Saturday, August 06, 2005

This assignment

David Warren, one of those annoying converts, like yours truly:
I love the Catechism not for its moments of poetry, however. Frankly, Shakespeare and the King James Version deliver more of that. I love it rather because the whole thing fits together. Large as it is, and larger for encompassing everything taught by Scripture and the long living experience of the Church, it is free of internal contradictions. And you may believe, with a "devil's advocate" mind like mine, I am always looking for them. Of course, the thing makes no sense at all if its premises are wrong. And the premise, that "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again", together with the premise that the Gospels give an essentially true and comprehensive view of the matter, is bigger than any book. It is only given such a mind-boggling leap of faith, that the question, "What do we then believe, in detail?" can no longer be avoided. ... Now, if you really want to know why the Catholic Church not only refuses to ordain women, but believes itself incapable of doing so even if it wanted to, I recommend that you go to that Catechism of the Catholic Church, and look up "Women, Ordination of" in the index (sections 1577 and 1578). That is not where the journey ends, however, but rather one of many places where it could begin. For, once again, the whole superstructure of Catholic belief ties together. And to understand the function of any single part, you must gradually acquire a view of the whole thing, and of its purpose.
In another column, Warren begins to address the 'ordination of women priests' by asking:
How did I get this assignment? I've been marked as a "traditionalist Catholic" since I came over from the Anglican Church barely 18 months ago. Well, I was a traditionalist Anglican before that; and my path since adolescent atheism has been consistently towards Christian orthodoxy. It feels odd, to be defending Catholic authority, so soon after my arrival.
The rest of the column adds interesting and very colourful background information to the 'ordination' story. I have been asking myself the same question as Warren, and for some time now. I was never an atheist, not even in high school, but I was a firm agnostic for many years. And now that my mind is beginning to open up to it's own fallibility and it's createdness, I find myself from time to time described as a fundamentalist, a Rad Trad, or - my personal favourite - a Nazi wiccan nutbar. I don't let it bother me much; it seems to me that more often than not such accusations reveal more about the speaker than the accused. Like the fact that they often appear to be relatively young and know little to nothing about faith or philosophy. It happens most frequently when I venture to comment on a non religious Canadian blog and to my mind that says that the Canadian university hasn't changed a lot since I was a student in the early 1990's. I don't claim to be an old expert at either subject. I realize that in Canada, that entire aspect of education is hard to come by and I'm trying to overcome what I see as a deficiency that has been passed on to me. I try to make the most of that transition experience and try to avoid closing myself off in a little self imposed ghetto of people of people I agree with in every particular. I'm just a guy who's trying to put Orthodoxy together in his own mind, a guy who is surprised at how often religious matter turns up on this blog. You can write a blog that is about nothing but the author but that has never been my intent. There are times when the news is slow or not of interest to you, and then you can indulge in posts fanciful; there are other times when a story breaks, you have a feeling that perhaps - just perhaps - you can add some perspective to it. If you're really lucky on one of those kinds of posts, you're rewarded with insights from others. Most of my commenters, yeah and nay, are gold, and as this blog nears it's first birthday I thought you should know that. Blogging has introduced me to a wonderful, motley cast of characters I would not otherwise have had the chance to interact with, and I remain curious as to what the future will bring.

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