Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ignatian Spin

I sometimes feel as if I have chosen to practice "write and release" - writing without the desire or need to hear the rest of the conversations (if any) that what I had to say might have started. That said, I appreciate the tendrils of comments and questions that do wrap back all the more. Or at least most of the time. Of late, I've been getting distressing emails related to my column in the Archdiocesan paper -- with links to material I wished I had never known existed, urging me to take stances that I would never take. Though never easy to read, these are easy to ignore.

What I could not ignore was a concerned, but not off the wall, comment to the editor about my column the previous week. I responded with the reasons I thought that my choice of closing quote had not been inappropriate -- particularly in the context of a recent homily by the Pope. I closed my response with "I have nothing but the deepest respect for our Holy Father as a theologian and teacher, and feel that in quoting from this particular letter of Fr.Teilhard de Chardin that I have not strayed from his teaching."

My respondent took issue with this last, "P.S. While I did NOT say that you "strayed from his teaching,"[he didn't - he said I was careless] you have used an oddly restrained phrase with regard to the Vicar of Christ…" At which point, I became less charitable, "I do not, however, appreciate your post script …and sincerely hope that in doing so you are not calling my faithfulness to the magisterium into question."

The copy of St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises I used on the Long Retreat place this on its own page (No. 22): " …it is necessary to suppose that every good Christian is more ready to put a good interpretation on another's statement than to condemn it as false. If an orthodox construction cannot be put on a proposition, the one who made it should be asked how he understands it." I remember reading this and thinking it had no bearing on my retreat -- I could not imagine a situation in which my director and I might differ over some point of doctrine! Yawn.

Now I get Ignatius' point. The letter writer and I disagree about what it is prudent to write about in a Catholic paper - but I was not ready to put "a good interpretation" on his statement. Nor on his statement about my oddly restrained statement concerning the Pope. And so things quickly degenerate into snipping at each other…and this helps things how?

Far better to laugh - hence, the Mel Brooks! (Yes, it's imprudent...and probably impudent as well.)

Let me have too deep a sense of humor ever to be proud. Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly. - From a Prayer for Humility by Daniel Lord, SF, in Prayers to Accompany the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises (in Hearts on Fire, Praying with the Jesuits).


  1. I am glad you are able to see things this way. In the sense that this is something I see but do not always recognize.

    (Re humor: On my end, I am trying to move past my slightly unholy delight in observing the fact that both they and some of the people on the other side of the Tiber where I came from seem to be dry docked in the same boat, though neither side would like to acknowledge the other as companions.

    P.S. 2: This actually fits with a post idea I have.

    unrelated p.s: If Josemaria Escriva can be considered legit, de Chardin definitely is. )

  2. Re post: I just crossposted it on my public katharine drexel