Sunday, June 20, 2010

Liberal Theologians Have a Devil of a Time Understanding Pope Benedict XVI

Somebody named Richard W. Kropf, writing in the liberal National Catholic Reporter, does not seem to be even remotely familiar with what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about the Devil, temptation and sin. He writes:
It is hard to believe that someone as theologically sophisticated as Pope Benedict would resort to blaming the devil for the church’s present problems, but his allusion to “the enemy” in a speech given to a large group of priests last week (where he bemoaned and apologized again for the sins of some of the clergy) leaves one puzzled to say the least.
I don't find it even slightly hard to believe that someone as orthodox and informed as Pope Benedict would believe in the Devil just as Scripture and Tradition teach. But I do find an ostensibly Catholic publication having such difficulty with basic doctrine to be puzzling. Kropf seems to be under the impression that if one believes in the Devil and temptation, then one is evading human responsibility for sin.

Then Kropf cites Freud to make a point on which he could have cited St. Augustine. He writes:

What Sigmund Freud thought of these particularly Christian interpretations of the Book of Genesis, I’m not sure, but he recognized that the manifestations of the human sexual drive could be, as I think he put it, “polymorphously perverse.”

In other words, we should not be surprised by the atrocious forms it can sometimes take – nor by the human propensity to blame someone else. That too, according to the story about Adam and Eve, was part of their sin, their refusing to take responsibility, even while they claimed the right to decide what is good or evil on their own.

But Kropf gets down to his real complaint about Benedict when he whines about the lack of postmodern, relativistic waffle coming from the Vatican these days:

So why do we find the pope, of all people, falling into the same trap and engaging in the all too predictable blame game – singling out those priests who are duplicitous or those who are inclined to an “objective moral disorder” (homosexuals), chiding bishops who failed to discipline them, and when all else fails, blaming “the enemy” or the evil one?
Is it any great shock that someone who pooh poohs the existence of the Evil One also thinks homosexual behavior is perfectly appropriate for priests? I suppose it all fits together in the post-Vatican II mindset of the NCR. But it still seems pretty elementary and predictable bafflegab coming from what is supposed to be the "cutting edge" of the Church. Then again, originality has never been one of the Devil's strong points.

No comments: