Thursday, March 29, 2018

Francis: Being The Change He Wants


  1. "This is why these debates about sexual morality tend to blur, when pursued rigorously, into debates about ecclesiology and Christology. It’s why you get the new head of the Jesuits telling a rather surprised interviewer that after all nobody had a tape recorder when Jesus was talking, so we can’t be too literal-minded in interpreting scripture because scripture might have got it wrong. Or why prominent figures associated with liberal Catholicism like Father James Martin tend to get into esoteric-seeming Twitter debates with more conservative Catholics about the relationship between Jesus’s human and divine natures. Or why theologians making the case for changes to church teaching often end up de-emphasizing Jesus’s own foreknowledge and the reliability of his teaching – by saying things like, well, Jesus thought the world was going to end, so his sexual morality was for the end-times, and we know the apocalypse didn’t come when he thought it would, so we’re free to adapt things a bit more."

    Why does Douthat believe he has the correct view of Catholicism and that these authority figures, up to and including the Pope it would seem, do not? Isn't the point of the Magisterium to direct and guide lay Catholics like Douthat on what is right and true on matters of faith and morals?

    1. Matthew, this is a good question, and I think it simply has to do with the fact that there are so many people from an older generation for whom the current goings-on are so evidently different from the things they grew up with. Of course, this dashes to pieces the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, which held (among other things), "We should always be prepared so as never to err to believe that what I see as white is black, if the hierarchic Church defines it thus."