Saturday, June 26, 2004

Damn Ohhreeeyentalists

Thomas Fox, a regular columnist for NCR, has covered the Catholic Asia beat for years. Because of his persistent and sincere love for Asia, NCR has the distinction of being the only American Catholic periodical that cares a little more than a hoot about the Church in Asia.

A few years ago, one of Fox's columns on Asia pissed me off so badly I wrote a letter to the editor, complaining of his objectification of Asians and their culture as a means of furthering his ideological agenda. Since the problem wasn't restricted to Fox's column, it wasn't long before I cancelled my subscription.

Well, apparently he's still enlisting Asian Catholics in his war against Catholic orthodoxy:

"Leaders of Catholic lay organizations throughout East Asia met here for four days last week before issuing a paper urging their bishops to stay faithful to the forward-looking pastoral path they have outlined since the early 1970s." (Italics mine)

"All expressed hope that when their bishops consider issues of the family to develop pastoral guidelines that these guidelines fit Asian realities and are not simply repetitions of traditional moral principles."

"Conference participants called for an end of all discrimination within the church. They criticized an exclusively male hierarchy and said the laity needs to have more say in decision-making."

"The statement called for an end to discrimination against children, who are not allowed to receive the Eucharist until 'the so-called age of reason.' The practice of withholding communion came out of Western Europe, the statement noted. 'Children, by virtue of their baptism, are full members of the church and have a full right to Eucharist.'"

"On the subject of homosexuality, the statement called for 'pastoral openness' and guidance to parents of gays and lesbians. 'Everyone is created by God and loved by God just as they are.'"

"He and others said it is now the work of an active laity to hold the bishops responsible for their words."

The only good Asian Catholic, it seems to Fox, is a liberal American Catholic with a twist of lotus essence. He always makes Asian Catholics seem little more than a collective megaphone through which he gets to mouth off his NCR-brand of Catholicism. He invokes their experiences selectively, that is only when they make nice cannon fodder against his "conservative" enemies. I'd call it ethnic eisegesis or "proof-profiling," sorta like proof-texting.

I prefer to be ignored by orthodox white Catholics than "orientalized" by the liberal elite. At least by ignoring me, they're honestly acknowledging my "otherness," not the cheap, maudlin "otherness" embraced by liberals, who usually paint Asians as opposite of what they hate about the West.