Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The McCarthyism of Liberal Catholic Elites

Rod Dreher, "The McCarthyism of Liberal Catholic Elites" (American Conservative, October 26, 2015):
This letter was drafted by Massimo Faggioli and John O’Malley, SJ, and is now being signed by a bunch of liberal Catholic academics. Here’s how it stands as I post this; names are being added to the signatory list constantly:
To the editor of the New York Times

On Sunday, October 18, the Times published Ross Douthat’s piece “The Plot to Change Catholicism.” Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject, the problem with his article and other recent statements is his view of Catholicism as unapologetically subject to a politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is. Moreover, accusing other members of the Catholic church of heresy, sometimes subtly, sometimes openly, is serious business that can have serious consequences for those so accused. This is not what we expect of the New York Times.
October 26, 2015

John O’Malley, SJ (Georgetown University)
Massimo Faggioli (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Nicholas P. Cafardi (Duquesne University)
Gerard Mannion (Georgetown University)
Stephen Schloesser, SJ (Loyola University Chicago)
What a remarkable document. Really remarkable — and damning to the writers, who ought to be ashamed of themselves.

The Catholic layman Ross Douthat, according to these liberal Catholic academics, is too stupid to have an opinion about Catholicism, because he has not been trained in theology. And his opinions are invalid because they reach offer a conclusion offensive to the letter-writers follow a “politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is.” You will look at the October 18 column in question, and anything else Ross Douthat has written about Catholicism, and I very much doubt you will find anything contrary to the faith and morals magisterially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. You will unquestionably find much contrary to the faith and morals magisterially proclaimed by the Faggioli-O’Malley crew.
Then, as Guy Noir remarks:
Liberals dislike Douthat in the same way Virginia Beachers dislike Pat Robertson. It's not what he says or does, but that he manages to do what they fail to do... reach people! Douthat could write what he wanted, but if they feel like his words are consolidating distrust of the Pope's agenda, then game over. Since they agree with this particular Pope's agenda. Would any of the letter signatories write a letter about Michael Sean Winters criticizing  Benedict XVI? Hahahahaha. 

And that James Martin would chime in... in the twitter universe... after publicly engaging in Pro/Con forums with Douthat. Unintentionally or not, I think it shows him in a most unflatteringly light, and proves what I have always said. Liberals are every bit if not more ideological than conservatives they criticize for that very trait. And when the really feel the ground shifting beneath them, they are also every but as "fearful" or negative. 

That doesn't exonerate conservatives, but it does underscore the falsity of some liberal posturing. James Martin like Francis seems to want to manage an image as an Everyman's Theologian, engaging in plan talk and straight speak. And yet it is almost  impossible to get them to concretely weigh in on the most conservative controversial  hit button issues such as gay or pre-marital sex... At a certain point it seems fair to assume we know why. Douthat is criticized for being an unloyal son of the Church, but what makes someone fit that description?  I have yet to hear anyone appeal to the plain sense of Scripture or the Catechism. It's all blather about conscience and thoughtfulness. It is the return of Situation Ethics. Like Modernism, these things don't die, they just get cryogenically frozen I guess.


The Ghost of Tyburn said...

Funny. What happened to "empowering the laity" and "there's no hierarchy" and "we're all equals" and "the smell of sheep dip" and all that man of the people stuff?

Sounds like Douthat wandered off the New York Times plantation and started to make a little too much noise for the "you don't even read Italian!" crowd. Libs love the vernacular as long as its Haugenesque

Sheldon said...

What these smug, liberal, dissenting signatories write about Douthat describes THEMSELVES perfectly:

"Aside from the fact that [we have] no ... qualifications [of fidelity or spiritual discernment] for writing on the subject, the problem with [our] article and other recent statements is [our] view of Catholicism as unapologetically subject to a politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is."

Exactly. What more needs to be said? The case is closed.

Sheldon said...

Josef Pieper, in a chapter on "The 'Intellectual' and the Modern Church" in Problems of Modern Faith, addresses this very issue.

First is the issue of credentials. "Critical detachment" may disqualify the expert. In fact, the New Testament mentions two groups who have difficulty understanding the essential "facts of life": the "wise," from whom the truth is actually "hidden" (cf. 1 Cor. 1ff), and the wealthy, which, "irritating as the fact may be, probably refers to members of the 'Establishment'."

Pieper goes on to mention a number of other issues, perhaps the most important of which is that "the truly successful innovators have been the saints, in other words human beings in whom the passionate critique of existing conditions was combined with a totally selfless integration into the institutional hierarchy of the Church." He mentions Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Charles de Foucauld, etc.

Not only are the current innovators of the "synodal church" spiritually blind members of the "establishment," they are invested over their heads, not in selfless loyalty to the institutional Church, but in legitimating their dissent from it, not to mention in many cases their justification and mainstreaming of their own gay lifestyles. These "synodal" reformers of the church haven't a leg on which to stand.

Not That Guy said...

These men are a disgrace. I have long thought that Fr. Martin in particular is a weasel and dangerous. He makes me sick.