Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

While mercy is being recommended for Catholics in difficult situations, let us not forget the bishops, who are intellectually in the hardest circumstances of all. They see that large numbers of the faithful are rejecting or ignoring their magisterial pronouncements on sexual morality as irrelevant, repellent, or just plain wrong. But unlike those whom they presume to teach, the bishops cannot simply turn away from outworn ideas. They are confined in an iron cage built by Aristotle, Aquinas, and many other men—mostly men—who had the self-assurance to believe that they could decide the one true way for all people in all circumstances for all time. They have not the freedom of the fallible to say, "We were wrong. We're sorry." They are in great need of mercy, though they do not know it yet.

And so there will be paragraphs full of "kerygma" and "kenosis" and other deliberate obscurities meant to dazzle and overawe the masses with sheer verbal firepower. There will be the usual august and mellifluous passages, a style that the Church has brought to perfection, and then a little way beyond, to the border of parody. And apparently there will be much talk of gradualism, as if humanity had not found out eons ago that life is a long learning and a rare getting-it-right.

I could truly feel some pity for the bishops' plight but for one thing. They are trying to shift responsibility for the Church's troubles from their own shoulders to the backs of ordinary people, who are burdened enough already without being condescended to as weak, childish, or stiff-necked. But then, checking my censoriousness for once, I reflect that the bishops too are in a narrow place not entirely of their own choosing, and perhaps deserve a measure of mercy.

– John Prior
Excerpted from the comments thread of
Grant Gallicho's "Synod Halfway Report: Tremors"
October 13, 2014

Thanks to William D. Lindsey for bringing this quote to my attention via his extensive and insightful two-part compilation of responses to yesterday's Synod on the Family's 'relatio.' For Part 1 of Bill's compilation, click here; for Part 2, click here.

Change in the Air? – J. A. Dick (Another Voice: Reflections About Contemporary Catholic Belief and Practice, October 14, 2014).
"Are We Capable of Welcoming These People?" – Fred Clark (Patheos, October 15, 2014).
The Greatest Non-Story Ever Told? – Ken Briggs (National Catholic Reporter, October 15, 2014).
Why Isn't Anyone Talking About the Synod's Paragraphs on Contraception? – Jamie Manson (National Catholic Reporter, October 15, 2014).
Vatican Retranslates Synod Document, Muddles Openness to Gays – Joshua J. McElwee (National Catholic Reporter, October 16, 2014).
Now the English Speaking Catholic Church Will "Provide for Homosexuals" Not Welcome Them – Josephine McKenna (Religion News Service via The Huffington Post, October 16, 2014).
Synod Document's New Theological Approach Can Benefit LGBT Issues – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, October 16, 2014).
The Debate About Welcoming Those Who Are Gay — A Reader Asks: "What Are Catholics Afraid Of? And Why" – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, October 17, 2014).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Breaking News – October 13, 2014
On the Feast of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, Thoughts on Marriage Equality in the U.S. and the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Daniel Helminiak on the Vatican's Natural Law Mistake
Aquinas and Homosexuality
Louis Crompton on the "Theological Assault" of the Ulpianic-Thomistic Conception of Natural Law (Part I)
Louis Crompton on the "Theological Assault" of the Ulpianic-Thomistic Conception of Natural Law (Part II)
Nathanial Frank on the "Natural Law" Argument Against Gay Marriage

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