Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ecclesial Movements and New Communities are a Poor Substitute for an Organically Formed Society.

As the title suggests, the reason the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities exist are for natural social reasons. To be sure, the Movements and Communities have a spiritual character, but as the name New Community evinces, the nature of these entities is primarily that of a substitute society to compensate for a defect in modern society.

American society is an amorphous limitless creature where Catholics are not at home. Men in general by nature seek stability, and Catholics in particular seek stability within a Catholic environment. And so as a reaction to american society, Catholics seek out stability and limit and localism in these Theocratic New Communities.

“...the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities which blossomed after the Second Vatican Council, constitute a unique gift of the Lord and a precious resource for the life of the Church." an excerpt from an address of his holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Unfortunately,Pope Benedict's thought is wishful thinking making the most of a dreadful situation because while these New Communities are shelter from amorphous limitless american society, they are a poor substitute, not a precious resource.

While we may be glad for the substitute because they are far better than the even worse alternatives, nevertheless we do not do ourselves a favor by pretending they're more than what they actually are.

The destruction of society and social bonds caused the New Communities to come into existence, not because these New Communities are a good in themselves, but because they're a substitute for the natural bonds of civil society.

The FSSP drive to personal parish my family has belonged to since the FSSP arrived here in Colorado is not a precious resource, but a poor substitute for the organically formed local parish that no longer exists.

When men are unable to obtain what is most natural to them, they will seek out a substitute that can be made due with, and like all substitutes they are deficient. They're deficient because they are not an actual solution to the societal ailment, having more the character of a band-aid.

Band-aids are not part of our flesh, but are instead a covering. In contrast, a properly ordered society is inseparable from our flesh. A properly ordered society is kith and kin, our native land and our people. A properly ordered society isn't chosen from a list of choices, we are instead by nature grafted into the society by birth or by some other similar means.

The concept of society as something akin to an overcoat is modern and not according to our nature. True, our modern society has been reduced to social compacts, where society is now little more than some kind of quasi social natural compact. But as Catholics we should see those quasi natural compacts for what they are.

Distance is not accidental to properly formed community whether that distance be measured in transcending of cultures intermixed or transcending of miles traversed.

When Aristotle writes that to all things there is a limit, including the size of the organically formed society, he speaks only of measured distance, and while that measured distance is violated by these New communities, more unnatural yet is the traversing of cultures.

What binds together a drive to FSSP parish is less than what bonds together a natural locally organized parish because the locally organized parish is formed as part of the local social fabric.

Unfortunately, as time has passed since Vatican II the Church has kept on applying more and more band-aids to where now, that's all there is, lots and lots and lots of New Community band-aids.

Here in Colorado, the Church does not even attempt to restore the natural social bonds, but has instead abandoned the concept of the local parish. All parishes are now drive to personal parishes. An example of this is when we sent our children to our local geographical parish school we were regarded as outside the parish even though we lived within the physical boundaries of the parish, because our membership in the FSSP personal parish made us members exclusively in that parish.

Our geographical parish no longer considered geography as relevant to being a parishioner, but instead looked solely at the history of recorded money contributions. And so as a result, all geographical parishes in the Archdiocese are now for all practical purposes likewise New Communities. With each geographical parish having its own charism drawing parishioners from all other the city because of the charism associated with that parish.

And to make matters worse, the Church not only fostered these New Communities, but for a generation and more used the pope like a rock star hanging its hat on the cult of personality of JPII. As opposed to formation into the Faith within the organic local parish, what we have instead is emotional commitment which is seeds dropped on hard soil. The depth of soil and commitment is part and parcel to the consumerist society the members live in, where the New Communities are little more than a "lifestyle choice"

As it stands today, the Church is composed of Catholics belonging to a plethora of sects with each one claiming its charism is essential to being fully Catholic. They're insular seeing themselves not as part of the larger Church, but as the embodiment of the Church.

Locally, the Denver Archdiocese doesn't even make a distinction between its own seminary and the Neocat seminary, a failure of distinction they will some day rue. Because the worst of the New Communities are the Neocats with their secret catechism and rituals that denigrate the Faith. The Neocats are a schism waiting to happen.

As a friend of mine said recently upon completion of reading a history of Opus Dei, JPII didn't canonize its founder but instead a fiction, because the founder is in hell. And the founder of TFP was a mess, and the Legionaires go without saying, and so it goes down the list.

What is most missing is the simple casual interaction of daily life proper to the organically formed society. Not only are these New Communities detached from common daily life, but they're overly regimented and regulated. And if they're not detached because the New Community does attempt to regulate family life, that attempt is worst of all, because the regulations are a burden because they lack discretion.

