Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rants: Mary sí, Calvin no!

At last look, an informal poll of the interests of readers at Vox Nova – Catholic Perspectives on Culture, Society and Politics, based on a tally of comments registered on concurrently active topics, renders these scores:

Transubstantiation: 13
Demonology: 20
Torture: 5
Gay Marriage: 106

The attitude of the Vox Nova readership towards demons is relatively laissez-faire (20); and more so for torturers (5). What, exactly, takes place with the Eucharist (it seems to be substantially a series of accidents) is mildly interesting (13). But a sizable percentage of them are damned-good-and-sure (106) that they don’t want those queers marrying and fucking up what has been, until now, a pristine-perfect institution. After all, what does the word “marriage” even mean, if it doesn’t mean compulsory breeding?

But what becomes apparent in an analysis the discussions cited above is that these folks generally don’t know what they mean. For example, the term “transubstantiation” dates from the 11th century and is still under dispute. The problem seems to be that Catholics are so good at scholastic finagling that they just can’t agree on the proper definition of any term: Bread? Wine? Body? Blood? Torture? Marriage? WTF?

That said, while it is quite clear that many of them are not too sure just exactly what they mean when they hold forth, many of them do know what they like. Or don’t like. (Mary , Calvin no!) Okay, then—whatever. Y’know?
UPDATE: For the sake of accuracy, it should be noted that when I first wrote this piece I had apparently misread the total number of comments on Demonology as "2" when it had actually been--at that point--"20". Thus, uranists and demons have been firmly established as the Number One and (distant) Number Two category of critters preoccupying the minds of the interactive portion of the Vox Nova readership.


Darwin said...

The low count on the torture thread is mostly a result of the topic having been discussed to death on Vox Nova already, whereas same sex marriage rarely comes up there. If you did a count over time, you'd find plenty of very long torture threads.

It's almost as if there must be something about reading Vox Nova which causes one to see what one disagrees with. I was surprised at your reaction that their gay marriage thead was primarily against it, as skimming through the first 30-40 comments the other day the main thing that struck me was how studiously most of the contributors were staking out a, "There's really no point in opposing civil gay marriage because straight civil marriage doesn't follow Catholic guidelines anyway," position.

Rodak said...

The piece was meant to be humorous, by way of sarcasm. I am well aware of the many long threads on the topic of torture.
As for the gay marriage thread (which I admit was my real target), merely throwing up one's hands and saying "It's a done-deal anyway!" does not address the moral issues in any authentic way.
I guess that it was precisely the "There's really no point in opposing civil gay marriage because straight civil marriage doesn't follow Catholic guidelines anyway," that struck me with the combination of humor and frustration that prompted my post.
I didn't mean it to be offensive. But I didn't mean it to have no edge to it, either.
Vox Nova is a really fine site and I very much appreciate the thought and evident caring that goes into the posts and comments there.
Thanks for your comments here.

Darwin said...

I see your point -- maybe that "middle ground" is the sort of lukewarm that Christ talked about spewing out, neither hot nor cold.

To me, it looks like a weasely way of supporting gay marriage without actually being willing to go head-to-head with Church teaching on the issue. But I can definitely see how for someone with an opposing viewpoint on the issue it would look like a weasely way of refusing to actually support gay marriage either.

Rodak said...

Or a weasely way of actually supporting it without having the courage to say so.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

The concept of gay marriage doesn’t make sense from the standpoint of the Catholic understanding of marriage, an understanding I share, but what inspired my post was my interest in analyzing how strong a case could be made against gay marriage that doesn’t rely on the teachings of religion. I’m something of a secularist, in that I think it imprudent to use the civil law to enforce religious teachings, and so I’m of the opinion that public actions against gay marriage need a basis in reasons that appeal to people of differing faiths and no faith.

Rodak said...

My (tongue-in-cheek) post was inspired not directly by your post (which I admired), but rather by a smattering of the comments made in response to it.
That said, I consider the gay marriage issue to be rather small beer w/r/t the issue of "using civil law to enforce religious teachings." It seems clear to me that abortion is, and will remain, the biggie.
Yet, it also seems to me--although I am willing to be convinced otherwise--that the same issues pertain to abortion as pertain to gay marriage in this context.