Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Melanie of Just a Bump in the Beltway is a fairly new Catholic (converting a few years ago) who tends towards the liberal side of the faith in general; when it comes to politics, she's all the way to the left. While I strongly disagree with her on political matters, I generally find her religious views to be plausible, even if I might disagree.

Sadly, even that is changing. In this post, she writes about JPII that
    he has been guilty of driving the progressives out and encouraging a neo-orthodox, simplistic faith that appeals to the third world where the other choices are militant, infantilized Islam or Christian pentacostalism.

    One of the things that ought to be appealing about Catholicism to first world professionals is its tradition of intellectual inquiry. Sadly, that side of the Church has been in eclipse since the pontificate of Paul VI.

Very little of this makes sense or accords with reality.

"guilty of driving the progressives out"

Exactly how did he do this? By boldly proclaiming the timeless truths of our faith? By refusing to correspond the Catholic faith to liberal orthodoxy? I suspect that most of the progressives who left the church had done so in mind & heart long before.

"encouraging a neo-orthodox, simplistic faith that appeals to the third world"

One can only chuckle at something like this. First, it seems that liberals today are compelled to attach "neo-" to anything which they dislike or dispise. Second, exactly how is "neo-orthodoxy" different from "orthodoxy," and why is either anything but a good, true, and beautiful thing? Third, anyone who thinks that Catholic theology today is simplistic is woefully unaware of modern orthodox scholarship. Pick up Communio, The Thomist, or the new english-language edition of Nova et Vetera and try to tell me that theology encouraged by JPII is simplistic. This is probably the most disappointing of Melanie's statements.

Finally and relatedly, we have reference to a phantom eclipse of intellectual inquiry.

Again, I'd point to those journals, or the work of Alasdair Macintyre (in philosophy), Avery Dulles, David Schindler, Matthew Levering, and (yes) Joseph Ratzinger. Or the writings of JPII himself. (Dr. Philip Blosser -- himself a convert -- has amassed an impressive list of notable converts to Catholicism, including those who have converted since the papacy of Paul VI, [of which there are more than a few]).

Melanie seems to be echoing the sentiments of those Catholics who are complaining because the Church hasn't "modified" (i.e. radically altered) her teachings so as to accord with the magisterium of secular liberalism's orthodoxy.

Their disappointment will continue.

Stop judging the Church by your standards and spend a few months in prayer to see if maybe its your thinking that needs to change.

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