J. Cecil's Progressive Catholic Reflections <$BlogRSDUrl$>

J. Cecil's Progressive Catholic Reflections

Greetings! Peace and blessings to all who pass by here! I am a progressive Roman Catholic noticing that conservatives, traditionalists, and ultramontane Catholics take up most of the space on the web. I decided to start this blog to advance progressive Catholic views. Enjoy!

Below is a series of links to essays I have written on matters of Catholic Faith. There are places for comments within each linked essay. A brief self introduction is below the links. Readers may contact me by emailing jcecil3@attglobal.net

The contents of this page have been replicated and those who wish to browse daily news items and ramblings in a more usual blog format may wish to visit In Today's News.

Does God Exist?
The Mystery of Suffering
Why Read the Bible?
Creation Science? Is it Science?
Miracles and Apparitions
Outline of an Introduction to Modern Bible Study
Faith and Reason

Salvation Outside of the Church
Justification: Protestant or Catholic
Both/And and/or Either/Or
The Salvation of the Jews
Church Teaching on Islam: A Brief Overview
Eastern Religions
Why be a Missionary?
Twenty Ways to Share Your Faith

Papal Infallibility?
Response to Ad Tuendam Fidem Charges
What is Infallibility?
What Does "Advancing Progressive Views" Mean?
How Does Doctrine Develop
Is the Church a Divine Monarchy?
The Primacy of Conscience
Did the Church Support Slavery?
Is the Church like a Political Party?
Selling the Good News
Twenty Church Reform Suggestions
Why I Remain a Catholic

On the Trinity
The Resurrection
Is Jesus God?
Is Jesus a Human Person?
Preliminary Investigations on Original Sin
Does Hell Exist?
Where is Purgatory in the Bible?
The Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Take a Trip to (Saint) Karl Rahner Society's Homepage

The Beauty of the Novus Ordo Mass
Real Presence: Some Progressive Reflections
Is Confession Necessary?
Divorce and Remarriage
Saving the Institution of Marriage
Why We Need Married Priests
Questions About Baptism
On Priestly Ordination
On Vocation
On the Anointing of the Sick

Is Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Infallible?
A Petition to the Holy Father for Women Priests
Women Priests: More Important Than Married Priests
Genesis and Paul on Women
Did the Latin Mass Use Inclusive Language
Our Mother Who Art in Heaven...God as our Mother
Apostolic Succession: It's Not Just the 12...,a Woman and Elected Married men?
The Elephant in the Living Room. More Thoughts on the Abuse Crisis...
Critique of Manfred Hauke's Opposition to Women's Ordination
Why We Need Married Priests
Who has the Power? (A Critique of White Male Patriarchy)
Jesus, Mary and DaVinci

The Importance of the Golden Rule
On The Unforgivable Sin
On the Virtue of Chastity
Theological Reflection on Homosexuality
Can a Gay Man be a Saint?
Critique of a Courage Member Speech
The Morality of Natural Family Planning
Divorce and Remarriage
Progressive Family Values
The Solitary Sin
Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll
The Ten Commandments
Catholic Statues and the 1st Commandment
How Avoiding Sin Can Lead to Sin

Conversion of a Conservative
The Case Against ALL War!
Thoughts on Liberation Theology
The Vocation of the Catholic Politician
Church Teaching on Church and State
Creation Spirituality
The Supreme Court's Recent Ruling on Gays
Great Intro to Catholic Social Justice Teaching
Affirmative Action?
Labor Rights
No to the Death Penalty
Clarifying the Abortion Issue
The Spirit of Poverty: Was Jesus a Marxist?
In Defense of Progressive Taxes
A Catholic Political Party: Jcecil3 for Prez!

Why I Voted For Kerry
Was the War in Iraq a Just War?
Church Teaching and War in Iraq
Straight Answers to Tough Questions on Iraq
Torture in Iraq: The Evil of War
President Bush, Where's the Beef???
The State of the Union
Why I Cannot Vote For Bush in Good Conscience
Is George Bush Really Pro-Life?
Abortion: The Courts and Federal Funding
Roe: Legally Right, Morally Wrong, and Why Kerry Might be Pro-Life
Proportionate Reason to Vote for a Pro-Choice Candidate?

