The Deacon's Bench

I don’t know what’s more astonishing: to find this kind of clarion sentiment expressed today, or to find it expressed in the mainstream media:

It was a controversy tailor-made for the TV cameras: A lesbian couple in the liberal bastion of Boulder, Colo., had enrolled their children in a Catholic parish school, only to see those children denied re-enrollment once the parish priest learned of their home situation. When the story leaked last week, Boulder’s vociferous gay-rights activists mobilized to protest the priest, the parish and the Archdiocese of Denver, brandishing signs outside the church that plaintively asked: “What would Jesus do?”

For the reporters breathlessly covering the story and many Catholics, the answer was obvious. Jesus would allow the children to stay in the school. He would tell the teachers not to worry about the conflict between their duty to teach Catholic doctrine on marriage and their desire to protect the feelings of students being raised by a couple that flouted that doctrine in a particularly obvious way. The solution, he would say, is simple: Drop the doctrine and focus on feelings.

At least, that’s what the Jesus of our contemporary imagination would say. He has a habit of endorsing what we wanted to do anyway, especially when it comes to sex. And unlike that intense and unsettling figure in the Bible — the one who talked about marriage as the union of a man and a woman for life — this Jesus never talks about tough choices or objective truth. He’s all about hugs, rainbows and doing what feels right — a sort of human Hallmark card in Birkenstocks.

Appealing as this Jesus may be, his do-your-own-thing dogma has its drawbacks in the context of Catholic education. For starters, it’s difficult for Catholic schools to justify their existence when their organizing principle is fidelity to a milquetoast figure with such malleable teachings. And it’s difficult for students at Catholic schools to understand why they should be willing to suffer ridicule for defending their faith when so many of their pastors, parents and teachers are not.

Read the rest. It’s a bracing wake-up call.

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