Monday, March 24, 2008

"Conservative" Catholic Hypocrites?

There is a rather long, rambling comment posted over on The Sad Saga: Rochester Catholic School School Closings. In it, author Anonymous takes "conservative" Catholics to task for "acting like spoiled children" who "feel free to raise hell when Church decisions don't go their way." Anonymous then adds, "They should at least have the decency to admit that there are two sides to the Cafeteria."

This sentiment isn't unusual. I've seen many like it on Topix and the D&C comment areas the last two months. They all display one of the results of the abysmal catechesis that has been standard fare in this and other dioceses for far too long.

Their authors see no distinction between obeying the Church in matters of faith and morals and accepting the Church's administrative decisions. To them they are one and the same. Either you accept everything the Church says or you are free to reject anything. Those who insist that matters of faith and morals are non-negotiable, while still claiming that policy and other administrative decisions can be questioned, are simply hypocrites.

These folks obviously have never been taught anything about the long and distinguished history of totally faithful Catholics protesting either unjust or erroneous administrative decisions on the part of the Church. Perhaps the most famous example is Catherine of Siena who, in the fourteenth century, was highly instrumental in convincing Pope Gregory XI to move the papal court from Avignon, France, where it had been for over 70 years, back to Rome where it belonged.

Catherine was canonized a saint in 1461 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1970. Not too shabby for a Tuscan peasant woman who told a pope, to his face, that he was in the wrong.

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