Monday, March 06, 2006

Rare and Refreshing Honesty

Reader--and excellent blogger--L. writes:
Damn -- now we "Bad Catholics" aren't even safe in the cafeteria..... If the hardliners don`t drive us out, our own kind will drag us out, if this person is any indication.
She refers to this Boston Globe column by Joan Vennochi. I found Ms. Vennochi making some surprisingly honest admissions.

The columnist first takes aim at the Archdiocese of Boston's reigning in of Catholic Charities of Boston:
THE RED CARDINAL'S hat on its way to Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley sends a clear message to liberal Catholics who still hope the Catholic Church will shift their way: It isn't shifting.

Company men always reap their rewards. Cardinal Bernard Law got a basilica in Rome when the clergy sexual abuse scandal made Boston too inhospitable. O'Malley, another company man, gets elevated to cardinal for doing what the company ordered. O'Malley closed down parishes and is shutting down the vestiges of a liberal agenda in the Boston archdiocese.

Last week, seven members of the board of Catholic Charities of Boston announced their resignations. They were protesting the effort by Massachusetts bishops to prohibit gays from adopting children from their Catholic social service agencies. The seven who quit said the prohibition ''threatens the very essence of our Christian mission."

But the Roman Catholic Church, the institution seeking the prohibition, holds a drastically different view.

Church doctrine states that allowing children to be adopted by same-sex couples ''would actually mean doing violence to these children." Gay adoptions are ''gravely immoral."

If you agree with those principles, you are, according to the Vatican, a Catholic in good standing.

If you don't, you're not.
Ms. Vennochi uses this opening move to target the "conservative" Catholic Church leadership and the wonderfullness of her and her Reasonably liberal friends. Not terribly original, mind you, but here it is:
Liberals raised as Catholics refuse to accept this reality. We think we can be prochoice, pro-gay marriage , pro-gay adoption, and in favor of married and female priests and still call ourselves Catholic. The people who make the rules say we don't meet the criteria.

Every pronouncement from Pope Benedict XVI draws another line between official church doctrine and liberal ideology. When do liberals choose one side or the other?

Sue O'Connell, the copublisher of Bay Windows, New England's largest publication for lesbian and gay readers, believes it's time for liberal Catholics to take a stand -- just like board members did regarding their affiliation with Catholic Charities.

''I know a lot of Catholics, gay and straight," said O'Connell, a lesbian mother of a 5-year-old daughter. ''Everyone continues to go to church and act like their parish is not part of all of this -- the sexual scandal, the association to the Vatican and its stand on gay adoption. Everyone who believes that is in a state of denial."

''It's time to find a new path," she said.

O'Connell said the church is doing the expected -- enforcing its rules.

Catholics who don't agree with church doctrine are doing the unexpected -- sticking around where they are unwelcome, rather than moving on.
Like I said, the usual mouth-foaming. Then she surprises me: She admits what many of us Fools already know--but hear far too little:
The stubborness is rooted in nostalgia, inertia, and arrogance. We cherish some memories, like the lacy white communion dress and the innocence of childhood confessions. Despite spotty attendance, we enjoy the ritual of Sunday Mass. We also believe our views are the enlightened ones and Rome's represent the neanderthal; eventually we will get a pope who understands that. (emphasis mine)
Wow! What a refreshing display of honesty!

I have to take a step back and admire her unapologetic arrogance. She and her Reasonable fellow travelers consider their thirty-odd progressive mishmegosh superior to the revealed Word of God and his teachings, preserved by the magisterium for over 2,000 years. Breathtaking!

And heartbreaking.

I could point out that many of her and her liberal friends more than happily agree with the Catholic Church apart from the pelvic issues. When have any of them complained about the Church's Preferential Option for the Poor? Where are the street protests against the Church's doctrine of the Universal Destination of Goods? Why aren't the usual suspects wearing rainbow shirts over the Golden Rule?

I could question them on exactly what norms they base their ethical philosophy on. On what basis do they support gay marriage? On what authority do they claim that abortion, gay adoption and administration of the sacrament of Holy Orders is legitimate. Since they know so much better than God, his Body and the Shepherds he's called how we're all supposed to live, why don't they fill us in? Whose wisdom have they imparted to us?

I could cover all these angles. But I won't. Why? That's a post for another time.

For now, let me say this: once upon a time, I believed a lot of what Ms. Vennochi and her ilk believe. And I didn't realize how lost in the dark I was.

She and her Reasonable Absolute Individualist suffocate on the fumes of their bankrupt philosophy. Don't laugh: Our failure to evangelize them has helped them suck the pipe of their utter inanity. Exactly how many more will we plan to lose?