On Union With the Divine
Some Thoughts on Prayer
Pray For World Peace
On the Meaning of the Cross
Seven Part Holy Week Meditation on the Cross
On the Saints
Creation Spirituality
In Defense of Businesspeople
Health and Finances

Questions and Answers on Celibacy
Reflection on Obedience
Reflection on Vowed Poverty

Some Catholic Humor
Some Latin Flavor in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month
In Honor of Saint Charles Lwanga and Our African Christian Heritage
Harmony From Asia
On Aging
On Mental Illness
My Thoughts of 09/11/2001 as Written 09/14/2001 and Posted 09/11/2003
The Abuse Crisis
Phoenix Bishop in Trouble with the Law: At Least it's not child abuse this time!
The Conservative Misuse of Language
The Meaning of Christmas

Links to other Progressive Resources and Sites
Pax Christi, USA
Great Intro to Catholic Social Justice Teaching
The Center of Concern: A Catholic Group Working for Global Justice
Catholic Charities Teaching on Poverty (Kids to Adults: Must have Adobe to Read)
Great Site on Issue of Women Priests
Take a Trip to (Saint) Karl Rahner Society's Homepage
Essays by Father Richard McBrien
Father Andrew Greeley's Homepage
National Catholic Reporter: A Liberal Catholic News Source Online
Crisis Magazine: Very Conservative
New Advent: Good Resource, but conservative in the Encyclopedia
Gregory Books: An Online Catholic Bookstore
Early Christian Writings, canonical and non-canonical, saints and gnostics
The New American Bible
Links to the Text of All Ecumenical Councils
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Vatican's Homepage
Catholic Careers

Bending the Rule: A Gay Benedictine's Musing
Iron Knee: Ed is Another Fiery Progressive
Catholic Sensibilities: Another Progressive Blog by Todd
Journey to Vatican III: A Liberal Catholic Site by Rebecca
Catholicism, Holiness, and Spirituality: Steve is a moderate
Ono's Thoughts: Lots of sports, democratic politics, and a pinch of Catholicism
A Progressive Protestant Blog
Noli Irritare Leones: Fascinating Writing
Fides, Spes, Caritas: Current events from a faith perspective
Unapologetic Catholic
Lesser fo Two Weevils: a Zen Catholic Feminist
Sacra*MENTAL*: A site by a clinically diagnosed bi-polar Catholic
Disputations: Sort of Thomistic
Dappled Things: a young moderate priest
Flos Carmeli
The Curt Jester: Humorous
Andrew Sullivan's Blog
Catholic and Enjoying It: Conservative Opinion by Mark Shea
My Domestic Church: Elena is a frequent reader here who seems to disagree with everything I write
Open Book: Amy Welborn's Popular Site



Peace and blessings to all who wander through here. I am a practicing Roman Catholic who enjoys discussing and debating theological issues with Catholics and non-Catholics alike. My experience in surfing the web on topics of Catholicism is that most sites lean toward the conservative side of the Church. One would get the impression that Catholic liberals or progressives do not exist.

So, I have turned to "blogging" where I can become a voice in the wilderness crying out as the loyal opposition from within Catholicism for progressive change in the Church, while defending her from outer attack from the atheists, fundamentalists and whoever else has an axe to grind.

I wanted to create a space for progressive Catholicism on the web, where fellow progressives can feel their views are heard and shared.

Let me say up front, that if I depart from the "official line" of the Vatican here, I will say so. I will try to explain why I withhold assent from a teaching and point to the Catechism or other authoritive texts where you can read the Church's official answers and judge for yourself whether my questions are valid. I make no claim of personal infallibility, and I very well can be in error. That said, I see no reason why the questions of progressive Catholics should not be given serious attention.

