That piece on Rick Santorum and his relaxed attitude to Catholic doctrine has been circulating among some of my friends, where it received an abrupt dismissal from a commentator who says that obviously we don't understand the niceties of Catholic doctrine--in particular, the distance between ex cathedra and (mere?) "moral teaching."
He's right in as narrow sense. I don't know the niceties and I wasn't thinking of the distinction when I wrote the gotcha post. But I wonder how to evaluate the implications. I should have thought that (mere) "moral teaching" was, at a minimum, something to be taken seriously and treated with respect--such that, if you do choose to vary from it, you do so only after careful thought and in a posture of awe at your own assumption of responsibility. Am I right on this, or is it rather just like a Christmas tree where I am free to pick the prettiest candy cane? In the same vein, I wonder if Rick Santorum has ever troubled to tell the voters how much real estate separates him and the hierarchy? Or by chance can we look forward to a Youtube club where he tells an evangelical audience: you know that moral teaching stuff? Hey, not to worry: I don't believe a word of it, except the part that lets me impose myself on women.