putting them straight

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 16, 2006

In Evelyn Waugh's Helena, we hear the Emperor Constantine's wife Fausta prattling ecclesiastical gossip to her mother-in-law:

"... I mean, we must have Progress. Homoiousion is definitely dated. Everyone who really counts is for homoousion -- or is it the other way around? If Eusebius were here he could tell us. He always makes everything so clear. Theology's terribly exciting but a little muddling. Sometimes I almost feel nostalgic for the old taurobolium, don't you?"

If the opinions permitted their priests are any indication, many of our own prelates have a comparably shaky grasp of the controverted teachings. To be fair, it's not always easy for busy men to remember the finer details of that course they took thirty years earlier in the seminary, and occasionally they need a little prompting from the wings. We can imagine the more "pastorally-inclined" among our bishops, once the correct doctrine is made clear to them, slapping their brows in sheepish self-reproach: "Oh that's right! We're against passive consensual sodomy!" Like Fausta, they find theology terribly exciting, but a little muddling.

It was, I believe, St. Jeanne de Chantal who said that it's a "bad thing" (malheur) when your fifteen-year-olds are evangelized by gay priests with the enamel worn off their back teeth through repeated violations of the Levitical code. But St. Jeanne, alas, is no longer on the pertinent reading lists, and her wisdom is at risk of being lost. Hence some of the parochial clergy also have a fuzzy understanding of the issues:

"We believe that your aggressive and wide-spread endeavor in favor of the amendment is a scandal," reads a letter to [Archbishop Harry] Flynn, signed by Rev. Mike Tegeder and 27 other pastors in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese. "Our sisters and brothers who are of a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender sexual orientation are already demeaned by being defined by our church as fundamentally disordered in their sexual identity."

See what I mean? It's actually the other way around. Someone should point out the mistake to them.

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