Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On the upside

I'm a bit worried that I sounded too critical of the Catholic Church;  some may think I'm starting to endorse "progressive" Christianity of the Spong variety.

So, as a corrective to that, let me make a few comments.

The Church on social teaching in the modern era is pretty sound - in terms of its views on economics and the role of government,  it largely strikes a sensible balance in its support of capitalism, while acknowledging an important role for government intervention and even unions (as long as they're not outright supporting communism) in making for a fair society.   Libertarians views for minimal government find no significant support there, and those from the Acton Institute are pushing a marginal view with no real credibility. 

In terms of international aid, charity work, and the provision of health services in the West, too, it does great work with the only issue being the knots it ties itself in regarding women's reproduction, all due to it's view on abortion and contraception.  (The latter does deserve some revision, but let's not go there right now while I'm trying to look on the bright side.)

The Church also has taken the "right" side of science on climate change and pollution, and shames the Evangelicals of American who are foolishly prepared to go with the idea that God just won't let the Earth overheat no matter how much humans try.

As for theology and doctrine and where its future lies:  I remain completely unconvinced that the future for Christianity lies in redefining it so that the matter of the reality of God or a supernatural realm becomes unimportant, or irrelevant.  Yet this is the danger that skeptical examinations of theology and religion always face; it seems almost an inevitable path that progressive theology leads down, and it's why conservative Catholics refuse to allow the first step to be taken.  

But my point is that denial of a problem of how theology and doctrine is to take into account dramatic changes in understanding of the nature of the Universe (and human biology) is no answer either.   And the reason for my previous post was to argue that the Church's institutional response has in some key respects made the matter harder to deal with, not easier.


not trampis said...

My reading of evangelicals in the USA has shown they all too well aware of what dominion of earth means visavis global warming.

Christianity today is pretty sound on this.

Jason Soon said...

any thoughts on this steve? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/us/michael-novak-dead-catholic-scholar.html?_r=0

not trampis said...

Spong was a highly discredited anglican theist or is it deist as well.

At least we know he was no christian.

A bit hard to lump anglican garbage with Catholics!

Steve said...

Don't think I knew of him, Jason. From that obit, sounds like he was one of those who swung from being too far on one side to too far on the other. As I'm sure I have explained before, I tend to distrust the judgement of those who go through that process. (And you do see a lot of it at Catallaxy.)

Steve said...

Just was having a quick look - from a Jesuit site - going through the recent Popes' comments about capitalism and socialism. All seems pretty sound to me.