Monday, July 10, 2006

"Some More Disclaimers For This Blog"

Today is a good day I think to append some disclaimers1 that have occurred to me! After all, I will admit that I'm a person of sometimes odd opinions.

I believe that the Church is, in fact, who She professes to be. Frankly, I want everyone in the Church. But, failing that, I want them as close as possible, and the way that plays out in real life may strike others as unorthodox. I am happy when I see any person, of any faith, who is sincerely seeking to understand and appreciate the universe, and to act rightly in it. Even when their understandings lead them to beliefs and actions opposite from those of mine, I rejoice that they are seeking the T.G.B.2, a search whose end is ultimately in God. Whether one knows it or not, a passion for politics or an art movement or a philosophy or another person partakes of the love of God, and I only wish that that participation would be ever more complete in you and in me. (And these truths are meaningful not just for that journey of the soul, but as things real in themselves!) For those who actively seek to know, love and serve God in their religion, I rejoice all the more, while still willing them to come ever nearer to the graces He bestows through His Church.

I know that sounds audacious and awfully condescending, doesn't it? But that's really how I see the world, and the God Who made it.

This is sort of a corollary of the previous disclaimer, but it's important enough for its own heading. Over the years, I've learned by example that genuine love and real beauty can and do exist even when sin is present. I have many friends who reject in their lives the teachings of the Church on the meaning and ethics of sexuality, and I don't believe myself superior to them. I admire greatly my friends' virtues of unselfishness, fidelity, patience, etc, when their relationships display these; I admire them without reservation. And it is far better, as I see it, to love and care for another, even in a flawed manner, than to not love at all. Still, I believe that our sexuality does have a meaning that can't be willed away, and that the virtue of chastity perfects, not destroys, genuine love (even and especially when the counsel of the virtue is separation). I hope and pray that all couples may see the moral truth more clearly and receive the grace to pursue it.

Take everything I say with a block of salt. I was a complete Philistine for much of my life with regard to poetry, music, art, movies, etc. Guided by my faith in my intellect and my early penchant for non-fiction, I sought from any artistic work an intellectual content reducible to an essay or at least an aphorism. If I couldn't find one, I deemed the work 'intellectually empty'. At least in the past few years, I've been humbled at last by pieces of wisdom that don't work that way, and so I've started to recognize the non-prosaic meanings in art. That's been sort of amazing at points, suddenly seeing clothes on the Emperor after all. But I warn you, I still have plenty of dumb opinions about all these things, and you do me a service by correcting me, doubly so by insisting upon the truth. (That last line, of course, applies to every subject, not just aesthetics.)

Well, I hope that this has been helpful.

1 I'm completely addicted to disclaimers, you know.

2 T.G.B: the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, my second-favorite trio of the cosmos.

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