who says you can't have it all?
By Diogenes (articles | Oct 08, 2007
The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 2:15f.
Suppose you're a typical dissenting Catholic and self-styled progressive who believes that the Roman Catholic Church has it wrong on a number of vexed teachings but will eventually come around and put things right. Why hang around in the meantime? Why not have it all -- NOW?
Take the example of Father Ken Waibel (pictured above). Once a priest of the Diocese of Lexington, he came to realize the Catholic Church was in error about homosexuality. Did he linger in a church that has God's teaching wrong? To what end? What residual good might the Catholic Church retain that couldn't be carried off and transplanted elsewhere? Father Ken took his leave from the purveyor of false and hurtful doctrine and opened the true Church, the Church that has the mind of Christ, which is located at 1350 Eastland Drive, Suite 5. In Lexington.
Let's be clear: given his premises, Ken's step is entirely reasonable. His Church responds to the spiritual longings of its adherents. You want open season sodomy? You got it. Female clergy? You got it. Rice wafer communion and self-service divorce? No problem. If it's God's will, after all, it's yours for the taking. Rent yourself a storefront and rig up some vestments and -- presto! -- you've tapped into the font of all truth, unmediated by institutional or historical encumbrances. You're mainlining the juice of the True Vine directly into the carotid artery. You've got everything you want and nothing you don't want. If the Catholic Church isn't what she claims to be, she's worse than worthless, and the quicker you uncouple yourself and hitch your wagon to the real thing, the better for all concerned.
Some progressivist might object: "Well, Rome's teaching is nonsense, but she transmits the genuine Apostolic Succession, which is necessary for valid sacraments." That's no reason to hang around. There are plenty of autocephalous bishops available whose orders even Rome admits to be valid. Forty dollars and a six-pack of Pabst'll get you all the sacramental succession you fancy.
Someone else might say, "I detest the magisterium, but I like Catholic rituals and Catholic music and all the quaint devotions." Help yourself. Take all you want. They're not copyrighted. No one's going to break down your door and stop you from replicating any rite or vestment or liturgical extravagance. You can call yourself the Pope, if it suits you, and do a Pontifical High Mass in your basement. You can squat around a campfire and denounce episcopacy as an engine of androcentric oppression. You can concoct a Ceremony of Emancipation employing a dalmatic and a Palestrina motet. Nihil, in practical terms, obstat.
I can imagine, finally, a more hesitant sort of liberal who's not quite ready to make the break: "The Church is wrong now, but I really believe she'll come around before long and get it right." But if she's wrong now, what comfort is there in the knowledge that she'll eventually come right? She could just as easily change her mind later and get it wrong again in the future, and all your frustration would go for nothing. Better to live in the truth today. If the transmitter by which the mind of Christ is communicated to the Church has broken in the past, we've no reason to think it won't break again. More to the point, how will I (or my children) know that it's broken? The Church can't tell me, or she'd be doing it today. To judge her wrong, to be certain the transmitter failed, I need access to some standard of judgment outside the Church.
Here's the point. That standard, whatever it be, is my authentic touchstone of truth. When the Church is proved wrong by my touchstone, who needs her? And when the Church is proved right by my touchstone, who needs her?
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Posted by: extremeCatholic -
Dec. 31, 2009 6:52 PM ET USA
Why not give real "choice" to parents, and rather than directly fund government-run schools, give vouchers to parents and let them choose the schools they want for their children?
Posted by: -
Dec. 27, 2009 2:48 PM ET USA
We are a Pythagorean people.
Posted by: DrJazz -
Dec. 23, 2009 9:19 AM ET USA
Di, I've just had it with these people who want to force MATH down the throats of my children! What about CHOICE? It's time for civil disobedience. "Pythagoras is dead!" "My cerebellum, my choice!" "Math should be safe, legal, and rare!" "Every equation a wanted equation!" "Keep your geometry off my prodigy!" "Keep your addition off my academician!"
Posted by: TheJournalist64 -
Dec. 22, 2009 6:01 PM ET USA
There's a Bible course that is supposed to be taught in public high schools in our state. I have purposely stayed away from applying to teach it, although my theology degree certainly qualifies me. It would be like volunteering to string myself up like a pinata to be beaten senseless by one side or another, no matter how I teach.