Friday, January 10, 2003

Vatican to reinforce Catholic orthodoxy

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent in Rome, Robert Piggot, has been given prominent coverage in a lengthy report arguing that the Vatican intends "to reinforce traditional standards and discipline" and "crack down especially hard on homosexuality in the Church".


In the wake of the pressure the Church has been placed under by the abuse scandals he says "here in Rome, many see the scandal as what they call an 'Anglo-Saxon' problem."

"Anglo-Saxon problem" ???? I'm waiting for the punch line. Bold faced dishonesty about the cause and magnitude of the sex abuse problem is why Vatican officials have to say things like, "we've nothing to hide," because everyone knows that they've covered up and hidden all kinds of stuff. I guess they have nothing to hide because it is all hidden.

Piggot quotes Gerry O'Connell, the Vatican correspondent of the Roman Catholic journal The Universe, saying that some of the pope's chief advisers have analysed the American cases and concluded that the problem is not paedophilia, but homosexuality.

Regression: Homosexuals=evil, adulterers=not-so-bad

His article concludes: For Vatican conservatives the priority seems to be to reinforce Roman Catholic orthodoxy in the Church as a whole, rather than indulge liberals in its unruly provinces.

This priority would be relevant and effective if anyone of them can prove what on earth "orthodoxy" has to do with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, etc Gal 5:17ff. Many "Orthodox" Catholics, as frequently defined, can bevery un-Christianlike, mean-spirited, selfish, rude, etc.

Orthodoxy in fact has nothing to do with conservatism. True orthodoxy maps out a region in Catholic thought and practice that is in line with its tradition in faith and morals. And fortunately this region is broad. So the fact is that you can have authentically orthodox Catholics with either a conservative bias or a liberal bias. Conservatism is simply a reluctance or hestiation to embrace inevitable change, while liberals embrace change more willingly. Most reasonable people fall into the category of conservatives who are not opposed to change but need to be certain that the change is valid and acceptable or liberals who embrace change but with conservative impulses, i.e., respect for the past out of which the present change has grown.

An example is Scripture and even theology in general. The Church has pretty much embraced the validity of modern exegetical criticism which is hard to call conservative. I would term people who embrace modern exegitcal methods are their primary approach to Scripture as liberal orthodox. Conservative minded orthodox Catholics, on the other hand are wary of modern day biblical criticism, which caution the Church has embraced also over the years. Anyway, I digress . . .

I think the Vatican and many conservatives have convinced themselves that homsexuality is the problem in this sex abuse scandal.What that tells me is that the Church is not yet ready for any real introspection and growth.


Post a Comment

<< Home