Saturday, February 3, 2024

My moral fiber is sufficient. . .

If you have the stomach for it, you can tun into a recent BBC interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, including his “complicated” relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.  As is typical of Roman Catholic public figures (like President Biden), the relationship these people have with their own church body is less complicated than it is distorted.  Certainly Fauci has all the ambiance for being a Roman Catholic public persona.  He and his wife studied, were married, and their children were born at the Roman Catholic Georgetown University.  He thinks the chapel there is "really nice”  but he is referring to the aesthetic and not to the faith and dogmas behind it all.  Fauci makes it clear he does not practice the faith but is a cultural Catholic:

A number of complicated reasons. . . . First of all, I think my own personal ethics in life are I think enough to keep me going on the right path. And I think that there are enough negative aspects about the organizational Church, that you are very well aware of. I’m not against it. I identify myself as a Catholic. I was raised, I was baptized, I was confirmed, I was married in the Church. My children were baptized in the Church. But as far as practicing it, it seems almost like a pro forma thing that I don’t really need to do.

Only a fool or amnesiac could forget the division that marked Fauci's time as a public figure—and the legacy of his leadership during Covid has not been without its critics.  However, Fauci seems to be on the side of the majority of Roman Catholics in America when it comes to his relationship with the church he claims as his own.  It has become rather ordinary and typical for Roman Catholics to complain more about their church than to adhere to its doctrine or faithfully practice the faith according to the church's own rules.  Critics remind us all the time that nearly half of those raised Roman Catholic leave never to return.

Fauci could do worse than to filter his own self-important morality through the lens of Scripture and the faithful Christian tradition.  But he won't.  Sadly, public figures of nearly every religious tradition seem to feel the need to reject the faith of their upbringing as the birthright of their political future.  They love to hold onto images but cannot reconcile themselves to the substance of what is believed.  We have long known about this and witnessed those who belong to faithful pro-life churches turn away from the teaching of their churches because they either believe it wrong or a drag on their election.  In Fauci's case, it is a conflict with what he declares to be settled science -- though I am not at all sure Fauci really cares about the settled science as much as promoting and defending his own particular opinions.  In any case, it is the job of the Church to note the distance between political figures and their churches, between their public stands and the stands of their church bodies, and when they have given up any moral authority but their own.  It is always the start of something that will not end well.

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