Monday, March 31, 2014

The Gospel of Anger has Its Limits



Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger has posted an exceptionally well-written, thoughtful and well-argued piece about the dangers of "bishop bashing" and the false promises of the Gospel of Anger.

It has even made me pause, especially since I've been publicly critical of Bishop Finn and Cardinal Dolan on this very blog.

Note that Fr. Geiger does not say that we should put up with public scandal caused by our bishops, nor does he argue for clericalism.  Rather, his argument is more nuanced.  To be understood it requires an attempt to enter into the spirit in which it is written - which is typically the last thing people do these days.  Indeed, all reading and all communication requires this spirit, a spirit of humility, that lays aside personal agenda and ideology for the sake of opening up to what the other is saying.

And note in particular what Fr. Geiger says about the Cross and how an awareness of it should mold our approach to the wrongs in the Church and the wrongs in the world.  Shirking the cross (which we're all tempted to do) is at the heart of so many of our woes.  As I wrote last May ...

You know, the world tells you to do whatever it takes to get the job done; win at all costs. Christ says, "look at the cross and win by losing". They can't STAND that.
"They" are whoever resist the cross, which is all of us in one way or another. 
"They" is the world.


5 comments:

jvc said...

"Note that Fr. Geiger does not say that we should put up with public scandal caused by our bishops, nor does he argue for clericalism."

Actually, I think he's arguing for exactly that.

He's part of a pathetic generation that believes that Church leaders can do no wrong.

That's how we got to where we are today.

Joey Higgins said...

It has even made me pause, especially since I've been publicly critical of Bishop Finn and Cardinal Dolan on this very blog.

Maybe, but it seems the argument Fr. Geiger is making is to, "Attack the clergy," where your statements seem to go more into the, "This should be discussed," category that he left open for the abuses such as child molestation - at least with Bishop Finn.

His arguments and blog didn't really resonate with me because I tend not to attack (anymore) vs point out the inconsistencies or errors of a decision/situation. I also don't think the arguments are completely applicable to you. The difference seems to be with "attacking" vs "pointing out" - you don't attack for the sake of attack, at least that was my impression, but for the desire to correct or discuss errors so they are not repeated or can be (hopefully) corrected.

There's the, "Balance," like Fr. Geiger was talking about, but I think we should err on the side of reporting and discussing too much, than too little. How else are we expected to participate in, "Fraternal correction," if we are not aware of anything to be corrected?

My main problem with the blog is likely my ignorance of the purpose of the hierarchy; I don't agree with /understand the notion, "without the hierarchy there is no church." Well, without Christ there is no church, and without the people to worship there is no church; but I didn't think we needed the hierarchy to bring Him to us. Although I suppose we do for the some of the sacraments.

Kevin O'Brien said...

JVC, Fr. Geiger is not saying that Church leaders can do no wrong. He's one of the sane bloggers out there, and he's done his share of suffering under bad Church leaders. If you read more of his writings, you'll see how much sense this man makes.

I think Joey is closer to what Fr. Geiger is saying, though central to Fr. Geiger's argument is that the hierarchy was instituted by Christ, and that they represent Christ in a more sacramental way than lay folk do.

He's also saying that once we get on a Bitter Bandwagon about the bishops, we're in a spiritual danger zone. We see that very clearly in the Francis-haters. The venom we store up to bite bad bishops with is a venom that builds and becomes toxic in our own systems.

Beyond that, Fr. Geiger seems to be saying that we get to a point where we become Protestant in fact if not in name, and once that happens we begin to suffer the consequences.

jvc said...

I completely disagree with your assessment of Fr. Geiger.

Tom Leith said...

Fraternal correction is done in private, preferably by fratres, the closer the better.