Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Belgian Primate Continues to Draw Fire: André-Joseph Léonard's Theologian-Spokesperson Resigns

And, piggybacking on what I just posted about Silvio Berlusconi and Catholic family values: you know things are reaching the limits of absurdity in our church when the faculty of the Catholic University of Louvain are circulating a petition for the current Catholic primate of Belgium, André-Joseph Léonard (appointed to his current position by Pope Benedict in January 2010), to resign as chancellor of the university, because his doltish remarks bring shame to the Catholic University of Louvain.

And when the personal theologian of this primate, Jürgen Mettepenningen, resigns because he's tired of driving down the wrong side of the highway with the primate and being asked to believe that it's all the other drivers on the road who have it wrong: 

"Monsignor Leonard at times acts like a motorist driving on the wrong side of a freeway who thinks all the other motorists are wrong," Mettepenningen said at a press conference [in which he announced his resignation].

Among Archbishop Léonard's audacious acts of driving down the wrong side of the road and daring all other drivers to call him wrong?  As I noted in a recent posting, in a newly published book entitled Conversations with Archbishop Léonard, the Belgian primate announces that AIDS is God's punishment for gays and their lifestyles.

It strikes me that what Jürgen Mettepenningen describes as driving on the wrong side of the freeway and thinking that all the other motorists are wrong is an apt description of Pope Benedict's agenda for a smaller, purer church.  The ecclesiology underlying this agenda views the church as countercultural, as holding onto traditional values in the face of all opposition, even when the church is headed at lightning speed down the wrong side of the highway.  Daring all comers to call the church's commitment to reckless driving wrong.  Since it's society that's in the wrong and the church has it right, no matter who gets run over by church teaching as the church asserts its rightness.

This is, in the final analysis, why Benedict made André-Joseph Léonard the primate of Belgium.  But put drivers who think their way is the only way at the wheel, and place them on the freeway to exhibit their daring driving skills to the entire world, and you can expect a few accidents of the sort Archbishop Léonard has already caused, as he holds the Catholic church to the tried and true way.  The right way. 

His and Benedict's way.

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