Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Clergy Abuse Matters: World vs. Church

First Things has an open debate between victims' attorney Marci Hamilton and diocesan defense attorney L. Martin Nussbaum over statutes of limitation. The World: 1; The Church: 0

Philokalia Republic has a fine summary of the National Review Board's report on the staggering costs of clergy abuse for 2007 & 2008. The World: 1; The Church: 0

The World: 2; The Church: 0

Our dear hierarchy, evidently, is still hiding behind purely secular (and frankly pathetic) corporate legal and public relations strategies. It's yet more evidence that the episcopacy is still pretty confused about what exactly a bishop IS (beyond mere validity and liceity) in the post-Vatican II world. If we need any proof that neither the letter nor spirit of Vatican II is self-interpreting, how Lumen Gentium has done little to provide concrete guidance or even clarity of thought as we weather this shameful "filth" (to use Benedict's term) in our hierarchy should be plenty.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Malcolm X the Conservative

Shelby Steele is always a refreshing tonic on race matters.
The appeal of conservatism is the mutuality it asserts between individual and political freedom, its beautiful idea of a free man in a free society. And it offers minorities the one thing they can never get from liberalism: human rather than racial dignity. I always secretly loved Malcolm X more than Martin Luther King Jr. because Malcolm wanted a fuller human dignity for blacks -- one independent of white moral wrestling. In a liberalism that wants to redeem the nation of its past, minorities can only be ciphers in white struggles of conscience.
I've also, more often than not, found myself the oddball conservative for loving Malcolm over Martin. But Steele's WSJ op-ed for today is not really about Malcolm so much as the more fundamental problems in the GOP's metanarrative which prevent it from getting a fair hearing in an American electorate hungry for national justification and sanctification.

As a theological aside, somewhere in the trauma of the Civil War and Reconstruction, Protestant theology of redemption and eschatology got transferred from the church to the nation-state. Bleeding heart activism is the Protestant work ethic projected onto the political and social realm. What the activists always fail to question is the deification of the State.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Papist Way

The American Papist has surged in the last year into the upper echelons of Catholic blogdom. I've been very impressed by Peters the Lesser's tenacious coverage of Church news. But it wasn't till today when I read his brief comment on the news of declining American Christianity that I came to regard him as a true Catholic "it-getter":
Folks, we have work to do. And we can start by attending to our own affairs - becoming more faithful ourselves is the first step to renewing our culture. And we must allow Christ to transform ourselves before He can transform others through us. So, know your faith, live your faith, love your faith. That's the papist way.
No ideological cant. No ultramontanist passive-aggressiveness. No whiny victimization mentality. No political camp. No traditionalist liturgical fascism. No moralistic blame games. No neocon Americanism. Just proper papism.