The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Politics and Religion

The world has a new Pope. I should say the Catholic Church has a new Pope but that's not how he is viewed. He is viewed pretty much as the spokesman of Christianity in spite of the reality. The reality is that he is the spokesman for only one Christian sect; Roman Catholic. The first
official Christian sect, to be sure, but only one.  And there are no viable competitors for the status/position of Pope.  Most sects of any religion have no single authority. I cannot think of any that do, anyway.

He (the Pope) is supposed to represent Christ on Earth. But relatively few actually recognize his authority as such.

I look upon the Holy Roman Empire as a replacement for the old Roman Empire. I suspect that is why Latin is the official language of the sect. But this is not important.

I look at this ritual of choosing a Pope in much the same way as I view ascensions to the throne in monarchies. There isn't much difference except for the lack of possible outright violence. And most monarchies today are settled as to who will succeed to the throne. The days of wars for the right to rule are over. We still have rebellions and civil wars, of course, but not for claims to rule between families of kings and queens.

And the Catholic Church seems to mimic the political hierarchy of of the Roman Empire which went from a republic to a sort of monarchy with the emergence of Julius Caesar.

Monarchs rule by force, though, and Popes rule by faith. The faith of their adherents.

And, as soon as a new Pope is named, factions within (and without) try to change the church. You hear calls for modernization grow louder. I do not understand this. Let me rephrase... I do understand this but I don't agree with it. Of course, no one is listening to me and there is no reason that they should.

My mother was raised Catholic. She left the Church when she chose to marry my father. The story goes like this:

My father, being a Methodist (a Protestant), would only be allowed to marry my mother in the Church if he either converted to Catholicism or agreed to raise their children as Catholics. My parents went to the priest at my mother's church for pre-nuptial counseling. This subject came up. My father refused to convert. The priest then told them that the marriage could happen if he agreed to raise any children they had in the Church. Again he refused. When the priest then said they could not marry, he walked out of the meeting.

The priest turned to my mother and suggested it was for the best. My mother said she didn't care, that she intended to marry my father regardless. The priest said she would be excommunicated if she did. According to her, she then stood up, told the priest to go ahead and walked out, never coming back. She finishes the story by telling me she did not want to belong to a church which thought it could tell her who to love.

My mother never held a grudge against the Church for this but never regretted her decision to disobey the priest, to leave the Church. And I hold no animosity toward the Church or religion in general. But I think her story has a moral that those who want the Church to change, to modernize, should consider.

If you do not like the way the Church is, do not seek to change it... leave it. If enough do that, it will change or wither away if the changes are needed.


Tom Sightings said...

Interesting post. My parents' story began the same but ended differently. My father, a nominal Lutheran, married my mother, an Irish Catholic. He did agree to be married in the church, and also agreed that their children would be raised Catholic.

However, now 70 years later, none of those three children are still practicing Catholics. So, go figure.

Btw, I place my bet that there is other, possibly intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe. Since the answer is either yes or no, I've got a 50% chance of being right, which is better than the odds you get in Vegas!

Douglas said...

Tom, most people are raised in the church of their parents. I call this "religious brainwashing" it's a subtle thing. A child usually does not get a choice. Parents think this is best. After all, what does a child know about life, death, and what might come after? A child is born a "blank slate."

My parents put me through "Sunday School" and then let me decide for myself whether to attend church after that.

My sister always wanted to become a Catholic but didn't get serious about it until her 4th marriage (she eventually had 8), a bit late.

America is full of lapsed Catholics, I guess. And a lot of lapsed everything else.

Steven said...

The calls for modernization are non-sensical. They're choosing a religion where God speaks through one infallible person. Either listen to what he says (and since God is perfect, he's not going to be changing his mind or modernizing his earlier opinions), or admit you don't believe your religion.

Douglas said...

Steven, humans are non-sensical. People often say (and pray) one way while doing (living) another.