August 06, 2003

What about Andrew Sullivan?

Amy describes Ur-blogger Andrew Sullivan as "a life-long Roman Catholic and has some degree of attachment and self-identification wrapped up in - what? I'm not sure - perhaps the externals of Catholicism".

One of the characteristics of Catholicism is that it teaches that creation is good. Beauty is good. Art is good. The body is not something to be ashamed of. So the senses can be used as teaching tools rather than disparaged. The very stones of cathedrals catechize.

Another great facet of Catholicism is, of course, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist - the true Body & Blood of Christ. Once you go there, everything else pales.

I've commented in the past that given the hierarchical nature of Catholicism, it makes no more sense for the Catholic to ignore what the Church says on faith and morals as it would for an Amishman to have a microwave oven and a satellite dish. It's an oxymoron. But I realize now that there is so much richness to the Faith that some stay in the Church for different reasons. Maybe the sacraments, the beauty of the church, the peace of a Mass. No wonder there are so many so-called "cafeteria Catholics"! There are many reasons to be attracted to the Church, not just the beauty of its doctrine. So unless we want to hold our services in warehouses, smash all the icons and have a sacrament-less church in a vain search for "purity", there will be Catholics attracted for other reasons.

I never left the Church even though during stretches in my past I was mortally unfaithful to her teachings. Bottom line is that one can never know when a grievous sinner will change. The Church remains open 24/7. For Andrew Sullivan we can pray.

I don't mean to minimize the tremendous damage of "Catholic Lite", merely that I can understand it. As George Weigel wrote:
"The answer to the current crisis will not be found in Catholic Lite. It will only be found in a classic Catholicism--a Catholicism with the courage to be countercultural, a Catholicism that has reclaimed the wisdom of the past in order to face the corruption of the present and create a renewed future, a Catholicism that risks the high adventure of fidelity."

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