--- In email@example.com
, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
> > From: jef.murray
> > Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 7:49 AM
> > I have to take exception here. O'Brien is not a
> > fundamentalist, (an orthodox Catholic could never
> > be so considered)
> Afraid you've lost me here; can you explain?
Roman Catholics cannot, by definition, be called fundamentalist.
This is simply because Catholicism, unlike Christian fundamentalism,
does not insist that all truth is contained in scripture. In
Catholicism, there is ongoing revelation through the teachings of the
church (e.g., encyclicals and other documents approved by the church
Magesterium) and through the writings and teaching of saints
throughout the ages. The Catholic world looks for understanding of
complex situations through prayer and discernment. And its
understanding of God's revelations to man can and does change over
time, albeit generally in nuance, not in the basic tenets of the church.
Fundamentalism, by contrast, insists that the truth of all
experience must be filtered through a fixed set of writings, and that
these writings are, in themselves, infallible. There are Christian
fundamentalists, and I believe that all of these are Protestant in
some form or fashion. There are also fundamentalist Muslims. And, for
all practical purposese, that term might be applied to any religion
that has a fixed and unchanging canon of scripture and that does not
believe in any authority outside of that scripture.
I would agree with you that Michael O'Brien's positions might seem
somewhat like those of many fundamentalist Christians. However, to the
secular world, an orthodox Catholic can appear to be radically
conservative on some issues (e.g., abortion), while being
simulataneously radically liberal on others (e.g., being against the
war in Iraq, and being intolerant of societal poverty and inequality).
This "strange" balance is what defines Catholicism, as G.K. Chesterton
was fond of pointing out.
I hope some of this helps....