Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From a magazine for liturgy

I'm in the process of preparing a response to an article in a Catholic Liturgy magazine exhorting the need to move toward a new model of church. I usually just laugh at these magazines but I really feel like this type of attitude needs to be addressed. Here's what got my blood boiling...

"...The ongoing process of ecclesial renewal is impoverished when all issues are reduced to one: namely, abortion. I detest this evil because it contradicts the biblical tradition that creation of life is God's business, and humanity is not empowered to interfere in God's business. But the behavior of some in the Christian community on this issue echoes the self-righteousness of the fundamentalist: 'I am right and you are wrong.' This has become such a banner cry for some church leaders that abortion as a pro-life issue is morphing into a pro-fetus movement and the violent rhetoric fuels lynch mob hysteria. This does little to restore respect and confidence in the hierarchy who practiced a different form of pro-choice when they chose to harbor pedophile priests rather than provide pastoral care to sexual abuse victims. voices loud in defense of the unborn but silent in defense of the living whose lives were emotionally aborted in childhood as victims of sex abuse are not grounded in a Christology that teaches a Jesus who never ridicules the violence or injustice he seeks to change. An ecclesiology with a biblically rooted Christology is the tradition that will push a model of church as dysfunctional family to become a model of church as healthy family."

Here are a few of the obvious errors:
1. Saying that the bishops shouldn't make a stand on abortion because of the sexual abuse scandal shows extreme desperation on the part of the author to avoid an issue he doesn't want to deal with. If anything, the bishops need to be encouraged to stand up for those whose lives are being destroyed (the powerless) over those who are choosing an occupation or a "normal life" over life (the powerful).
2. To my knowledge, pro life bishops haven't ever convened a lynch mob and characterizing things like the National Right to Life March as a lynch mob shows that this author has no idea about a largely lay movement in the church.
3. We believe that the fetus is alive. You don't have to choose between advocating for the unborn and the living. This is what philosophers call a false dichotomy.
4. The danger of saying that Jesus never said something is that there's always someone who will point out that he did. Luke 13:34-35 for instance, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. (But) I tell you, you will not see me until (the time comes when) you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

I hope to have a complete critique worked up for this particular magazine article by the end of the week and sent off. But I ask for your prayers. It's often hard for me to be charitable in these types of endeavors and I tend to give up easily fearing that I'll come off looking like the jerk. But I think it's important for me to try to articulate a few criticisms so that the publishers may be more hesitant to offer anticlerical rants in the future.


Austringer said...

Father, I think that this might be the same magazine that was sent to another priest blogger:

Look at his entry for Friday, Feb. 27th.

Fr.Dennis said...