Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Augustine, Aquinas, and Anne Rice

Ignatius Press has an excellent blog that has recently addressed--in relation to Anne Rice--the question of attempts by Catholics to pick and choose what part of Catholic doctrine on faith and morals to accept. In a recent essay at

the blog examines the Anne Rice case in light of the teaching of Augustine and Aquinas.

How right Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, was back in the 1980s when he responded to his interviewer's question (The Ratzinger Report, p.45) that the key to the crisis in the Church is in ecclesiology. "My impression is that the authentically Catholic meaning of the reality 'Church' is tacitly disappearing, without being expressly rejected. Many no longer believe that what is at issue is a reality willed by the Lord himself."

I admired the works of Anne Rice's Catholic period, but a glance at her Facebook page, with tens of thousands of followers, shows that she always used that site more to attack the Church than to evangelize for it. And whenever she brought up a topic on which Church teaching is settled and clear, but on which she continued to hold heretical views, she elicited a flood of vehemently anti-Catholic posts from her followers.

It seems that sometimes celebrities--Tony Blair appears to be another example--join or return to the Church more in the hope of bringing her round to their way of seeing things than to submit to her teaching authority, especially where that teaching conflicts with liberal-secularist orthodoxy.

Paradoxically, it is often easier for those who move and have their friends and family in liberal-secularist circles to accept Catholic dogma on, say, the mystery of the Trinity, than to accept and publicly support those teachings on morals and the nature of the Church that conflict most sharply with prevalent secularist assumptions and liberal public opinion--questions like same-sex marriage or ordination of women or contraception.

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