Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cardinal George on How the Culture is Changed

But will he figure out how to do it himself?

Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal George revisits the Chick-fil-A issue, and observes how the left has moved the culture by excluding entire vistas of context (H/T:  BackyardConservative):
An argument is always made in a context that determines what can be considered sensible, and it seems to me that some of us are arguing out of different contexts. 
There are three contexts for discussing “gay marriage”: 1) the arena of individual rights and their protection in civil law, 2) the field of activities defined by nature and its laws, and 3) the realm of faith as a response to God’s self-revelation in history.  Unfortunately, when the only permissible context for discussing public values is that of individual rights protected by civil law, then it is the government alone that determines how it is acceptable to act.  Every public actor (including faith communities) then becomes the government’s agent.  This is a formula for tyranny.
We can see how appeals to pluralism and toleration gradually become tyrannical in the development of how we are now expected to regard the killing of unborn children.  When the individual civil right to abort a living child was discovered in the Constitution, its justification began as a “necessary evil” for the sake of a woman’s health; it was then applauded in nobler terms as a positive symbol of a woman’s freedom; it is now part of the value system of our society and everyone must be involved in paying for it, either through taxes or insurance.  It is mainstream medicine and settled social policy.  Its opponents are relegated to a quirky fringe, outside of the American consensus not only on what it is legal to do but also on what it is good to support.  When the government, the media and the entertainment industries agree to agree on how to use words and shape the argument, society itself is deliberately transformed in ways that bring academics, judges, legislators, lawyers, law enforcement officers, newspaper editors, actors, psychiatrists, doctors and every other public professional into public agreement, all portraying themselves as original thinkers.  Anyone opposed to the new consensus, no matter the reason, is dismissed as a throwback to an earlier age, to be tolerated, perhaps, but removed from public life and, eventually, punished.  It’s a very old story.
The Cardinal is exactly right.  But he's been standing on the sidelines watching it happen his entire life.  Now what's he going to do about it?  People on the wrong side of these issues go to communion every Sunday, every day, some of them, in the Chicago Archdiocese.  Evidently, it's OK with Cardinal George for someone to stand up in his territory and say "I'm Catholic and gay is OK!  Abortion is OK!"  There are no consequences for this, even for the most famous and power Catholics.  Until the Church starts flexing its muscle, and getting into the game, it's going to be relegated to a seat on the 50-yard line to watch as western culture completes its slide into the gutter, taking the economy with it.