Poor things. Would they like some cheese with that whine?
The hermeneutic of dysfunction
Mar. 05, 2010
An NCR Editorial
It doesn’t take an expert church observer to understand that those who want to diminish the effect of the Second Vatican Council [They say this only because things are no longer going their way.] have come upon an easy sound-bite solution: [Patronizing.] Put Catholics in one of two “hermeneutics” boxes. Under that scheme, Catholics embody either the hermeneutic of discontinuity, applied to those who believe significant change occurred at the council, or the hermeneutic of continuity, those who hold that the council was merely an affirmation of what went before, but dressed up for the 20th century. [The editor of NCR is blatantly attacking Pope Benedict XVI. Note that the editor who wrote this is the one who is simplistic. He is the one putting people into the tidy boxes.]
It’s a “you’re for us or against us” strategy of dealing with the complexities and messiness of church reform. While a quick way to tidy the boundaries and square the edges, the strategy does a disservice to serious consideration of the council and it masks deeper problems within the community. [And yet just the other day John Allen published an interview with Msgr. Marini in which it was established that Pope Benedict isn’t imposing anything. Instead, he is proposing. What bothers this dissident is that people are turning to what Pope Benedict is offering and rejecting the old liberal narrative.]
There’s simply been too much reform, too much theology advanced, too much demographic change, too much practice that’s worlds different from 45 years ago to suddenly claim that little has actually changed. [That is a shot at Msgr. Marini. But the dissident editor has chosen to misread what Msgr. Marini said.]
[Now watch this! Now it is the bishops turn!] Yet this is precisely what some bishops are attempting [But do not worry, Komrades! They will fail in their attempt to undermine the will of the people!] to do by setting up unrealistically rigid divisions as a way to simplify the discussion, and in the process, reassert their authority. [Imagine the temerity of the bishops! Reassert authority! No.. no… liberal dissidents run things around here.] It is a convenient tactic for bishops [And anyone who uses "tactics" is baaaad.] who find themselves overseeing a troubled church from an episcopal vantage point from which credibility and authority have been steadily draining in recent decades. [You see? Bishops are unworthy of out support!]
Gaining control over the liturgy and attempting to send the faithful on a forced march back to some ill-defined simpler and purer period of the past is for some a way to combat the twin ills of modernity and secularization, which they blame for much of Catholicism’s contemporary troubles. [Oh how stupid and unenlightened those people are. Only liberals are sophisticated and nuanced. But "forced march"? PUHLEEZE! What about the Baton Death March liberals sent the faithful on when they imposed an artificially constructed liturgy on a faithful who never asked for it?]
While bishops’ suspicions of the wider culture [Sounds like something a modernist would say.] certainly carry weight, [What a concession…. "Oh… what was that? Did the bishop say something?"] placing all the blame on outside forces misses what many priests and laypeople assess as a more pressing matter inside the Catholic community. [This is just a little slight of hand, folks. Watch where this goes.] One might label it the hermeneutic of dysfunction, [Ooooo!] an analysis that would center on a leadership layer in the Catholic church that keeps unraveling but refuses to see itself as any part of the problem. [How predictable. It gets better…] The sex abuse crisis, now spreading through Ireland and Germany, is the most obvious symptom of the deeper problems of the hierarchical culture. [There shouldn’t be a strong hierarchy in the Church. See? All the problems would go away if only we had a weak hierarchy. If only we were… ANGLICANS!] It is a culture in desperate need of introspection and renewal. [So this is the default position for liberals. They trot the sex thing out when bishops do something they don’t like. When the bishops come out with something about solar panels or whales or immigration reform, they don’t mention the sex abuse thing.]
[And if you doubted that this was an attack on Pope Benedict…] It is unlikely that Pope Benedict XVI, in using competing hermeneutics as a way to explain what he saw as a problem in implementing the council, intended to reduce the entire council experience and its aftermath into two all-inclusive and opposed choices. [I suppose they can claim they are not attacking the Pope by saying "Well… it’s not the Pope himself, you see. It’s his groupies who are too unnuanced to understand that we should give some weight his model, but – in the final analysis – not let it make must difference.]
Dividing Catholics into competing camps and trying to short-circuit the reforms of Vatican II [Msgr. Marini was right. The person who wrote this doesn’t understand Vatican II.] deflect attention from the troubles of the hierarchical culture. [So, it is all about those in authority deflecting attention from themselves? B as in B. S as in S.] But the deeper problems of accountability and transparency won’t disappear. [No one talks about accountability when the bishops are trying to raise money for Haiti. Do they talk about transparency with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development?]
Sweet dreams, NCR.
You are going dowwwwwwn.
I hope my friend John Allen has been looking for another publication. He is too good to stick with these people.