Tuesday, August 12, 2008


First Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The long-awaited Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI has been released, and I think it is just the beginning of what will likely be a recovery for the Catholic Church.

Bear with me on this: one of my big problems with Liberalism (progressivism) is there is no stopping point. Joseph Bottum put it very well when he said his turn toward Conservatism came because he reached a place (abortion) beyond which he could not go. If you examine most of the arguments for Progressivism, it's clear that there are no stopping points.

If the definition of "marriage" s not a man and a woman creating a family, but is a (lifetime) commitment between two people who love one another, then why not a man and his daughter, a woman and her sister? Why bother to sanction the state at all?

If the definition of human is not the human being at every stage of development from conception to death, but is "worthwhile" or "happy" or "productive" or "able to live on its own," then we can discuss the continued life of old people, retarded people, people who have lost their limbs, Alzheimer's patients.

As usual, the progressives want to open the doors as they see fit, not as the doors are likely to be opened once the limits are removed. Yes to Gay for marriage. No to fathers and daughters. At least for now. Yes to aborting human fetuses,no to routinely offing the wheel-chair bound. For now.

So with the Catholic Church. The idea behind Vatican II was ostensibly to "open the window" and let the bracing air of modernity into an ancient and yes, in some ways, creaky institution. But as Benedict clearly knows, once under way, the changes became their own excuse. The Church, essentially, disappeared. There were no real differences between the post VII Church and most Protestant sects. Argue though they will that there is still "the Real Presence" in the Eucharist, the behavior of the "people of God" at Sunday Mass would suggest that these people thought otherwise: if you really believed that was Jesus in the Host, would you be showing up for Mass looking like you just rolled out of bed? Would you bolt out the door still chewing the Host? If you really believed the Church was God's authority on earth, would you go to Mass at Easter, but then talk in favor of abortion?

It's not easy to be a Catholic. I abandoned the Church following VII, and when I later found a traditional Church and felt as though I wanted to return, I wrestled for a long time with my willingness to try to be at Mass every single Sunday, to go to Confession, to change my open attitudes toward relationships, what movies to see, and so on. It's a commitment, a way of approaching life. And it sounds like Benedict is going to ask that we work a little harder at it than we have been.

No comments:

Post a Comment