Sunday, November 17, 2013

More on the Paprocki Exorcism Stunt: Commonweal Readers Respond to Deacon Jim Pauwels's Defense of Paprocki

Kudos to John Prior for his cogent, right-to-the-point response to the commentary of Deacon Jim Pauwels at Commonweal about Bishop Paprocki's exorcism stunt. I linked to Pauwels's most recent comment about the exorcism stunt last evening.

As my posting last evening notes, Deacon Jim sees Paprocki's intended exorcism of the demons that are bringing marriage equality to Illinois as perhaps a little quirky and odd, but not objectionable. And he professes to be baffled about why some of his fellow Catholics would see the exorcism as objectionable.

Here's John Prior's response to him:

Jim P., 
Mockery occurs in a wide range, from light raillery to outright cruelty. At its best, it may serve a useful and benign purpose, if it moves people to reexamine and fortify core principles and sound beliefs and to slough off or lay less emphasis on mere accretions. Most of it, as you say, can be ignored. But there is no denying that many people see the Church as a hostile and retrograde force in the world and in their own lives, and would like to see its reach (further) diminished. Nor are mockery and cruelty all on one side. When Church leaders keep blasting certain folks as inherently disordered, for example, they are adopting a rhetoric that has often led and still leads to pogroms and death squads, and the having-it-both-ways of "love the sinner but hate the sin" doesn't absolve it. This exorcism business is just another ugly and tiresome expression of the same thing. They should cut it out.

John Prior's absolutely right. As is Abe Rosenzweig when he tells Deacon Jim the following:

Jim, I like how you're all in a knot about people mocking Paprocki's stunt, but don't have a word to say about how the bishop is dehumanizing--nay, quite literally demonzing--gay people through these actions.

And then, when Mark Proska weighs in with one of his predictable taunts about loving the sinner and hating the sin, Abe responds with a big old Cersei Lannister eye roll

A happy Sunday to all of you.

The photo of Bishop Paprocki is by Arthur Hirsch of the Baltimore Sun, in an article noting that Paprocki organized a two-day, closed-door session on exorcism for the U.S. Catholic bishops at their 2010 meeting in Baltimore.

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