Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Catholics should sometimes resist the "party" line?

A reader linked to the following article in a combox comment recently, and I pass it on only because it touches on some things I've been alluding to in my recent comparisons of "normal" conservative Catholics and "tradition-minded" Catholics.

[NB. Advisory: Rules 7-9]: In an infelicitously-titled article, Michael Brendan Dougherty writes (in The Week, May 6, 2014):
Party membership and church membership are not alike at all. Party bids its members to spin, minimize, and explain away supposed contradictions between one party leader and the next, to hide deviations by party leaders from the party platform. Because party members cannot know the outcome of the next election, crimes, oversight, or simple mismanagement by the party leader are treated as much less serious offenses to the cause than the scandal that would come from admitting or publicizing them in the sight of the opposing party.

Unlike a party, the church already knows the outcome of its election; the blessed reign, the accursed don't. The church already has victory. And so the church and its believers do not depend on the righteousness of the pope; the papacy and the church depend on the righteousness of Christ. The Catholic faith teaches that the pope has the same duty to remain constant in the faith as we do, the Holy Spirit doesn't turn him into an automaton upon his election. If he lies, we must rebuke him in charity. If he fails at something, we should help him. He ain't just the Catholic heavy, he's our brother.

Church members have assurance that comes from God not Rome, the type that if it ever sunk in would prepare them for martyrdom. Party members suffer from a twitchy, defensive anxiety, the type that when it sinks in makes them petty see-no-evil demagogues.
For what it's worth. Provocative, yes. Some things worth thinking about, yes. Directed at anybody personally, no.

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