Over at the National Catholic Register, Steve Gredanus has a thoughtful response to Elizabeth Scalia’s apologetic for Cardinal Dolan.
It can’t be said that there is no danger today of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching — or whether the Church’s teaching might be changing. Even in the Church, priests and religious openly campaign for changes to the Church’s teaching. Pope Francis’ famous phrase “Who am I to judge?” is misrepresented as opening the door to such change.
Third, in siding with the woman taken in adultery, Jesus went against the crowd to defend a victim in great and immediate distress. Jesus sided with a powerless, embattled person against a violent, angry mob.
Likewise, Jesus’ habit of sharing table fellowship with individuals deemed sinners was precisely a matter of welcoming the marginalized, the outcast, the powerless who had been rejected and excluded by the powerful.
When Elizabeth says “I’m not sure a bishop has a choice but to run out to meet prodigals, regardless of motivating factors,” I can’t help thinking, as advocates of the change have pointed out, that this policy shift was not something sought by parade organizers or advocated by church leaders, but something imposed on them after long resistance. Without even necessarily faulting anyone for the policy change, it can’t really be framed as a pro-active move by Catholics.
What I have been pondering since I posted Scalia’s commentary yesterday is this: who are today’s Pharisees?
The default assumption has seemed to be to assume the Pharisees are the hardline Catholics who insist on doctrinal and moral purity and for more moderate Catholics to point a finger of admonishment at them for expressing disappointment or dismay when it seems to them their shepherds have caved to popular opinion or political correctness.
Yet I look around me and see the so-called Pharisees in the Catholic Church has a rather small, marginalized group. While they now have access to blogs to express their concerns, some with more charity than others, in the wider scheme of things most prelates can easily ignore their complaints. They have no power to speak of.
Were not the Pharisees of old part of the establishment, the politically-correct faction in the Judaism of the day? They were not a beleaguered minority holding fast to the law, but had enough clout to get the crowd whipped up on their side to have Jesus crucified.
I don’t know. It’s an interesting week. I like the example that Elizabeth Scalia has given us in terms of making a best effort to give our prelates the benefit of a doubt and to put the best possible interpretation on their actions, especially if they initially cause dismay or disappointment.