That’s how Judie Brown and her friends at LifeSite interpret the variance among the bishops in their concrete approach to those twice or more removed from the moral issues of the day. You’re not going to get one of those interminable posts here. You know: them black, me red. Click the link and read Brown’s essay, then come back and comment here if you wish.
The reality is that we live in a society far more complex than a parent-child relationship. In the black and white world of conservative morality, an authority figure lays down the rules and the child obeys. Simple. There is no gray area. Except, perhaps, when it’s convenient to twist into contortions about just war, torture, or other aspects that indirectly support our Corporate Masters who want to maximize profits from oil.
I mean no disrespect to Cardinal McCarrick, or to any of his peers who are frequently disinterested in enforcing Canon 915, but I have to say that they have created a most dreadful situation that has left far too many of us in a state of frustration, anxiety and sorrow. For example, when the news about Cardinal McCarrick’s most recent comments began to impact on others, one distressed friend of mine described the situation as “a poke in the eye to believers; a statement full of disdain and insouciance.” And perhaps that is the most deplorable aspect of this current predicament.
From a long line of similar disturbing remarks uttered from the mouths of Catholic bishops, it is becoming increasingly clear that every bright line defining who a Catholic is and what a Catholic believes is being blurred beyond recognition. Whether it is a McCarrick “style” or a Connecticut “explanation” or a San Francisco “apology,” the bottom line in all of this is the same: no guts. The clarity of what it means to be a Catholic is being distorted, dismantled and–ultimately, if we are not careful–destroyed. And that is the greatest tragedy of all: witnessing the decay from within the Church without the ability to fix it.
As a pro-life Catholic, I honestly feel for the situation of “frustration, anxiety, and sorrow” Brown expresses and claims for her friends and supporters. But we’re all adults. Responsibility for these qualities rests within us. Frequently I’ve said that when the negative emotions begin to overtake the good work being done by pro-lifers, maybe it’s time to take a break, bow out of the politics, go on retreat, get back to the trenches of talking friends out of abortions, or doing something constructive.
Donohue and Oprah and other media figures in the “helping” mode tell us to get in touch with our feelings. Feel the pain. All that jazz.
Well enough. We should do that. But then we keep moving because that’s just the first step. As much as they belittle and decry the msm for a negative effect on the culture, they themselves have often fallen into the trap so eloquently preached by its spokespersons. Why should we remain content in being victims of a careless clergy and a seemingly hopeless social situation? The simple answer is that there’s a way out. Simple, but not too easy.
No guts? That may well be true. But the rank-and-file Catholic Judie Brown describes as hungry for “leadership” has no less of a need for more intestine and bowels.
Grown-ups know there is precious little clarity in life. Religious people should look for it first from their God. If necessary, turn to leaders for guidance and the shape of the search. But don’t put more on bishops than they’re ready, willing, or able to handle. They’re just human beings: fallible like any of the rest of us. They’re also not responsible for our feelings.