From Amy Welborn on Devoted Bishops.
One of my regular blog reads is Ann Althouse, retired Wisconsin law professor. I don’t see eye-to-eye with her on all issues, particularly social issues, but at least once a day, she posts something interesting in a clarifying way. One of the tags she frequently uses on blog posts is [“civility bullshit.” As in: (https://althouse.blogspot.com/2018/06/calling-bullshit-on-calls-for-civility.html)
…because the real motivation is political advantage. Usually, the civility-demander is trying to get opponents tone it down and not take advantage of whatever hot passion and energy they’ve got on their side.
And this is absolutely, one-hundred percent correct. It applies in all types of discussions, including churchy ones.
Related is what I guess I’ll call _Collegiality BS._
(In deference to those who might be offended…)
You might recognize it as the call for a _Kumbaya_ moment. You might recognize it in calls for us to prioritize our sense of community – closeness, good feelings, acceptance at some level – above anything else. It’s a certain _interpretation_ of the Christian notion of communion. The problem is that it’s superficial and theologically incorrect. For the Catholic/Christian understanding of authentic communion is rooted in Christ’s actions, not ours. All the baptized are already in communion with Christ and each other. We don’t do it. He does. Our call is to _recognize_ that communion and build on it.
She then clarifies by providing an example of this.
After that, she talks about Cardinal Mahony’s short talk at the USCCB meeting.
But communion-awareness can shift into Communion and Collegiality BS when those preaching it are really just trying to deflect, distract and move on from uncomfortable matters. _Always_ be skeptical when someone frantically tries to “build community” with you.
Take, for example, Cardinal Mahony.
It’s appalling enough that he spoke at this week’s weird and pointless (although not _useless_ – see the difference? As in God can bring good out of anything?) bishops’ gathering.
And they all just sat there and listened. At least they didn’t applaud.
Anyway, Cardinal Mahony’s five minute talk said not a word about abuse or corruption. He was all about … our devotion to each other as members of the conference and the college of bishops.
Words to wisely follow, “Always be skeptical when someone frantically tries to ‘build community’ with you.” This is certainly one of my pet peeves when I detect what I call faux community building. This usually goes not deeper than glad-handing. Maybe as an introvert my quick-triggered detection of this is a bit skewed, yet I pretty much always detect it happens. I really desire true community and find it off-putting to find the counterfeit.
As they say, “Read the whole thing”. Especially as she goes on to pick apart what the Cardinal said along with pointing out and quoting what Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne had to say. Quite a contrast.
I am not surprised that Cardinal Mahony, who covered up so much abuse and caused so much damage to his former Archdiocese, had the nerve to speak there at all. He was not the only one with more ego than self-awareness who appeared at the meeting.