Regis Martin: Conservatives Clinging to Christ

Why does the pope think so poorly of us? Conservative Catholics, that is, whom he maligns on a regular basis, accusing us, as he did most recently in an interview on 60 Minutes, of being “closed up inside a dogmatic box.” We’ve got this “suicidal attitude,” he tells us, the result of forever clinging to a dead past; and so we’ll never be able to move forward with the Spirit, leaving us with a future not of faith but of ideology.

Airing on the evening of Pentecost, the Church’s Feast of Fire, it may not exactly be the fire of divine love that some viewers were hoping to feel. And why that should be seems deeply puzzling since the pope’s approval rating in this country remains astonishingly high. Most Catholics, it would appear, genuinely love the pope, notwithstanding the fact that he doesn’t seem to like us very much; indeed, sees us more or less as reactionary boobs, so fixated upon a dead past that we’ve created this “climate of closure” in which being backward is all that matters.

Where did this caricature come from? Because it certainly doesn’t apply to the Catholics I know, most of whom cling not to the past but to Christ, the truth of whose life and message may most reliably be found in those very “dogmatic boxes” we’re now expected to climb out of. It gets a bit confusing, doesn’t it?

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