Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why this Blog is not Political

What a strange title, I grant. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this blog today, since it is think-day (i.e. Sunday), and I did all the layout changes today.

This is a theological blog, not a political one. And I have the definite impression that most so-called theology these days is political. If it is not political it is pious. This blog is neither (I'm very impious). You could blame me on the one side for being quixotic and impractical; you could blame me on the other for being cerebral and nonspiritual. I reject all of these appellations. Theology is both the politics and the sentiment of a certain type of person, and that person am I. I have been blamed for being bereft of affect before - no one who really knew me would think so. My brothers do, and hence am I known by them as 'the moody one.' I think a closer reading of this blog would reveal that! You should make no mistake, I am passionate about the things I write here - whether it be about education or sex or whatever.

As for politics, or, so-called political theology. I don't like it. Sorry. No offense. On the one hand, the only charity I have gone out of my way to donate to in recent times is Lifesite, and it's my only daily source of news, I admit. On the other hand, I am so sick of theology being reduced to politics. I don't care about politics, and it certainly isn't theology!

"What is theology, Dr. Aquinas?"

"Well, Colin, I answered that in Question 1 of Part One of my Summa Theologica, if you recall. There I remarked that it is the science of divine revelation."

I find that those who merely devote their thought to this thing called political theology (am I the only one who calls it that?) are but babies, gnawing on the breast of theology. If I hear one more thing about the just war theory, about De Tocqueville, etc., I'm gonna stage a first-class hissy fit in public. (I am really so sorry, O my American friends. Yes, this is a direct attack on all of you!) Similar theological puerility can be detected in those whose only theological thinking concerns the liturgy. Kind of like scientists who know all about rocks but nothing about plants, or chemicals or mathematics. There are so many blogs out there about Catholicism and politics. The problem is, this narrowness of concern inhibits one from developing his mind into a very useful, dynamic instrument for the Lord. This is why philosophy - and not current-events, politics, apologetics or liturgical studies - is the handmaid of theology. When you begin with politics you'll get no further into theology than with apologetics a la EWTN or what have you. There's nothing wrong with interjecting the Catholic voice into politics - in fact, it is a crime not to! What is wrong is permitting dilettantism to pass as the Catholic voice! To avoid this, we must begin so very far away from the realm of the practical with the theoretical. So then, this blog is the domain of the theoretical. But it is not theoretical for the sake of pragmatics either. It is theoretics for sake of enjoyment of, and union with, and honour of God; everything else is gravy, dollops of cold, partly congealed gravy. The Lord Himself is the lamb. Nice theological analogy there, huh?

The reason I've been going on about this has a lot to do with, yes, this thinking about nature of my blog, but it is also because I've also been reading a lot of Modern French History. What a dismal subject for a Catholic! The thing that rankles me the most in the whole thing is not the repeated, illegal seizures of Church property, or the execution 'in the name of fraternity' of priests and bishops, but, because it hits so close to home, the incredible effrontery of governments controlling education, i.e., inhibiting the Church's freedom to live its faith. I'm starting to sound political here. But I'm not going to go down that route. What this blog does is explores the important side of things: what does our Faith say about subject X. So, in that light, I'd like to take seriously for a time the mysterious subject of freedom of education.

Freedom and Education

I'm not one bit comfortable with how close I've come in the last year or so to the view that censorship per se should be opposed today. I agree that sin has no rights. But avoiding the greater evil of silencing the truth might today require the lesser evil of permitting our foes' lies. Our foes want the victory of their side regardless. They are sure they can accomplish this by speaking their peace and not allowing us ours. Just like us they see it as a matter of right and wrong. They believe we are evil, and so we have no absolute right to speak. They don't believe in an absolute freedom for anything, though they like to pretend they do. It's all pragmatism. Useful lies. So we have to call them on it. Are we free or are we not?

One of the most astonishing things I've learned since I've been at OLSWA is how extensively the government controls education - education under any stripe. I had no idea! Do you know that it is the government alone that gives degree granting permission? These bureaucrats employed in the field of education don't have any vested interest in education at all, do they? They don't have an agenda at all, do they? Wouldn't it not only be more equitable, but also more conducive to excellence in education, if non-governmental - even international - educational associations performed this role? Ooh, pretty scary prospect isn't it, Government of Ontario - competition in your closed-shop, and real accountability. Education divorced from the fiscal interests of the very policy makers themselves! Dare to dream.

For being non-political I'm being awfully political. No one will ever trust me again. Okay, I'll regroup, and then commit myself next time to this one question: Does the civil government have any right in education, and, if so, what is it and what is it not?

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