Civility and Chutzpah Confronting Catholic Polarization and Fundamentalism


Yes We Do Have  A Problem…..Yes We all Share in the Solution

In Church and In General Society

 

(SEE  SPECIAL UPDATE ON CHARLES CURRAN)
 
 

When Civility and Open-Mindedness are Abandoned

Polarization and Ideological Idolatry Set In

 

The Tea Party people are crusading across America. The mid-term elections campaign rhetoric is angry, strong, and fierce.
Conservative America is vocal, often unfairly judgmental, and on the move. And conservative American Catholcs are angry and aggressively judgmental, and on the move as well.
 
It appears that civility and open-mindedness have been discarded for the battle axes of prejudice, narrow-mindedness, and just plain nastiness.
* I have had more than enough emails reminding me that “Imam Obama” is a baby-killer, is anti-life, anti-family, and establishing extermination centers to liquidate all who disagree with his un-American sociualist strategy for the United States.
 
* And now craziness has consumed the Catholic Right as well. A new breed of theologically conservative American Catholics has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn’t Catholic enough. RealCatholicTV.com, for instance, working from studios in suburban Detroit, is hunting for “traitorous” nuns, priests or bishops throughout the American Catholic Church. John Allen, Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, calls this trend “Taliban Catholicism.”
 
 
Next time I will have some further reflections about Catholic fundamentalism in the United States — and what to do about it.
Somehow we all need to stop blaming “them.”
 
We need to rebuild communities in which civility (politeness and respect) lead to objective and open-minded reflection and conversation.
Otherwise we are doomed to either tyranny or anarchy.
I guess, frankly, that CIVILITY demands HUMILITY: knowing that no one has all the correct answers and
we need to have open ears and open eyes to the other.
But HUMILITY demands as well CHUTZPAH: the courage to speak out while maintaining respect for the other.
 
 
 

UPDATE ON CHARLES CURRAN

 

 

(As Reported in the Dallas Morning News)
Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas has taken issue publicly with a Southern Methodist University professor’s upcoming lecture on U.S.
Catholic bishops and abortion law. The Rev. Charles Curran is a Catholic priest and ethicist who has long taught at SMU, and who also has a history of tangling with the Vatican over social issues. He’s to give a lecture Thursday at SMU titled “The U.S. Catholic Bishops and Abortion Legislation: A Critique From Within the Church.”
An SMU press release says: “Curran’s lecture will examine how U.S. Roman Catholic bishops have made opposition to legal abortion their primary social
issue, and will challenge the bishops from a theological perspective for claiming too much certitude in their position.” Farrell issued a statement, saying he had become aware of the lecture. “The act of directly taking an unborn life is wrong and has always been wrong,” Farrell said. “This has been the constant teaching of the church.” Near the end of the statement, Farrell said, “I regret that Father Curran has chosen to criticize the position of the bishops of the United States on this
matter.” But Curran disputed Farrell’s characterization of the lecture. “This paper is not about the Catholic moral teaching on abortion,” Curran said Tuesday. “In fact, the paper accepts the Catholic moral teaching that direct abortion is always wrong. The paper deals solely with abortion law and argues that one who holds the Catholic moral teaching can come to different conclusions about what the law should be.” Curran added: “The bishop’s false public statement is a gross injustice to me and my good name.”
Farrell’s statement has been posted on the SMU Catholic Ministry website and been sent by e-mail to people registered with the SMU Catholic Ministry.
It also was inserted into bulletins at Catholic Masses on campus Sunday, said Annette Gonzales Taylor, spokeswoman for the diocese. Curran’s address is part of a lecture series put on by SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Ethics & Public Responsibility Center. Early in his career as priest and ethicist, Curran challenged the Vatican’s
conservative positions on birth control and other social issues. In 1986, the Vatican – in a ruling shaped by then-Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger
, now Pope Benedict XVI – declared him unfit to teach theology at a Catholic school. Amid much publicity, Curran left the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., arriving at SMU in 1991.

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