He once observed that “The Catholic Church is the only ‘the Church'”. When you want to know what “the Church” thinks about something, you don’t turn to the Nebraska Missionary Alliance or the Seventh Seed in the Spirit Peculiar Baptists.
So today, the bishop of Phoenix told a Catholic hospital that was not practicing medicine according to Catholic principles that it could not call itself Catholic anymore. Bully for him! Lovely to see this display of episcopal vertebrae.
What’s fascinating to me, however, is how this purely internal matter of Catholic housekeeping obsesses ex-Catholics like, for instance, Anne Rice, who has been sucking the oxygen out of the comboxes on Jimmy Akin’s blog here, here, here, here, and here, screaming about all this.What never fails to amaze me is how haunted ex-Catholics like Anne are. They “leave” the Church and then obsess over matters of purely internal housekeeping like whether a bishop regards a Catholic hospital system as Catholic. They never really leave. Just hang around and throw rocks through the windows of the old Church while stridently telling the world that the Church has no hold over them. Some of them are from the pelvic left, like Anne Rice. Some of them are from the kooky fundamentalist Right. But the thing they all have in common is that they never can really bring themselves to *leave*. They linger around for years, proclaiming their freedom from the Church while living in tidal lock orbit around it, perpetually facing it as the moon faces the earth, unable all their lives to stop obsessing over it. A peculiar doom for the sin of apostasy.