Tuesday, August 30

Catholic amnesia

Reading a friends blog, he mentioned something about history and how americans have a short-term memory when it comes to the past.  As an avid amateur historian (recall the only difference between professional and amateur is one gets a check), this got me thinking, which got me writing.

One of the things which initially attracted me to catholicism is the rich history and tradition that is considered of great value.  What a great shock and disappointment it was for me to find out that this image of catholicism is a relic of the past itself.  Today, it seems, the history of the Roman church is what Rome decides it is, just as what the Tradition means is what Rome says it means.  That may have worked in the 19th century....but this is not the 19th century.

As someone who has been quite active in historical research during the past 10+ years, the internet has truly become the revolution that was promised.  With a single set of bookmarks, one can have nearly the entire corpus of major Roman theological thinkers from the Apostolic era to Aquinas to apocryphal writings which were considered legendary until a generation ago. 

All for free and for download to peruse in your bunny-slippers and bathrobe without regard to your standing with the museum curator, the special collections librarian or some theologian or priest trying to divine if you are 'worthy' to read these texts.

What this means is that the catholics (Roman and otherwise) have a truly unique opportunity to recover and (re)discover their heritage, their religious inheritance.  That also means that when there are disagreements with the hierarchy concerning texts, their meaning and importance...well, spirit-led conscience should be your guide (much to the consternation of some who wish to control and restrict).

In the very end, of course, we should be like the knight in the image above, following the Salvic Cup by faith...even when there is no visible support.

P.S. - while you're at it...most catholics should probably ALSO read the scriptures.  No no, really.  It's ok...you're allowed and HAVE been allowed for quite a long time.

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