Tuesday, July 16, 2002

The Right of Resistance
I must be in a blue funk so...
I'm working in a random thought generation mode--

There's a great posting on the structure of the Church over at et cetera Its called Change the Church, Lose the Faith. The thrust of Victor Lam's argument is that one can not change the form of the Church without effecting a change in Her function. He argues from the perspective of both evolution and intelligent design.

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."-- H.L. Mencken

Does this sound at all familiar? I tend to think that when the public's attention is diverted to one arena, the real point is something else entirely. Take for instance the scandal in the church, one minute it's about little boys and the next it's about tearing down the walls of power. Do you really think that this 'change of regimes' wasn't the whole point of this exercise in hysteria?

The argument that this is "abuse of power" is the same argument that justifies the claim that white people can't possibly be the target of hate crimes and that sexual harassment exists in the eyes of the beholder. A system of law that professes equal standing before the law can not accommodate such nonsense. Why change the Church? Why not, in the case of sexual misconduct, simply bypass it?

Think about it. The simplest solution to this problem is to hold individuals personally responsible. If a person is molested, that individual can file a criminal complaint against the individual perpetrator and let justice prevail. In the case of children, insist on a law that requires parental notification when abuse is even suspected. And then let the parents proceed with plan A. You would still have to deal with the freedom of the Church and the seal of confession but Catholics will be Catholic,... or not.

Oh wait... equal justice? What am I thinking? Bad plan! This will never work. This is exactly the system that we're trying to fix. Obviously, we need unequal justice.

As some one wiser than I once said "Choice is important in the American imperial system of rule because it hides the fact that consent is so easy to manipulate and because hegemony is so often based on the covert manipulation of disordered passion."

Since we are bound and determined to 'fix the Church, we should pause to remember:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

The thought also occurs to me that with the evident success of the 'second magisterium' of self-identified Catholic theologians, a parallel lay hierarchy is exactly what the Situation calls for. A few years from now, we can all congratuate ourselves on having freed our Church from the control of Christ. We'll be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Lay Church of the Spirit.

Of course, if you don't want to be a part of the problem, refuse to be a part of any political solution. Acknowledge no Church authority except the legimate authority of your direct priestly hierarchy. Arm yourself with a knowledge of the True Faith. If you disagree with your priest or your bishop, question his answers. He, of all people, should be able to give a justification for the faith that he espouses.

The Church loves questions because it gives her a chance to evangelize with the Truth. In disputes on creed or conduct, seek out your priest. It is his duty to convict you with the truth of his teachings just as it is your duty to convict the non-believer. In an age where even the elect are being led astray, this duty is severe in its demands on our priests. It won't hurt to give them plenty of practice in self-examination and in grounding their arguments on both the Traditions of our Church and the foundation of reason. This reasoned and measured seeking of the Catholic truth will have the added advantage of enhancing your own apologetics skills.

We live in an age of apostacy, and the object of the Church is to defend and preserve Eternal Truth rather than to invent new truths. A vibrant knowledge of the faith is essential to the Catholic laity. The Catechism and the ' sensum fidei' (particularly in terms of 'the democracy of the Dead'), is of paramount importance. Let these serve as the touchstones of open discussion. Yes, some priests and some bishops may be heretical. If you know that they are dangerously so, report them to their superior. (And then, forget it.) Do not be led astray.

However, in speaking with your priest, you should always be prepared for answers that might change you. Priests are called to serve the Faithful in precisely this way. We owe our priests a respectful hearing and even a measure of obedience.

Remember our task as members of the laity is not to govern the Church. We can leave that in God's hands.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt at all if we try to govern God... with prayer.

An Afterthought -- For Those Who Want a Bigger Share of the Shepherd's Role via e-pression blogspot.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -- Goethe

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