It’s absolutist anyway

The American Catholic Council, an organization of liberal-minded Catholics, recently met to protest the lack of dialog between parishioners and the Holy See. High on their list of grievances is the “absolutist” structure of the Catholic hierarchy.

While I appreciate the general spirit of the Council’s objections, they do come across as a rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic. The Catholic Church is, at it’s very core, a patriarchal, totalitarian organization. For it to move away from this structure would be to shed a fundamental part of its identity.

There is also considerable irony in the Council’s objections to absolutism: even if they convince the Holy See to listen to its parishioners and soften its dictatorial tendencies, the church would still be left worshiping God, the biggest and most powerful absolutist of all, by the church’s own account. (Perhaps the council should be redirecting its ire?)

Instead of trying to patch up an old, creaking institution, the members of the American Catholic Council would be better served by letting it crumble into dust.


One Response to It’s absolutist anyway

  1. NFQ says:

    Heh. I’m reminded of a problem that used to come up a lot in my old debate league. People would pick topics like, “[Crazy dictator x] should change [policy decision y].” It gets complicated quickly, because if you’re arguing from the point of view of the crazy dictator in order to convince the crazy dictator, then arguments like “You’re crazy! We’re defending the irrational and oppressive side, and you love that crap!” become seemingly persuasive. On the other hand, if you’re arguing normatively about what the crazy dictator ought to do, then the best thing is to step down from power and let the country have some more legitimate form of government, and that’s mutually exclusive with his making any policy decision at all, however much it might be an improvement on his previous decisions.

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