Friday, November 9, 2012

Hegelian mind games

Of course, some would say everything Hegelian is a mind game, but we'll deal with those folks later.

First, the thesis:  the Catholic bishops overplayed their hand and Obama's administration won't be that bad.  Courtesy of Vince Miller, author and lead signature on "On All Our Shoulders"

Antithesis:  others instead conclude that the Catholic bishops didn't do enough to counteract Obama's malevolent snookering of American Catholics.

Hegel would say that we're now supposed to arrive a synthesis...which in turn means a new thesis.

heads explode in 5...4...3...

This blog is far too young--and this blogger far too inexperienced--to jump into the election postmortems. There are others who have done that already and quite well

Referring to an earlier blogpost, though, the Obama administration's willingness to play fast and loose with its implementation of the healthcare mandate remains far from a concluded battle.  The administration still seems unwilling to admit that there's really any problem.  Ditto that for Obama's Catholic supporters like those in the academy.  Either these folks thirsted so greatly for Obama's reelection that they were willing to overlook a clear infringement on religious freedom OR they want to join some others in forcing the Church's hand to change some teachings. 

That decision, despite the short-term gains enjoyed by Obama's victory Tuesday, strikes me as unfortunate.  Miller and his fellow "Shoulders" signers know the depth and breadth of, and the profound spiritual and social treasures found within, the Catholic social thought tradition.  Part of that tradition, it's made quite clear, is that the Church's magisterium runs the show.  Ultimately Rome, and thus the bishops, are in control.  There's substantial leeway granted, but ultimately when Benedict XVI links social progress to Paul VI's Humanae Vitae and when John Paul II defines "the culture of life" then that's the framework in which we work. (For those keeping score at home, that references Caritas in Veritate #15 [at least!] and Evangelium Vitae #29 [at least!], respectively.)  Claiming that Obamacare betters fits the Catholic social thought tradition than Paul Ryan's supposed Ayn Rand-influenced budget settles nothing and, I think, actually worsens the situation.  Obamacare requires Catholic institutions to violate their own principles.  A Romney administration would've caused several headaches, but would have alleviated that particular one.  Nevertheless, Obama won, so that means what the Church (and the nation!) need now is a greater, cohesive defense of the Church's social thought tradition AND its constitutional rights.  Here's at least one attempt, but there should be others, and even then I think the pro-Obama Catholic academy has already conceded the high ground.  That's where Rod Dreher (no longer himself Catholic but certainly still sympathetic) has the right idea:  retrench to focus on religious liberty.  How many of the "Shoulders" signers would agree to that?

I know, I know....heads explode (again) in 5...4...3...




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