Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Time Mag Partly Correct: the Un-Dead Lefty "Catholics"

CWN reminds us that, Time Magazine to the contrary, the Left-ish "Catholics" are the un-dead.

Sometimes in malls and parking lots we come upon those demented women pushing strollers containing dolls instead of babies, which they pathetically invite us to admire. The American Church has its own Tenders of the Flame who croon to and cosset that lifeless dummy which is Liberal Catholicism. Most Catholics are prepared to dismiss or ignore the importunities. When the Tender of the Flame is a bishop, or a seminary rector, or the chair of a theology department, however, and the Catholic is question is seeking a good that only the apparatchik can dispense, the supplicant may be inclined to humor his superior by playing along with the fantasy. For this reason the 1960s project will remain part of our lives in spite of its lifelessness.

Leftism is a program for social change. But the engine that makes it go is a conviction -- a dogma, in fact -- that the desired changes are going to happen. To be a democrat (or a monarchist) means that, win or lose, democracy (or monarchy) is good. But to be a Leftist entails the further belief that Leftism will triumph. A heroic embrace of Leftism as a noble but lost cause would be a contradiction in terms. This means that Leftism is axiomatically incapable of admitting that its wishes will not be fulfilled, and that means that real-world evidence to the contrary is simply rejected out of hand.

[A neat description which explains such creatures as Prof. Ayers & Dohrn, ex-Senator Daschle, and a number of LeftyWonzo bloggers.]

Now what is misnamed "liberal" Catholicism was an inflammation of Leftist sentimentalisms fascinated with secular progress in science and social emancipation, which declared as inevitable that the Church would change in a predictable direction, making her own a democratic apparatus of doctrine-making, relaxing sexual restraints, and abandoning her claim to be a privileged transmitter of certain and unchangeable truths.

Didn't happen. A Catholic would say it couldn't happen, on the dogmatic grounds that the church which changed in that direction had by definition ceased to be the Catholic Church. That's to say, the conflict opposes a dogmatic certainty of change against a dogmatic certainty of that defined doctrine is unchangeable. This explains why Catholics regard liberals with suspicion and despair, and why conservative Catholics save their harshest words not for progressives but for self-styled moderates who say of some proposed apostasy, "The Church isn't ready to go there yet." The "yet" gives the game away.

And the madwomen with the strollers are still among us. They have seen the future and they know that it teethes, and they'll have no back-talk from you, either. Hence the disproportionate energy spent in the wrangles over symbols of progress that are relatively peripheral in themselves. The vehemence with which the music of Michael Joncas or Marty Haugen is defended against its detractors is bewildering to younger Catholics. "Look, you had it your own way for forty years," they tell the aging libs, "why are you so upset about letting us have a turn?" But of course it's not a question of "win a few, lose a few"; the future of the future is at stake. If Dan Schutte's star is no longer secure in the firmament, what about the inevitability of women's ordination or Church-approved contraception?

What, indeed?

Thus, the LeftyWonzo "Catholics" will soldier on, and will always be present, mutatis mutandis. They are given life through their appointed status, and transmit their seed through those same offices.

And there's no difference in methodology and effect from what we see in civil governance and politics.


John Foust said...

What's a LeftyWonzo? Is there a right-wing equivalent, or are they just all correct and never crazy?

Dad29 said...

If you don't know, read the Time Mag article.

But you do, John.

Try Call to Action & Co.