I'm extremely irritated by Catholics saying, "Well, you know....Bennett's a Catholic, and the Catholic Church doesn't condemn gambling..."
You know, this is the kind of thinking that not only gives the public a questionable image of Catholicism, but, more importantly, hurts Catholics seeking to understand how to live a moral life.
It is a minimalist, legalistic and a totally inadequate rendering of the depth and authentic direction of Catholic thought on the moral life. We are not called to live by a set of rules, sitting down each morning to see how we can rationalize their purpose and meaning to satisfy our own needs and desires. We are called to holiness. We are called to bind ourselves more fully to Christ each day, in every part of our life. This journey, of course, is not exactly the same for everyone, and there is an age-old, continual tension within Catholic life between the ascetic and the life that's joyfully grounded in enjoying the goodness of creation. There is room for both the St. Anthony's and the Chesterton's. I fear, however, that the recent resurgence of Catholic intellectual life in this country has taken too much safety and security in the Chestertonian model, and too easily dismissed what the ascetic element of our tradition has to say to us about the appetites, about moderation, and about how easily the things of this world can shift from being signs of God's presence to being obstacles to His presence in our lives.
Now...to go over that talk one more time.
I will be back tomorrow morning with more blogging - the usual Monday morning wealth of links will be on Tuesday this week.