A correspondent writes: "Heartbreaking to read lines like this, from someone who btw is not a radical Traditionalist, but an observant, well-versed, clear thinking adult and Mass-going lay Catholic."
He's talking about Ross Douthat's recent article, "Why I Am A Catholic" (New York Times, October 28, 2014), in which the Catholic convert author writes, among other things:
Maybe I have misjudged my own church’s continuity and integrity, and it’s time for me to grow out of those misjudgments, and for Catholicism as a whole to learn the same lessons at experience’s hard school. But I make no apology for resisting, so long as resistance remains viable, developments that would make the reasons I became a Catholic in the first place look less like reasons, and more like wistful hopes.The correspondent then comments:
And hard to read lines like those and not facetiously think, "Gee, Holy Father, thank you for such a faithful witness and such effective New Evangelization." If clarity is the need of the hour, than a failure of clarity IS a failure of duty. I think it is that plain. Fr. Barron may think we "all" need to go back and re-read Newman. But I think what is more true is that our leaders need to go back and read their Catechism. We are not at a crisis of interpretation or application, not when the media reads the signs as they do and the media is the voice everyone hears. We are at a crisis of truth. How are people supposed to believe, and how are people supposed to live? Comes answer seems to be "wait 12 month and then we'll take a vote"![Hat tip to Anon.]
This sounds bitter, I know, but it is more accurately described as fatigued disillusionment. As Douthat sort of says, you can only insist for so long that people venerate you as sacred head of a divine institution if you suimultaneously go about questioning tradition, bucking ceremony, and chiding them for clinging to things like "certainty" and "faithfulnes." At a certain point, you run the risk of asphyxiating the very life force that sustains your office. More Catholic than the Pope? Ha ha. But seriously, I've come to the gradual conclusion that anyone nowadays who uses that line as an ad hominem is either knave or poorly-schooled pundit.