On Discussing Matters of Controversy


On Discussing Matters of Controversy

Mr. Disputations has a brief comment on "progressives" in the Church, to which this was my reply:

On all of these issues, I hold with Church teaching. However, I have far greater tolerance for difference of opinion on some of them than on others. Moreover, one of the things that often disturbs me in this whole debate is the implicit assumption that those who hold a differing opinion are operating out of ill-will. Surely, there are the Frances Kisslings of the world, who would like nothing better than to see the Catholic Church lie in a smoldering heap. But the vast majority of people who hold some or all of these views do not do so out of ill will.

I will not speculate on what does drive such people, but I will give my view of it from outside. It seems that certain of the very good aspects of modern secular culture--the desire for people to live together without strife, the desire for equality of representation, the desire for individuals to be respected, intrudes into the religious realm where all of these things are true, but the trappings differ from what looks like true equality, peace, harmony, and respect. It is in seeking to redress these perceived inequalities that we get these various agendas.

I tend to agree about the coalesence of the endpoints of these agendas. But that does not mean that one is entitled to engage people with differing viewpoints with anything less than civility, respect for their integrity, and true charity that requires gentle reproof (if speak you must) and logical demonstration of the errors of the viewpoint. As I am qualified for the first, but not particularly well qualified for the second, I spend much of my time outside the great debate reprimanding both sides when the discussion departs from the bounds of propriety and civility.

To which, I now add, that if anyone discerns that I am treating my guests less than hospitably, I would greatly appreciate the courtesy of an e-mail that provides details of the needed course correction. We all like to think that we act in charity, but more often we act in our view of Charity. Charity must always respect a person as an image of God, and must welcome Christ in that person. But Charity does not sit idly by while someone enters serious error or sinfulness. It is not charitable to sit by stirring one's cup of tea while one's companion is plagued by demons. Nor is it charity to let someone continue in sin without a word. (Not that any of the views qualify as sin--I'm simply attempting to define the limits of charity.)

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 27, 2003 8:50 AM.

On Twain Elsewhere in the was the previous entry in this blog.

More Wisdom--On Archiving One is the next entry in this blog.

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