Wednesday, June 23, 2010
THE LIMITS OF QUESTIONING EVERYTHING AND PUSHING AN AGENDA OF DISSENT
Today Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal will meet President Barack Obama. It appears that the good general and the good president will have a pow wow over some sarcastic remarks, what some might call snarks, concerning the president's leadership as well as the leadership of others in the president's camp. Clearly this seems to be a case of insubordination on the part of the general. I will be surprised if the general is still in his position after his meeting with the president, unless of course, the president is glad to have those under his command who question everything and even the president's leadership.
There are some parallels to this in the Church today. Everyone is called to mature obedience to God and His Church in the areas of faith and morals and even canon law, yes,canon law. Catholics must follow the laws of the Church as it concerns marriage, ordination, pastoral councils, finance councils and so on.
We must also follow the liturgical norms of the church, which after Vatican II have become more flexible and diverse. For example today many parishes celebrate both forms of the one Roman Rite, the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form. This was not even possible until about three years ago.
As well, a monumental change in the English Mass is about to be implemented. There are some in the hot houses of academia in the Church who are none to pleased with Pope Benedict's liberal allowance of the EF Mass and the Vatican's insistence that the new English translation of the Mass be a literal translation of the Latin, even in sentence structures. These academics and their students are seeing red and it's not just the red of the rubrics that they are seeing. In fact, the red of the rubrics they've become color blind to years ago.
What's the connection between General McChrystal and public dissenters in the Church toward the legitimate authority of the Magisterium even in non-infallible leadership such as approving a particular English translation of the Mass? Well, the Church leadership sometimes will go the extra mile to keep dissenters in the Church or wait them out or show mercy to them. We've seen this with errant and abusive priests time and time again. In the long run, this tolerance of errant, disrespectful and abusive behavior has undermined the entire Magisterium of the Church. The Magisterium will recover and is recovering, but it will take making strong and decisive decisions against public dissent even in administrative areas of the Church. There will have to be real consequences for such public dissent.
I never thought I would say this, but depending on what happens today with General McChrystal, President Barack Obama may be giving authority figures in the Church a very clear message about dissent, disrespect and the consequences of such. Yes, this leadership will be from the president who praised the president of Notre Dame for having the courage to invite him to speak at last year's commencement ceremonies despite the fact that Fr. Jenkin's was strongly "encouraged" to modify the invitation. How ironic!