19 August, 2011

An essential point in how to remember when dealing with the 'enemies' of the Church

In a current article on the Holy Post I responded to a comment in which someone wrote about the appropriateness of 'hating' the RC Church. I thought I'd share my response here as it is a subject I'd enjoy discussing further.


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Prime: I believe that you have hit upon an essential issue, if inadvertently. In your post, you use the language of 'hate' as in it is OK to hate the RC Church. Catholics do not use that lexicography. Christ taught us not to hate but to love our enemies.

You see, we do not disagree with those who see the Church as the 'enemy' for she herself views the forces ranged against her in similar fashion. It may not be politic today to use the language of being 'soldiers for Christ' - but surely training an army to fight for Christ means that there is an enemy to confront.

But the Church calls us to respond by loving our enemies (in the filial sense of the word) so as to perhaps revivify the initial spark of grace that exists within all. We are called to be agents of expiation for those in need by reflecting to them the Christ who lives within us.

You see, that's what is appealing about the Church for Catholics. It isn't that we aren't distressed 'in extremus' by the sins of her members, clergy and hierarchy. Anyone with any sense of justice within them could not help but be revolted and dismayed by their sin. It's just that that is not the totality of what we see and admire when we look at the barque of Peter. We see and hear a beauty and wisdom that illuminates the mind and inspires the heart.

I guess that's the difference between speaking the languages of love and hate.

Thank you for making this clear to me this morning. You've given me a wonderful meditation to ponder this beautiful sunny Ottawa Valley day.

Fr. Tim

4 comments:

  1. Hi Tim,

    I am not a big fan of framing our public discourse in the language of war. It tends to create the kind of polarization that we frequenlty see in the US (e.g. Culture War, Culture of Death etc...), and which we increasingly see here in Canada. Not sure who started to frame the public discourse in this manner, but the Religious Right has certainly embraced this approach with gusto as they articulate an agressive, muscular, and triumphal version of Christianity in the public square.

    Remember, the first casualty of real war is the truth. Propaganda is the weapon of choice, while reason and civility are muscled out of the room.

    Seems to me that you want to have it both ways. When you sit in the camp of the Religious Right (as you frequently do when you align yourself with the likes of Chuck Colson or Archbishop Chaput) you seem to have no problem with metaphors of war. When the tables are turned and your critics at Holy Post frame issues with words such as "hate", you coo like a dove about loving your enemy.

    Which is it - civility and reason OR metaphors of war and aggressive propaganda?

    In any case, that is the view from out here in the peanut gallery.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Speaking on Holy Post, it looks like I won't be back. I'm tired of waiting for someone to fix the damned thing so I can sign it.

    Have a good summer, now that it's here! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lady Janus. I thought it was just me. I'm having no success signing into NP website either.

    Michael (aka Rationalist1)

    ReplyDelete
  4. No, not just you, Michael. I don't usually subscribe to conspiracy theories, but I'm starting to suspect that only a privileged few have been cleared for commenting. I have been in touch with three different people, now, about getting signed in, and there has been absolutely ZERO results.

    So screw it. Not gonna chase anyone's tail about it. There are plenty of sites with less hassle.

    ReplyDelete

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