A little about myself: I am an ex-seminarian for Catholic priesthood and completed 72 graduate credits towards the M.Div., with a dual MA concentrating in systematic theology. I never got around to completing the comps and thesis for the MA. I was in formation in a religious order (Franciscans) for almost six years before discerning that celibacy was not my calling. I still feel the desire to serve the Church as a priest, but make absolutely no claim to be an official voice of the entire Roman Catholic Church.

Since leaving the seminary, I have married and I work in a secular corporation in a job that actually provides a service associated with one of the corporal works of mercy. I don't want to be too specific lest I violate some corporate policy. I am an operations manager. I hope to someday do work in a developing nation as a lay missionary or Peace Corps type of volunteer.

My Catholicism expresses itself in my faithfulness to marriage and through frequent Mass attendance (almost daily), frequent recitation of the Rosary, and daily recitation of Morning and Evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office). I use the Sacrament of Reconciliation about once a month on average. I am a lector and member of my parish choir. I also currently volunteer about four hours per week to teaching English as a second language in a diocesan program of ministry to non-native immigrant Americans. I have taught CCD (now called PSR in most places) and two adult education classes on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I do not practice contraception, I am pro-life, and as a sign of compassion and an act of penance, I am a vegetarian (whom Saint Paul called weak).

I don't write any of this to boast except in the Lord, as Saint Paul does in 2 Cor 11: 22-32. Only by the grace of Jesus Christ is any good at all done in me, and I still have much sinfullness and confusion to overcome. Nevertheless, in often taking stances that seem opposed by the Vatican, many of my fellow Roman Catholics will question my right to call myself Catholic. If faith is expressed in works as much or more than what is said on the lips, my deeds demonstrate my loyalty to the Church! And may the Mother of God intercede for me if I am in grave and substantial error.

I define myself as a Roman Catholic because I have received the sacraments of initiation, continue to participate in the sacramental life of the Church.

I accept the following beliefs as my own and can explain them:

The kerygma, "Christ has died, Christ IS risen, and Christ will come again"
The Apostles' Creed
The Nicene Creed
The divine inspiration of Sacred Scripture
The Holy Spirit's guidance in the transmission and development of Sacred Tradition
The seven sacraments
The validity of infant baptism
The validity of baptism in the Trinitarian formula by either sprinkling or immersion
The doctrine of transubstantiation, or real presence in the Eucharist
The doctrine that we are saved by grace through faith expressed in works
The doctrine of original sin - that I NEED God's grace in my life to be saved
The doctrine of purgatory
The doctrine that we may ask the prayers of deceased saints on our behalf
The two great commandments to love God above all and our neighbor as our self
The golden rule, to do unto others as you would have them do to you.
The ten commandments
The beatitudes
The value of human life, including the unborn
The value of chastity and temperance (I'm actually a boring prude in some ways)
The precepts of the Church
The theological and cardinal virtues
The Ecumenical Councils
The infallibility of the Pope when speaking ex cathedra
The doctrines of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and her Assumption
The value of the vocation of celibacy to the Church
The idea that the fullness of truth subsist in the Catholic Church.

Yet, I believe that doctrine develops according to Dei Verbum 8, and that such development can justify beliefs considered "controversial" by many Catholics, such as the following:

I believe that God can be called Mother as well as Father
That inclusive language in reference to the people of God should be used in liturgy
That women could be ordained ministerial priest, and perhaps should be ordained (The Pope has clearly said no to this one)
That married men should be ordained
That even with original sin, we image the divine and we are inherently capable of some good
That the ancient rite of adelphopoiesis could be restored as a union for homosexual Catholics
That divorced and remarried Catholics can participate in the life of the Church
That artificial contraception in marriage is morally equivalent to natural family planning
That ecumenical dialogue is essential to contemporary Catholicism and we can learn from non-Catholics
That social justice is part and parcel of the gospel
That salvation is integral for the whole human person (involving liberation)
That there is room for democratic forms of Church governance
That Catholics should be committed to conserving the environment
That Catholics can conscientiously object to all war on principle
That Catholics should be opposed to the death penalty in the modern world

Let me know what you think. Readers may contact me at jcecil3@attglobal.net

May the grace of the Triune God be with you!

Peace and Blessings!

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