A compilation of ideas, thoughts, beliefs and conclusions I arrived at after being in the seminary at the time of the Second Vatican Council, being ordained in 1967, being an active Discalced Carmelite priest for just under 20 years, followed by being married for 29 years during which the last 24 years included an unofficial priestly ministry.
These statements have been gleaned from many speakers, discussions and even some reading over the years and having a wonderful spiritual spouse and being supported by the spirituality of the 12 steps for 39 years.
This is just one personal interpretation of Catholic and general belief – perhaps for some even “radical” truths.
There is no particular order, just random thoughts and inspirations, hopefully led by the spirit,
with no ill will intended toward anyone.
1. Is any human infallible including the Pope? No.
Is the Pope a special spiritual leader for Catholics? Sure.
Is he worthy of honor and respect? Yes, of course. Infallible? No.
2. Would it be OK for the Pope, bishops and some priests to say “I don’t know”? Yes.
Would it be difficult for some of them to learn to do? Yes.
Would it make those same seem more real? Yes.
3. Are there any “really good” reasons why Women cannot be priests? No.
Would some Catholics find it difficult to accept? Sure.
Is it worth it anyway? Yes.
4. Would it be wonderful in an idealistic sense that no one ever had to get a divorce? Sure.
Will we ever reach that ideal? No.
Does it make those who get a divorce wrong or bad in itself? No.
5. Would it be wonderful in an idealistic sense if no woman had to ever have an abortion? Sure.
Is it ever good for any of us, especially men, to call abortion murder? No.
Is it a very complicated, complex subject? Yes.
6. Is there a good reason why priests, either men or women cannot be married? No.
Would it be one of the easier rules for the Catholic Church to change? Yes.
7. Is there ever a good reason other than health to not receive communion at Mass? No. Period.
8. Is it a good thing to call anyone a sinner? No.
Is there anyone of us that has never done anything wrong? Probably not.
Has everyone done at least something hurtful to others? Probably.
Has everyone done something that they feel shame about having done? Probably.
Can I safely say anyone else other than myself is a sinner? No.
Is it better to concentrate on being and doing good rather than talking about sin? Yes.
9. Should we be concerned about whether we will get to Heaven? (remember that word). No.
Do I believe God will judge us when we die? No.
Do I know what will happen when those die who did evil? No.
10. Do I believe that our spirits will live on after we die? Yes.
Does any of us humans still alive know exactly what that will be like? No.
Does it make a lot of sense to just have faith that it will be good? Yes.
11. Is it correct to think we know absolute truth about anything theological? No.
Is it understandable that all through time we have been trying to know truth? Sure.
Do I think it is wrong that the Catholic Church has taught we knew some things for sure? Yes.
Is “Well that all depends” a good starter response to almost any question about truth? Yes
12. Does it make sense to think any race is better than another? No.
Who is to say one race is really better than another? No one.
Are all races part of one race – the human? Yes. Perhaps spelled better “hueman”
13. Is white privilege a problem perhaps many of us do not realize we have? Yes.
Can it be a detriment to how we think of others? Yes.
Does white privilege thinking fall into the curse of white supremacy for some? Yes.
14. Can all cultures learn from one another? Yes.
Who is qualified to be the one to judge other cultures fairly? No one.
15. Does killing the enemy in war make any sense? No, Not really..
Does intentionally killing anyone ever really make any sense? No.
Can there be extenuating circumstances like self defense. Yes.
16. Is there an answer to war? Unfortunately, probably not.
Will we ever learn to all get along together. No. Sad. Yes.
17. Is there an answer to poverty? Certainly not an easy one.
Are solutions possible? Yes.
Is it sad that perhaps as many as one billion of the world population goes to bed hungry? Yes.
18. Could the world’s wealth be shared better? Of course.
Will we come up with a solution to extreme inequity of wealth soon or ever? Probably Not.
Can we ever learn to come up with the concept of having enough? Hopefully.
Does anyone really NEED to be a billionaire? No.
19. Am I surprised that people are generally split 50/50 in their political affiliation? Yes.
Is it strange that just a small margin over 50% in an election might be considered a Landslide? To me. Yes.
Why do we disagree with each other so much? I don’t know.
20. Do I think consensus is possible? Yes.
Is it difficult to achieve? Yes.
Is it worth the time and effort it takes to achieve it? Yes.
21. Does money and salary cause problems as the present measure of success? Yes.
Would it be wonderful if we could come up with some other way? Yes.
Does it seem possible in near future? Not Very.
22. Would it be wonderful if we could have a system where everyone makes enough? Yes.
Could we still come up with a system where some deserve more than others because of their efforts and accomplishments? I would hope so.
Will it take someone smarter than me to come up with the answer? For sure.
23. Is it possible to disagree with and still be respectful of others? Yes.
Does it feel a little uncomfortable disagreeing with the Catholic Church teaching? Yes.
Does it feel good to simply be part of the recovering Catholic community. Yes.
24. Is it unrealistic to think we could come up with a political system where re-election, party affiliation, and politics is very secondary to what is good for all the people? Probably.
As an example, would health care be improved if our politicians had the same health care coverage as the rest of society. Yes.
In itself is it really better to be either a woman or a man? No.
In itself is it fair to say anyone world or denominational religion is better than another? No
In itself is one form of sexual or gender identity better than another? No
What really matters is how we treat, respect and love one another.
Simple. No. Possible, Probably Not. Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Yes.
Is there more that could be said about all of the above? Sure.
Are any of the above ideas original to me? I can’t say.
Is it my intention to not give credit to those I have learned from? No.
Is it just my personal attempt to talk about life and truth? Yes.
Will the above thoughts resolve anything? Probably not.
Is it primarily for me to own what I believe and think? Yes.
Do I want to hurt anyone who thinks differently than I do? No.
Is it good for me to share these beliefs and thoughts? That is my hope.
Now, the real question for me.
Why am I sharing these personal perspectives and beliefs?
Is it to promote myself and get attention? Sadly, that is always a danger.
Is it to help some of us to allow for a different perspective about important issues? That sounds and feels much better.
Does it really matter? As my wife Carol wisely and simply says. “If you want to do it, do it.”
Jim “Father Jim”
Responses and reactions graciously accepted.