Monday, October 05, 2015

"Change a culture, keep the doctrine"

Fr. Ray Blake has an interesting analysis of an Italian Communist thinker and the bearing his ideas may have on the thinking of the "shadow synod," or those teutonic bishops hell-bent on getting their way in the upcoming Synod. The title of his piece is "Change a Culture, Keep the Doctrine" (Fr. Ray Blake's Blog, October 1, 2015).

The upshot? You need have no fear that doctrine will be changed. It won't. But what the teutonic clique has learned ever since the Rhine flowed into the Tiber during Vatican II is that you don't exactly need to change doctrine to get your way. All you need to do is change the culture. How do you do that? By changing the language. Getting bishops and priests and other Catholics to sideline doctrine (it's not going to change anyway, so what of it?) and concentrate on talking about "pastoral provisions," "mercy," "compassion," etc. It's a lot like what Christopher Ferrara talks about under the heading of "viruses." Things like "religious liberty," "ecumenism" and "dialogue" are not doctrinal novelties. You can't really make accusations of "heresy" stick in reference to Vatican II documents, no matter what some traddies suggest. Rather, they are "viruses." What does he mean? New emphases that cannot be stated in clear propositions but can muster a shift in Catholic culture. "Dialogue" suggests all sorts of things. It is rich with an impressive plethora of connotations. Without casting a single shadow on any doctrine, it can shift us away from Tridentine "triumphalism" to a culture of relativism in which we no longer talk about the Catholic Church as the Church outside of which there is no salvation. That just doesn't sit well anymore. Like hell. Who talks about hell and the devil anymore. It's like brining up sex and politics in polite company: simply rude. These ideas needs finessing. Thus we're off and running.

Read the lives of the saints. Read Holy Scripture. Read St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. And, above all, pray; and I mean spend some serious time everyday in prayer and meditation. Communicate with God almighty. This will keep you grounded, unlike synodical reports, as entertaining as they may be.

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]


Jacobi said...

Yes, you can do anything with language. As a retired businessman, commercial, I know.

So what we used to call "markers" are so important.

One obvious marker is that when anyone who is divorced, remarried, living that married life receives or more importantly is allowed, or in any way permitted to receive Holy Communion, then they and the clergy, (and lay distributors don't forget) are all committing mortal sin.

What is more if they are objectively speaking aware of this and they persist, then they are formally in a state of heresy and have incurred automatic excommunication.

Now while you can use language to obscure almost anything you can also use to clarify almost anything - which I trust I have done here!

Oh great. Time for lunch shortly!

Joe Piotrowski said...

Dialogue does not clarify unless it is faux dialogue, which is to say, a statement by one person in the form of a dialogue. Such dialogue is merely a literary device. Two or more puppets represent opposing viewpoints but are actually stage managed by one person, the actual author of the "dialogue." The actual clarity of faux dialogue is that of the author's presentation in the best light of whatever "truth" he seeks to peddle. In other words, faux dialogue is deceptive and produces bullshit.

Genuine dialogue, in which two or more participants engage one another with opposed points of view, does not clarify. It muddies the water. Its inevitable product is stalemate and obscurity, however much each participant may claim committment to singleminded seeking of truth.

Either way, dialogue spreads error and confusion, strips genuine truth of its luminescence, and strips people of their critical faculties.

You could say exactly the same things about the teaching of the Church today.