Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vatican Attack on Theologians, Vatican Attack on Humanity

The following journal entry is from October 1990:

I've just read an illuminating, extraordinary passage in Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989) (pp. 35-6). Rorty's talking re: how Freud’s theory of the unconscious suggests that every person is a poet, a maker, as the etymological sense of the word “poet” indicates, one who spins a narrative of one’s life that strives to weave the contingencies of life into a story that will strike others as useful. As Lionel Trilling (Beyond Culture [NY: Harcourt Brace, 1965], p. 79) puts it, Freud showed us that poetry is indigenous to the very constitution of the mind.

These passages bring to mind what Dorothee Sölle has to say about the term “fantasy” in her book Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future, trans. Lawrence W. Denef (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1970). Sölle says,

In German, Phantasie has a potentially far more positive value than the word “fantasy” has in English. Its meaning includes the dimensions of imagination, inspiration, inventiveness, flexibility, freedom and creativity (p. 10).

In fantasy, we reach for metaphors to signify, to tell the story we’re trying to tell, to weave the narrative. Thought itself is poetry; thought is thus precisely what Ernst Bloch calls it, a process of always venturing beyond.

My insight as I think about Rorty's insight: the tragedy—or better, grave injustice—of what the Vatican is doing to theologians today is the suppression of fantasy in theology. Why tragedy? Because to suppress fantasy is to suppress humanity. We theologians are now being asked to become machines that merely replicate information fed into us from without, information that itself pretends to replicate Truth Out There. Our task is to spit Truth out in machine-like fashion, never varying the message, never asking any questions about what it means.

+ + + + +

As I think, as I pray, as I listen to God's voice in my heart (and in scripture and the Christian community), I have come to believe that God loves gay people intensely, inordinately, deliriously. Ratzinger, do you hear?

Take that “intrinsically disordered” rhetoric and shove it.