Teach Us To Number Our Commandments

Cardinal Dolan thinks Roman Catholics and American culture need to recover biblical teaching on sex (finally a bishop other than the Roman one):

We rarely, if ever, speak about it. (Just ask Pope Francis! Did you see that, on his flight to Asia last week, a journalist asked him if he would condemn contraception. He replied, “Why are you always asking about that?”)

I’m not proud about the fact that we rarely speak about the sixth and ninth commandment. Why don’t we? One reason might be that, decades ago, we probably did speak way too much about it. A second might be that it’s so controversial. And a third is that we’re still so embarrassed by the sex abuse scandal that we’re gun-shy. . . .

one of our most pointed challenges, as a Church, and, for that matter, as a culture, is to regain the high ground on the nobility of God’s design, to present it credibly and fresh to ourselves, one another, and a society that has reduced sex to culture’s most popular contact sport.

Do the captains of Team Religion in America recognize that players on the team don’t even follow the same play book when it comes to counting the Decalogue?

And does the good Cardinal not see that by blurring church folks and Americans Team Religion has compromised the discipline of the Team’s players? Maybe if all churches worried more about their own members and less about the “other kind” of Americans, the results would lift the boats of the whole nation.

Postscript: meanwhile, Boniface detects in certain apologists — ahem, Mark Shea, who swims in the same hip Northwest culture that Jason and Christian (without the Callers) do — the difficulty the fellows with all the apostolic authority face even from some of their most enthusiastic supporters:

. . . this thread demonstrates some inherent problems in the neo-Cath position: To what degree will we see that alleged orthodoxy to the Church is really just a matter of supporting what is viewed as “current policy”? Is there not a problem with viewing a perennial discipline as merely “policy”? Is not the value of discipline and tradition severely downgraded. if so? And if these sorts of matters are simply the “current policy” that can change the way it changes with each American presidential administration, what tools does the Church really have to ensure discipline and continuity in the long run?

Ultimately, the neo-Cath strategy is to insist loudly that certain things can never be changed so long as the current Pontiff does not want to change them; then, when the “policy” changes with another pontiff, suggest just as loudly that such matters were never immune from change to begin with. I’m not suggesting the practical question of whether or not to admit persons with deep-seated homosexuality to the seminary is a doctrinal question or that infallibility is on the line here; I am suggesting that reasoning that the Church’s very old discipline on this matter (it goes back to Trent and before) can be seen as merely “current policy” is destructively reductionist.


17 thoughts on “Teach Us To Number Our Commandments

  1. The problem that many of us faced when we were faithful RCs is that while the formation of our faith that our parents were responsible for remained, our institutional formation made us rigid and shrill and brittle.

    When Rome found we were malformed she sought another people with Vatican II.

    When the results of Vatican II became apparent in the pews, it sought another people again and the result of that is the crop of converts that are now rigid, brittle and shrill.

    Francis seems to want another people too.

    As a theologian I think he’s the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. As a politician, I think he’s not so much gifted as he is just ordinarily hungry for influence and any possibility of that is dependent upon the tastes of the ruling class.


  2. “We have not changed,”
    Says the man whose Mass
    Is now backwards. And
    Whose Pontiff sings
    Of a Silent Spring when
    Newly-sheared sheep besot themselves
    And bleat their martyrdom obscene
    Beside a 2002 Taurus (aquamarine).

    This man, Mass-backwards,
    Looks up at a brim of felt and sees gold;
    A Petrine prism from which all is made clear.
    “Despite what they say,”
    Him, inconsolable, him a Tridentine bell,
    Ringing for a precious few,
    “This hat, this hat fits me quite well.”


  3. Mark Shea, the neo-Cath, puckers up again:

    Francis is, above all, a disciple of Jesus. If you don’t get that, you don’t get him. He will never fit our political categories, left or right. I suspect he’s going to wind up reviled for the name of Jesus by our fickle race. And I suspect he is a saint of the Church. God bless and protect him once the left joins with the right to attack him.


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