Friday, April 15, 2005

You know, it's always easy for me to find something to complain about in the Campus Times - something got printed that shouldn't have, production night going badly in a way that was avoidable, a serious lack of people who are both competent and motivated - but sometimes I love it.

One of those times was this week. We had a staff photo of Pope John Paul II lying in state. A staff photo of the pope lying in state. Andrew Slominski - sophomore, one of the two photo editors last year - happens to be studying abroad in Italy this semester, and he got a picture and sent it to us along with his article on what it was like being there. So thanks to him, this little amateur college newspaper got pictures. Not stolen, whether with credit or not. And not even from a wire service.

But just for the mandatory griping - there was an editorial about the papacy and how it should resist calls to liberalize, and Jesus it sucked. Even if its attitude is agreed with and not offensive - which can be summarized by the last few lines, "The Church is holy, immortal and immovable. Second, and consequently, if you do not like it, don't let the door hit you on the way out" - there was a bunch of stuff in it that's pure bullshit.

In these "debates," liberal theologians, non-Catholics and a smorgasbord of wholly unqualified academics declared that the successor of John Paul II must modernize the Church and introduce more democratic procedures... Obviously, each of these commentators has never picked up either the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" or a history book. If they had, then they would not have been spewing forth line after line of uninformed hogwash. The Catholic Church is not a democracy - it would be impossible.

DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! STRAWMAN ALERT! I'm not Catholic and I haven't even seen these debates - and "debates" is probably his word, I'll bet most of the news shows called them discussions, but hey, details aren't holy - but I'll bet anyone dollars to donuts that most of the people he was talking about were not hoping that the Church would become a democratic republic. Odds are they were noticing problems with it such as, for example, aiding and abetting child rapists, and suggesting greater transparency to both regain some lost credibility and simply do the moral thing. It's democracy in the sense that the people aren't being lied to. Or maybe they were thinking about how the laity are becoming more important to the Church, and suggesting that they be given a little bit more authority. That, too, is democratic - self-government, so to speak.

From the bestowing of the keys of the Church in the hands of Saint Peter, the Church has been a monarchy of the greatest sort. It has had a successful, elaborate hierarchy of offices, from the laity all the way up to the Chair of Peter. Each office is well-defined and necessary to ensure accountability, administrative efficiency and, most importantly, a strong and unmovable faith all the way up the chain.

Call me crazy, but I have a hard time taking Adam and his religious convictions seriously when he praises the accountability and efficiency of the Catholic Church before he gets around to the importance of faith. Both in general - you're supposed to do things because they're right, not because they're efficient - and in particular - see my last comment about the Church's relationship with accountability.

Yes, it is true that throughout history there have been chinks in this chain, but for nearly two millennia, things have worked out just fine.

The Inquisition, the Thirty Year's War, massive systematic sexual abuse, de facto theocracy being encouraged throughout pre-revolutionary Europe... minor chinks in the chain. Move along, nothing to see here.

Should the decision of whether murder is mortal sin be left up to a vote? The Church was entrusted to Peter by Christ to shepherd the flock, not to poll it. When Saint Paul was converting the heathens of ancient Anatolia and Greece, I am sure a majority of people thought "free love," murder and the like were just fine... But Paul did not poll the public - he preached truth, whether they liked it or not. This is what the Church is entrusted to do, plain and simple.

For someone complaining about academics not having read a Catechism or a history book - and by the way, anti-intellectualism is blatant hypocrisy coming from anyone who isn't living off what he can catch, I just wanted to get that out there - Adam should, well, to put it politely, go to the library. Free love? Early Christians were the only people in that area who practiced free love. A minority of them, sure, but if free love is a bad thing, I'm afraid Adam is in for a nasty wake-up call about his church.

The Holy Ghost most certainly inspired the development of the form of government that exists to this day. This has undoubtedly been a key to the resounding success and longevity of the papacy. What other regimes can claim such an impressive, long-lasting form of government and way of being? Aside from maybe some uncivilized bongo-banging tribes in Papua New Guinea, I am thinking zero.

Now, I could call Adam racist or elitist for this. After all, with one phrase he manages to imply that bongo-banging is the limit of New Guinean culture and that even if it weren't, "their kind of people" don't count when you're comparing the size of your dick - I mean, your historical record. But calling someone racist is a cheap shot, like winning a game of pool when the other guy scratches on the 8-ball. So instead I'll just point out - yet again - that Adam is either stupid, illiterate, or a pathological liar. "What other regimes can claim such an impressive, long-lasting form of government"? Hmmm... how about Dynastic China? They had over 3,000 years, I think. Or Pharaonic Egypt? Maybe even 4,000. By comparison, the amount of time Adam spent researching this editorial? Up to three minutes, tops.

So to all of you who live with the fake expectation of a democratic Church that will ordain women, allow contraception and totally adapt itself to the modern world, I leave you with two concluding thoughts.

Wait, don't leave those thoughts, you don't have many to spare! /cheapshot But don't worry, Adam, I can really understand your position. I mean, of course contraception is evil - that damn family planning! If every child was wanted, where would the world be? And after all, every sperm is sacred... And adapting to the modern world? Those bastards! How could those flaming liberals in Rome want to do something about sliding church membership? How dare the liberal media attack good, hardworking priests whose only crime was loving the little children a little too much?

Conclusion: I hope this doesn't sound anti-Catholic. But it's a simple truth that the Catholic Church isn't perfect. How to improve it is open for debate. But anyone who says things shouldn't be changed is incorrect. Does that error stem from dishonesty, general disregard for the truth a.k.a. bullshitting, gross stupidity and/or ignorance, or an ego the size of St. Peter's Basilica? In Adam Ramey's case, maybe all of the above.

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