Monday, February 13, 2012

The Pope and "Moral Teaching"

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.  

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