Thursday, October 12, 2006

Professional Catholic

Rod Dreher has left the Catholic Church. His testimony is fairly tragic. It shows how Christianity can be reduced to an ideology on the conservative as much as on the liberal side, with devastating effects.


XC said...

Look at his final judgment:

As far as tradition goes, I have moved with my family to a church that I believe stands a much better chance of maintaining the historic Christian deposit of faith over time. To be more blunt, I have moved to a church that in my judgment within which I and my family and my descendants will be better able to withstand modernity."

Better able to withstand modernity? How, because of greater will power? Greater educational or economic resources? More stubborn people? This is a pragmatic way to measure the "success" of the Church, a measurement that does not factor in grace.

"Basically, though -- and this is as blunt as I can be -- I'm in a church where I can trust the spiritual headship of the clergy, and where most people want to know more about the faith, and how we can conform our lives to it, rather than wanting to run away from it or hide it so nobody has to be offended.

This is moralism. He wants a church where the clergymen are good people. He should read Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, where the pitiful, decadent, lecherous Whisky Priest tells the Mexican Revolutionary: Your revolution depends on good men. But I am a priest. The Church of Christ will prevail even if every priest is like me. That's because the Church is instituted by Christ, and protected by Him. Rod Dreher doesn't seem to get what that means.

And I would rather go out on a Friday night with Greene or the Whisky Priest before Dreher. He bores me.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. When the Holy Spirit leaves the Church we're all f*cked.

XC said...

But the Holy Spirit will never leave the Church. That's the promise we got.

Deep Furrows said...

Julie and I put off converting as long as we could, but we finally had to admit to ourselves that we loved these people, that we loved this faith, and we didn't want to leave it.
As Dreher admits, he could have found this in the Catholic Church, but he didn't.

I conclude that Dreher found this in Orthodoxy because the smaller congregations are more conducive to fraternity than Catholic parishes.

Deep Furrows said...

Dreher's story reminds me of a question that long occupied Hans Urs von Balthasar, among others:
"What use is it to send clever men to the front line, with the mission to be fishermen if once the fish are caught in the net, they are absorbed into the vague mass of those who have remained behind, prisoners of a moribund tradition, of all the rigidity and spiritual dullness that characterizes modern theology? After the event -- but all too late -- conversion will seem to them an opening into a gray and disillusioned reality" (Servais on Balthasar)

Anonymous said...

What really doesn't make sense to me is his discussion of his own personal fault. Alright, he messed up, he put the institution ahead of Christ. Having done that, does he attempt to find Christ again in the Catholic Church, does he attempt to verify if his religion is really true or if it is just an institution? No, he runs away. That's what this story says to me: he's a man running away, running away to something obviously very attractive, but refusing to consider the possibility that where he was (in the Church) could have been greater.