Some might call them arrogant. I might've not long ago.
I embrace those words now and believe them. Oh yea, there are days when I wonder, days when I doubt, but those are usually days when I've simply not looked at the bigger picture, when I've not yet fully understood the Church's ways or teachings or when I've failed to understand that the Church is made of some very flawed human beings, I being about as flawed as they come.
What I've found time and again is that as I go deeper, the more satisfying my Catholic faith becomes.
I wonder about that phrase often, and continually draw new understanding as I apply it to different subject matters. It reminds me that I am not only free to ponder, but that as a Catholic, I am (quite contra-CW) required to think. Not to give in to the soft tyranny of sentimentalism until I’m so busy feeling that thinking is dismissed; not to sloppily indulge in kneejerkism or to (contra both the Bible and the Catechism) lose sight of the humanity of a person, or a group simply because of a line in the lawbooks or even a verse of scripture or a paragraph in the catechism.
Jesus Christ is Justice and Mercy, personified — he stays the hands that would stone but simultaneously says “go and sin no more.”
Many would balk at the idea that his church strains to continue that personification — her own terrible errors, compounded by headlines and narratives and memes and perceptions and agendas all say otherwise. Yet, if you really look at the church and her teachings, and the 2000 years of deep reasoning put forth by her great saints and doctors (of all sexes, all races, all manner of attractions) one cannot miss this deep commitment to balancing justice with mercy — imperfectly, of course, because we have human beings, not angels, working in administration, and we we’ve gotten sloppy in our work.
Since I was a little girl I have heard people cry for “peace” and “love” but, so often their words seemed conspicuous for an absence of mercy. “Love” was only meant for the right sorts, and “peace” was just a word. But I have always recognized that everything about the church — all of its outwardly-rippling echos and tireless gathering-ins — has been meant to lead us into the very depths of love, and the mysteries of mercy, which are God’s self-givings, freely bestowed upon us in precisely the measures we seek them, for ourselves and others. False narratives cannot survive at those depths; they crumble. Inflexible rods cannot reach it; they get caught up on something, en route, and miss out.
One of the things I love so much about our good pope, Benedict XVI, is that he is absolutely fearless in what he will discuss. There is no subject that is “off the table,” and nothing he will not address, as he has proved over and over again in his book-length interviews. He does this so easily, I believe, because he knows that any subject — any subject — that is thought through and discussed calmly, rationally, respectfully and honestly will inevitably lead to Catholic orthodoxy and the holiness to which we aspire. Therefore, there is no risk in honest discourse. If it is honest, it can only direct us one way.
Ms. Scalia is used as a vessel of truth time and again for me.
I'm certain she could be for you as well.
Bookmark the woman.
It'll do you good.
You need to trust me on this.