To continue my extended throat clearing, I'll share what my general impressions are of some of the principles currently engaged in the conflict.
- I am a big admirer of Pope Francis. I think his modeling of simplicity and humility has been very helpful, and an example the Church needs right now. It's part of the reason I took my daughters across the country on a pilgrimage to be part of his visit.
Besides that, I believe that he is the leader that the Holy Spirit has chosen for the Church at this time, and my role as a lay person, is to follow him, unless he is leading me into sin.
And the same was true for his predecessors.
- I am a huge fan of Ross Douthat. In most respects, he provides a model for making the case for positions that the public doesn't want to hear.
I am happier when he is providing thoughtful analysis of cultural trends than handicapping political horse races, but I understand what brings the eyeballs.
- I have mixed feelings about Father James Martin. On the one hand, he does seem to be bringing an intelligent group of people (back?) into the Church, and has an obvious excitement about his faith.
On the other hand, he occasionally leaves the impression that he is a liberal first and Catholic second.
A particular disappointment to me was his response to the news that the Holy Father met with Kim Davis. It amounted to, in essence, that the pope meets with lots of people, he could have been tricked by some nasty conservatives, and it probably doesn't mean anything.
It's true that the meeting likely did not mean that Pope Francis was familiar with or endorsed the entirety of Davis's legal battle.
But I think Fr. Martin missed an opportunity to remind his readers that this is an affirmation of Ms. Davis's humanity. That she may not deserve to prevail in her legal challenges, but she remains a human person who also is not deserving of the demonization she had been subject to.
I've also found his frequent use of the word "hate" in describing those who disagree with him to be less than helpful.
- I am a great admirer of Bishop Robert Barron, and think he is providing an excellent model for what catechesis, evangelization, and engagement with a hostile culture can look like for us going forward.
- I certainly have my disagreements with Damon Linker. But I do find him to be someone who makes a great effort to consistently apply his principles, even if they might be ones I disagree with.