Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tea and No Tea

(H/t InsightScoop)

Maria Shriver, a Malibu Kennedy, engages in a glaring repetition of the wholly expected. Check this countercultural shot across the bow:

“I don’t believe that if someone’s divorced they shouldn’t get Communion; I don’t believe that people who are gay shouldn’t be accepted into the Church… I’m pro-choice, I believe women should have that right.” She also said “women should have a larger role in the Catholic Church.”

The title of this entry is a reference to Douglas Adams and his "interactive fiction" version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, wherein the lead character finally achieves the knowledge and enlightnement he needs when he can hold two completely contradictory things (i.e., having "tea" and having "no tea") simultaneously. In order for him to arrive at this point, he must remove the part of his brain that controls common sense.

This is what La Shriver is implicitly doing and asking us to do.

Please note her fellow travelers aren't reacting to any news from the Vatican, any new dictum from the Holy Father or any new development on anything. They are bent outa shape because the Holy See hasn't issued anything. It's still holding on to the fusty-musty ol' doctrine it always has.

So why call yourself Catholic? The current Mrs. Governator famously contributed to a work with the title Why I'm Still A Catholic. (We'll set aside the issue of why remaining a Catholic is so bizarre a phenomenon that it requires lengthy explanation.) This leads me to worry about her catechetical background, because if it's not the problem here, then her logic circuits must be emitting wisps of smoke and making "fzzt! fzzt!" sounds.

What distinguishes the Catholic Church from all other faiths is the tenet that it is infallible*; that it cannot teach error. Even if it wanted to. But if the Church were to say that bigamy, now that we think about it, is not sinful...then it either taught error when it said it was, or is teaching error when it now says it ain't. Something is wrong always and everywhere, or it isn't.

Now, if the Church's claim to infallibility is wrong -- why trust it to be right about anything? Put another way, if it's wrong on something, it can be wrong on anything. If it can be wrong on anything, then all its doctrines are nothing but carefully forged links joined up and hanging on a hook firmly screwed into...thin air.

Sadly, Shriveresque Catholics are still Catholic hoping the Church will reverse a coupla millennia of doctrine on X and somehow remain infallible. They want to have "tea" and "no tea." What their broadsides mean to those who adhere to the view the Church is right whether we like it or not, is that they put up with us in the hope we'll stop thinking that what the Church holds to be true is, in fact, true.

The difference is that we put up with them because we want them to see the light and recognize that "it is what it is" and that God's dictates are His ordained will and not the current bylaws of a theological condo association. It's not a matter of us being hardhearted, or cruel, or reactionary...it's just that we recognize that contradiction and revelation are incompatible.

Whether we like it or not.

-J.

* I paraphrase Flannery O'Connor: If it's not infallible, then to Hell with it.