Monday, February 11, 2013

The Other Ex Cathedra

has resigned from his cathedra.
Catholic trivia: this is the papal throne in the church of St John by the Lateran Gate, which is the actual cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. The Vatican basilica is basically a huge shrine church over St Peter's grave.

First time this has happened since the late Middle Ages. Or the Early Renaissance, depending how you view these things.

Benedict XVI, back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote some edicts that were the last straw for Ex Cathedra, back when he was Friar Ex Cathedra. But by the time of his election, the decades had brought me to a calmer view, unlike most of my Catholic friends, who howled at his election as if it were some kind of catastrophe.

What the Roman Catholic Church requires in its earthly head is that he be...a Roman Catholic. Really, and not RCINO. The awful truth is that Roman Catholicism has a nature, a shape, a definition. It is a dogmatic-hierarchical-sacramental reality that cannot be made into something else without losing itself. Thank you, Dr. Jung. And a lot of Liberal Catholics are in fact, IMHO, not Catholics anymore.

Unlike the reforming Christians of the Reformation, who stood up and walked out, most groovy Spirit of Vatican II Catholics have lacked the balls to leave, but have stayed inside the walls while abandoning what gave those walls shape. They're always waiting for the next Good Pope John...seemingly unaware of how deeply conservative a man he was. He smiled a lot and he was sweet, but when it came to the fundamentals, he was orthodox.

When you look at all the other (Western and White) churches who have danced to every tune that Liberalism called, they are falling apart. Why would the Roman Church, which, like it or not, has played a foundational role in creating The West, go down that path?

In terms of the three horsemen...pardon me, horsepersons...of the Liberal apocalypse --race, sex and class-- the Church only takes one on. By refusing to ordain women or make marriage a genderless sacrament, it's one of the few institutions left that have any ground to stand on for traditional and biological gender. As for race and class, it is an accomplice. A very mixed review.

I made a choice years ago and I don't regret it, painful though it was, and so remained for a long time. But when the fates of worlds and empires are at stake, my personal stuff does not amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. So I remain clearly outside the walls, but I don't want the city to fall.

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