WARNING: Do not read this if you want to avoid descending into the ongoing internecine warfare among conservative and anything-goes Roman Catholics. If we can’t talk about politics and religion in a blog, especially this one, though, where can we discuss it?
Below, ‘Puter mentions his friends’ ongoing campaign to insist the Catholic Church be what it is not, and cannot be. This post is going to be long, but you need to read through the email to get the flavor of the exchange. The exchange is redacted only to protect anonymity. The arguments go from straw men, to changing the topic entirely, to ad hominem attacks. It’s wonderful.
Friend 1’s Thesis (citing this article): There should be no ‘orthodoxy’ test required for enrollment in our Catholic Schools. Bottom line: the more kids who get a catholic school education the better.
‘Puter: So, Catholics should no longer be permitted to enforce their belief system in their own schools?
Friend 2: What part of their belief system has to do with not educating a 9 yr old?
Friend 3: [‘Puter], just be relieved that the Catholic school you’ve chosen to enroll your child in isn’t doing a background check on his parents’ doctrinal fitness; he’d be unable to enroll. (As would the children of 99% of the Catholic parents I know personally.) We have to move past this gatekeeper approach to the Gospel. It’s not a proprietary corporate formula or legally protected intellectual property; it’s the Good News. There is no spiritual shibboleth for it. No secret handshake. No purity test. No pre-requisites. Adulterers, tax collectors, prostitutes, Gentiles, Samaritans, gay Roman Centurions: Jesus preached to, educated, them ALL. The Catholic Church is not a private club, nor should its schools be.
Friend 4: I think the issue for the Catholic School should not be what the parents’ belief system is but how they can take the opportunity to educate a 9 year old to be a great Catholic regardless of the background from which he or she comes. I’m always surprised when the Church makes it hard for children to be baptized or to be received by the Church. They need more members, not fewer. If they reject children, how do they think they will get more members in the future? My pastor tried to sabotage my second child’s Christening. I could never understand the power trip that one must be on to try to cancel a newborn’s baptism (and, no, it had nothing to do with my beliefs, only with logistics.) The Church in America will be in a crisis (running out of priests, not enough donations, dwindling membership, etc. ) for a long time due to it’s practice of exclusion…a practice Jesus would not have condoned.
Friend 1: [‘Puter], I would like an answer from you on this: I am pretty sure when you attended [unspecified Jesuit] HS, there were non-catholics there. Many of our inner-city catholic schools here in [east cost state] are doing well with enrollment thanks to the many baptist, evangelical and muslim families who send their children. This works out well as the schools get tuition money and the opportunity to showcase catholicism in action and the families enjoy the comfort and quality of a private education. So, how is this ‘orthodoxy’ thing going to work? I must also note that he Boston Archdiocese has said they support the schools being open to all and are investigating the decision.
‘Puter: We’ve discussed this before. This is an issue where you simply wish the Chuch’s teachings are not what they are. Does anyone dispute that the Church teaches practicing homosexuality is a sin? Do you dispute that a private religious entity has the absolute right to define its membership requirements? The Church has a duty to enforce its rules. You simply don’t like them, or the enforcement of them. This post-modernist “I believe what I want and call myself Catholic” is the objectionable behavior here.
[Friend 1], you’re changing the subject, as I am certain you realize. We are not talking about educating Protestants, Muslims, Jews or atheists. The situation at issue revolves around two people holding themselves out as Catholic who do not adhere to basic teachings of the Church. It is the duty of Catholics, and the Church, to engage in fraternal correction.
Again, I will make the following analogy. This is equivalent to a pro life person insisting that NARAL not only admit them, but change its positions to accommodate a pro life agenda.
And [Friend 3], please be careful with your ad hominem attacks. I never claimed I wasn’t a sinner.
The Catholic Church is a private club. One that welcomes everyone of every color, race and sexual orientation. But it has rules (read, beliefs). It is not a free for all, cafeteria of beliefs. If you don’t believe as Catholics believe, why should the Catholic Church be required to tolerate your membership?
Again, there are plenty of other Christian denominations who believe as you do. The Church does not currently, and wishing will not make it so.
It is difficult to be attempt to be true to the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially when one’s nominally Catholic friends are advocating the opposite.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.