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July 06, 2007

Comments

mj anderson

Can you possibly be serious with this diatribe?

For all your patronizing descriptions of some Catholics as radtrads, do you not recognize that McBrien is a radical liberal? His obsession is to dismantle anything that remains of the Church of his youth.

You confuse the terms orthodoxy and "neocath". Orthodoxy is simply correct; it is not left or right, conservative or liberal.

And, for curiosity's sake, do you imagine that McBrien will be read and revered in a 100 years? Of course not. But Waugh, Belloc, Lewis and Newman surely will be.

RDS

I didn't think it was possible to see "Catholic and Enjoying It!" like this. It's the very definition of a "breath of fresh air!"

David Bennett

"While these bloggeries are a fine documentation of the moronic depths to which neocath populism descends, their shrill tone again testifies that McBrien has touched a sore spot...The rants greeting McBrien’s comments suggest that neocaths prefer to write than to read; they are constantly on the look-out for targets of their juvenile rage against imagined heterodoxy..."

Yes, neo-catholics show an unhealthy disdain for McBrien (and others), but this post certainly shows an unhealthy disdain for neo-catholics. Had this post been written about McBrien, rather than about the "neo-caths," it would have been a great contender for your list of rage-filled neocath postings.

Dale Price

"Rage"? Pot, kettle, black.

Disdain and disgust, to be sure. Most of the time, Catholics of a conservative bent ignore Fr. McBrien's content-impaired exercises in well-poisoning. His cut-and-paste broad-brushes invariably involve McBrien beating the snot out of a scarecrow that exists only in his mind.

The only reason this drew attention is that it was a patronizing smear of converts who refuse to think as he does. Such persons are tend to be overrepresented in Catholic blogdom.

We'll go back to ignoring him in a week or so.

Mark Gordon

Wow, what fury. What rage and bitterness. What pride. I think, good Father, that you have just provided a vivid example of the "Spirit of Vatican II." Thanks for the reminder of what's at stake in our battle to recover the authentic teaching of the Council.

Joseph O'Leary

"For all your patronizing descriptions of some Catholics as radtrads, do you not recognize that McBrien is a radical liberal? His obsession is to dismantle anything that remains of the Church of his youth."

Radtrads is a word I picked up from the neocaths, a different category.

McBrien is no radical liberal, but a middle of the road theologian.

A radical liberal would be someone who holds a non-realist view of God (Don Cupitt), radically undercuts the historicity of the Gospels ( -- I hesitate to give names) or denies the divine mission of the Church or questions the objective reality of the Trinity and the Incarnation or the Real Presence.

McBrien is very obviously none of these things. In fact, he errs on the side of conservatism in my opinion.

As to the "church of his childhood", that is the Church that Vatican II radically transformed. Currently people are trying to undo that transformation, but their efforts will not bring back the past -- restorationism never does -- it always creates something new, usually something diminished, ugly, rancid.

Joseph O'Leary

"Wow, what fury. What rage and bitterness. What pride."

Where? Look at my post and you'll see I give exhibits of neocath rage against McBrien. Surely their arrogance and pride are on display when they ritually refer to him as "Father" McBrien in scare quotes?

Mark Gordon, do you want to be an apologist for such stalinistic methods of denigration?


Rusty

Father,
I'm not sure what kind of Catholic you would call me. I'm a convert from years of doubt, yet raised in the Protestant tradition. I want to be faithful to God, and I want the Church to form "me", rather than the other way around. However, why is it 'wrong' to say that in those things that other traditions are lacking, they are *truly* lacking?

Brother Charles

Hi. I linked over here from somewhere, I now forget where, and got to this post via your tag list.

I did enjoy your well-constructed essay, but as a convert (of 15 years or so)who is, I suppose, a "neocath," as you say, I can't help but want to deliver an apology for myself.

I came to a point in my life, having grown up amidst late modern liberal relativism, in which I felt I had to stand for something. I came across the Gospels and confessed Jesus Christ. After this, and I make no apologies for this, I was baptized according to the Catholic Church, at least in part because I wanted the Truth. It was the time of the first war in the Persian Gulf, and truth was the first casualty. I wanted the truth, and I wanted to be set free from violent men.

I also confess guilty to the accusation of being "into" more ancient theologians. But it's only because when I read Thomas or Bonaventure I see a lot of depth and suppleness that their own disciples and defenders have usually missed.

I also confess that I am guilty of being leery of current ecumenism. This isn't because I don't believe we should be working towards unity with the other Churches or with the restoration of ecclesial communities; I read Ut unum sint with joy and I want to take the Lord himself seriously in his prayer for our unity at the Last Supper. On the other hand, our theological language has become sloppy, and our practice is sure to follow. Recently I heard a priest describe an American Thanksgiving service attended by Jews, Muslims, and Christians as ecumenical. "Ecumenical," is, of course, a term with Christian specificity. What we do with our older and younger brothers and sisters in Abraham is something else. It is "inter-religious dialogue, I suppose, if you believe in this genus "religion," which I don't.

Thanks for the post, and have a blessed Advent.

