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Switch to Forum Live View Three myths to give up...
3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 11:56AM #21
quondamonachus
Posts: 400

I might be reading what I want to read, but I see Allen as covertly subversive; that is, I read between his lines and detect veiled irony and subtle exposee. He appears to write from a neutral viewpoint to maintain broad credibility and avoid coming across as biased ax grinder, and attempts to give credit where it's due; hence the shill rep.


Dolan as cartoonist's treasure trove: I've already started. P6 and JP2 were bonanzas. My editorial cartoon on HV in a college paper, '68, was posted on this board in '05.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 3:34PM #22
adamcro-magnon
Posts: 1,144

These three myths are fascinating and are worthy of reflection.


1.


The Catholic Church comprises a laity and a clerisy; the latter are in moral and ritual authority over others.  That always has been the case and always will be.  A compliant and dutiful laity wholeheartedly going along with this does not obviate the crucial distinction between laity and an ordained clerisy (a sacramental status).  The latter are the custodians of the deposit of faith and exercise governance where matters of morals and matters of faith and matters of ritual are concerned.  How this plays out over history is riveting.  How did it function in an agro-literate civilization?  How will it, how does it function in an industrial and technological civilization where the ethic of cognition fuelling the progress of society has severely disadvantaged religion generally (the secularization thesis).  Whilst one may hope that the laity are more educated these days than they were in the past, more tensions come to the surface: what type of knowledge is valued and how is this value legitimized?  What is the status given to religious knowledge in the battle between it on the one hand and reason and science on the other?  Presumably a large(?) number of Catholic contracepting parents come to decisions not in line with the teachings of their church.  Why should this be so?  How are the power differentials overcome and how are they mystified?  And this in a modern world where authorities/experts/specialists conflict.  Do we pick and choose, shop around?


To raise the question as did Newman - where would we (the clerisy) be without the laity? - is true but trite.  Might as well ask - where would the monarchy in England today be without the loyal subject?  All authorities have to establish in the eyes of their inferiors (in the case of the church, those not ordained, those who are not in moral and ritual authority over others, those who have to be saved in a missionary purpose?) why the system of legitimation is valid.  Those who come out on top announce that they are the servants of the servants of God.  Also, who commands knowledge?  What type of knowledge? What is the status of the knowers of yesteryear in today’s querrelous arena where there is a plurality of authorities, experts and specialists? - and all these lines seem intersect uncomfortably in the individual in modern society, who may end up making decisions not in line with an authority of olde.  In Europe we live in a world of irreconcilable paradigms.  Will this irreconcilability come to inflict itself upon the developing world, where such hopes are said to lie?


2.


The church in decline obviously merits comment.  In those areas of the world where non-Christian world-based faiths (the ‘greats’ as opposed to the parochial and locally indigenous systems of belief) prevail the influence of Christianity or Catholicism is not going to be overwhelming (Asia, India, the sub Continent, the Far East - although progress is anticipated in some areas and yearned for in others.  In those areas where Catholicism has a hold (especially the Americas - south and central) it is predicted there will be a rise - but the spot to watch is that area where Pentecostalism (which today is the fastest growing religion) has seen mass defections from the traditional faith (i.e. Catholicism).  


The area where a phenomenal increase (the greatest) is predicted is sub-Sarahan Africa.  This raises interesting questions.  I think of Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and other former British colonies and find two words which, where Christianity generally is concerned, ought to signal worrying concerns: ‘witchcraft’ and ‘homosexuality’.  The Catholic Church condemns the former belief system but it is interesting to see how in many other Christian denominations there is quite a melding, a demonic wedding, a blistering fusion which puts together witchcraft accusations (against children) and Christianity.   Likewise with homosexuality - there is the demonizing process at work - and here the Catholic Church has had its part to play.  As for its part in the present situation in a variety of such countries it will be interesting to observe its comments.  I reflect on the recent comments/outburst by Cardinal O’Brien of Scotland  on the subject of gay marriage.


The areas where there will be a decline are Europe and the USA and the Old Commonwealth.  The ethic of cognition which fuels the development of industrialization and technological development highlights an area where secularism has come to the fore in debate and in politics over the place of religion in society.  The obvious questions concern the degree to which this will influence the religious processes in those parts of the world where secularization is lacking and where primitive beliefs (witchcraft) are often seen to dovetail with Christianity.  Already in South America (traditionally Catholic), countries with fast developing economies (Brazil, the Argentine) are seeing groups arguing for a place in the sun which under a strictly religious regime of old (Church working with State - often in the past, men on horseback) would be denied them - for example gay rights.  How do these fare, how will they fare in South America and Central America - in countries democratic and liberal and pluralist?  I am, pace Allen, reminded of the comment from Diane Butler Bass: “the whole vision of some new Global South Christendom does not really mesh with historical, economic, or political realities of the contemporary world.”  Is she right?


Religions will always have a place but this place becomes intriguing as industrialization and technological processes develop and impact on traditional religious ways of looking at the world, being and acting in it.  Perhaps it is New heaven, New earth but not as we know it - or have ever known it.


3.


