Monday, October 20, 2014

Was Jesus "secular"?

I feel compelled to ask questions.  I'm never satisfied with assertions - devoid of back-up. 

My latest question comes from the assertion that care and concern for homosexuals or the divorced or those who simply exercise their God-given right to free-will decision-making automatically deserve the epithet: giving-in to a secular agenda.  (See Cardinal Pell's quote in this article.)

So, what exactly does "secular" mean?  Did it have any meaning when Jesus was alive?  Was Jesus crucified because (maybe) he appeared to be too secular for the religious authorities?  Would he be "crucified" today by the trolls among us - the rich, the powerful, the keepers of authority? 

Who defines "secular" or its opposite?  And how many opposites might there be?  For example, a majority of Americans admits to a belief in God.  A majority admits, as well, to the practice or acknowledgement of some type of faith.  Yet, a majority of Americans is also now in favor of gay marriage, to such an extent that even the Supreme Court, packed (I assert) with Opus Dei adherents (impossible to be sure - as the Opus prefers the Opaque) ...  even the Supreme Court has not ruled against Gay Marriage!

So where does this leave us? 

Whose side was Jesus on?  Whose side was God on when we, creatures of human soil (or stardust?) were granted free will? 

I think of Moses, the story of the Burning Bush.  And the words uttered there:  I have heard my people's cry.


Opus118 said...

I did not really understand this post TheraP, but I also did not understand the language used in the link. So I am just going to spout off a bit. The language Cardinal Pell used sounds like that of a political conservative. He hypothetically sees the cultural threat and ignores the pastoral purpose of the Church.

I think the Roman Catholic Church is starting to go in the right direction and it will take time, perhaps hundreds of years.

I think Pope Francis clearly had Oekonomia in mind as a topic of this synod.

This is a quote by Pope Francis about marriage (but it also applies to homosexuality) that is ambiguous in in my mind:

" About the problem of Communion to those persons in a second union, that the divorced might participate in Communion, there is no problem. When they are in a second union, they can't.

I believe that it is necessary to keep this within the entirety of pastoral care of marriage. And for this it is a problem. But also... a parenthesis, the Orthodox have a different praxis. They follow the theology of economy, as they called it, and they give a second chance, they allow it. But I believe that this problem, and I close the parenthesis, must be studied in the framework of marriage pastoral ministry.

And for this, two things: first, one of the themes to be consulted with the eight of this council of cardinals, with whom we'll be meeting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October, is how to move ahead in the pastoral care of marriage, and this problem will come up there."


TheraP said...

Dear Opus 118:

You focused on one pertinent issue, which I did not specifically raise. And that relates to divorce and remarriage. And, yes, the Orthodox bless and commune with those folks. And don't forget that the vast majority of Christians do so as well. Which constitutes a very large commentary - about the "mind" of the Church, of the Assembled People. (Which is aside from the "stacked group" of bishops appointed by 2 reactionary popes.). So I look at the larger picture here. And I look at the overwhelming compassion of Jesus.

Given a choice, I choose compassion over rules and regulations. Compassion. I urge compassion. And humility. The one goes with the other I think.