Monday, November 18, 2002

Miscellaneous responses:

Re/the blog below about letting the civil authorities do their work.

A commentor wisely points out the inadequacies of our civil "justice" system. I don't think he mentioned, in his litany, the rash of false abuse accusations in the 1980's and 90's often fueled by obsessed prosecutors, but he could have.

No, the civil system is not our "salvation" - the Church must act to root out the possibility of abuse by weeding out potential abusers in formation and seminary, by keeping clergy accountable, punishing offenders and encouraging priests and other church employees to keep each other honest and virtuous. Further, the courts can be used by anyone to harm the Church or personally profit. But as far as the task of defining abuse in a particular case, let's remember that abuse is a crime and even as the Church acts in its own sphere to punish and protect children, it really needs to show that it will cooperate with the civil authorities to see that justice is done, and not close in on itself and try to handle matters beyond its competence.

On the Adrian Dominicans:

Experts and teachers of Catholic spirituality who have no interest in Catholic spirituality are a particular bone of contention with me - I suppose its my awareness of and interest in history - I see such a wealth of treasures ignored, treasures that are thoroughly accessible to moderns, from Francis DeSales to Therese of Lisieux and beyond.

That said, I believe there's plenty of room in a Catholic's spiritual practice for wisely and selectively integrated non-Christian techniques. The problem is, of course, that too many of these techniques have been indiscriminately and thoughtlessly applied, and just as many of them are simple modern spiritual quackery.

And you know, in origins, if not necessarily in application, the labyrinth, is not one of those examples of modern spiritual quackery. Here's an article from the online Catholic Encyclopedia - which is from 1913, of course - to get you started It is questionable whether the labyrinths in ancient cathedrals were actually used for the purposes modern proponents claim for them, but I wouldn't immediately throw the labyrinth in the same category as something like the Enneagram. It can be Christ-centered, although I wouldn't be surprised if, in the world of most modern practitioners, it's not.

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