Cosmos the in Lost: The Ecumenism of the Private Consensus

Cosmos the in Lost: The Ecumenism of the Private Consensus March 8, 2014

Greetings from Seattle. I’m happy to report that I’ve left Storybrooke and resettled at the University of Washington as a postdoc. Things have taken some time to warm back up, but I am back in full force.

My first post from Seattle wasn’t on this blog.

It was a guest post on “Rabelaisian Catholic” Artur Rosman’s wickedly funny blog, Cosmos the in Lost. Rosman works on a lot of things. He likes to dig up atheists and show that they’re actually Catholic. He likes to find unlikely manifestations of Catholic grace in the worst of people. [This is terrible of me, but scroll to the bottom of that last link and see whom you see.] And he likes to say that the Catholic imagination is different from a Protestant one because Catholics see nature as analogizing grace, whereas Protestants imagine it dialectically.

On Facebook, I triple “D” dared Rosman to write about whether the difference of Catholic and Protestant imaginations affected the way that Catholics and Protestants saw sex scandals. I promised to respond in protest if he did.

Rosman delivered.

He got what he asked for. I landed this #TPCIU guest post on his blog.

The “spat” continues.

POSTSCRIPT: By the way, Ut Unum Sint is mostly about Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism. Artur is right on this score: the Ukrainian Orthodox protests do provide a model for the unraveling of the private consensus and thus, perhaps a new mode of ecumenism. [n.b. 27 July 2016: As an Eastern Catholic, I am appalled by my ignorance here and surprised that Artur taught me so much about Kyiv before I’d even heard of Eastern Catholicism.]

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FALLOUT: Incidentally, I recall receiving a “vociferous” comment (said so by the commenter) attempting to defend the Catholic Church from attack simply because I blogged about the Catholic sex scandals. I don’t deny what Pope Francis has recently said — that the Catholic Church has been the most viciously attacked out of all the institutions in which sexual abuse happens. But using that defence to then negate the workings of the private consensus really seems to me to be no argument at all. Given Francis’s comments on the “public” handling of the abuses in moves that attempted to overturn the private consensus, I can’t help but think that I have an ally in high places.

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SECOND POSTSCRIPT (8 Mar. 2014): At a talk tonight in Seattle, Cornel West explicated Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s observation that the twentieth century has been marked by an ‘ecumenism of nihilism’ in No Religion Is an Island. I’m still thinking about it, but given West’s views on consumerism and conspicuous consumption, I think there might be some convergences between this ‘ecumenism of nihilism’ and the ‘ecumenism of the private consensus martyrs.’ I’ll chew on it and report back when I figure it out.

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