Over the weekend, we had friends over for dinner including the aforementioned. The conversation turned to the Pope and as it does in cases like this, apparently the only topic the Pope discusses is sex. The discussion was about the Year of Mercy and what this meant for sex. The non-Catholics were all quite happy to hear that sex outside of marriage was something to be forgiven and lots of misunderstanding followed.
I always keep my mouth shut during these discussions because I can't figure out what to say. I sat there trying to synthesize what was going on and I hit upon this:
The Pope is a lightning rod for criticism of the Church.
Because we have a pope and the other faiths do not, secularists included, we have one guy whose pronouncements speak for all of us. There's no analog for the post-modern secularists or the atheists or the Lutherans or anyone else. The Pope is unique. You might be able to make a weak analogy with a political leader of a country, but no one really thinks he speaks for the entire country.
For us, that means we are constantly on the defensive with every utterance* dissected and analyzed and then held up against our political yardsticks and debated. By contrast, secularists can espouse preposterous and contradictory concepts that defy science and lay waste to whole neighborhoods, but there's no one who speaks for them and nothing they need defend. There's no there there.
I might try that line of discussion the next time this comes up and see what happens.
|Don't hold that thing too high during a thunderstorm, Your Holiness.|