Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is the Catholic glass half-full or half-empty?

This is kind of a long video, but I found it really fascinating because of what the debate turned to, moreso than what it was intended to cover (although that is an intriguing issue in its own right).

Martha MacCallum of Fox News Channel was interviewing Phil Donahue, a Notre Dame alum, and Fr. Jonathan Morris about Notre Dame's decision to award President Obama an honorary degree this May, despite his continued disregard of the pro-life point of view (by the way, you can sign a petition if you believe Notre Dame should cancel this plan). Right out of the blocks, and for the entire interview, Donahue kept trying to tie this debate to his larger thesis that the Catholic Church is in crisis, and that it needs to consider changing many of its views in order to be more attractive to mainstream Americans. As you can see in the video, he cites his own divorce and refusal to obtain an annulment before remarriage as evidence of modern society's rejection of Catholicism's "archaic" rules and standards.

Sadly, I've seen this before: my late Grandma Eva, for whom our little peanut is named, never followed through on seeking an annulment after her divorce from my grandpa. And, like Phil Donahue, she held that against the Church-even though it was completely her choice not to seek an annulment (which would probably have been granted, had she followed up on it). Just as Donahue refuses to see the vibrancy of the Catholic Church in America, my grandma used her victimization (both real and imagined) to justify her own pessimism and, ultimately, her own failures. It seems to me that these are both cases of people reacting defensively to their own shame, and determining that-since the fault can't be with them-it must lie with the Church.

In this case, MacCallum-who is Catholic-and Fr. Jonathan essentially destroyed Donahue's argument with their own experiences of parish and seminary life. But watch the video and see if you think anything they said is likely to reach Donahue's heart.

1 comment:

Christine said...

One must ask the question: why change the faith to attract more mainstream Americans?

Didn't Jesus say the path was narrow? Didn't He say we'd have opposition?

Why change what God says just to get a larger following? Doesn't that go against what God says?