Is Catholicism being persecuted?  Are they the oppressed and not the oppressors?  It depends where you stand and from there what you see.  Groups in favour of abortion, gay rights, gay marriage, contraception, divorce etc. look upon the views of the Catholic Church with horror and in the western world, bless themselves in the knowledge that such a church is but a small concern with little import in their lives and argue that given power the church would not hesitate to legislate (if it could), discriminate and persecute for that has been its record in dealing with adversaries when power was its to enjoy.  The Church of course would not see it like that: all would be done for the salvation of souls, for the good of the better selves. 


The passage of legislation in this western world, certainly in Europe, has seen developments which send shudders down the Catholic spine which now feels that it is being persecuted - it is bound by law (law not to its taste) and is not allowed to discriminate against others who have no time for such belief systems; the democratic, liberal society seems to ensure that there will be no religious understanding of the human condition enshrined in the laws of the land.  This is seen and experienced as ‘aggressive secularism’, nay persecution, by those forced to make that unpalatable distinction between ‘le pays real’ of their dreams and aspirations and ‘le pays legal’ which they find confronting them in the liberal, democratic reality of a pluralist society and which reins in their dreams.  The modern world of the liberal, democratic, multicultural polity is not really their world at all.  Their influence within it is becoming increasingly negligible and Benedict’s hopes of re-infusing Europe with its Christian Catholic heritage seem now to be but ashes in the dust (Are they really?).  It is almost as if AD381 (the persecution and banning of pagan cults, practices and religions and the triumphalism of a dominant Catholic Faith under Theodosius) is being reversed and AD313 (Constantine’s Edict of Toleration) is now back once again on the table.  No longer Pontifex Maximus, not even Primus inter Pares, merely today a matter of In Partibus Infidelium and this is keenly and cruelly felt.  It is an undoing.


But while the sun shines in developing climes there is a chance - and there the church will look, foster and favour.  However, I again remind myself of the comment (above) from Diane Butler Bass.  But as these developing nations do indeed develop, will they go the way of the western world with its freedoms for the individual, its liberalism, its democratic processes, its pluralism and its ways of doing and seeing where there is not going to be enshrined in the laws of the land a religious understanding of the human condition.  I wonder.



Adam Cro-Magnon



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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 7:02PM #23
jane2
Posts: 14,295

Mar 13, 2012 -- 11:56AM, quondamonachus wrote:


I might be reading what I want to read, but I see Allen as covertly subversive; that is, I read between his lines and detect veiled irony and subtle exposee. He appears to write from a neutral viewpoint to maintain broad credibility and avoid coming across as biased ax grinder, and attempts to give credit where it's due; hence the shill rep.


Dolan as cartoonist's treasure trove: I've already started. P6 and JP2 were bonanzas. My editorial cartoon on HV in a college paper, '68, was posted on this board in '05.




quanda


You could be correct about John Allen, but that man is off my radar.




 

discuss catholicism
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2012 - 10:12AM #24
mokantx
Posts: 3,824

Mar 13, 2012 -- 11:56AM, quondamonachus wrote:


I might be reading what I want to read, but I see Allen as covertly subversive; that is, I read between his lines and detect veiled irony and subtle exposee. He appears to write from a neutral viewpoint to maintain broad credibility and avoid coming across as biased ax grinder, and attempts to give credit where it's due; hence the shill rep.


Dolan as cartoonist's treasure trove: I've already started. P6 and JP2 were bonanzas. My editorial cartoon on HV in a college paper, '68, was posted on this board in '05.




Quanda


To be honest, I've never seen Allen through that lens.  I'll have to think about this a bit, and perhaps reread some of his stuff.


I've always kinda seen him as giving the "wink wink/nudge nudge treatment" to the shenanigans: sort of the "boys will be boys" mindset that writes it all off.



mo

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2012 - 10:36AM #25
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

Mar 14, 2012 -- 10:12AM, mokantx wrote:


Quanda


To be honest, I've never seen Allen through that lens.  I'll have to think about this a bit, and perhaps reread some of his stuff.


I've always kinda seen him as giving the "wink wink/nudge nudge treatment" to the shenanigans: sort of the "boys will be boys" mindset that writes it all off.



mo




I can't think of a better example of that than this piece where he falls for Jeffrey Lena's argument that the eensie-weensie li'l ol' Vatican is the hapless victim of that gargantuan behemoth called American justice. I mean oh, the indignity of it all.Surprised

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2012 - 4:49PM #26
gilg
Posts: 5,200

From Cher's link:


Maybe it took a Berkeley guy whose orientation is internationalist and historical, rather than merely legal, to see defending the Vatican as a way of addressing concerns about unwarranted expansion of U.S. power. Nonetheless, Lena raises a question that’s at least worth pondering: Ultimately, what are these cases about? Are they about seeking justice for the victims, or are they about ensuring that American courts do not become the arbiters of all the world’s ills?


No matter how you frame it, the cases are about crimes, the cover up of crimes, and the responsibility of those aiding others in committing subject crimes. The rewrite has begun, last week Cardinal Egan retracted his "apology" and thinks the chuch should not have paid the sums of money it did..... this follow Hoyos and other bishops and cardinals, especially the Spanish and Italian ones who would rather drag the church through mud than pay a cent to the victims.


 

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