Monday, December 22, 2014

The Motto of Liberal Catholics: "Let's Get Those Green Beans Off the Buffet!"

One of the readers of my latest post (It's Not the Abuse Crisis - It's the Neglect Crisis) somehow got it into his head that I was making the claim that only the liberals are to blame for the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church - which would be a pretty insane position for me to take.  Perhaps he hasn't read my criticisms of all of the so-called "conservative" bishops who have enabled abuse, such as Finn, Carlson, Niendstedt, Livieres, etc.

In fact, as everyone knows (but this lone reader), the Abuse crisis cuts across the Big Divide.  If liberals could point to hung-up conservatives as abuse enablers, they would, except that conservatives can point to loosey-goosey liberals as abuse enablers.  The problem continues to be so wide-spread that every single type of bishop is guilty - and while some of the worst are from the right, some of the worst are also from the left.

But this shows how strange our thinking is.

Conservatives in the Church are a weird bunch, rebelling against the Church on Torture and Lying and Economic issues; but liberals in the Church are even stranger, for not only do the liberals rebel on any issue that has to do with our "naughty bits", the liberals go one step further and make the appallingly stupid mistake of thinking that Church teaching is up for grabs, and that it can be changed, despite 2,000 years of history to the contrary.  Not only can it be changed, it will be changed!  Just wait long enough and the bishops will endorse "gay marriage", contraception, abortion and pornography - all things most bishops even now wink at and ignore ... but someday these will be positive goods that the bishops will not only tolerate and enable - the bishops will proudly endorse every last one of them!  What a strange fantasy to have.

There are days when I wish I was taller than 5' 10".  But I don't demand that the yardstick be changed and that feet and inches be redefined to make me 6' 3".  In other words, I can understand not liking the measure the Church proposes by which we are to measure ourselves in relation to Christ.  I can understand ignoring that measure, discrediting it, making fun of it.  What I can't understand is how changing that measure will somehow change us.  My height will not change regardless of any tricks I play with the ruler.  But liberals are in awe of their ability to alter reality by changing the standards by which we measure reality.

Or try another metaphor.  Picture a liberal Catholic approaching the Catholic Cafeteria.  Almost all Catholics, liberal or conservative, are cafeteria Catholics, picking and choosing what they want from the buffet and ignoring the rest.  But the lefties go one step further, "I'm putting mashed potatoes on my plate, but no green beans!  And someday these green beans will be gone!  They won't even be on the buffet!  I won't even have to look at them any more!  And nobody will be able to take them!  Once we get the right kind of night manager in this Golden Corral, all of the food that we don't like and refuse to sample will be off the menu for good!"

The fact is, the Church of Christ is not about liberal vs. conservative, right vs. left.  It's about Catholics who are integrated with the Church and her teachings, as opposed to Catholics who are disintegrated from the Church and her teachings and who are therefore themselves disintegrating.  

Our integrity as Catholics stems from our degree of integration into the Body of Christ - and the proper word for that integration is Communion.

The Church offers on her buffet the foods that sustain us, and green beans don't cease to exist, even if they're off the buffet.  And the Church offers us a standard by which to measure our integration with Christ - and our integration won't change if we simply mess around with that standard.


Scott W. said...

I've always kept an eye on Mark Shea's "If only [insert secular profession] could marry" feature whenever abuse cases occur in contexts outside of the Church.

Some try to complain that it is whitewashing. It could be potentially except for the fact that people can't resist adding a little bigotry to the narrative. That is, that the Church abuse crisis is caused by peculiar Catholic doctrines or disciplines. Once someone opens the door with the proposition that the Church is uniquely abusive, then comparisons to the larger world to test it are fair game. Lo and behold, the proposition fails.

We already know that married priests are not a cure for either shortages or abuse because 1. Denominations allowing married priests also have shortages. 2. Denominations with married priests don't have significantly lower instances of abuse. 3. Some priest shortages are manufactured. See married priest Fr. Longenecker's testimony. He was told point-blank by a diocesan official in England that they wanted priest shortages precisely so that they could appoint female lay-administrators as a cynical end-run around the male-only doctrine. and 4). The actual practice of male priests in the Church have restrictions on it that would make most people in favor of it balk.

It's always astounding that people can look at the smouldering piles of rubble that used to be robust Protestant denominations and still say, "let us do likewise."

boinky said...

two observations
One, a nurse related to me how a very pious conservative (retired) bishop once lamented to a talk that the reason he accepted back a local pedophile was that the "experts" assured him that the behavior was a single lapse.

Yet no one has confronted the psychiatric community in this. Johns Hopkins specifically, but a lot of this, including not reporting cases of pedophilia or incest, was promoted in the medical literature back then.

Two: Some cases were covered up by the cliques in the diocese bureaucracy. This is how Andrew Greeley defended Cardinal Bernadine, and when several of us wrote Cardinal Law about the push by some, including the New England Journal of Medicine, to push euthanasia ideas in local medical schools, the early 1990s, we finally get a vague letter in reply a month later from some priest, and an even vaguer article in the church newspaper.

Being conservative is no enough: You need a backbone.