The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Sometimes Wonder Why I Even Bother....

When People Like This Say It All Much Better Than I Do

This culture of consumerism has also affected the consideration of the Apostolic Churches against each other. If a man considers Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as equally available products, and chooses whichever he likes more, he is acting in a spirit that is inimical to both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, and really to any traditional religion. Such a choice is neither Catholic nor Orthodox; it is simply consumerist. It fails to treat conversion as a response to prevenient grace, and makes it a matter of having the necessary taste and intelligence to pick the best Church.

Often this takes the form of a series of contingencies: If the Catholic Church were to do this, then I would leave it. If the Catholic Church were instead to do that, then I would return. The most obvious objection to this is that it is not his prerogative to demand that problems be fixed within his lifetime. But worse, that sort of thinking in itself places a man outside of the Church; if not sacramentally, at least intellectually. It places him outside of any Church, for he regards them from a superior vantage. Or to continue the previous metaphor, he regards them like a consumer in a grocery store picking out a jar of peanut butter. This sort of thinking is poisonous to any real sanctification, because he who engages in it is never a member of the Church, of any Church, in the guileless and entire way that Christianity demands.

And I thought this was very pertinent to my reservations towards "Neo-Catholics":

An apologist who acts utterly convinced in such arguments will only make a fool of himself, because a man cannot be convinced that his position is correct if he is not even smart enough to understand the controversy. His conviction is nothing more than a function of his sympathy for a particular side, and that usually is determined by things unrelated. He is simply choosing whom to trust. It should also be remembered that no matter how intelligent and clever and convincing an apologist is, there will always be someone more intelligent, more clever and more convincing to argue the opposite position. A man whose conversion is purely intellectual, made for reasons entirely within his own comprehension, can expect his faith to last until he meets the smartest heretic in the world. Apologetics at best are a means of dispelling lingering doubts for a man who is already responding to the prevenient grace of conversion, so that he may move on to something more substantial.

I have to confess my own sins to my readers regarding this. I fell into these traps, and it was really both Mr. Mitsui of the Lion and the Cardinal and Moretben of the Undercroft who finally snapped me out of this ecclesial wayfaring. If anything, I am trying to make amends for some of the rather cynical, anti-Catholic things that have been said on this blog in the past. For me, both of these men cited above will always be intellectual titans who brought me back to my senses.

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat! And thank you.


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