Brief editorial note before we continue…

3 04 2010

I don’t know if I would consider this a Catholic or even a Christian blog. Truth be told, I have been prone recently to remove the term, “Christianity” from the title of this blog altogether. This has not been due to an increase in skepticism on my part, or to some sort of crisis of faith. It is more that I have a concern that such a title will give the reader the wrong idea. Really, blogs that pretend to be “Catholic” or “Christian” lead one to certain expectations which I do not feel that I can fulfil here.

I think I could put it something like this: the expectation of a “Catholic blog” or Catholic website is that it will put more of the “Church” into your life. Many post appropriate things according to the Church calendar, their own “lay sermons” concerning a favored subject of the day, or even a quote from the Pope or chic theological figure that they find most appealing. I sometimes do that as well, but it is so peripheral to what I write that I almost force myself not to. No, the point of my blog is not to put more “Church” in your life, but to get the Church out of it. Or rather, that institution that we think seems to own the truth and beauty which are only “on loan” to us.

That has really been the case since Adam, really: the idea that the people are too stupid to think for themselves and that anything really worth studying is the property of the few. As a hopeless elitist, I happen to agree with that sentiment. But when I feel the wrong ideas are getting the upper hand, and when I feel that technocracy even in the form of crosier and mitre are leading me in the wrong direction, I try to find a diplomatic way to weasle out of its program. The main paradigm of this blog, then, is one of autonomy and not dependence; it is one of communion without the threat of micromanagement.

There is a beautiful saying coming from colonial Latin America that I have taken to heart since I first read it as an undergrad. It goes: obedezco, pero no cumplo. I obey, but I don’t carry out. Perhaps I am too much of a modernist or “crypto-Protestant” (?) to “trust the Church”. And maybe I do not trust myself sufficiently to become a Latino Richard McBrien. Or maybe I am just a slob. In any event, I would just prefer Pope and priest to stay out of my business. The Pope for me is a little holy card of a man who lives far away, and I hope that it stays that way.


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18 responses

7 04 2010
The young fogey

Essentially what Agostino said.

7 04 2010
Agostino

Arturo, as far as I can see, this still comes off as a Catholic blog to me. Not one that’s wrapped up in the institution, or with lock-step orthodoxy, or with the “Republican Party at prayer” ethic and cultural Calvinism; instead I’ve always seen this blog as fulfilling a great need: one of the few bastions of real cultural Catholicism. Lvka really hit the nail on the head in that department.

Whether you want to call this blog “Catholic” or “Christian” is up to you (e.g., I don’t consider mine a “Catholic” blog, though it often discusses elements of Catholicism), but I’ve been an avid reader since I first came across your How the Italians Became Irish, and look forward to reading this blog for a long time to come.

5 04 2010
The young fogey

I’d argue that micromanagement seems more encouraged in the modern Orthodox experience. I have heard more Orthodox than Catholics wax on and on about “my spiritual father this and that”, often while trying to tell another Orthodox how not-Orthodox he’s being.

Emphasis on modern including online. Yuck.

5 04 2010
random Orthodox chick

I’d argue that micromanagement seems more encouraged in the modern Orthodox experience, not less than in Catholicism. I have heard more Orthodox than Catholics wax on and on about “my spiritual father this and that”, often while trying to tell another Orthodox how not-Orthodox he’s being. Instead of being cheerleaders for our Patriarchs (actually badmouthing them alot, really), it’s replaced by being cheerleaders for our particular bishop. Ironic, no?

5 04 2010
Rob

You’ll burn in hell for this, mcmlxix!

5 04 2010
mcmlxix

I have often considered the differences between the Orthodox Churches and the Latin Church. It seems that after the schism, the Latin Church has spent way too much effort on councils, micromanaging (as you say), and defining just about everything. I would have thought that after the first thousand years, all of the essentials would have been worked out.

On the neutral side, I’d ask was/is all of that necessary?

On the plus side, one could say (that in spit of the different ‘tribes’ within the Church) it does seem (and perhaps it is only appearance) that the Church has held together, at least better than, many protestant churches.

On the negative side, it seems that with every definition, the Church may to paint itself into a corner. Take ‘extra eclessiam nulla salus’ as one example. Before the Second Vatican Council, that was taken at face value. Since the Council, the track has been, but what is the Church anyway? I don’t know which interpretation is right or better, but while the Church still explicitly condemns it, the new interpretation seems to imply universalism.

The centralization, which intensified after the schism, of the Pope versus the more recent move toward collegiality (the more Orthodox model) is another.

4 04 2010
Sam Urfer

I have to say, that once when you called NLM and that type of site “liturgical porn”, you did me a rather tremendous favor, as I can’t even look at it anymore.

You have a unique voice, Arturo. Your Christianity is important, but being all-Catholic All-The-Time is, paradoxically, not Catholic. Keep it up, I get a lot of reading.

4 04 2010
Dharmashaiva

Hell is other bloggers.

4 04 2010
Rob

You’ll burn in Hell for this, Chris!

4 04 2010
Chris

Are you serious? Do you think you don’t pontificate and offer “lay sermons” in your own way? Of course you do! You’re just like any other blogger.

And is it okay if *I* like the current Pope? If I like his writings? Is that all right with you, Arturo?

3 04 2010
Lvka

Christ is risen!

Happy Easter, Art! 🙂

3 04 2010
+Wulfila

Watch out! That sounds suspiciously like “Independent Catholicism” (not that I’m exactly complaining about that…)

3 04 2010
Lvka

Seriously! You’re just like an American bitching that he’s not a “true” American because he doesn’t have the flag on every freakin’ piece of cloth in his home, and is generally in disagreement with every dam’ war in which the government got the army involved, starting with Vietnam… 😐

3 04 2010
Lvka

Arthur, 8)

not being a gooey-eyed wide-smiling zombie enamoured with “da Church” and “da Hawley Fudder”, being obsessed with philosophy whether from Platon or Aristotle, holding to certain folk-beliefs and practicing various folk-rituals, or having an intellectual demeanour: this shit’s Catholic to the bone, dude! 🙂 Can’t get more Catholic than that, bro.

3 04 2010
Rob

You’ll burn in Hell for this, Arturo!

3 04 2010
elgrinnell

Reminds me of something from “Fiddler on the Roof”: “God bless the Czar,and keep him, far away from us!”

3 04 2010
Anonymous

Reminds me of a quote from (of all works!) “Life with Father”. “the one thing that the Church should stay out of is a man’s soul!”

3 04 2010
The young fogey

I hear you, which is why I stay away from apologetics blogs and online Orthodoxy, and scale far back the stuff from the liturgical-porn ones, even the things I agree with.

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