Friday, October 11, 2013
Catholic Church Goes Cool
Wee need to realise that the Catholicism isn't a monolithic entity, but a collection of quite diverse subcultures and belief systems. It's easy to miss that point because of the organisation's insane political-party like insistence on presenting an 'absolute front' to the world, hiding the debate that goes on behind the scenes.
It's the organisation that gave - at best, and contrary to its far more liberal position on science pre-20th century (Galileo was largely a political dispute, with the most powerful layman in the catholic church getting shafted after a change in pope) - a very cold shoulder to Darwin's discoveries, while one of it's most famous offshoots, the Jesuits, celebrated the discovery of natural selection as providing a crucial discovery for how humanity arose (and one, which in their view, was better in keeping with their ideology of humanity as essentially an intelligent/privileged animal instead of a 'God' in itself).
It's the church that issues horrific 'official statements' about homosexuality (less offensive under the current pope, admittedly), but has inner city churches in most western cities that are proudly gay-friendly regardless of what 'Rome' might think. It's the organisation that works hand in hand with some of the most oppressive regimes, while also sheltering freedom fighters of all creeds, with many priests in East Timor and South America being tortured and killed because they wouldn't give up their beneficiaries' hiding place.
Following that, the conservative factions united to try and ensure that the 'threat' that initiated Vatican II never gained political power again - they were fine with them being tortured and killed while fighting for justice in far-away lands, but taking it to the church's seat of power had been a step too far. As bishop positions became vacant, traditionally progressive seats were systematically replaced with conservatives, resulting in the anti-modern quagmire that is the 'official' Catholic ideology today.
But the church is still factional, and any analysis must begin from that. There are pro-gay factions, pro-Marxist factions, factions who want the nuns to run things (given that they've got the better track record so far), factions defined by Kantian ideology (bizarrely condemned by the previous pope - you'd think being the church of Immanuel Kant would be something you'd sell yourself on) and of course the conservative factions that dominate the official policy. A monolithic view is never a sufficient one when it comes to Catholicism.