Monday, April 25, 2005

MH - Gallup Does Not Rule the Church

Don't feel much like blogging tonight. I've got a toothache, and a wife who's out of town visiting her dying father. If there was any doubt in my mind before, it's quite clear to me now that I was not made out to be a bachelor. Although as long as there are TV dinners, I'll not starve.

What's that? You insist on something? Well, OK. . .

In a very humorous column in NRO today by Ned Rice, he gives an astute analysis of the disappointment felt by liberal "Catholics" such as Andrew Sullivan, and makes the point that the Church is not run by opinion polls. An excerpt:

[A] truly liberal Holy Father might have moved the Church towards the proverbial, doctrinal hat trick: allowing actively gay men to be Catholics, then ordaining them as priests, and then allowing them to marry their male partners. There’s a name for churches that condone that sort of thing, and that name is "Episcopalian.”

Often, the most effective way to make your point is through humor, and near the end of his column, as Rice hits upon the truth of Catholicism:

Likewise our Founding Father (is it O.K. to call Him that?) realized the importance of having a set of rigid standards that would supercede the trends and whims of human behavior. Which is why, as the story goes, He dictated a set of Commandments to Moses. Which, over the millennia, among other things, gave rise to today’s Roman Catholic Church. A church whose dogma (as described in its Creed) is almost impossible to change, and whose doctrine (the rules that evolved thereafter based on the Commandments and the teachings of Christ) is systematically dictated by the Vatican, through the ultimate in inspiration.


So if you think this or any other pope is just plain wrong on celibacy or homosexuality or anything else big, and this upsets you so much it interferes with your spiritual life, you’d be well advised to find yourself another church. Otherwise you’re like the orthodox Jew who, in light of recent developments, has taken it upon himself to decide that it’s all right for him to eat pork. You can be an orthodox Jew, and you can eat pork. You’re free to do either one. But folks, you just can’t do both. There are names for Catholics who don’t accept that they can’t do certain things and still receive the sacraments, and one of those names is Senator John Kerry.

Andrew Sullivan points out correctly that the Catholic Church has changed over the years, offering examples such as Vatican II and absolving the Jews for Christ’s death. But those changes weren’t dogmatic, as a liberalization of the Church’s views on abortion or homosexuality would be, and they certainly weren’t the result of a town-hall meeting or an online poll. They came about as a result of years of prayer and reflection from within the Vatican, not because of a particularly meaningful Oprah episode.

When you're not laughing out loud, I suspect you'll be nodding your head in agreement. Read the rest here.

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