Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I just read an article which contained an author's explanation of a group. The explanation bothers me a bit. The reporter said that most of these groups "retain a deep commitment to social justice, which has led them to embrace liberal positions over the years."

I'm not troubled by a commitment to social justice, nor liberal positions even. What bugs me is the meaning ascribed to those phrases

People who know me, even people whose lifestyles would cause lead the reporter to call them liberal, would term me a liberal. In fact, I only have one friend who has ever called me a conservative, but the phrase she used was "compassionate conservative." And who knows - maybe because of how society defines liberalism, she just might just have been afraid of painting me with what has become a broad stroke. Yet I am sure that the reporter of the article which caused me to start this post would never imagine calling me anything a but "conservative Catholic" because I am an orthodox/traditional Roman Catholic.

The perception of a conservative Catholic is that of a closed minded individual whose identity has been molded by a rigid patriarchal institution that is out of touch with reality. A conservative Catholic is essentially thought to be what modern society would term a "hater;" a cC hates gays, feminism, AIDs patients and human sexuality that isn't specifically for procreation between married people while the bedroom lights are turned off. CCs mindlessly empty their wallets into the coffers of the Church which refuses to help the poor and otherwise needy. Conservative Catholics even want to impose their Church's oppression on women to the point of wishing to remove their right to choose while insisting that the elderly not have the right to die with dignity. If anything, a cC is the antithesis of a liberal - they could hardly be thought to have any interest in social justice, let alone "embrace social justice."

I'm just not those things, yet I am very much an orthodox/traditional Roman Catholic.

First, at one point in my life, I was very much in touch with what society would call "reality." Can't say that there is much that there are many things in life I haven't done or at least seen done. So, I'm in touch with the larger cultural "reality" in which society on the whole exists. I now choose to be counter-cultural in my approach to things by leading a Christo-centric life which is formed by the faith and traditions of the Catholic Church.

Within that framework, I find that I am able to be genuinely loving to others.

I consciously use the word "genuine" because previously I also acted in a loving fashion but now see my motivation to be disingenuous. Before I became what would be termed a conservative Catholic, I was loving because that is how I wanted be perceived. I was ever helpful and accepting. I was epitome of moral relativity in action. As long as you weren't hurting innocent people or children, I felt I had no call to make any judgments. Plus, judgments bring with them the responsiblilty for having made them; therefore, it could be seen as a way to avoid responsibility, too.

Do you know --- now this is an aside, but a relative one --- Anyway, do you know that I was such a fence sitter, disinclined to make judgments, that I once actually had a psychic tell me I was a fence sitter. The true irony in that is that, now that I will make judgments, I now disavow anything to do with psychics. Go figure!

Where was I?

Genuinely loving toward others. Yeah, that was it. Being genuinely loving toward others.

Acting in a genuinely loving way is a matter of consideration. Honestly, what does it matter if we seem to be loving to someone if we don't consider them, their situation and the outcome of action? It is simply hollow action if you don't take the person, et. al into consideration. And, let's face it, hollow action is just about as meaningful as inaction and can be infinitely more damaging in the fact that it can be seen as supporting what might or should be unsupportable.

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