Monday, June 25, 2007

Ecumania Alert!

Several months ago, I wrote an article, of sorts, for a priest going to meet with his university's Presbyterian student union. Recently someone named, curiously enough, "Anonymous", said:

I would just like to say that although you advised "not to consider this is a debate about which religion is better" you did everything to make this one. The majority of what you said about the Catholic religion was mostly disrespectful and slandering. We are in a new age and Catholicicsm [sic] should be seen in a new light! This is not AD 1500!

First of all, placing what I said in quotation marks suggests it's actually what I wrote. However, the only time I used the word "debate", I wrote, "This is not the setting to debate who is right about being the 'established' Church of Jesus." I'm not nit-picking. I'm pointing out from the start that whoever Anonymous is, It was so hasty in retorting that It couldn't bother scrolling up a few lines, preferring instead to give an air or cleverness by catching me in quotes.

As for the substance of this anonymous comment, why do I get the sneaking suspicion Anonymous is actually a Catholic? At first glance it is a protest by a Protestant, along the lines of calling me out for ecclesial triumphalism. At first glance, the objection seems to be that I actually set out to debate, and defeat, Presbyterianism. But suddenly I am accused of being "mostly disrespectful and slandering" towards the Catholic Church!

By the gnarled beard of Zeus! What alchemical rhetorical technique is this?

Assuming that's actually what It meant -- that I've slandered the Church -- I wonder exactly wherein my slander lies. Presumably, by articulating Catholic orthodoxy I outed myself as a Dim, still dwelling in the 15th century. There is a kind of bluntness that opens minds, as when we call a spade a spade. In the case of Anonymous, however, bluntly reminding me it's no longer the 15th century (ah, but who's counting anyway?), is like calling a spade a card. It transfigures obfuscation like lacquer on rotted wood.

Presumably, by noting differences between Catholicism and Presbyterianism, I have shown myself trapped in the ancient mindset of creating boundaries where only halcyon Oneness should exist, as butter smooths over the rough imperfections of toast, giving one a foretaste of the oily harmony that can exist amongst blind and deaf brethren at dusk. The buttery sameness of what should have been my debate-free article should also be the texture of our "new age." Notice how this "new age" is never defined, except in contrast to the unnamed faults of the 15th century. Now we witness a kind of bluntness wherein a spade is a nigger. It glorifies the chauvinism of one's mind as a mint cleans the teeth.

On the off-chance Anonymous finds Its way here again, I hope It can be more specific wherein my slander lies. In the meantime, I would ask other (preferably nonymous) readers to show me where I was disrespectful. Otherwise, Anonymous seems to be as unwilling to own Its name as It is to claim Its Catholic heritage.

Oh, and if Anonymous is actually a Presbyterian (or simply not a Catholic), and actually meant I was rude towards Presbyterians, well, we all know how triumphalistic I am, and there's no helping me in such a late stage! I can't believe I'm not butter!

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