Sunday, February 27, 2011
DISSENT COMES IN ALL SIZES, SHAPES AND THEOLOGIES
When I was in the seminary in the last half of the 1970's, one of the theologies that was developing was that of "dissent" from Catholic teaching if the teaching was thought to be non-infallible. But even "infallibility" was being tested and there was dissent from it too.
Academic theologians began to see themselves not only in terms of helping bishops to articulate the faith, but they saw themselves almost as a parallel magisterium. The political concept of "loyal opposition" became a battle cry for them as they developed the theological "loyal dissent" mode of teaching and helping people to avoid the hard moral, ethical and doctrinal issues of the day. In other words, it was/is a neo-protestantism.
I would have to speculate that this theology of dissent promoted in the late 1960's and onward is what has led to "Cafeteria Catholicism." Pick and choose what you like, agree with what you like and discard, denigrate and castigate what you don't like.
Progressive Catholics aren't the only ones who do this. Traditional Catholics do it also. Traditionalists want the pope and bishops to crack down on those who disturb the liturgy and manipulate it; They want dissident Catholics banned from Holy Communion and they want clear moral directives preached in a hell fire and damnation mode.
But when it comes to the social doctrines of the Church enunciated in many papal encyclicals that in some ways seems to support liberal politics, these very same traditional Catholics all of a sudden become cafeteria Catholics.
The bishops of Wisconsin have been urging the governor there not to trample on the rights of workers to organize. They are enunciating the best of Catholic teaching as it concerns worker's right and the right to organize unions.
That doesn't go over very well with those enamored with more conservative politics. In this case, they become like Nancy Pelosi but with a very different form of disregard for Catholic teaching, but disregard for it is exactly what it is.
But with that said, the following comment is very interesting too taken from an interview in the National Catholic Register:
Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, a free-market think tank, suggested that the bishops’ response to the union protests marked a new era of episcopal leadership and a more nuanced understanding of economic realities in the United States.
He noted that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had sought to reorient an overly politicized approach to social justice concerns and that new Catholic leaders had responded to this new direction. “Politics is not the governing hermeneutic of the Church,” said Father Sirico, “but for many years politics was the whole paradigm through which everything was seen.”
But he also suggested the Wisconsin bishops’ stance implicitly acknowledged “the changing reality of the American Catholic population as a whole. “The only sector of union membership that is growing is public unions,” he said. “That is highly problematic from a Catholic point of view, because these public unions publicly favor abortion rights and ‘gay marriage’ and seek to undercut the Church’s agenda on social questions.”
PRESS THIS AND READ THE FOLLOWING FROM THE WISCONSIN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE. ARE YOU A DISSENTER?