Thursday, January 07, 2010

Death of a feminist

I put in a search for catholic news and heard of the death of Mary Daly. I've never heard of her before this obituary. Her story makes her seem like she could be among a list of catholic theologians who decided the church needed to be more of a theological buffet: choose what you want to believe. It made me think about the fact that the immediate post Vatican II generation really are dying. It will be interesting to see what it means as this dissident generation begins to die off. What will happen to the church? As long time readers know, I think we're set to get a little smaller. We're going to have to shed the dissident element in order to live.

There's two persistent issues that come about because of this. The first is that we need to remain a church of the academy. Even as we rebuild respect for tradition, we have to keep listening to the signs of the times and responding. And we can't just be pejorative. We must be respectful and incorporate what's good.

Secondly, we have to figure out how to be charitable. Many of these people have spent a lifetime getting rid of the very traditions we are bringing back (adoration, "smells and bells", clerical dress, etc.). We have to treat them charitably even as we celebrate finally being able to take Vatican II seriously and not just its spirit.


Jason said...

A friend of mine who goes to your church recommended that I read some of your blog, more out of amusement than anything. I was not disappointed. He said what he found hilarious was that the students at your parish, for the most part, are open to contraception in marriage, the possibility of women priests, and...AGHAST!...about half of them view homosexual relationships are peefectly fine.

So here's my question for you, Padre: when you shed the "dissenters", what are you going to do with your half empty church? The heretics are paying half your salary and i doubt they are going away.

Fr.Dennis said...

I almost just erased your message because it's basically an anonymous, ignorant message. But, let me answer you.

The church can't be driven by financial concerns. We have to stand up for principles. Our American culture is making a lot of bad choices and, as in any generation, a lot of members of the church are choosing to follow culture rather than follow the church. It's why we have the sacrament of reconciliation. But, the church will remain a beacon of light that transcends the culture of death in order to build up the Kingdom of God.

todd said...

"I think we're set to get a little smaller."

I know there's a context to this, but taken to an extreme, this thought would seem to be counter to the Great Commission of Christ, namely to grow to encompass the entire world.

That said, there are believers who are not perfect. Some think they are on the path of faithfulness, reform, or even orthodoxy, but are mistaken in sometimes small, but occasionally major ways. And then there are people who consistently obscure and obfuscate the gospel. Wayward theologians are certainly a problem. But "orthodox" bishops who have harbored sexual criminals seem to be doing more damage both within the Church and outside of it.

Speaking as a fairly liberal Catholic fairly grounded in tradition, I can't say I hope we can shed ourselves of misbehaving bishops, despite the damage they have caused to the faith. I hope for their conversion, recognizing that like them, I am not a perfect Catholic. The day of separating wheat from chaff is not yet here, and no living Catholic can stand in orthodoxy and suggest he or she is an agent of Judgment.