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Marc Dion
Marc Dion
13 Oct 2014
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White Man's Jesus

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He was white. All you had to do was look. The statues. The crucifix. The little pictures in our little books. All showed a plainly Caucasian Christ.

That school is an apartment building now, and the church that stood in front of it is closed, those being the common fates of urban ethnic Catholic schools and churches. It's the same in Europe. Except there, the churches become museums.

Worldwide, the church fares well. Latin America, despite the inroads made by Protestant evangelicals, is now the demographic heartland of the Catholic Church. In Africa, the Catholic Church is exploding, as it is in Asia.

But here in America, the scandal-battered old mother church shudders as the divorced question the "fairness" of certain doctrines, as gays rail against the church for being "bigoted" and not "inclusive," as though the Catholic Church can be expected to hold sensitivity training seminars, the way a paper cup manufacturer does when one of the truck drivers screws up and calls a receptionist, "sweetheart."

The church is an old firm and more importantly, one that bases itself on huge books of theology, interpretations of God, seekings of God, tiny arguments about tiny differences in doctrine that stretch back 2,000 years. In the 1100s, the same kind of minds that now study theoretical physics studied theology, two sciences aiming at nearly the same end.

But the Catholic Church is European-based or, to put it more kindly, cannot exist as a worldwide faith if Catholics in Europe and America persist in ignoring the rules.

And the rules will change because geography- savvy men of God will not choose to let the divorced and others remain outside the church doors, not contributing their numbers and their money, not maintaining the seat of the Catholic Church in Europe, not holding its wealthy bastion in America.

That part of the church must be saved, and I believe rules will be changed until that wayward freedom-loving part can be drawn back in, through the doors and into the pews.

Am I being cynical?

No.

The Catholic Church is an old survivor and it knows when to give in and wait for the next fight, all the while gathering strength.

Am I one of those lapsed Catholics who delights in tormenting the old faith?

No.

Six years ago, I married for the first time.

I married a divorced woman. As a Catholic, I pay a heavy price for that decision, but I never expected the rules to change just for me. I made my decision and I'll take my punishment silently, which is something I learned from the nuns, all those years ago.

If my punishment is lifted from me in some way, I will be glad and grateful but some part of me will always miss the days of surety, of doctrines that never changed, of white man's Jesus.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's book of Pulitzer Prize-nominated column, "Between Wealth and Welfare: A Liberal Curmudgeon in America," is available for Nook and Kindle.

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Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... The Catholic Church will not give an inch because it cannot give an inch. Old institutions are like old people: All form and formality, and no function. Like old people, the church watches the bottom line. If their income doesn't support their efforts, they scoot. The blacks of inner cities are not any more poor than the blacks of Africa, but behind the African Blacks, under their feet, there is great wealth. Detroit will always be Detroit, and every soul saved means many in madness and poverty with their hands out asking all, and with nothing to give. The difference between Africa and America is the number of souls that have been robbed of their meaning here, as opposed to there.
The law as we know it would not exist without the efforts of the church. The influence of the Church in bringing old Roman Law out of the grave of History, and establishing it throughout Europe and much of the world can be easily found. Even the fact that many legal terms come to us in Latin is a give away of the facts. We have more of Common Law, or Natural Law in England and the United States, but much of the world labors under Roman Law, which is the Law of a legalistic and failed state. This is not what appealed to primitive people in their first encounter with Jesus Christ.
Among all primitive people, sacrifice for community is the highest virtue. Before Jesus was even known, he was already a hero to the people he conquered. The notion of law as the church has almost always held it puts peace above justice. This simple notion put an end to feuds, and as vengeance made every life uncertain and threatened by death, people accepted Christ and Christianity. There is clear evidence of the Social Contract in Europe, when people give up their immediate claim to justice, and to vengeance; and allowed the law to work on the promise of Justice. The Catholic Church in promising Justice at all puts itself behind the Evangelical Church which promises justice only in Heaven. Do you see how much easier a task the evengelicals have? They are preaching a God against all reason, and at no point do they have to promise their flocks reason, that the reason of law should rule them and deliver justice to them. God will take care of that later, and first you have to die, and until that time, faith, labor, and prayer must consume your life.
A just world would not have the Catholic Church, or need it. A just would would not suffer the Evangelicals either. Justice depends upon reason for its strength. Strength alone promises nothing and takes all. Until reason had to part with faith, the church kept reason alive in Philosophy, but in the moment philosophy suggested that reason should rule men's lives- the two parted forever. When these churches demand authority over their members, they do not do so on the basis of reason, but of faith.
When you look for the reason behind their laws you find the age old one of people seeking wealth and power, and then civil protection for their wealth and power. And this is the key to the strength of the church. They never advance revolution no matter how much it is needed. They step into relatively healthy societies and do nothing to upset the power structures that are established, but in their support of them gain general support. On the other hand; the number of societies the parasitic church has helped run into the grave is great. The church was robbed of lands and gold to build the army that defeated the Saracen at Poitiers, and other great thefts from the Church followed as Feudalism was built up in Europe. Why they did not part company is a good question. Essentially the rich protected the church in all it could squeeze out of the poor as they did the same, and vice versa. Eventually, the church recouped its losses. On the other hand, this essentially military organization of society weakened it before the Norse invasions. When a free and independent people attacked the relatively powerful nobles, and their masses of cowed peasants, the defeat of the Europeans was written. The same thing happened in Anglo Saxon England where the peasants were reduced to that state by the actions of church and kings in collusion. They served themselves, and so served their people up for destruction.
In more modern times the wealth of the church has always been a prize of revolution, but it was the wealth of the whole of society in the hands of a few that made revolution possible. And the Catholics with their view of church property as inalienable have always contributed to their own demise. They ask others to embrace poverty to serve the poor. They will never liquidate their holding to avert revolution; and yet they are liquidated. Property rights are always under revision. Religious rights should be so as well; but it is the necessity of rulers trying to hold perilously to power that makes them seek the power of the church over feeble minds. In any event, Churches can only be associated with healthy society as disease is associate to the destruction of a healthy person. The churches fed once on the cities, and then left all behind but the title to their realestate, which they hold untaxed.
Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:57 AM
I've known people who married or divorced. Ca-Ching: Cough up some money, get an annulment and everybody's happy.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Bruce Strickland
Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:47 PM
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