Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Don't Know About This Archbishop Dolan Character...

So I heard about Archbishop Dolan's appointment on Facebook of all places, and I have to confess that I did not assume I'd be writing about him here. Then I saw this headline:

Which, I have to admit, is mostly hilarious. I mean come on, you guys are just picking on the poor archbishop because his name's in the paper already anyway, right?
Also according to The Journal, Dan Maguire, a Marquette University professor of moral theology and former priest was rebuked by Dolan for suggesting that Catholics "may rightfully dissent on issues of abortion and same-sex unions, and that bishops don't have the last word on moral debate."

(Hilarious picture.)

I still think they're being a bit whiney. So the guy "rebuked" you, so what. That's the nature of discussion, right? It's not like he punched you in the face (just once in my life I would fucking LOVE to see an archbishop punch somebody in the face. Srsly). So I'm still reluctant to get pissed off, until I see this article:

A Genial Conservative for New York’s Archdiocese
It was 2003, and (Rev. David Cooper) had opined to a reporter that women should be ordained. Faraway bishops rumbled about censure. Then he picked up the telephone and heard the baritone of Milwaukee’s archbishop, Timothy M. Dolan. Father Cooper immediately offered to resign.

No, no, the archbishop replied, we just need to repair the damage. “He was very pastoral and caring,” Father Cooper recalled.

And how was it resolved? “Oh, I agreed to recant,” he said. “He effectively silenced me.”
If you look at these two incidents, neither of them seems very substantial. Dolan was merely behaving the way most Catholics do. The Catholic Church doesn't believe in abortion, same sex marriage, or the idea that women can be ordained, so what's so bad about Dolan in comparison?

Let's think about the U.S. Supreme Court. You know how when you're appointed, you pretty much get to serve on the Supreme Court for the rest of your life? And you know how that means that every Supreme Court Justice's personal politics have a real and lasting effect on the United States of America? (It does mean that, for those of you who don't pay attention to this stuff. That's why everyone was so mad about Alito.) Anyway, the Catholic Church is a similar sort of institution. It is in many ways a political body, which is sometimes really bad and sometimes kind of good. The bad part, of course, being that there's often more politics than religion in half the shit the Catholic Church does. The good part, however, is that within the Church there is a whole network of clergy with all kinds of opinions, many of which do not mesh well with the Pope's. There are always priests pushing the envelope (usually I'd talk up the Jesuits now, but I'm mad at them for sending their known pedophiles up to Alaska to rape native kids, who they figured would never tell. Guess what? They did), and there are priests, like Archbishop Dolan, who tow the line. So what's the big issue?

The big issue, of course, is that the Pope trying, not always successfully, to do things like re-communicate Holocaust-deniers and promote d-bags who think like Fred Phelps and say that Katrina was God's way of punishing New Orleans for being too gay friendly. In other words, he's sticking people who think like him in strategic places in order to ensure that the Catholic Church continues in the more conservative direction in which it's been headed since Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope.

Matthew 26:3-4 says:
Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
No, I'm not accusing the Catholic Church of murder (not this time, anyway), but I think it's important to remember who killed Jesus. No, not the Jews, not the Romans, not Pilate, not Herod... it was the Church. The rest of them were really just pawns, because the priests had a pretty good political network set up. The moral here, I think, is that when religion becomes more institution than faith, there is no room for change. When everything is about safety and tradition, there are no new ideas. If the Catholic Church really does manage to move so far to the right, it will alienate its more moderate and liberal members and clergy, causing them to leave. It's not like it hasn't happened before. Ask the Lutherans, they'll tell you about it. The Catholic Church, however, can't expect to continue to be a major player on the world religious scene if it loses all its members. So either these guys need to stop being closed-minded pricks with no vision for the future and no memory of the past, or Catholicism is going to be totally marginalized.

Which, by the way, would make me kind of sad, despite all my bitching. Catholics is my peeps. Peace out.


Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008

WTF WOULD JESUS DO? - Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008