A glorious Wednesday has dawned here in Chicago. This makes me forget how long and cold the winters are here in the Midwest.
Thanks for all your comments yesterday. Please, if you haven't had the chance, read through the comments. I would like to address one, made by my friend Diezba. He wrote:
"Being Catholic is about giving up my own opinion and submitting in humility to the Magisterium. As someone who had to give up my own theological, liturgical, and ecclesiological opinions upon my conversion to the Church, I recognize in you, Jerry, someone who (despite reservations about the translation itself) has a deeply Catholic understanding of what it meant to be a Catholic Christian."
I want to be clear about my own understanding of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. Diezba states that, upon his conversion, he gave up his own opinion. Merriam-Webster defines "opinion" as "a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter." If being a Catholic Christian means that I have given up my own opinion and submitted in humility to the Magisterium, then I really don't want any part of this Catholic experience, so defined. God has given me an intellect and free will. I spent years and years studying philosophy and theology. My mantra, which still gives me life, is Saint Anselm's "fides quaerens intellectum," faith seeking understanding. I interpret this to mean that I am free to use my intellect to form views and judgments that I place in conversation with my faith (the most important conversation partner I have within me), always seeking deeper understanding. Do I sometimes reach an opinion that is in contrast to the expressions of the Magisterium? Absolutely! Do I then jump on a soapbox or write an article slamming the Magisterium? Absolutely not! Because I am a human person, baptized into the Catholic faith, I continue to think, to pursue understanding in conversation with the teachings of the Magisterium. Do I give up my own opinions? No, and I don't believe that this is what I am asked to do as a Catholic Christian.
Recently Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, was chided by Pope Benedict for remarks (opinions) he posited about a certain remark by a cardinal in a Roman dicastery. I have met Cardinal Schonborn and have followed the development of his career and his thought. I have a great deal of respect for him. While I disagree with some of what he has done (particularly with regard to Medjugorje), I did agree with his assessment—his opinion—of the remark made by the Roman cardinal, for which he has apparently now had his hand slapped. I believe that blind submission to the teachings of the Magisterium—or to the interpretation of remarks interpreted themselves by the Roman Pontiff—without the ability to offer an opinion is not consistent with the fides quaerens intellectum approach. Are there not ways that the Church itself is always reforming? Reform cannot happen without dialogue and dialogue cannot happen without the positing of opinions.
Gosh, I've gone on much too long here. I hope that I haven't expressed any heresy. If so, please point it out to me. I am still on the road here. As I say to people who minister with catechumens and candidates, particularly those who have a tendency to over-catechize, who feel that a catechumen must know everything Catholic before Baptism—I say to them, "Are you 'done' yet?" The answer is always the same, "Of course not." So. I am definitely not "done" myself. So, I'll still posit my own opinions and feel 100% Catholic along the way.
Thanks for listening. And please, please weigh in here. Sometimes I need all the help I can get!
Gotta sing. Gotta pray. Gotta opine!