Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dissent Undermining Witness

There is a real blindspot in some conservative Catholic circles about the wrongs and sufferings caused by trying to enforce border policy more strictly, the injustices some employers inflict on workers, etc. This blindspot originates from the fact that conservative Catholics find themselves so under attack from the cultural and political left in other senses that they are too ready to ignore the wrongs associated with the right. This is not unlike, for instance, the blindness that many Catholic circles had to the real injustices suffered by the peasants and workers in pre-Civil War Spain.

In this regard, it would be a good thing if there was a faithful Catholic left, devoted to both the teachings of the Church and justice for the oppressed.

One of the things that fries me every time another Commonweal email shows up in my inbox is how determined they are not to be such a voice. Yes, they gesture at justice for the oppressed at times. But the key reason for being for the Catholic left (at least as represented by Commonweal) is very clearly dissent from Catholic doctrine.

Primarily this dissent is focused on practical morality, because we are a practical people and the average American cares far more about being able to marry without the Church saying that divorce and remarriage is impossible or that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, to be able to have sex when and how he desires without reference to any standard of morality other than his own preference or any concern that this might result in the inconvenience of new life, about his ability to purchase pornography, etc. than he does about the nature of the priesthood or the Eucharist or the Trinity or the relationship between the human and divine natures of Christ.

Over the past year, the particular focus of this dissent has been an ever-escalating crescendo of assaults on the encyclical Humanae Vitae and the moral prohibition against artificial birth control laid out therein.

Little does it seem to occur to their writers than every time the attack the ability of the Church to teach authoritatively, every time they assert that a doctrine must be "accepted" in order for it to be true, they are attacking their own ability to use that same Church authority to persuade fellow Catholics to break with their political allies and cultural tribes over issues such as treatment of migrants and workers.


mandamum said...

Dorothy Day's cause has been started for canonization, hasn't it? Perhaps we can request her intercession for an authentic (and thereby truly challenging) Catholic Left to arise again. Somehow it seems more likely to actually happen, given the possible supernatural power that can be brought to bear, than an authentic pro-life wing to re-arise in the Democratic Party......

I knew truly faithful Catholics who were more of the Catholic Worker tradition than the Right to Life/Knights of Columbus tradition when I was at Notre Dame, but they are often quiet on the dissent issues (because their energy/focus is elsewhere, actually working with and walking with the poor) so they disappear behind the loud-mouths. Also, they don't really make newspaper headlines exciting.... I think several of the people on your blogroll would also fit that description, except possibly the "quiet" part :)

Jamie said...

Oh, man, pining and yearning for an authentic Catholic left over here.

pro-life pro-Humanae-Vitae Democrat who went a really long time without voting for any actual Democrats but then Donald Trump happened and WHOA NELLY we got your proportionate reasons right here, folks

Banshee said...

That would be pro-life Donald Trump, the son of a legal immigrant.