Ina couple of hours we will know about the big basketball "dance." That is who will be in the 65 team field for the NCAA national basketball championship. In the meantime I am amusing myself with the Catholic dance over "what or who is church?". I say amusing because at least a lot of Catholic bloggers are trying to wiggle themselves out of the 'web' that is the battle between clergy and laity.
I am not saying the attitude toward sex is the only difference between laity and hierarchy, but it is certainly one of the central issues. And the struggle is amusing because both sides---laity and hierarchy---frantically try to act like the attitude toward SEX is only a minor issue, if an issue at all.
Simply, but obviously, to any objective observer the issue may be framed as follows:
Hierarchy. Sex is only an acceptable as a means to an end. It cannot be an end in itself. It must be justified by some end other than personal/mutual gratification.
Laity. Sex is a natural human drive that needs no justification as an end in itself.
Clergy are celibate and believe only by abstaining from all forms of sex can a person clear his way to total holiness.
Laity are usually not celibate in reality or desire and reject the idea that celibacy is the 'fast track' to holiness.
Taking only one example, abortion. The hierarchy---the official teachers of the church---say abortion in ALL circumstances is tantamount to murder. The laity generally opposes abortion but says there are exceptions. Poll after poll confirms this.
But the hierarchy has thrown down the gauntlet. Accept our point of view or you are not a true Catholic. The hierarchy has placed all its chips and its future on its ability to make the laity accept their position. If the hierarchy gets the laity 'back in line' on this one issue, they have won. The hierarchy, then, is the savior of the Church, the controller of the thought of millions, and a powerful secular political influence, and their individual power is secure. If they fail, the game is over. The laity is Church.
The issue is quite simple, no matter how the bloggers squirm to reframe the conflict. Most bloggers try to avoid the issue above by claiming it is boring or not relavent. I say they just don't like to face facts. Jack