Spirit of Vatican II

Thanks for your comments, Brother Charles. I would not call the dialogue with Judaism inter-religious dialogue. It is something much more pressing and more intimate than that. I don't see any problem with viewing our dialogue with Judaism and Islam as modeled on ecumenism. The shared creed, the shared hurts, the bitter history, and the need of friendship and mutual understanding in respectful dialogue are quite similar to the situation of intra-Christian ecumenism.

As to the genus "religion," I agree. "Religion" is merely a nominalist expression; there is no satisfactory definition of "religion". But willingness to rejoice in shared insights between Christians and Hindus or Buddhists opens a wide adventure of human encounter that has little to do with the dusty abstractions of "theologies of religion." Interreligious encounter is as multifarious as interhuman encounter in general.

Christians see all this as heading to a final goal. As Paul VI memorably said on Christmas Eve 1975: "I see the religions of the world converging on the crib in Bethlehem; and as I say this my voice trembles, not with uncertainty, but with joy -- la mia voce trema, non d'incertezza, ma di gioia!

The Church today very urgently needs to recapture the prophetic vision of Paul VI, the pope of the Council.

Jack Cobb

"Fr." Richard McBrien is a certainly a man of many talents; he is, after all, both a heretic and an apostate all at the same time. Quite efficient at multi-tasking, if you ask me. What's that famous tome he authored some years back, oh yes, he had the chutzpah to title it "Catholicism"; he would have done much better to just call it what it is: "Heresy".

"Fr." McBrien is so typical of the modernists who don't have the common decency to leave a Church they long ago lost any semblance of faith in. Well, I suppose in one sense they've already left the Church; the Catholic Church that is, since he and his fellow-travelers no longer belong to the Catholic Church, but to the Novus Ordo Sect, the accursed spawn of the invalid Vatican II Robber Council.

I pray that "Fr." McBrien, who still seems to possess a keen intellect, will someday return to the faith he once swore fealty to; he can still do a world of good in the time that appears left to him.

Spirit of Vatican II

Classic neocath rage from Mr Cobb. "Catholicism" is a useful compendium of Catholic theology, quite conservative in fact. Has Mr Cobb read it? One must admire Fr McBrien's perseverance, his lifelong service of the Church, despite the constant bilge and bile that is poured on him by quite unqualified people.

Rat-biter

"...supercilious C. S. Lewis.."

## Who was not a Catholic, BTW. just in case there were any doubt.

Far more important, he is one writer to whom I for one owe far more than I could ever repay. Many others, Catholics & Protestants, also owe him a great deal - as their weblogs, sites, and posts make clear.

"Supercilious" ? This is far too dismissive to be fair - Lewis's writings are worth all those of "professional" (!) theologians alive today. Far too much modern theology is verbose, clogged with ugly jargon, written in excruciatingly bad English, and while it may be cheap, the books containing it are not; they cost a small fortune.

Lewis OTOH is within anyone's capacity; he knew how to write well, and reason clearly; and some of his profoundest theology is in his Narnia books & his scientifiction trilogy. He doesn't supply everything, but what he does supply is beyond price.

Rat-biter

"And, for curiosity's sake, do you imagine that McBrien will be read and revered in a 100 years? Of course not. But Waugh, Belloc, Lewis and Newman surely will be."

## Lewis can safely be added to the list, I think :) And Father R. A. Knox. Despite the medium chosen, or perhaps because of it, Tolkien should be included as well; & Dorothy Sayers:

http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1267

Spirit of Vatican II

Well, Waugh and Lewis are of course great figures (though I dislike children's literature and a certain know-it-all quality to Screwtape etc.). Chesterton hardly bears rereading, yet when one does look at him one is always rewarded with a flood of brilliant remarks. Belloc, I'm not sure about; Tolkien -- not my cup of tea. The trouble is the reactionary uses all these people are put to, and the highlighting of their least attractive side. Newman is a very great figure who comes wrapped in Victorian ecclesiastical trappings, and it seems to me that his admirers idolize the dead trappings and obscure the living mind.

Rat-biter

"Well, Waugh and Lewis are of course great figures (though I dislike children's literature and a certain know-it-all quality to Screwtape etc.). Chesterton hardly bears rereading, yet when one does look at him one is always rewarded with a flood of brilliant remarks. Belloc, I'm not sure about; Tolkien -- not my cup of tea. The trouble is the reactionary uses all these people are put to, and the highlighting of their least attractive side. Newman is a very great figure who comes wrapped in Victorian ecclesiastical trappings, and it seems to me that his admirers idolize the dead trappings and obscure the living mind."

## It's fascinating to see how tastes differ :)

I like some Chesterton (there is plenty to like), but I'm uneasy with how he stresses the Church, and not Christ; not that he is alone in that, of course. And one of the problems with being a brilliant epigrammatist is that one can easily treat very knotty subjects in a very shallow way; something he does not always avoid.

Belloc is a good read - but, as you say of Tolkien, "not my cup of tea", not as much as Lewis (I like stories, a lot - and I take Lewis' view on books: that one should not be embarrassed to read fairy stories). If there is such a thing as a Wavian, I'm not one; which is not a denial of his stature.

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