Thursday, February 21, 2019

Compartmentalized theology

Before I do another post critical of Roman Catholicism, it's important to note that we can't use what's wrong as a basis of comparison. There's a danger in taking satisfaction from the fact that I'm not like that! But I could still be bad in a different way. 

i) One way Catholics rationalize remaining in such a corrupt denomination is to compartmentalize morality and theology. They put the morality of Catholic clergy in one container, and Catholic theology in a separate container. But one problem with that strategy is that in Catholicism, the true faith is inseparable from its institutional expression. In Catholicism, you can't detach true religion from institutional religion. There's a one-to-one correspondence. They can't be pried apart. The faith is mediated by the guys in funny hats. They embody the faith. They are the official spokesmen. 

ii) But here's another issue: the Protestant faith has a static rule of faith–the Bible. The Bible isn't going to change. It's frozen in place. There may be some tweaking if we discover new ancient MSS, but what we have is pretty much all we're going to have. So in that respect, clerical misconduct has absolutely no impact on Bible-based theology. 

By contrast, Catholicism has a fluid rule of faith. Living tradition. The development of doctrine. The pope as the voice of God. A living oracle. 

This means the personal mores of Vatican and diocesan policymakers may rewrite theology, where the sexual morality of popes, cardinals, and bishops is the locomotive pulling the theological caboose. In the past, homosexual clerical hypocrisy was necessary because sodomy was stigmatized, but nowadays, not only is sodomy fashionable in the general culture, many lay Catholics are social liberals. Given such a welcoming climate, what's to prevent Vatican and diocesan policymakers from changing traditional theology to sanctify their homosexual lifestyle? What's to hinder them from following the same well-worn path as mainline Protestant denominations? Indeed, that's well underway. 

No comments:

Post a Comment