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Tuesday, April 12, 2005


are there any american catholics?

i seriously am beginning to think that few if any could exist, given the background intensity of lawless selfishness and arrogance that pervades the united states. humility is shameful here -- and yet it is the central tenet of the ancient faith.

even people who suppose themselves to be good catholics are clearly not. this lot (with a brilliant acronym for a nation that is perpetually losing self-control) managed to organize a protest in saint peter's basilica in protest of cardinal bernard law, who was celebrating the mass there. cardinal law was the man fingered in popular perception as being the driving force behind the church's policy of reassigning priests following pedophilic incidents. let this photo demonstrate their humility before god and church.

The Bascilica was beautiful and breathtaking. But, it was absoulutely devastating. It was just so, so sad knowing that at a time when we as survivors were showing our respect for the passing of the Pope, Cardinal Law was the lead celebrant over mass.

Some of the foreign press were asking "Isn't it enough that Cardinal Law apologized and stepped down in Boston? Why won't you leave him alone, and move on?"

We tried to stress that it's not about forgiving Cardinal Law, or punishing Cardinal Law. It's about stopping the pain. Far too many victims, their families and other Catholics, are still suffering, largely because of Cardinal Law. His presence. is very still very, very painful to so many.
this is so self-centered an interpretation of events that i fail to see how anyone can call themselves catholic and believe this.

first, how does a faithful catholic find the personal moral authority to criticize the roman catholic church? through intellectual weakness alone, i have to think. these people clearly haven't even begun to understand catholicism and the philosophy and history upon which it rests, nor perhaps the kantian morality of the self to which they truly subscribe. to be catholic is neither to question the wisdom of the church nor to presume you -- in your blindness and sin -- know better than the two thousand year old institution. catholicism is fundamentally the opposite.

such personal arrogance is stock and trade in america, however.

second, how is it that these people come to believe that the church of their faith is incapable of dispensing justice simply because it doesn't resemble the justice of the american police state -- jailers and executioners? do they presume that the contrived musings of our dead republic represent a greater justice than the holy see can deliver? do they presume to know that cardinal law was not enacting that justice?

again, these people have not thought out their argument as catholics. they have submitted to a carnal monomania for empty and morally-bankrupt revenge, and are pursuing it in a manner that can only be called unchristian and uncatholic -- but which is wholly american, in my decades of experience.

more profoundly, in their myopic self-involvement, they have learned nothing from pope john paul ii in death.

It's about stopping the pain. Far too many victims, their families and other Catholics, are still suffering, largely because of Cardinal Law. His presence. is very still very, very painful to so many.
if you cannot take away from the desperate struggle for life that john paul represented in life and death the lesson that suffering in the catholic conception is not merely human but chastising in the archaic sense -- that it is not something to be escaped or defeated but embraced as part of the fullness of life as a path to reflection and redemption -- you have learned nothing from the man.

to fight injustice is good; but they do not fight injustice -- they fight the acknowledged instrument of earthly justice in the roman church. even if they do not understand the justice as it is meted out, it is the faith to understand that the church, as the instrument of god, is just. instead they fight for self-defined revenge to ameliorate suffering -- a path that is not simply ineffective but sinful in more than one respect.

these misguided souls, it seems to me, need the guidance of an philosopher of the church. they've clearly not retained any real sensibility of what it means to be catholic.

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