Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Progressive Catholicism 101: The 4-Point Polemic

I was just reading a great post by Thomas Peters (the American Papist) at http://www.catholicvote.org/ about Abp. Dolan's election as President of the USCCB. Congrats, by the way, to the Archbishop. I decided to comment that his election is evidence that the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church, and that Christ has certainly kept His promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

I got sidetracked, though, by another comment to which I started composing a rebuttal, then decided instead to deal with it here in my own blog. So, I left my original comment and prepared the following public service to my dear friends and readers.

The comment that sidetracked me (color-coded for the discussion below):
I'm catholic. I do not agree and do not approve the more aggressive approach to publicly deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, warn Catholic voters they should never vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights under any circumstances and reining in prominent dissenters in their dioceses. And I understand their reasons and justifications. But it's not something Jesus Christ would do. It's not worse than a priest giving mass and abuse children sexually. To then be forgiven for abusing children sexually without truly repenting to later abuse children sexually again. The church leadership has to take care of their own priests and superficial faithful corruption and the government has to take care of their own corruption. Yes I agree that abortion must be illegal. But not impose on others one sin over other. There are worst sins. The church makes a big mistake by focusing on the pro life agenda to protect the unborn child who does not have a voice or someone to defend him. And because of that focus they are indifferent to other negative influences or sin behaviors that occur that affect us and hurts much more. Peace & love.

This comment, despite its total desecration of the English language, is actually quite useful as an example of what I call "the 4-point polemic".
  1. Jesus Loves Dissenters, Too.
  2. Priest Scandal Trumps All
  3. Seamless Garment Theory Revisited--Badly
  4. I'm a Catholic; Peace & Love
Let's take a closer look at each point.

1. Jesus Loves Dissenters, Too. See, Jesus was really all about love, which means we don't judge, or tell people they're doing wrong. Forget that Christ is King, Lord of Heaven and Earth and Judge of all of humanity at the end of time. He just wants us all to get along. A Rodney King of the Ancient world, if you will; our buddy; our homie; our cosmic BFF.

2. Priest Scandal Trumps All. No priest anywhere can make any comment or statement ever about faith, morals, sin, right and wrong. All Catholic priests, no matter what anyone says, are exactly the same and must be strictly stereotyped as abusive and dangerous. Forget the actual statistics or facts about the scandal. This catch-all rebuttal can be thrown in anyone's face at any time, in any context.

3. Seamless Garment Theory Revisited--Badly. One sin isn't any worse than another, and the worst sins are putting one sin over another as being worse. When we try to fight one type of sin, we're really not fighting sin at all, because we're taking one sin and focusing on it and not focusing on it in light of all sins, which are the worst sins than the worst sins that are worse than the sins of the worst kind.

4. I'm a Catholic; Peace & Love. Because I said it, it is true. All that matters is that I say the words. I don't have to actually believe, or even know, what Catholicism teaches. I don't actually have to be peaceful or loving, either. My post, comment or article can be as inaccurate, uninformed, vitriolic, insulting, rebellious, nonsensical or ungrammatical as I feel like, as long as I say I'm a Catholic and get those words "peace & love" in there. I'm a Catholic not because of what I believe, but because I say I am. Peace & love don't hinge on my propagating truth, logic, morality and compassion, but on my simply saying or writing the words.

For all faithful Catholic bloggers, directly refuting the 4-point polemic would be a total waste of time. Instead pray for the 4-point commenter/writer/blogger. Pray especially that he or she is freed from the shackles of irrational thinking born of secular idealism, and is given the wisdom of God, and a deep desire to learn the faith that Christ gave to us. Also pray for those who continue to fight the good fight, like Abp. Dolan, and all those who preach the real good news.

Then put on the Armor of God and fight the good fight yourself through constant, diligent dedication to the truth in all you say and do.


Anonymous said...

Ok, here I go refuting what you already warned is useless, but I find that I must. To the writer of this rant about pro abortion politics: I am tired of people's tireless return to pointing the finger at some priest's sexual abuse of children to justify everyone else's bad behavior. I assure you that child sex abuse happens at every stage of the game, I was a former social worker. I am not excusing any priest who was guilty, however do not use that sin to justify perpetuating sins.
By that logic, anyone who has fallen to sin (ps that includes all of us) can no longer comment on morals. It doesn't wash. For those who have abused children and are sorry, I am sure that there is intense suffering for that person. And Jesus loves the sinner, including them. And for those who are not, there will be justice. I am certainly not comparing one sin to another, but don't dare think that the sin of abortion is paler than the sin of sexual abuse. Both attack God's precious ones. One sin leaves one wounded, the other DEAD. And that, ladies is gentlemen, is the business of every Catholic.
Jesus did indeed love everyone, including and most especially sinners. I for one am glad. I certainly have needed that love throughout my many mistakes. But why did he love those in sin? Did he love them and leave them right in their sin? OR did he love them in their sin and CALL THEM TO REPENTENCE? There is a big difference. Do I love my child and smile at him even though he is hitting his brother? Or do I give that child a consequence and pray that it changes his behavior? Which is more loving? We can not confirm someone in sin.
The Bishops are teachers of the faith. They have every right to instruct us, as faithful lay persons, on any aspect of living Catholic. It is prideful to think we are above that instruction.
As to denying Communion, my position is to leave that decision in the hands of the Bishops. I do not have the wisdom to know who has repented, who is ready to receive communion, nor the authority to judge it. But, the Bishops do. And I am sure, it is a very tough job that would be made much easier if the people they shepared supported their efforts. The church's job is not to be someone's political ally, or friend, it is to help secure salvation. Let's get out of the way of those men in the apostolic succession, entrusted by Jesus Christ to us, and support any efforts they make in today's noisy immoral climate! And I agree Gina, let's pray, for writers, for politicans, for lay people, and especially for the Bishops and the Holy Father.

Gina said...

Amen, my sister...to everything you commented here. I think what bugs me the most about this rant is the fact that they person started with I'M CATHOLIC. Um, no, you're not. Being Catholic means you ACCEPT THE TEACHING OF THE CHURCH---ALL OF IT. The cafeteria is closed, folks.

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