Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kelly’s Cross, Prince Edward Island, Canada 4.7.1983: Insularity and Nostalgia

Spent the day at the university preparing for the course. Fr. M. is a very amiable fellow, and gives one the impression of being naturally forthright and plain-dealing (in marked contrast to Fr. K.).

Theologically he is, as with almost everyone I’ve talked to here at this level, rather intransigent. PEI Catholicism partakes of the parochial nature of island life in general—small world, perceiving itself threatened by large world, and powerless to do anything but draw inside its boundaries.

They all hanker for the Faith that was: when life was rural and defined by that fact; when Catholics were Catholics; when you knew you ought to marry and have a large family; and on and on. It never seems to occur to them that a religion that can only hanker for this lost world is a religion that must be marginalized in the future of Island society.

And rightly so: it served its purpose. And now it positively seems to cultivate mental sickness . . . . I know about the halt and the blind, and I don’t deny that the sick have a special role. But is Christianity or Catholicism a creature that battens on sickness like a parasite? Is our only answer to modern secular existence this withdrawal into fearful, inbred, sick little worlds?

Another thing: the two priests I’ve talked to here both know this and that high muckety-muck in church politics and live as if that world is the world. One tells me that a high official in the Vatican from French Canada tells him that Rahner publicly professes that all he has written is wrong! Exegesis of Vatican official: Rahner can be ignored. What blindness.

No comments: