In response to my post on Catholic dissent, Ross Douthat reminds us that all men are fallen:

I’m strongly sympathetic to Schmitz’s point about the dangers of officially upholding orthodoxy while making it seem optional and/or unimportant with winks and nods. . . . But some kind of cognitive dissonance in these areas, some gap between what individual Catholics believe and what they want the papacy to teach, might not be the worst sign for the future of church.

Ross is right. A certain anxiety with the idea of fallen man underlies our awkward reception of many of the Church’s other teachings. As the Colombian aphorist Nicolás Gómez Dávila observed, “Those who refuse to absolve the sinner end up absolving the sin.” Strictures regarding marriage, sex, and just war all begin to appear as  impossible and offensive impositions.

Whatever else the Church teaches, it teaches fallen man. It often behooves her to teach that first.

Articles by Matthew Schmitz


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