Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Enemy of the Day

The more I read CWNews, the opening of 1984 -- with its mass ritualized hate of Emmanuel Goldstein (who the people felt something about only because the state needed a diversionary tactic) -- seems more real every day.

Today's target of the all-you-can-scream set is a saint of a man: the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. (Cardinale subito!)

Simply put, if Diarmuid Martin is not doctrinally sound, then I'm the queen of Sheba. And if I'm the queen of Sheba, then you best bring me gifts.

In an address, Diarmuid -- who spent three decades in the Curia and diplomatic corps before being sent back to Dublin to clean up the damage caused by the people who harrumphed on a Magisterium which, apparently, they didn't apply to themselves (except for purposes of manipulating the little people) -- reminded everyone of the line between thinking faith and actually living it.

Regarding popular attitudes toward Christian faith, Archbishop Martin continued: "Too often that faith based on love and forgiveness has been distorted into an exacting, negative rule-book."

"I am amazed," the archbishop repeated, "at the insecurity that surround the faith of so many." He added: "A relationship which engenders insecurity, anxiety, and fear is not the Christian relationship of faith in God."

Rather than a faith based on authority, Archbishop Martin argued for a faith based on active involvement. He said: "A Church with participatory structures will be more effective in this task than an authoritarian one." Mature Christians should bring their faith to bear on the secular world, the archbishop said. "If creation is the Lord's," he said, "how can we not share the wealth of the world equitably, how could we squander the resources of creation, how could we maltreat or abuse or exploit any other person?"

He's so good... But of course, the insecure and fearful members of the Exacting, Negative Rule-Book Club -- who've taken to comparing bishops who don't fit their narrow gustibus to second-graders today -- are livid, praying to saints as if good Diarmuid were the Antichrist who wanted to steal the faith from little children, even though the paranoid faith they preach is precisely "not the Christian relationship with God."

As they'll know that we are Christians by are love, so they'll know that they are Catholics by their anger....

What's so wrong in talking about the ineffectiveness of ecclesiastical structures, people? The structures are not divinely inspired, and if they get in the way of the mission, then why not think about new ways? Obviously, the structure in Dublin had fatal flaws. And it was this arrogance of hypocritical judgmentalism -- not secularism, not liberalism, but clericalism and an obsession with power (sound familiar?) -- which enabled the sad state of the Irish church that Diarmuid was sent to purge and renew.

Apparently, the adherents of the tried-and-failed school will not go down without a fight, one that screams Viking Funeral.

I'm amazed at the theatre of the absurd value of all this -- that the people who rail at structures most are demonizing a bishop who has the temerity to question the same topic.... If Martin's critics had their way, Quintero would enjoy supervisory power over the archbishop of Los Angeles. Stop the hypocrisy, people.

Gratefully, through his example of Christian gentleness, kindness, transparency and humility, Diarmuid has started to fulfill the mission for which he was sent. But yet again, some bitter folk can't let go of a gilded, failed and dreadfully unbalanced model of the church, for the sole reason that everything looked nice.

Pity, pity, pity.



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