Color Me Shocked


Written on 6:22 PM by Jack B.

None other than the NY Times runs an op-ed that is actually, kinda, maybe pro-Benedict XVI. German writer Martin Mosebach's A Pope Without a Country looks at the "restrained" (to put it midly) reaction of a German pope (well this German pope) in his native Germany.

The best quotes come (for me) in the beginning:

"German Catholicism is quite wealthy and very middle class. It enjoys significant state privileges and is afraid of stepping outside the bounds delineated by state and society. German bishops and prominent lay members are forever worried about losing their voice in the democratic consensus, their position within an enlightened liberal society.

It's as if they've forgotten how old the church really is, how many social systems it has outlived, how many epochal ruptures it has withstood, and the fact that it has spent entire centuries not being fully "up to date" - perhaps especially at the time of its founding in an urban, enlightened, multicultural, atomized and individualized society that it slowly infiltrated and transformed.

Pope Benedict XVI may be convinced that democratic institutions have as little right to interfere in the structure of the church as all the many emperors and kings who tried to do as much in past centuries. This stance has made him unpopular among his fellow German clergymen, who are intimidated by contemporary culture, but it also fascinates intellectuals who are far removed from the church, and who aren't swayed by any superficial rhetoric of reconciliation. In Benedict, they see the authentic representative of a religion that they don't know whether to view as still dangerous or possibly as the only remaining counter to a secular society."

The money quote comes for me in the part I've put in bold. The Church in the
West (and not just the German Church but this goes for the American one as well)
has lost sight of it's history, of how strong it can be, of how much it's
withstood. They are more concerned with sucking up to the elite and to the
powerful, to the politicians, to the media, to academia that they've turned the
Church into a weak brother, a wussified syncophant afraid of giving offense to
the likes of the NY Times (ironic, considering where this article came from).

That's why we have so many mediocre bishops, priests, and laypeople. They are so afraid of what others will say they won't take a stand, not for the Church nor for it's teachings. And that's also why people (especially bishops) who do just that like the late Cardinal O'Connor if NY, Archbishop Chaput of Denver, Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, Pope John Paul II and now Benedict XVI cause such consternation and distress within and outside the Church. They don't care what people say, they don't care about criticism, they are not afraid to preach the Truth (as the Church sees it) even when it makes them unpopular. They have ignored the modern unspoken "Gentlemen's Agreement" between some members of the Church and non-Catholic largely non-religious liberal Western World - if you just shut up and don't talk about your archaic dogmas and all that Jesus-talk, then you will be accepted. If not then you will be shunned and pushed down the class and social ladder. It seems to me, acceptance has always been a goal of Catholics in countries where they have been minorities like the US, the UK and Germany and increasinly so where they are now virtual minorities in Spain, Italy and France. Those like Benedict who refused to bend down to the dictates of the Powers that Be and disrupt the status quo must expect to be villified.

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