Saturday, October 24, 2020

Oh, That's Right

Recently Jorge Bergoglio, aka "Pope Francis", declared in what were supposedly unscripted comments from a documentary, an apparent approval for homosexual civil unions:

“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this,” the pope said. “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

Suddenly liberals love Catholicism, the same liberals who hate Amy Coney Barret because she is just a little too serious about her Catholic faith. Once again the old joke "Is the Pope Catholic?" has become a serious question. 

This has left American clergy scrambling to explain away Jorge's apparent declaration. The Bishop of Toledo, who oversees the parish my wife and I were married in, "The Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas

Catholics and non-Catholics alike should understand that unscripted comments expressed by a pope in a media interview for a film are not an official and authoritative exercise of the papal teaching office.  The pope’s recent comments should be weighed within the context of prior official papal and Magisterial teachings, avoiding the spread of misinformation, misinterpretation of settled Church teaching, and misleading headlines.

That is the old "ex cathedra" dodge, where the "Pope", who is supposed to be the "Vicar Of Christ" or the earthly representative of Jesus, can say something completely wrong and against the teachings of the Catholic church as long as he isn't saying it "officially". Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI made an even stronger statement:

The Holy Father’s apparent support for the recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples needs to be clarified. The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions. The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.

tl;dr The Pope is wrong.

Jorge has put the Catholic faithful in a bind for his entire papacy. A South American Marxist, he seems hellbent on remaking Catholicism into something unrecognizable. 

Then you have Tim Keller, a fairly famous evangelical author and speaker, who was widely considered to be "conservative". Earlier in 2020 Tim was parroting the approved talking about the "White nationalism" phantom menace (see: Tim Keller Tilting At Windmills ). Then more recently he was going on about "White privilege". From Doug Wilson's post:

“If you have white skin, it’s worth $1 million over a lifetime,” [Keller says], “you have to say, I don’t deserve this . . . I am the product of and standing on the shoulders of other people who got that through injustice . . . the Bible says you are involved in injustice, and even if you didn’t actually do it.”

Tim Keller isn't a dumb guy so he knows that being White isn't just having "White skin". I also kind of wonder if Tim would like to go to a rural church in Nebraska or in Appalachia and explain to those people who come from generations of poverty, working in coal mines and corn fields, that they have an extra cool million in value coming to them because they are White. 

I talked about this before, while my dad is a doctor and I had a privileged upbringing, it wasn't because I am White. My dad came from deep poverty and put himself through college and medical school, raised a family, built a business and created a legacy that he will pass on to his children, financial and more importantly intellectual. There is nothing uniquely White in this unless Tim Keller thinks only White people can rise above their upbringing and raise decent kids? For more see: Repost: What My White Privilege Looked Like

Other evangelicals like J.D. Greer, current President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Russell Moore have been pushing evangelicalism steadily to the left for years, first quietly and now overtly. This is less ideological and more self-interested. The country is shifting left culturally and especially on race so staying out in front of the that trend is also staying out of the workforce. 

I have talked about this quite a bit (see for ex.: The Enemy Standing Behind You Is More Dangerous Than The One In Front Of You) but the rapid shifting on once inviolable principles by clergy is getting ridiculous and is one of the major reason I have disliked institutional religion for so long. There is something unbecoming about adult men living off of the generosity of old ladies instead of working real jobs. According to the New Testament, Paul who was an apostle still worked for a living as a tent maker and probably other professions as well. Today we have men who haven't worked a real job in decades desperately avoiding the need to find gainful employment. They sit in their office at church, spending 20+ hours writing a 30 minute sermon that people will forget as soon as they walk out of the building. I write that as someone who had a brief stint in the clergy but still worked a full time professional job.

In general, organized religion seems to be mostly a way for clever people to harness and monetize the inherent belief in a higher power, God or gods or whatever, found in most people. In my journey away from being a minister to rejecting most forms of institutional religion to finally jettisoning organized religion as a whole, there is a paralel movement by the Christian spectrum of organized religion to shift rapidly with the changing times, the exact opposite of what the Christian faith is supposed to be about. The Christian church is designed to be a bulwark against the shifting preferences of the world, not a weather-vane that spins and changes with every eddy and gust of wind.

While I sometimes miss the certitude of the Christian faith, in general I don't miss the endless hypocrisy and grifting that is the hallmark of organized and institutionalized religion. While my belief in "God" or a First Cause or what have you is as strong as ever, I have no place in my life for religiosity and clericalism. 

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