Perhaps if the Catholic Church had not, historically,
“offered its services” to every “ well-intentioned” government its come into contact with for the past 1,700 years, I would be a little more sympathetic toward its recent complaints about its supposedly diminishing rights.
(In case you are wondering: 1) I re-wrote the first line as, apparently, some people missed the tongue-poking-through-the-cheek nature of this post. I received a few comments suggesting I was being anti-Catholic DESPITE the fact that what I was arguing was that a certain kind of Catholicism is actually betraying what it may mean to be a good Catholic–think of how theologians ranging from St. Francis to Peter Maurin were critical of their own tradition for not being faithful to what they knew to be true. That’s all. Well, that and I added some 80’s music to the mix. Nothing wrong with a little retro. To be sure, I find rich resources in Catholicism and if anyone charging me with anti-Catholicism had ever read any of my books (I can plug anytime, daily and nightly, oh so rightly) they would clearly see how indebted I am to classical Christian theology–i.e., Catholic thought. Oh, and 2) yes, those sentences were grammatical nightmares. Which, I think, is the least of our problems–none more so than my purposely polemical tone. See, that’s self-deprecating humor at work. Does that mean I’m anti-me? Eh, possibly. Anyway, back to the post.)
Catholic military chaplains are being silenced in regard to their concern over part of their Commander-in-Chief’s health plan coverage .
I just want to know what they are doing in the military in the first place. Didn’t Jesus say something about not swearing oaths and if you live by the sword you die by the sword? I guess they are there to provide comfort to all those good pious souls disobeying Jesus by killing their enemies. You see, good Christians don’t say bad things about Jesus; they just ignore him. Which is weird because I thought he was their Lord.
Guess not, General (wink, wink).
Catholics are ‘up in arms’ (haha, get it? I gotta tell ya, I just kill myself . . . oh no he didn’t!) that healthcare providers are going to cover birth control. Obviously because, you know, as Bishop Stika claims, “In terms of our faith we believe that life is sacred . . .”
I call absolute, unadulterated,
(So does [cough] Hiroshima and [cough, cough] Nagasaki.)
To be sure, in terms of your faith, you hold certain forms of life sacred, others . . . eh, not so much. At least, not enough to actually take Jesus’s teachings on turning the other cheek, loving one’s enemies, not resisting evil, blahblahblah (insert Augustine and this all goes away) seriously.
Some Catholics (and Protestants–notice the qualification?) have been killing with utter impunity for centuries, and now some of my colleagues ask that I join the protest against their being supposedly ‘silenced’.
Nah. I don’t think so.
Maybe they should be quiet for a little while. That would be an achievement. Maybe it could even serve as a sort of monastic experiment. They could adopt a page out of Merton’s book (a Catholic that I adore!). Rather than trying to force history to come out ‘right’ by taking it by the, um, reigns, they could just embody the precarious nature that is Christian witness without being endorsed by the very principalities and powers that Matthew claims to be Satanic.
Regardless, they’ll be fine. Not f-i-n-e, fine (sorry, Stephen Tyler). I’m just saying, I have a feeling Catholics aren’t going anywhere. They’ve weathered worse storms than this and their numbers are pretty stellar. Because, you know . . . they, supposedly, don’t practice birth control. (Now that’s a great way to grow a religion! Hey, Amish, are you paying attention? Yes, yes, of course you are.)
Hear me well on this: I am not a 16th century Anabaptist, anti-Papist, Stringfellowian, Ludditian, black flag-waving anarchist (although, now that I re-read that line, I’m kind of intrigued). I’m all about one, holy, universal, apostolic church. Plus, I love the architecture. And the whole ‘one, holy, universal, apostolic’ nature of what it means to be Catholic is part of the reason why I am not pro-Protestant (and especially not anti-Catholic). I also have my doubts that Protestantism could ever produce a Hans urs von Balthasar, so there’s a little salve for your wounded hearts (and I always make fun of Protestants–I need to branch out . . . it’s my way of being more ecumenical).
At the end of the day, I’m just struggling to sympathize with this, “Oh no, the powers-that-be are turning on us–and after all we’ve done for them!!” mentality.
Hey, who knows, this could be the catalyst that makes Catholicism interesting again.
“Again? When was the first time?”
“Um, you know . . . uh, with Francis?”
“Nah, he’s been totally fetishized and domesticated. He’s just a piece of jewelry now. Plus, as much as I’m sure you want to believe half the stuff said about him, do you really think he converted a wolf? I mean, come on. You’re a novice ethologist, right? It’s hagiography. You might as well believe that clapping your hands fast enough will bring Tinkerbell back to life.”
“Tripp . . .”
“Oh . . . okay, right . . . it’s a long shot, I mean, what you say about St. Francis–not Tink. I just always thoughts of him as a glorified Mark Rowlands. But, yeah, fair enough, well . . . you know, how about when Dorothy Day and the Berrigan Brothers were running things.”
“Running things? Dude, they never ran things. Most Catholics hated them. I mean, hated them. And many of them do everything they can to distance themselves from them now. And even the ones who are ‘sympathetic’ toward them make sure that they dismiss them just enough as to not be implicated in their thought and practices. They looked way too much like Jesus for the taste-buds of most North American Catholics. The latter just want to have a ‘nuanced’ conversation over sinfully high-priced coffee in their million dollar universities about what Jesus might have meant, but probably didn’t, while those kids were burning draft files and feeding the poor. Man, it’s not even interesting.”
“Oh . . . well . . .
shit (poop a’ do).”
So, the bait has been set. I expect you ‘Caths’ to come out with your guns blazing!
Metaphorically, of course.
But before you do, before you blast me deeper into Mennonite meaninglessness, just ask yourself this one, all-consuming, crucial, and incredibly well-timed question:
“What is love?”
And just know that my only response to you, in light of all historical evidence, is this: “Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.”
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.