Sunday, July 24, 2011

Of course Archbishop Chaput’s not an ‘archconservative’
The Inky on him and me going GetReligion on The Inky.

I knew what was coming when I saw ‘archconservative’ in the Sunday paper’s front-page, above-the-fold headline. ‘Arch’ and ‘ultra’ are fairly easy ways for a biased reporter to slant coverage against someone. It’s like with ‘fundamentalist’, actually a specific term in American Protestantism (inerrancy, doesn’t believe in evolution etc.), not, as the mainstream media use it, any conservative Protestant who displeases them by not buying into their ideology. So it is with this. The archbishop himself’s right: he agrees with me that he’s not an archconservative. I’d define the term with all kinds of things an orthodox Catholic can believe but not all of which I agree with; my readers know which is which: the Tridentine Mass is at least better so let’s work to bring it back, and religious liberty is indifferentism (I’ll say that position’s allowable because Vatican II didn’t define doctrine) so people in error have no rights, chuck the Constitution, the work of unbelieving Protestants, make the church the state religion and bring back the Austrian Holy Roman Emperor. Now that’s an archconservative. Athonite monks are Orthodox archconservatives. The archbishop again seems to me, as someone said to me many years ago about Opus Dei, largely about ‘reformed religion and (what passes in America for) right-wing politics’ (ha – if you want real right-wing politics go to the Society of St Pius X in France). As I wrote earlier, sound on doctrine but low-church (he said he’s not interested in the Tridentine Mass), very ’80s John Paul II (when such people thought the silly charismatics were the great white hope of the church). The man who said that about reformed religion defined himself, like many Catholics in the early 1900s, as about ‘unreformed religion and left-wing politics’. Of course I’d change that for myself to ‘unreformed religion and most of the time not what passes for the right, but not the left either’. Yes, libertarian. So no evangelical culture-wars jazz to pick on those in error, as long as they respect our rights too. (So equality for gays but no state gay marriage, a wedge to try to force us to call it sacramental marriage. Forcing Catholic adoption agencies to close makes it pretty obvious.)

It’s interesting the writer is trying to be nice by pointing out Chaput’s positions on helping immigrants and on social services, which are sincere and based on his faith even if I don’t agree with the democratic-socialist means many such churchmen want. Such is left-wing piety too. (Me on immigration: individual liberty means all have the right to travel, but individual rights not group rights.) But I don’t think the mainstream really cares: they’re mad at him and the church for teaching the faith regarding sex including abortion. So he’ll be lumped together with Michele Bachmann in American right-wing politics and you’ll see ‘archconservative’ thrown at him a lot.

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