There is a tremendous comfort in uniformity. In the natural realm, it permits enormous flocks of birds or fish to fly or swim in the face of predators. A few get caught. Most get away. The group continues as before.
If one specimen is a little scrawnier and slower than the rest, the eagle or lion or shark will catch up more easily and have a meal. On the other hand, a member might be a little more plump, a little more flashy. That might draw some notice from the chasers.
Catholics are not fish. (Well, some call us sheep, but that’s wool for another post.) We do not profess faith in a “uniform, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” We are one. We are not uniform, nor was it the Lord’s intention that we be so.
Some people on both sides of the ideological divide–mostly conservatives, but not always–suggest uniformity is a good thing for the faith. Everybody should kneel. Every newcomer needs a school year in RCIA. Every Catholic should oppose the CCHD, the president at ND, and support EWTN, santo subito JPII, and the GOP.
We are human beings, not animals. Our survival does not depend on our blogs having the same posts and opinions. Our parishes will not thrive if everyone thinks the same way. Our Church was instituted to reflect the unparalleled creative diversity made by God. In a phrase: we are not fish.
When our political pro-life efforts come to naught, it is time to listen to new ideas from people who don’t think with the pack. When Mass attendance drops below 40%, it’s time to cease repeating the same tired memes and get to work on many fronts: people alienated by cover-up scandals, people who desire more reverence, as well as those offended by sexism.
Put the motto on your bumper sticker: unity does not equal uniformity.
When human beings are unified, they put different talents and approaches together to achieve a goal. A football squad of fifty quarterbacks will lose every game. A Church of all conservatives will wallow and flail. Extremists of any flavor might well prefer the company of like-minded persons. But it’s a lazy, unimaginative, and uninteresting approach to life. This is my main criticism of the blogosphere. It’s one thing for a unitary blogger to offer a drumbeat. When a group blog or an entire community offers the same old stuff, are they being men and women with God-given gifts? Or are they just a school of fish?