Friday, May 23, 2014
"The New Authoriphobia"
Charlie Camosy has a thoughtful post up, at Catholic Moral Theology, called "The New Authoriphobia." He covers a lot of ground -- and has some really interesting thoughts about the place of authority in the work of academics -- but this quote was highlighted by (corporeal and Facebook) friend, Patrick Deneen:
The evidence now appears to be clear: more than a year into Pope Francis’ pontificate, many on the right and left in the US cynically use the authority of the Pope as a weapon in their political war. The source of their ultimate and irreducible concern is not the authoritative Catholic tradition, but rather the success of an American political agenda.
I agree entirely with Charlie that the Church's teaching - which all three of these Popes have proclaimed and defended - poses challenges to both the American left and the American right. Still, it seems to me that the reality is that our political system serves up two realistic options at election times and so those who choose to vote and who think elections can move things for better or worse (which does not mean, of course, that they can cure all or even most ills) have to make choices based on trade-offs.
It is not, it seems to me, "authoriphobia" (and I think Charlie would agree) to prioritize, relatively speaking, say, religious liberty, educational choice, and improved abortion laws over other matters (which also matter very much). This prioritization might be misguided, or based on an erroneous perception of the facts or on speculative predictions, but it need not involve denying the Church's (or the Gospel's) "authority" with respect to the questions given lower priority, nor need it reflect a misplaced loyalty to an "American political agenda."