Thursday, May 30, 2013

Christian Minimalism

Lots of folks are abuzz about Janet Smith's defense of Cardinal Dolan, which I link to and discuss a bit in my post Love vs. Expediency.

Janet Smith
I will repeat what I said there - I am not claiming that the cardinal, in allowing the archdiocese to pay insurance premiums that fund abortion and contraception, has necessarily sinned.

What I'm saying is that, sin or no sin, his behavior is shameful, as are the lame excuses being advanced to cover for him - particularly in light of Cdl. Dolan's leadership on opposing the HHS Mandate.  The bishops have resisted publicly the very compromise the archdiocese of New York has accepted privately for 20 years.  Dolan has lost all credibility on this issue in the eyes of 95% of all Catholics - and rightly so - despite what Janet Smith and others may say - and even correctly say - in his defense.

This is why Christian Minimalism is such a problem.

We are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.  We are not called to set the bar as low as possible and say, "If it's not a sin, I may do it!"  Or to say, "Even if it's condemned by the catechism, I may ignore the catechism!"  Or to say, "I have the best of intentions, which is a free pass!"

We can see the errors of Christian Minimalism even in the official response of the archdiocese, which is

We had to choose between violating our religious beliefs and not offering health insurance, so we chose to violate our religious beliefs!

and Dolan's unofficial response, which is

We will not allow the government to force us to do what we've been doing willingly all along!
***

Imagine this.

TEENAGE BOY:  I demand religious liberty!

DAD:  To do what?

TEENAGE BOY:  I demand you let me go to Mass every Sunday, which is my right as a Catholic!

DAD:  But I have never stopped you.  I've never told you you couldn't go, and yet you never go to Mass on Sunday anyway.

TEENAGE BOY:  But I demand that right!

(DAD, confused, goes to the internet.  He reads an article by JANET SMITH.)

SMITH:  There are some cases where teen-aged boys may not go to Sunday Mass without sinning!

(DAD, confused, turns on the ballgame.)


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