Organically formed societies do have laws, of course, but much of what is regulated is cultural and unsaid but understood because the formation into the society is not like a platonic overcoat, but holistic in nature.

Some will point out guilds of the past as proving these new Ecclesial Movements and New Communities have always been with us, but the difference is that those guilds of the past did not attempt to substitute for society, but were instead woven into the fabric of society. Where as today, what we have are thousands of different societies where the only common bond is consumerism and egalitarianism.

Pope Benedict's wishful thinking is all too common.

Similar to the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, homeschooling came into existence because of societal breakdown and dysfunction where parents were forced to homeschool because all other preferred traditional options were closed to them. Home schooling has become "the ruggedly individualistic . . . option that hinders rather than helps Catholic community."

Or take the Cult of NFP which has transformed NFP from the medicinal into a good in itself where marriage is now argued to be defective without the use of NFP. NFP is medicinal in the same manner as liquid opium is medicinal. NFP may be vital as medicinal for spacing children when the more natural ecological breastfeeding is insufficient, but to substitute ecological breastfeeding in favor of the medicinal NFP is in principle the same as daily consumption of opium. It's a substitution of the proper for the medicinal whose function is handmaiden to the proper.

More to come . . . . .


  1. +JMJ+

    I intuitively agree with this post, although I have had limited experiences with the new ecclesial communities.

    A few years ago, my family was surprised to learn that an old friend of ours had lost a business he had been instrumental in building from the ground. He had been voted out of the board of directors by his own siblings and fired from the company. Our aghast reaction lasted only as long as it took someone to say, "Maybe they wanted him out because it was a family company and he wanted to give his Opus Dei friends more control?"

  2. That's a good example of both.

    Selling out kith and kin for the good of a stranger.

    Mistaking a community caused by convention for one caused organically.

    1. So ok, it makes more or less sense, but what is your suggestion then? What would be better than the band aid these intentional communities are?

      Thank you for dropping into my blog. :-)

    2. Very gratifying to see you share my deep loathing for Brutalism.

    3. Thank you for your comment.

      A good possible solution is reformation of neighborhoods grounded in an organic epicenter.

      Such as personal parishes need to become geographical parishes by families moving next to, and near, each other.

      Or formation of town life in small communities. An easy example is formation around the few orthodox Catholic schools, such as TAC, Christendom, Benedictine, Wyoming Catholic College and similar located in small towns.

      Ave Maria is a new town, but its formation is organic because it exists around the school.

      The solution is actual town life where the community is continuous and normal where the common culture is the Faith.

    4. I too believe that people need to live in geographical proximity in order to create organic communities.

      Ave Maria is an interesting place. My father lives in Florida, maybe I'll go visit sometime. I am dubious that any planned town can be an organic community, though... could be wrong. The place looks paved over like most American towns, and I was not able to access any info (in my admittedly short online dash) that would show that apart from frequent masses and fairly well shared sense of Catholic neighborliness, that anything is different there. Do you have a link you can recommend? Oh, one thing did sound good -- they said they had a lot of land set aside as a wildlife preserve.

      The Amish form church districts by living close to one another. There are Plain Catholics who live in similar ways. I like that.

    5. When you say organic, I thought you meant the place evolves. Ave Maria is planned and imposed from above, so to speak. I know European villages and towns that once evolved, and the difference is amazing.

    6. Another thought: some European towns did form around monasteries and markets these monasteries sponsored. But most villages and I think towns did not have such a center (that would be too many monasteries!). Hm... I wonder what their organizing principle was...

    7. An organic society is a society which is properly organized according the the nature of man. While Ave Maria may be planned, nevertheless the overall form is organic in so far as there is an actual common culture and similar.

      Evolution is best because there is more of a common culture, but what you asked for is what can be done now that is better solution than the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.

    8. Further, Ave Maria is pure middle american, it's not my cup of tea, but it's a good solution because most Catholics are middle american.

      The hope is that as Catholic community it will modify what is wrong with modern american culture because the Faith natural moves men to a holistic understanding when the Faith is the leaven of society.

      I expect Ave Maria to evolve towards a more natural understanding of man and away from modern culture.

    9. If it weren't for Ave Maria's hideous oratory, I would consider it. But I just can't imagine having to look at the thing day-in and day-out for the rest of my life ...

  3. P.S. If you're on Facebook, join the Catholic Village Movement discussion page. Would be interested in your thoughts.