Friday, April 15, 2016

Watch out for those Conservative Catholics

Is the underlying warning in this editorial at the NYT that gushes over Pope Francis's Amoris Laetitia.  Since it's conservatives who are missing the point.  Like a growing number in the secular media, the spin appears to be that even though Pope Francis didn't do the right thing by declaring all religions the same and glorifying gay sex, he did the next best thing.  He tore away at the Church's ability to resist those changes in future generations.

After the initial disappointment in a lack of doctrinal overhauls, this particular spin is gaining steam, and Mr. Egan's piece is only the latest example of the positive spin that I've seen and heard.  Essentially, Pope Francis didn't say gay marriage is grand.  Just the opposite.  But he has framed it so that we no longer really know what is and isn't an irregular relationship that is and isn't sinful. Or at least we don't with any type of dogmatic assurances.  As a result, the lines are necessarily blurred and we must err on the side of mercy.  Kindness.  Acceptance.  Conformity.

Well, he doesn't go there.  But my guess is, watching the last 30 years of the progressive movement, that this is where many desire it to go.   As I said before, the hope I've picked up on from progressives in and out of the Catholic Church isn't that Pope Francis will gut the last 2000 years of wickedness and stupidity and finally get the Church up with the times.  A pipe dream perhaps, but not a real hope.

No, the real hope is that he will make it so the Church doesn't have to.  He will water it down to such a level that the Church need never actually change the official teachings that still reside in some dusty old tome in the basement of the Vatican.  Like laws on our books that still forbid camels from spitting on the sidewalks, those teachings are fine to remain where they are.  But the Church will move on, and in its lived out day to day ministry, the doctrines of the Left and all lifestyles therein will be as normal as a Mary statue behind the altar, despite what those old camels aren't supposed to do in the jots and tittles of irrelevant manuscripts.

That, my guess, is where much of the hope is.  How correct they are remains to be seen, and will likely play out long after future popes have come and gone.

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