Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ross Douthat's Liberal/Conservative Problem

Of late the New York Times' Catholic writer has written of:

....my sudden fears for the church’s unity, in the years of Francis and under papacies to come. Divisions there will always be, but these divisions are simply deeper than I had (fondly? naively?) imagined. And nothing in Catholic history suggests that the church is exempt from Jesus’s warning about a house divided, or from the consequences when those divisions can no longer be denied. 


Douthat frequently couches his perspective on the present divisions within  Church in terms of "liberal" and "conservative" Catholics (of which he styles himself one). Thus the schema of “liberal” (progressive, left) vs. conservative (traditional, right) which followed upon the close of Vatican II is wholly inadequate for explaining the present-day crisis of faith within the Church of Jesus Christ, though it is most unfortunate that usage of these terms persist among many Catholics and in the media today. Division within Christ’s Church is a clear attack by the evil one. Satan’s strategy here is the time-honored one of divide et impera  –  divide and conquer. Remember, too, Jesus’ words to the Pharisees: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Quite simply, no ideology, no matter how sincerely embraced, may substitute for personal conversion.