Daily Archives: January 17, 2014
There are bloggers – even excellent ones – who are of the opinion that contrary opinions to sound Catholicism should be allowed on their blog. The idea is, as I understand it, that out of the dialogue Truth will in some way result strengthened in the end. I must say I disagree.
Firstly, I would like to reiterate the point that if one wants dialogue or debate, he will find it everywhere in discussion fora; this is because those virtual place are there exactly for the purpose of discussion, and are therefore best suited for it. A blog – particularly the blog of an individual – is, by its nature, a place of exposition, not discussion. With his blog, the blogger generally says “this is the way I see, or do things”, and it does not really matter whether he blogs about Catholicism, cooking or the proper house training of dog puppets. Certainly, a blogger may want to make of his space a place of debate; but in this the fora are so superior that, unsurprisingly, there is where the discussions happen.
What I think is at play here is the pervasive, omnipresent Western idea that opposing views are something good in themselves and debate always necessary or, at least, useful. A society persuaded that “everything must be questioned” ends up forgetting that there are an awful lot of things that, actually, cannot be questioned, and by which “doubt” is only allowed as legitimate request for clarification, rather than suspension about the truth presented to one.
Unfortunately, it seems that the triumphal march of democracy as a political system, coupled with the progressive weakening of religious feelings, has led to the well-spread conviction that dialogue and discussion are necessary components of every part of our lives and, so to speak, the building material of our system of values. In the same way as democracy has become for many a religion to the point of even struggling to conceive a Catholic dictatorship, dialogue has become the obligatory component of religious instruction.
Were then, when you were at catechism or undergoing instruction for confirmation, dissenting voices invited? Was, perhaps, an atheist there, “offering” his “point of view” on, say, Transubstantiation, Immaculate Conception, or Incarnation? No it wasn't. Truth is accepted, not discussed. It is God's work, not the product of dialogue. My task is not to decide about its righteousness, but to know it as well as I can.
This simple concept must sound strange in times where even the Pope says or implies it is good to have doubts; but it is the way Truth was always understood by Catholics. Truth is not questioned, full stop.
Now, if we lived in times of sound Catholic instruction and proper Catholic clergy one could argue that Catholic blogs could be more lenient with dissenting voices; but I am persuaded that if we lived in times of sound Catholic instruction and proper Catholic clergy there would be no Catholic blogs as an Internet phenomenon in the first place, and the properly instructed Catholics would, if they feel so inclined, rather take the sword and go to battle in the Internet fora than click around to read again what they have just heard at Mass.
Alas, we live in times of extremely bad Catholic instruction, and utter dereliction of duty of most of the clergy; hence the army of bloggers.
The blog must therefore, if you ask me, fulfil part of the role the clergy refuses to fulfil: instruct the Catholics in the faith and keep them firmly rooted in it; no ifs, no buts, and no discussions. The person clicking a sound Catholic blog should know that he will not find, say, atheist propaganda there more than he would expect to find it at catechism. The small, but numerous, citadels of orthodoxy should not allow the lie to enter their walls more than a besieged city would allow a delegation of the besieging army to get inside the walls and explain to the population their point of view.
Again, this has become so natural nowadays that many a blogger – or a reader – would consider it either bad form or questionable mentality to keep them out. Everything must be discussed, weighted, pass the exam of our critical intellect before claiming the right to our approval.
It is everywhere. Some days ago a commenter posted in this blog what she “would think” about the salvation of unbaptised babies. She had looked at the problem, and had put herself in search of a solution that would satisfy her. How this squares with Christian teaching was just not relevant. One examines the question, thinks, concocts his own solution, that's it. Methinks there was no deliberate intent to rebel to received teaching there; simply a mentality of validity of one's critical assessment so ingrained that it would not even question its own premise: that one's own critical assessment must always be confirmed to Truth, or it has no value at all. If you ask me, this is the result of a society and a mentality that does not teach obedience to Truth anymore, and considers every question legitimate, and every doubt positive. Hey, the Bishop of Rome himself thinks in that way, and it is obvious granitic, unquestioning obedience to Truth gives him the creeps.
I invite every Catholic blogger out there to be intolerant – another word we should use more often, and better – because in the citadel of Truth it stands to reason the lie should not be tolerated. The culture of debate and tolerance at all costs and in all matters, even in matters of Faith, brought us the loss of the sense, often of the very concept of Truth.
These besiegers are out to pillage, rape and kill you. Don't let them in.
And it came to pass a Cardinal woke up one morning and had a bad feeling about his own Baptism. Particularly because his baptism has been – he can’t remember, but he was reliably informed – a Catholic one.
In times in which a Pope pays attention his Jewish buddy, the Rabbi, really eats kosher – he might make a mistake, you see; which would be very bad -, the Cardinal must have thought his baptism was too one-sided, stained with “excessive doctrinal security”, not at all “inclusive”. This Cardinal is a member of a very exclusive group of Cardinals, you see. He must show he can go with the flow.
Even the Cardinal understood, though, that what is done is done. You can’t undo a baptism and ask to have another one in an ecumenical ceremony. It just doesn’t work. What to do?
At this point, the Cardinal had a brilliant idea: at the next “ecumenical” service down at the Methodist an overweight woman thinking she is more than a layman will perform a strange ceremony of renewal of Baptism, or “reaffirmation”, or such like crap. A bit as if Baptims was like silver, with the need of being polished every now and then lest it loses beauty. It also is, you see, a ceremony. They love these things, the Proddies. Fuzzy feelings all around, and a way to revive past emotions of one’s childhood, like the First Communion. Oh, how good and saintly one can feel!
“Great”, the Cardinal must have thought. “If I can’t undo my baptism, I can at least send a clear message the overweight woman is, in a way, a bit of a priest, and I can go and receive something from her my postman could not do. It doesn’t get more ecumenical than that. I must check the press is there, though. Yes, I will not ask for the ceremony to be performed on me from a man. It must be a woman. Otherwise people might say I am being sexist even when I am being ecumenical”.
I am pleased to inform you everything went according to script.
The Cardinal went, saw (not easy to miss, the woman) and received. The photo is everywhere. The woman “minister” (or whatever) had to “choke back tears for hours” (see above: they really are junkies for fuzzy feelings. Thank, God, that you made me a Catholic!). A triumph of ecumenism, with the modest Cardinal now firmly following the example of the Bishop of Rome, He Who Will Make You Eat Kosher.
“Who knows?” – the Cardinal thinks – “if the Blessed Virgin might have thought she had been lied to, than perhaps she also thought God was too sectarian? The boss says God isn’t Catholic! Perhaps he is a closet Methodist?”
The Cardinal is now thinking of the next steps. Should he ask the Jews to get his Bar Mitzvah? Hey, he is a bit old for that, but he has a beautiful singing voice. Or he might wash himself in the Ganges: the river stinks, but the trip would be beautiful. Another idea could be to take part to the Friday thingy in the Mosque, with genuflections and all. Photographers alerted beforehand. “Islam Is Religion Of Peace, Says Cardinal”. Beautiful headline…
Alas, for the moment the Cardinal will have to be happy with the tears of the well-nourished woman. But who knows where Francis is going to lead the Cardinals to…