Monday, October 20, 2003

As my infrequent updates on this page are turning into a constant critique of Andrew Sullivan, I figure I should clarify a few things for the record, then move on.

Mr. Sullivan has more or less left the Catholic Church. For the record: When I said, numerous times, that he should just stay or go, dammit, I was serious: It is within one's God-given power to elect or decline membership in a faith. But this Hamlet-on-crack routine gets old after a while.

Despite my numerous disagreements with Mr. Sullivan, I am not happy he left. Necessarily, I think the Catholic Church is as close to right at any given time as is humanly possible (note: not perfect, just closer). The loss of a single light dims the whole; and, conversely, I mourn that a good man has willingly left the light.

All of this stems from what is surely a lousy catechesis: He believes -- he has internalized -- the idea that the Church does not promulgate the Truth; rather, they make rules, and worship more or less in God's name. Everything is a completely human decision; ergo, those with power construe it relative to those without. In this sense, the Body of Christ is merely a collection of people through time with a more or less similar view of God. How cheap. How poor.

Nonetheless, this cheap, poor view of the Pilgrim People of God is what led Sullivan to this point: The anger, the rage, that the Church, relying on the Bible as a whole, and on its Tradition, and the revelation of its Saints, could not, would not bend to his will. I am not casting stones; I've been in that position myself. (Ask me about the Immaculate Conception sometime; it ain't about Christ, kids.) But being Catholic means that you sometimes have to swallow your will and believe that, no matter how strongly you believe it, no matter how long and carefully you've thought about it, no matter how right it feels, you can be wrong, and when you conflict with the Church, you probably are. (If this were not so, we could solve every problem by just sitting there and thinking about it; unfortunately, this is why, in Mark Steyn's memorable phrase, the Democrats are on Planet Bananas right now.)

So, for the record: Come back, Andrew. It's not too late.

Better thoughts here, here, of course here, and, on a less directly related, but highly relevant note, here.

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