On the Bleader a few days ago, I posted my response to a John Kass column fretting that “the onslaught of a strident secularism” had “weakened Christianity.” I wasn’t so sure that strident secularism was the whole story. “It’s not consumerism that makes millions of people turn away from their churches,” I commented. “It’s not relativism. Or narcissism. Or secularism. It’s common sense. These churches ask their worshipers to believe in things that are ridiculous. The acid burning through the spiritual life of the West is reason.”
Now the Tribune‘s Eric Zorn has reposted this much of my comment on his blog, and a lively conversation followed. Anyone who cared what I had to say might want to read it. If you do, you’ll come across the scornful reception I got from one Zorn reader who doubts I know the first thing about the doctrine of papal infallibility (which I had said millions of worshipers find impossible to take seriously). Let me admit here that I am, no doubt, ignorant of the finer points of this doctrine, but I do understand that it’s not an across-the-board infallibility that covers, say, the pope’s tastes in wines and cheeses, or even all church matters. What I reject is the idea that any mere mortal could be “infallible” about anything. The Catholic Church has a duty to question change, and when it carries out that duty it should serve us all. But questioning change by hurling dogma at it isn’t the most helpful or impressive way to carry it out.