Tuesday, September 26, 2006

irritating journalistic commentary

An irritating article from "D Magazine" in Dallas. The author appears to take the attitude of St. Michael and All Angels as the paradigmatic best response to all the current mess. In other words, to my mind, a lukewarm fiddling while Rome burns. Or, in the words of St. Michael and All Angels' junior warden, "We’re a big tent at St. Michael. ... We are not going to take any radical action one way or another. Our bottom line is that we are not separatists.”

The author of the article begins to moralize on this theme: "There is too much reading of the fine print and too little awareness of the big picture. And there is history: of such purifying efforts have come witch hunts, inquisitions, wars, generations-deep hatreds."

Then the author sagely urges us to take a lesson from history: "...consider [Queen] Elizabeth [the first]," he says. "Refusing to allow the kingdom-threatening Catholic-Protestant struggle to tempt her to 'make windows into men’s souls,' the monarch many consider England’s best laid out the bottom line of unity: 'There is only one Jesus Christ, and all the rest is a dispute over trifles.' "

The irony, of course, is that in order to enforce ecclesial unity under her headship, Elizabeth savagely persecuted those who could not, in conscience, accept her self-granted role as supreme head of the Church in England, killing more dissenters from her religious policies than either Henry VIII or her sister "Bloody" Mary. Only Elizabeth officially had them killed for treason and sedition, rather than doctrinal dissent. Maybe because, to her, schism was worse than heresy. But I imagine that kind of nuance was lost on those she killed.

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