Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Fools. . .

“Thinking themselves wise, they became as fools” (Rom 1:22).  Though St. Paul was addressing a Christian context, his words hardly are constrained to the foolishness that passes for wisdom today among Christians, Christian leaders, and Christian churches.  It is a sad fact that foolishness abides everywhere and what passes as wisdom only confirms the speaker a fool.

We speak foolishness all the time.  The media constantly refers to abortion as a “women’s issue”—yet about 50% of babies murdered are male so it is not quite a women's issue when the death is equally spread to boys as well as girls.  Or when we call abortion a health issue when the whole point of abortion is not health but death.  Or when critics of those opposed to abortion tell the pro-life contingent: “If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one.”  That is the modern day equivalent of telling an 1860s abolitionist: “If you don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave.”  

Another foolishness of the moment is that the chromosomes and DNA have no voice in deciding who is male or female.  Coming on the heels of Covid protocols and a vaccine that is urged by those who insist you listen to the science, it is the height of foolishness then to let science be gagged and bound while others with nothing more than a feeling or desire determine what constitutes a man or a woman.

I could go on.  I won't.  It is too depressing.  But I will mention a few of the idiocies that pass as wisdom in the Church.  For example, where is the wisdom of those who insist that it matters less what you believe than how sincerely you believe it?  Or those who insist that worship is neutral and you can worship however you please but that does not affect or shape what you believe.  Or those who insist that truth and meaning do not exist in Scripture or the Sacraments until you assign them truth and meaning by your belief.  Or those who insist that music is neutral and contributes nothing to the meaning of that music -- it all comes from the text.

It was once possible to debate what is truth and what it means but when perception and feeling are accorded a higher role than what the words actually say, it is no longer about the words anymore and solely about the person.  It has surely become that way in our culture and in our politics and we can decry it and complain about what that has done to our society and nation.  But we are urged not to put our trust in earthly rulers and kingdoms.  Instead, God calls us to trust in Him -- in His Word.  The foolishness that passes for religion and faith today makes it even more difficult to trust in that Word, to call people to know God through His Word, and to have faith and confidence in His mercy.  Our people are caught up within the tension of a world which deprives us of any truth larger than ourselves and of any meaning beyond the one we assign to it.  That foolishness will be our undoing in so many ways that hinder our lives now but the worst of it is that it conspires against the only hope that promises a future beyond the present life.  That is what happens when we insist that the Word cannot mean what it says since we do not like or agree with what it says.  Words matter.  Truth is objective.  It is the voice of the fool who says otherwise.


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