Sunday, January 25, 2004

Per this post, I didn't see it in time to post a response to the thread (been a bit busy), but I wanted to write down my thoughts.

I don't have a problem with people shedding light on the evils of the Church. I have a little bit of a problem, but not a huge problem, with people publically criticizing and disagreeing with prudential decisions of bishops.

What I do have a big problem with is using a pattern of sinfulness by bishops as a trump card in arguments when one disagrees with the bishops.

The discussion about the Arlington "Good Touch Bad Touch" program is a perfect example. Parents and others express outrage, others look at it and say there's really nothing wrong with it, and rather than detail what exactly is wrong with it, people cite it as just one more example of what's wrong with the bishops. So the choice presented is to either trust the Concerned Parents, or trust the pedophile-hiding celibate bishops who have no children of their own. You're with us or you're with the terrorists.

I'm sorry, but this is not Christian, and using this pattern of argument is an invitation to deaden the hierarchy's voice when it speaks on issues one might agree with. Just last Saturday, two different letters to the editor in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch used exactly this line of argument to oppose Bishop Burke's warnings to pro-choice politicians.

And before someone starts telling me about Jesus overturning the tables in the Temple and calling the Pharisees hypocrites, I think it's important to remember that Jesus focused on that particular behavior. He didn't say that this comes from the Pharisess, and the Pharisees are no good, thus this is no good.

This bishops are our spiritual fathers. Expose their sins if you must. Disagree with their prudential decisions if you must. But I feel very strongly that it's unwise to use their sins to destroy them personally in order to win an argument about a prudential decision.

Nobody wins that way.
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