Friday, August 31, 2012

Old theological musings

Although I find the edifice of Christian dogma to be quite striking, I have not been so moved by Christian morality, especially in its current trendy form. Rome's recent embrace of European socialism strikes me as no less historically contingent or opportunistic than its earlier embrace of European colonialism or prior to that, European feudalism.

I note that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is structured as an expansive commentary on The Creed, The Ten Commandments and The Lords Prayer. Very traditional.

When it comes to the Seventh Commandment, against stealing, we have an extensive (bloated, inflated, unhinged) discourse on "Catholic Social Teaching". This setting makes Theft the paradigm for bad economic behavior. When the 9th and 10th commandments, against coveting, are discussed, we have hardly any consciousness of the role that envy --of which the Decalogue makes a very big point-- plays in political, social and economic life.

If conservatives are more liable to greed...which the Church now likes to see as theft, although they are quite different moral animals...then liberals are certainly more liable to envy. But to this deep and destructive passion, driving so much of what passes for justice and equality politicsRome has chosen to show disinterest, and fails to notice its architectonic power.

It was, and is, fashionable to dismiss Catholic morality as sex-obsessed, what was contemned as "pubic theology". Now its additional obsession with an even more complex and contestatious subject it knows even less about is supposed to be some kind of noble revelatory breakthrough. If I hear a bishop or nun say "the poor and vulnerable" one more time, I'm gonna p...e. To the extent that any Church teaching is based on natural knowledge, to that extent it must respect that knowledge. No? Math, biology...and economics are not proper realms of episcopal oversight. Sexual ethics can't be based on ignorance of or outright error about human biology. Pontificating --and that words is perfectly apt here-- about how the economy ought to be can't be based on errors about how it actually is.

As I have said before, color me unimpressed.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...