Concerning Cardinal Kasper’s fifth column work, more or less asking that we “tolerate” what we cannot “accept”, the rather baffled Father Z asks: “what else do we tolerate though not accept?”
I have an answer there.
In Italy, brothels were called case di tolleranza. I was always told, and have always taken for granted, that this is because the Church could not allow or in any way consent to the existence of brothels, but considered not fitting to crack down on them. This is the reason why in the Roma papalina prostitution was rife; be it because of the presence of an army of priest, not all of them very chaste, be it because of the position of Rome as an extremely important destination for pilgrimages, then largely the preserve of men, with the consequences anyone who is not a finishing school girl can easily imagine.
Therefore, in order to avoid the huge pressure to which girls would have been subjected in case of crackdown on brothels, the Papal States chose to tolerate brothels. Not “authorise”, mind; simply renouncing to a massive crackdown on a factual situation out there; a situation to which the Church lent no assistance or support whatever, forbidding the visit of brothels and constantly reminding of the consequences of sin on one’s soul.
This is the only example of “toleration” I know. I notice here that when brothels were outlawed in Italy in 1957, this was out of the initiative of a feminist Socialist female senator, enthusiastically followed by her own party and the Communists. Neither during Fascism nor during the dominance of the Democrazia Cristiana in the De Gasperi era did the governments of the day move to crack down on brothels: tolleranza was considered the best choice, and actually since Fascism also a strict regulation (for medical reasons, mainly) followed.
Now, what Cardinal Kasper suggests is that the Church does the same with the public adulterers. This is tantamount as to suggest that the Church should bring prostitutes in the houses of men, in order to offer a “pastoral solution” to men’s testosterone problems, and reacting to the million of men vociferously asking for p***y as a matter of elementary justice.
The Church tolerates, instead, that there are concubines today, just as she tolerated that there were prostitutes yesterday. The Church tolerates concubines in that she does not move towards the crackdown of the deplorable phenomenon, and does not demand for legislation making of it a criminal offence. But this is completely different from actively proceeding to sacrilege, and asking the priest to commit himself a sacrilege. If you can do that, you can as well make of the priest a pimp, and ask him to run a “pastoral” brothel for his flock.
Cardinal Kaspar, whose mind frame is rather the one of the prostitute than of the priest, doesn’t get the difference. To him, a client is a client, and as long as the client pays the Kirchensteuer, he will do whatever it takes to please him.
He will then call it “pastoral concern”; a “concern”, mind, very strong in those countries where the Kirchensteuer provides an enormous income, as can be seen from the illustration on this blog post.
Pastoral concern? I call it prostitution. Whenever a German prelate talks of being “pastoral”, follow the money.
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.
The excellent Domine, da mihi hanc aquam blog has a truly wonderful quotation from the “Dominican Legend Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange”.
“The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.”
This is so brilliant that I had to re-post it here.