was all Mediterranean, European, and Latin.  Fast forward to Vatican Council I (1870), and it was unchanged.  He explains, there was still, not a single bishop from Africa or Asia.  Fast forward to Vatican Council II (1962-65) and he says over 60% were from North and South America, Africa, and Asia. I was thinking about how this happened at a point in time when intercontinental transportation was making real progress and not limited to ships which led to long travel times.  It all seems to fit into God's plan.

At that last council he said it was not uncommon to hear people say that the Church needed to go out into the world.  He then says, "…and they were indeed right [pause]… but, what is the world?"

Sheen explains that Scripture has two meanings of the word, "world." In the first case, it refers to the cosmos, to creation (he quotes from John, Chapter 1 and John 3:16).  The second meaning of the word, "world," is a spiritual organization without God.  He goes on to explain that when they had heard the Church was going out into the world, they had not made the distinction.  "The result," he says, "was chaos among the clergy, in religious orders, and among the laity."  Some people went to one of two extremes - on one side, he labels, "the psychotics;" and, on the other side, "the neurotics."  He says the psychotics believe that 2 and 2 equal 5 while the neurotics believe 2 and 2 is 4, but they are mad about it.

That is just the beginning of this great talk. Later he goes in to the problem with dialogue retreats and conferences where he says people might feel like they are accomplishing something because they are talking, but it comes at a cost.  I agree with him.  he called them passé, but I think these things are still happening.

I hope you will take time to listen to it, perhaps more than once.  See the link near the beginning of my post.

You can find the whole set of talks from this "Retreat For Everyone " at Amazon in a CD or online at the link I provided near the top of this post.

I'd like to know the year this retreat was recorded so if anyone knows, email me at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.  I closed my comment box indefinitely some months ago for a number of reasons, chief among them, no time to moderate and discuss.  Most people are discussing in social media like Facebook and elsewhere anyway.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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