Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Answer to the Trad (and Liberal) Mindset

I haven't really had occasion to talk about my view of Pope Francis. That's mainly because I've known him for, what, a few weeks now? I don't want to be hasty. But then this caught my eye:

Havana Prelate Shares Notes From Cardinal Bergoglio's Pre-Conclave Speech

The above-linked article is fascinating in that it serves as a poster work for what I have always defined as "orthodoxy". In a world where polarity defines one's position in politics, society, and, yes, even religion, it's nice to be reminded that there are people who simply refuse to use the world's yardstick at all.

"Orthodox" is not a synonym for moderate. They may live in the same neighborhood, and their kids may hang out in the cafeteria, but they are fundamentally different positions.

A moderate takes in all sides, examines every angle, before making a decision. Moderation can be a virtue when coupled with humility, allowing one to recognize that he probably doesn't have all the answers. But it carries with it a sense of lacking conviction if adhered to in every case.

Orthodoxy is, above all, convicted. It knows the fundamental framework under which moderation's inquiry ought to proceed - and, indeed, when it is warranted that an inquiry begin in the first place. It shares moderation's affinity for humility; prideful orthodoxy is about as helpful as a car made of ice in Arizona on the 4th of July. Humble orthodoxy says, "This is the answer. It doesn't come from me, but I have received it and am commanded to share it. You may accept it or not as you will, but it is the truth."

The thing I like about the orthodox label is the total lack of obligation to anything but the truth. I don't have to love a thing just because it's old, nor do I have to despise it. I can look at it squarely and say, "You are a timeless treasure, an ingot of beautiful Truth handed down over the generations"; or conversely, "You come to us from men, and at the time of your begetting you served a purpose and served it well; but today you have outlived your value and remain only vestigial. Let us recognize you for your accomplishments, but burden you no more from use."

It's a liberating place to live. And it feels like the new Holy Father will be brutally orthodox. I'm excited.

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