It’s Good to Have Readers Who Can Do the Heavy Lifting

It’s Good to Have Readers Who Can Do the Heavy Lifting August 13, 2013

I’m pretty busy for the next week or so and can’t check in in the comboxes as much as I’d like.

So when the umpteenth Traditionalist makes the case for his superiority to the rest of the Church:

Those who argue for the superiority of the Traditional Latin Mass (whether they deem the NO valid or not) do so for reasons of its emphatically *measurable* doctrinal superiority. The orations of the old mass (over the course of an entire year) are doctrinally fuller and richer than those of the new mass, and teach the Catholic faith more authentically. The old mass is a greater didactic tool. This is not a matter of ‘interpretation’ (a less fancy word for ‘hermeneutic’): it’s an empirical fact, and one that can be measured via a shared, objective standard.

I’m grateful that the invaluable Lori Pieper shows up to write:

OK, I’ve pondered it for an hour and I give up. What is this marvelous “shared, objective standard”? Where is it? When was this extraordinary judgment made? And who were the judges? Because obviously to you the EF has already won. And why don’t people know about this contest?

Oh, because it never happened, of course. And as far as theology is concerned, the only conceivable “shared, objective standard” is the Magisterium of the Church itself. And you will wait a good long time, I think, before the Magisterium makes a pronouncement of the kind you want. No, the only thing that the Magisterium has said is that these are the two forms, both equally venerable, of the one Roman rite.

Meanwhile, as various crazy people show up to  insist that it’s not enough for gay Catholics to affirm and live the Church’s teaching, but they must be further punished and subjected to litmus tests, interrogations, and quizzes about their sex lives from combox inquisitors for their vocabulary choices, reader Dan C. nails it:

The issue is your double-standard.  You require a confession from gay participants in a Christian conversation.  They must indicate they are chaste (using the term SSA) or if they are unchaste (and use the term gay).  It cannot be that the gay man can indicate he is Catholic and gay.  You need to know more.  Is he chaste, hence SSA and instead using ambivalent terminology that is confusing you, leading you to believe he may be have homosexual sexual relations.  This is how you categorize them.  You need to know their confessional sins about sex,  Yet, this is unrequired of heterosexual men in conversation.  You have no demand of a similar set of confessional statements indicating that these men are not masturbating, participating in an adulterous relationship, and avoiding internet pornography.

3.  The requirement that your curiosity about a gay man’s sexual activity be satisfied, independent of his thoughts on any given topic, is not Catholic and these coded vocabulary demands are not Catholic.  They just let you know someone’s sexual behavior, and oddly, this curiosity only extends to gays.  Not to heterosexuals, who could participate in any assortment of disordered sexual behaviors.

Your seemingly insatiable desire to categorize folks as “chaste gay Catholic” and “unchaste gay Catholic” and “heterosexual Catholic” is the matter that should not be presented as Catholic for so so many reasons.  You should stop misrepresenting Catholicism as such.

What these two discussion threads have in common is the Traditionalist and arch-conservative Catholic hostility to evangelism.  In both cases, what is being addressed is the peculiar need some Catholics have to limit, as far as possible, the access of other people to grace and to set themselves apart from the unclean.  The Traditionalist with his need to declare that the vast majority of other Catholics are living inferior spiritual lives and the sexual obsessive with his need for passwords and codes and added burdens of suspicion for this particular form of conscupiscence have in common this need to be more rigorous than the Church herself.  If a gay person says he believes and professes the Church’s teaching–including her moral teaching–what the hell is the problem?  Such people should be welcomed and supported and we should thank God for them because they are not only disciples, they are apostles bearing witness to the rest of the gay community that it can and should be done.

And that, I increasingly suspect, is the problem for the More Pure Than the Church crowd.  Traditionalism is, as I discover again and again, deeply hostile to Evangelization because evangelization leads to converts and converts are people from Outside who get into the bunker of Fortress Katolicus and mess everything up.  More and more I come to believe that the core conflict between Traditionalism and the Council is a fundamental hostility to the Council’s evangelical orientation toward mission.

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