Friday, August 20, 2010

Andrei Councillors - pastors for the secular state?

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
When we are troubled we usually turn to those close to us.

But if they cannot help we seek help further afield. In times not too long ago the next port of call would have been the Church. And Priests or Ministers would give us their ear along with gentle guidance and of course prayer.

But today with the growth of secularism most people don't have a confessor or pastor they can turn to. And perhaps some clergy have even started to shy away from this role preferring to leave it to "professionals".

It is this story about funding cuts for "postvention", a counselling program for people who have lost family members to suicide that made me think.

Obviously the gnomes in the Ministry of Health decided that money spent on postvention was not money well spent but the counselling industry will continue despite setbacks such as this.

New programs and new alphabet organizations to provide them will continue to proliferate because there's a gap in secular society - a gap created by the withering of the Church's influence in society.

That's my thought for Friday.

9 comment(s):

KG said...

I've had a lot of opportunities to watch counsellors in action dealing with PTSD cases and in my view (and the view of a lot of veterans) they're --if you'll excuse the expression--about as much use as tits on a bull.

Watching some young woman with almost zero life experience lecturing a man who has been through hell about what he needs to do to adjust to life afterwards is just sick-making.
It's an industry all right--and one riddled with academically-inclined idiots.

leftrightout said...

Andrei, perhaps people turned from the church unable to cope with being told their loved one had committed a mortal sin and was damned for eternity. But the Church has always been good at piling guilt upon guilt, right from Adam and Eve, the bible is replete with tales of guilt.

KG, "Watching some young woman with almost zero life experience lecturing a man who has been through hell about what he needs to do to adjust to life afterwards ..." is probably as sick making as watching an unmarried priest with no marital or parenting experience telling a couple why the should not use contraception, should have more children, should not divorce, etc etc etc.

Andrei said...

You know nothing of it LRO
Pastoral Letter on Suicide

In particular - "(I)n her wisdom, the Church has acknowledged the complex etiology and emotionally charged character of a suicide. The corruption of human nature, brought about by the ancestral sin, carried profound implications for both the spiritual and physical dimensions of the human person. While human freedom was not annihilated in the fall, both spiritual factors, like acedia (spiritual torpor), and physical factors, like depression, can severely compromise a person’s ability to reason clearly and act freely. In regard to suicide, the Church has taken very seriously such spiritual and physical factors, and has responded pastorally by offering a funeral service and burial to suicide victims whose capacities for judgment and action were found to be significantly diminished. Thus, Canon 14 of Timothy of Alexandria states that liturgical services should be offered, “if a man having no control of himself lays violent hands on himself or hurls himself to destruction.” And the patristic interpretation of this teaching states that services should be offered when a suicide victim “is not of sound mind, whether it be as a result of a demon or of an ailment of some sort.”

KG said...

LRO, I'm not interested in what you think. Over at CR you'd be classified as a troll and dealt with accordingly.

ZenTiger said...

LRO, you need to be able to distinguish between what you think of as "guilt" and what may simply be important information.

For example, if you were to wish to swallow sulfuric acid, would I be putting you on some kind of unhelpful guilt trip if I warned you it would cause harm to your body?

If your mother warned you about playing on a busy street when you were young, would you, with all your childhood wisdom, decide she just wanted to curb your freedom and enjoy unduly frightening you with imaginary consequences of "being squashed" or "having limbs broken" and other such nonsense?

How could you be so sure you are an expert on matters of the immortal soul, when you would be the first to say you don't have one?

muerk said...

LRO - the experiences I have had with priests over the years is that they are a very compassionate bunch of men. They were not interested in guilting people at all, but in showing how great God's mercy and forgiveness is. They accepted people were they were in their faith journey and tried to enkindle greater love for God to lead them closer to him.

Perhaps you could read about "pastoral care" and see how the Church responds to those who need God's charity and mercy.

As to the original post - I agree, although with the caveat that not all priests have this gift. I know that priests do refer people who need marriage help to Catholic groups made up of married people who run marriage strengthening courses. Likewise contraception - I was trained in the Billings Ovulation Method by Family Life International.

However, what the Church can offer that you can notfind in the secular world is absolution. I personally find this deeply freeing. To know that my sorrow and regret have led me to turn away from my sin and I am forgiven. It lightens my load and lets me move on in a much healthier frame of mind.

muerk said...

KG - One of our priests is Mons. Gerry O'Conner. He has been a military chaplin. He's an older man who would be able to really talk with soldiers about their experiences. Or if he couldn't he would know someone who could.

KG said...

Thanks Muerk. The military chaplains I've come into contact with have been without exception very fine men and greatly respected by the troops. I've seen atheists and Christians alike attend their services and go to them for advice.
Celibacy is no bar to wisdom and compassion.

ropata said...

I've been through a lot of counselling over personal matters over the years, (paid for by me, not ACC) and it is generally very worthwhile. Professional counsellors or psychologists are usually far better trained and respectful than pastors. In protestant churches at least, the pastor is often helpful but not well trained. Probably just did one paper on counselling at seminary, and majored on theology or something. Also "christian" counselling services can be very amateurish. My advice to people seeking help is find someone supportive and respectful. Their beliefs should be secondary to your wellbeing.

Having said that, the most profound inner healing I have known involved the Holy Spirit ministering to me. A good christian counsellor can encourage you but a lot of soul repair is achieved by holding fast and trusting in the love of God.

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