Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Rules of Engagement

From the "fellow talking-heads" desk, Clayton adds onto his Mahony take in light of my post yesterday. As I said before, I like Clayton because we can disagree without being disagreeable; he's got the right tone in dialogue (one I often lack) and he's a fair chap.

Same goes for my good friend Broderick Barker (no relation to Neuter Bob). BB writes a column called Confessions for a pub in San Diego and, this month, he's chosen to write about moi.

"[Palmo] is as combative as all get out," Barker writes. Domine, non sum dignus....

As a quick aside, I'm remembering that this blog was posted on the Free Republic comment boards some days back, and a particularly astute commentor asked of me, "Does this guy tear the wings off butterflies in his spare time?"

That's possibly the greatest compliment I've ever received. And as to his question, in the immortal words of Sandra Bernhard, "Honey, give me a moth, give me a cocoon!"

Back to Barker. He imagines I would call myself orthodox. Great point, but I honestly wouldn't give that distinction unto myself. Who am I to anoint myself with an objective quality of the kind? I mean, it's something I strive for, but I have to say that the quest for unbridled, unobstructed observance of the law is not the goal of my spiritual life -- the Scribes and Pharisees were renowned for their orthodoxy, and they ended up completely missing the forest in the process. I'd rather be kind and slightly off-kilter in terms of the technicalities than a resolutely orthodox prick, frankly. That's where my sights are set.

As Stevie Wonder once said, people, "We have to keep our love lights on."

BB is weary of what he calls the "anti-con" campaign. Well, we just got into a whole huge battle about semantics yesterday, and here's another one. The "campaign" (I'm too disorganized to ever have a campaign, even though I ran one before) is not so much "anti-con" as "pro-church." I'm not "anti-con," I'm against the attitude which goes, "You must be the change I seek in the church." There's nowhere to go from there but up. I hope.

I just love this paragraph. BB gets the last word:

Which brings me to my answer to Palmo: maybe the threatening and harassing you receive is a tragic commentary on how closed people really are. Maybe most of your shots at the cons have to do with the way they themselves attack others. But will your needling them help? What are we about here? Do liberals think conservatives are frightened children, terrified of change, full of sentimental attachment to The Way We Were, afraid of intellectual complexity and the intellectual life in general? Do conservatives think the liberals are spoiled children, in love with change, full of intellectual hubris, afraid of tradition and contemptuous of obedience? Does each side suspect the other of cloaking personal preference in talk about the good of the Church? Does each side believe that they are fighting for the Church and not themselves? They remain brothers and sisters.

Here's wishing that family dinners stop turning into food fights, though.



Blogger Gene O'Grady said...

Please note this is a real, not a rhetorical, question. When did "orthodox" become a term of approbation in some Catholic circles?

5/7/05 19:31  
Blogger Matthew Lickona said...

At the risk of being coy, I will note that Barker suspected you of orthodoxy based on your calling it "a doctrinal necessity."

The Scribes and Pharisees weren't entirely orthodox - the law had already required that they love the Lord God with their whole heart, soul, and mind, and love their neighbors as themselves. (Jesus did, however, exhort people to do as they said, if not as they did. He didn't just chuck the law.) That's why I don't think you can have a resolutely orthodox prick - part of a complete observance of the law and the prophets and the Gospel will involve real charity.

What's interesting to me is why a body would address his readers as snowflakes even as he pulled the wings off butterflies. You gotta watch out for those gentle, sensitive sadists...


5/7/05 22:33  
Blogger CDE said...

Tired of family dinners turning into food fights (or, even worse, occasions of deliberate food poisoning)?

Then maybe you'd be willing to join in a little project designed to make the blogosphere a place of virtual communion.

6/7/05 13:26  

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