Ross Douthat on Conservative Catholicism
#2
I actually thought this was one of his worst.  Over the past 5-6 years he has taken an increasingly pessimistic view of conservative Catholicism.  This turn occurred shortly after the publication of Bad Religion.  He gave a First Things talk where he shot holes in the traditional line about how the conservatives would outbreed the liberals and the liberals would eventually leave.  He appears to have fallen into despair here, due in no small part to his excessive equivocation.  Complaining about Douthat equivocating is like complaining about Francis worshiping idols, but still.  

I find the Burke critique confusing and strawmannish: I don't know why the focus is on whether or not the pope is schismatic, which is patently oxymoronic, when the real question is whether the pope is engaging in heresy or apostasy.  Douthat is not dumb enough to make such mistakes, so for him to throw up his hands and go "Well I guess Burke is just a retard or something!" feels like he's putting on a show.  For whom, I do not know.

His descriptors of the SSPX have changed over time from "schismatic" to now "quasi-exile" which I guess is an improvement, but overall Douthat is too caught up in the essentially defunct "neocon" wing of the Church when describing opposition to Francis.  It's time for him to accept that it's either Francis' Way or traditionalism.  Nothing else is intellectually tenable or politically palatable.  I believe he sees traditionalism as relegated to its own ghettos, which it is, but who cares.  I think more importantly he feels that traditionalism is too "out there" and too closely associated with anti-Semitism - even in Bad Religion he spends at least a page congratulating Vatican II for condemning the Church for its past relationship to the Jews.  

Douthat with Catholicism is like Douthat with Republicans.  He insists on holding onto the compromising, effeminate form of conservatism in both cases despite it having the popularity of venereal disease outside of elite right wing holdouts.  Unlike with Trump and the GOP however, the neocon Catholic position is now so absurd that Douthat's only conclusion is to cross his hands at the article's conclusion - only after punching right for a few paragraphs to satisfy his petulance.  Douthat is always on the losing side because of this.  At least in To Change the Church, he acknowledges the growing power and future of traditionalism.  I expect he will only openly sanction it for NYT readers once he feels it is politically safe and sufficiently popular enough to not cause him any trouble.  He has dabbled in these waters by talking about The Young Pope, but that's about it.
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RE: Ross Douthat on Conservative Catholicism - by Imperator Caesar Trump - 11-10-2019, 07:17 PM



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