Saturday, October 12, 2013

"A breath of fresh air"

Elizabeth Scalia, "Is There Room, for Sarah?" (On the Square, September 24, 2013) observes that "In his remarks to the press this past Sunday, following the release of Antonio Spadaro’s broad-ranging and inspiring interview with Pope Francis, New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan called the pope’s pronouncements 'a breath of fresh air' and added, 'He’s a great relief to all of us.'”

The article goes on to ask whether the Church has room for Sarah, a transgendered 'woman', and to make it's point about the relief spelled by the Franciscan pontificate.

And then, to spoil it all, here comes a wire from the correspondent we keep on retainer -- yes, in that city that knows how to keep its secrets -- Guy Noir, Private Eye:
Who knew that all during Benedict XVIs pontificate of harsh rules, stringent morality, and insistence on liturgical rigidity, we were all quietly but desperately waiting to exhale. Excuse my crudity, but what an emotional pile of crap. Scalia reminds me of why I so often cannot tolerate Peggy Noonan. If you already agree with her, then her columns are pat on the back affirmations of Why We Are Right. But if for any reason you don't agree wiht her, you are uptight, backwards, or simply not helping things at all. It is the "Reasonable People know...." mantra: of course Reasonable People know... that evolution must be true, we all want the same thing, God could never condemn *anyone*, we must acknowledge the complexities of homosexual and transgendered experience, we must come to terms with the genius of the modern experience.

But I have yet to meet Traditionalists who view the world in black and white terms. They view revelation in the rather black and white terms it was given, and believe in the accurate and effectual nature of language. But they also are familiar with the more difficult and ambiguous nature of experience. And despite the stereotype of wanting easy answers, they seem more comfortable than liberals in living with a tension between the two. Here are the Church's teachings. Here is your experience. It is not for me to make the two easily reconcilable with each other. Just as with physical sciences, the mysteries remain. Group hugs really solve nothing, They just makes us feel good. There is "room" in the Church for everyone, but no one can bring with them anything they please or any non-negotiables. Death to self means come as you are, but leave as someone else. That is not necessarily at all comfortable. God's mercy is inviting. His love is actually challenging. If you look at the narrative arc of the New Testament, it is not what the world considers a feel good program.

Scalia writes, "a soul seeking the Lord would not have stood at our steps feeling too prejudged to even inquire." Not affirmed. Prejudged... Are they the same thing?

And in a culture which will soon have generations of people who have scarred large areas of their journeys with sin, just how do you not prejudge, or judge, those experiences? All this rhetoric ignores the very real difficulty of that question. I have a very good friend who chose a gay lifestyle after 30. People all say "oh, that should not make any difference." And believe me I have worked to maintain the relationship. But it makes a all the difference, and the only way it cannot is if questions of truth are fudged, and the relationship is one so superficial that it becomes entirely sentiment and zero substance.
[Hat tip to JM]


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