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my, how i've grown!

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 04, 2006

The Paulists' Busted Halo interviews Andrew Sullivan on his favorite subject: Andrew Sullivan. I was struck by this comment in editor Bill McGarvey's intro: "Where Sullivan differs most from his colleagues in our ever-expanding punditocracy is in his ability to openly doubt his own judgements and actions."

Up to a point, Lord Copper. Sullivan's soul-searching works in precisely the opposite way McGarvey would have us imagine. Sullivan typically sets himself up as, e.g., a Catholic; whence he pretends to have held the beliefs that Catholics hold; he then trains his very peculiar "self-doubt" on the convictions maintained by his fellow Catholics, and -- surprise! -- he finds these convictions no longer merit his assent. He's grown. He has the modesty to admit it himself.

Check out Sullivan's radical self-doubt in the passage that follows:

An unexamined faith is not worth having it seems to me. That is not something that we should be afraid of. I fear that the hierarchy has become afraid of it because I think they got panicked by the Second Council and what happened afterwards, and the thought that they were losing authority and losing control. And one can understand that. But, at the same time, I think there comes a point where one would have to say, Maybe they need a little more humility in letting go a bit and opening a respectful dialogue within the Church about some of these questions, which are open to legitimate faithful discussions.

Ah yes. Maybe they need a little more humility.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Sullivan's self-appraisal is disingenuous. Too harsh a judgment? Well, if false, it's easily rebutted. Find me an instance where Sullivan has defended, by argument, the Catholic convictions he now pretends to have reconsidered. Surely not too much to ask from such a prolific soul-searcher.

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