Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Has the Pope begun to swerve?

I've mentioned that the Pope's moves at the synod seem a bit off. But this quote, noticed by Father Z, drives home the point (Z's emphasis added):

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all. 
We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.
Couple that with the Pope including progressives in his criticisms, and something odd may be happening here - and I'm back to being hopeful.

Father Z's blog is great, by the by.

Yes, Cardinal Kasper's comment was racist

At first, I was on the fence about calling cardinal Kasper's remarks racist. Sure, he said the African bishops should be ignored. Yes, he strongly implied that their taboos are silly and easy to dismiss, whereas our pieties are too important to ignore. But, racist?

That seems to go too far.

The cardinal's remarks were deplorable, sure, but "racist"... it implies something a bit more, doesn't it? Some kind of racial superiority, or a claim of racial inferiority. A marked animus against a race, at least. Kasper's remarks were, at best, about a culture that happens to be drawn along racial lines by happenstance. A nuanced interpretation, but on examination, fair. And shouldn't we try to be fair to the cardinal, regardless of our disagreements?

Well, yes, we should. The problem is that fairness demands we admit - by progressive standards, his remarks were racist. And those are the rules that Kasper plays by, and so clearly wants to use as the yardstick to compare others against.

The problem is that the 'racist' card is thrown around with ease... by one side of the political divide. Remember when disliking Obama was considered racist in and of itself? Sure, sure, you could say that you disliked Obama's policies, but - the narrative went - all that was just a cover for the fact that you just couldn't stand that a black man was in the White House. This was a fairly popular line until right around the time where his popularity tanked - including among the left - to the point where, if disliking Obama meant you were racist, then quite a lot of people on the left side of the political divide must be racist.

And just like that, the standard for 'racism' changed.

If roles were switched around here - if it were cardinal Burke, not Kasper, who talked about ignoring the concerns of African bishops - we'd still be hearing cries about how the Church was no place for racists, and that Burke needed to be ousted altogether. How he was trying to marginalize Africans unfairly, and make a lily white conclave impose its views on poor, downtrodden blacks in Africa. And if ever someone on the right says something akin to what Kasper said, you can guarantee that the 'racist' charge will resurface once again.

It's easy to take what I'm saying here as a call for petty tit-for-tat game-playing - fighting fire with fire - but that's not really the point. The point is that there needs to be consistency with how these terms are used, and consistency demands that we flat out call Kasper's comment racist, and likewise Kasper himself. Just as it demands that we call leftists who dislike Obama, racist.

The alternative is to allow the word to be redefined whenever it's politically useful, deploying it against enemies and soft targets, but holstering it and rolling back to some far more thoughtful definition whenever it would wrap up a political progressive. Better to be consistent in its application - and if consistency means that reasonable or forgivable remarks can be racist, then so be it.

So, cardinal Kasper is a racist. Don't be afraid to say as much.

Wisdom from John C Wright

No matter how funny or odd, you do not laugh at another man's sacred things unless you mean to be his mortal enemy. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Synod's Aftermath

Mostly, I'm impressed that the conservatives in the church are as willing to take the gloves off as they clearly are. I honestly expected, at best, the most passive aggressive sniping on all sides, and I get the impression the more liberal bishops expected much the same. Along the lines of 'homilies where the people they dislike are generally referred to but only in a roundabout way for which there is plausible deniability'.

But no, Kasper in particular was singled out in a 'that guy is not to be trusted' way. Maybe Burke getting his supposed disciplinary transfer made him decide, well, there's nothing much more they can do to him - why play nice?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Did the progressive wing of the Church just shoot down a merciful outreach to gay Christians?

From the Associated Press, with emphasis added:
Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families have to confront. It said "people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy," but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between man and woman. The paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod of bishops - whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion - also failed to pass. 
The outcome showed a deeply divided church on some of the most pressing issues facing Catholic families.
It appeared that the 118-62 vote on the gay section might have been a protest vote by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording. The original draft had said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with "precious" support.
If this really was a "protest vote", then I want to repeat something I've said over and over.

Consider this line: "People with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy, but Church teaching is that marriage is only between man and women."

That is outreach. That is encouragement without surrender. That would be a much-needed conservative attempt to tell LGB people: look, you are human, we respect you, we want you to be part of our Church. Same-sex sexual acts are sinful, but you are still welcome.

And, it would seem, the progressives have decided that is not allowed. There is no room in their worldview for conservatives who reach out to LGB people without approving, in advance, of their sexual acts.

So my advice? My meager, momentary advice?

That is exactly the sort of conservative all of us should be. When progressives are afraid of even acknowledging your existence, you are doing something right.

One advantage of Mark Shea's perpetual shifting between passive and active aggression...

..Is that sometimes the people he riles are worth riling.

To give some context before you click: the Galations 3:28 Movement contacted Mark in an email. If you're not familiar, G 3:28 is a group of people trying faintly to pretend as if they have any interest in Christ, and manage to take a quote from Saint Paul and twist it into a 'You know what Saint Paul loves? Anal sex and gay marriage!' moment. So one of their representatives fires off this 'teach Christ's REAL message' schtick, and Shea shoots off his reply:
Jesus answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?(Matthew 19:4-5)
The response?
Nice way to twist scripture, bigot.  You know, our side will win. In 40 years Christians will look back on you as a bigoted relic.
From "Jesus loves everyone, help us spread Jesus' message!" to "YOU BIGOT, WE WILL BURY YOU!" in the space of one reply. Mark does know how to set people off.

But what's important here isn't 'Mark got them angry'. It's that momentary slipping of the mask, going from 'This is what Christ teaches, spread our message of peace and love, stop the bigotry!' to furious threatening and anger issues.

And that's one of the problem for Anne S and company. They'll never win, because there is no "winning" for them. Pass gay marriage in every nation in the world, force every Church that opposes it to close down, completely outnumber the opponents with proponents... and they will still be the same. Angry, hateful and furious. Fearful of the future, which is never guaranteed. And crucially, no God to trust in, because God terrifies. The best they have is an idol, and theirs is not an idol they can ever really believe in.

Either way, it's all minor stuff. "Mark Shea pisses off someone who deserves it, news at 11."

Verbose Stoic added to the cluttered blog links sidebar

I like to explain why I add each blog to my sidebar, so let me say a bit about why I check out Verbose Stoic.

For one, he's a thoughtful guy. Probably more "moderate" than yours truly, both in general inclination as well as tone. I have my moments of snarling and ranting - VS tends to always stay cool and calm. He's dialed into gaming issues, and he keeps tabs on the Cult of Gnu (primarily Myers and the Atheist+ sorts), complete with interesting commentary. Commentary that I typically find interesting and valuable, particularly when he talks about (imagine this) stoic outlooks, particularly Christian stoicism, though he tends to be more theologically quiet.