Different people have asked me what I think about the television program Nothing Sacred. I am reluctant to say anything because I only saw a ten minute segment of one program. It was the part where Fr. Ray told his congregation that he did not want to hear any more sexual sins in the confessional. Tired of being a "sex traffic cop" or something like that. I have to admit it was well acted. In fact, I found myself imagining what I would say to him if he were one of the priests here in the diocese:
So much for my aspirations to be a script writer. But what is the controversy around Nothing Sacred really about? From as much as I can make out from talking with friends who saw it and from reading some articles, it is this: The clash between two approaches to Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. The struggle cannot really be described with the words "liberal" and "conservative." The best words are cultural and conter-cultural.
The values dear to our culture are well-known: equality, tolerance and self-determination. Those are important values and they have their place. However, some U.S. Catholics use them to judge the Church. In the process they criticize hierarchy, authority, even revelation and the moral law. When push comes to shove they will chose their culture over their faith. Without much reflection their culture simply becomes their faith.
Dorothy Rabinowitz, writing in the Wall Street Journal saw what was really at stake:
I receive a fair amount of e-mail from people asking how to deal with a parish priest who seems a lot like Fr. Ray--a nice guy, but more loyal to the culture than the teaching authority of the church. Two things should be said. First, you need him for pastoral care: the Mass, sacraments and so on. In fact, when you approach him on that level (as in the above imaginary dialogue), you probably find he is more a representative of the Church than he may have first appeared. But secondly, and this is really the most important: the division between cultural and counter-cultural Catholicism is not a matter of two opposing parties. It is a struggle in each of our hearts. It is life and death--and will only be won by prayer and God's grace.
The Disney Boycott.
The stuggle against secular humanism.
The mission of this website.
The Forgotten Catholic
Some background in philosphy.
A representative of secular philosophy: Carl Sagan.
An illustration from the Abortion controversy: Why "pro-choice" is a contradiction in terms.
The difference between a watered-down and full-bodied approach to Christianity: Flawed Expectations.
The real problem with Dissent.
How dissent affects the Catholic University.
The Forgotten Catholic
Boston Globe's Misleading Article on Catholic Church
Deflating Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Stephen Jay Gould: Gorbachev of Darwinism?
Test Tube Offspring Want to Know Father
Erickson vs. Bartell Drugs
Call No Man Father
What is Original Sin of Sex?
Bicentennial Man (Hidden Assumptions)
Bogus Knights of Columbus Oath
See also: An Eternally Unbridgeable Chasm
The Fiery Furnace
Jesus Teaching Concerning Heaven
Some Good News on Teen Pregnancy and Abortion
Hitler's Pope: Comic Book Approach to Church History
He Approached the Victim: "It's much more likely one of your relatives will lose his life by surgical abortion than by heart attack."
Germaine Greer on Birth Control
Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)