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More in the Annals of Too-Clever-by-Half Arguments

Collegium is one of those programs run under the auspices of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities that attempts to get Catholics at Catholic colleges, non-Catholics at Catholic colleges, and Catholics at non-Catholic colleges together to talk about "Catholic Identity" without offending anybody. Of the friends I've had go through their retreats, those whose opinions I've not valued have loved it, those whose opinions I value have thought it somewhat worthless. Why get together to talk about Catholic identity if it has little, if anything, to do with Catholic teaching or magisterial direction?

As a result, Collegium's newsletter, among some useful things, tends to advertise conferences like "Out There: First National Conference of Scholars and Student Affairs Personnel Involved in LGBTQ Issues on Catholic Campuses" at the University of Santa Clara, a (of course) school in the Jesuit tradition. Hey Catholic identity can fit it all, right? (And no, I'm not interested in what the "Q" is for--one gets the feeling that everytime a new perversion is approved by these groups they have to add more letters.)

Collegium's director is (of course) a sociologist named Thomas M. Landy of the College of the Holy Cross. Since he's the head of the newsletter he gets to write about two-thirds of the book reviews. In his review of Colleen Carroll's book, The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy, Landy attempts to convince readers that Carroll's use of "orthodoxy" is, well, unorthodox:

The author's sympathies are clearly Roman Catholic, but she seems just as comfortable citing and extolling a revival of orthodox Christianity by the evangelical Campus Crusade for Christ as she is by citing a rise in affiliation at an Eastern Orthodox or Catholic or "Orthodox Presbyterian" church. She almost breathlessly extols a burgeoning trend toward "orthoxy" by citing trends toward some kind of conservatism or inerrancy (whether biblical or magisterial) as if they were a single movement towards a common belief. I find it hard to imagine what Robert Bellarmine or G. K. Chesterton would even make of this kind of orthodoxy.

Ah, dear Professor Landy! It is true that the attitude toward the separated brethren is different today than in the counter-reformation or the twenties, but it is much easier to imagine what they would make of Colleen Carroll than it is to imagine what they would make of one Thomas M. Landy advertising for "LGBTQ" conferences at a Jesuit University.

Professor Landy might also take a look at the documents of Vatican II (yes, it happened after Bellarmine and Chesterton's time) where Lumen Gentium speaks of both a "hierarchy of truths" and
of the fact that all of the authentic gifts of the Holy Spirit found in the separated brethren find their fulfillment in the Catholic Church. The "hierarchy of truths" under which the most important ones are shared by Evangelicals and Catholics, can explain why "Orthodox Presbyterian" really doesn't deserve those sneer quotes, Professor Landy (by the way--it is an actual denomination). They're more entitled to the adjective than Hans Kung or Richard McBrien. Perhaps the part about fulfillment will explain that business about "a single movement toward a common belief."

Landy goes on to say that he thinks "[T]he commonality may be about the 'conservative values,' or about authority--the possibility of finding sources of pure, certain religious knowledge than it is about theological orthodoxy." This is highly amusing stuff--"conservative values" like chastity and the opposition to so-called "same sex marriage" have nothing to do with theological orthodoxy? Nor does the possibility of certain religious knowledge or authority in such matters?

As I said in my entry about Latin America, a little bit of real Jesus--oh, yes, Professor Landy, "theological orthodoxy" to be sure--goes a lot farther than academic secularism, even under the auspices of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. And Catholics need feel no shame about having more in common with Billy Graham than Garry Wills. It's truly the orthodox thing to do.


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