Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Rage Stage Two

I've gotta say, for all the destruction and division they cause, if it weren't for the cons and their anger, the church would be downright boring.

Stage One of conservative anger (again, conservatism being a secular political ideology profanely and counter-productively imposed on an ecclesial context, in contrast to true orthodoxy which is not political but doctrinal) is rage. All out, throw everything including the kitchen sink-style fury.

Then, when it's realized -- belatedly -- that being incandescent is a screaming invitation to backlash, we come to Stage Two: denial. So that's what the Ignatius Press people -- still nursing their fantasy of the mighty Fessio using God's mighty sword to slay the heterodox Fr. Privett and smoting the sodomites as Levada's successor in San Fran -- are up to today on me, doing the whole "it's just rumors and innuendo" thing....

In my defense, it's rumors and innuendo if you haven't eyes to see.

This cycle of anger and attempted marginalization means nothing less than that I'm doing my work incredibly well -- note what an AMU grad said about Fessio below..... The press is getting blamed, I'm getting blamed, the Pope is getting flamed, and it's all just one big self-fulfilling prophecy.

You know, the Pope was right on, dead on, when he spoke about all the filth in the church, and that it seems at times like it is a boat about to sink. Recognizing that -- and, sometimes, taking a look in the mirror and really contemplating if we're helping it float or just punching a hole in the side of the bark of Peter -- is step one to embracing a renewal which is not as doom-inducing as one's biases may make it out to be.

Archbishop Chaput of Denver -- who is, in my mind, an absolute genius, the best American bishop around and thus a Loggia favorite -- wrote last year that "When the Church is criticized, she is purified."

You'll note, cons and others, that I critique persons and theories, but I never critique the church or its teachings. This tradition is, in my mind, the summit of the human imagination and experience -- and I'm here because I see it being assailed from all sides, even those who voice obeisance to it while taking a hammer to the boat.

Point is, none of us have integralized the fulness of orthodoxy, the plenitude of the teachings, in our daily life and practice. None of us. So to be "pro-life" and opposed to enhancing the quality of that life post-birth, or to profess faith in the prince of peace while supporting an unjust war, or to get all wrapped up in esoteric finery and forgetting that the first mass -- the truest mass, for those who believe -- was celebrated by men wearing rags, the faith in its fulness does not square with that. And many have gotten away with that lacking standard, that absence of a challenge to step it up, for a long time, and pejoratives of the most un-Christian kind have flowed from those who have given God the service of their lips, but not their hearts....

But if the church is really going to step up to the world in all its complexity, all its need, then the time calls for what B16 refers to as an "adult faith," a "mature faith." Sometimes this means shutting up and listening, contemplating whether we're committing the gross fault of taking our politics and making them doctrine because that's what we feel comfortable with. But church is not what makes us comfortable, what makes us happy -- it is ours only for a season, as Justin Rigali says, quoting Paul VI. And many of us have lost that along the way.

May we rediscover a spirit of humility along the path, and the ability to discern our personal leanings from the truths of faith. Corraggio!



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