There's a common type of academic theologian who, when taxed with heterodoxy, replies huffily. "I'm not paid to teach catechism; I'm here to show students how to do theology." In reality, with the rare exception of extraordinary pupils in contact with extraordinary professors -- what is transmitted is not the craft of theology but simply a different catechism: most students quickly learn to parrot those answers (anti-dogmatic formulae, it may be) that win the praise of their betters. By the same token, the clerics of the Hesburgh Generation want us to understand that they left the Catholic ghetto behind; yet the reality is that they still drink in their opinions from the environment -- and that as uncritically as they did as second-graders. That environment is no longer St. Polycarp's parish school in the Bronx or Back of the Yards, but the faculty lounge of liberal upper-middle-class academe: a better class of ghetto, perhaps, but a still a ghetto. It would be as unthinkable for these chameleons to depart from the received opinion on women priests as it would be for them to countenance segregated lunch counters in Mississippi. Catholics in every respect except religion, they just can't understand why the rest of us can't grow beyond belief. Hey, Ted's got no problem with it.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Fr. Powell, on the comments of "Former Notre Dame president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, that venerable fraud..."