instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Token Catholic

Note to lay Catholics appearing on Sunday morning political talk shows: Do not try to explain Catholic doctrine.

If you do, do not mangle it.

Because if you do, Archbishop Wuerl will open a can of apostolic teaching on your hide.

The odd thing in the Biden case is that it's a matter of what's not a matter of faith:
Modern science has demonstrated beyond any doubt that this innocent human life begins at conception. Defense of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but an act of justice.
The intellectual shoddiness of Biden's position -- "I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously-based view" -- is well established, but I wonder if it says something important about his (and, presumably, others') view on "religiously-based views."

Let me overgeneralize: It suggests to me a view that [at least some] Catholic doctrines have no intrinsic meaning, that they're just tokens of membership Catholics pass around. Catholics say things like, "Abortion is gravely evil," or, "Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven," because ... well, because that's what Catholics say. The words indicate you belong, but they don't have too much more meaning in themselves than the secret handshake of a men's club.