Novelist and Unvert Anne Rice (who is also a Notable Catholic Commentator, according to Nicholas Kristof) was recently interviewed by her homosexual son, Christopher, and spoke at length about the Catholic Church. The MetroWeekly has transcribed some of "highlights" (and also has the videos); here are a few:
- ''I am completely confident that gays are winning the battle for equal rights in our country. And that the battle for same-sex marriage will be won. And that Don't Ask, Don't tell is going down.''
- ''I hadn't been a Catholic for 38 years, so I began to study it. I began to live it.... And I came to the conclusion 12 years later that it was not a fine religion, that it was dishonorable, that it was dishonest, that it's theology was largely sophistry... and that it was basically a church that told lies. And that it was for me, for my conscientious standpoint, an immoral church; and I had to leave it.''
- ''They're very eager to blame the liberals, but the liberals have had no power in the Church all these years. And 75% of the priesthood and the hierarchy are gay.''
Since announcing to great fanfare last summer that she was ditching the Church, Rice has revealed that she possesses a wealth of emotional baggage and a poverty of knowledge about Church history, practice, and theology. Looking over some of my comments in past posts (links below) I've written about Rice's "unversion" and her attacks on Catholicism, I think they hold up well in light of her recent and even more irrational remark (and they save me the time of re-writing what I've already written):
Rice has, in essence, taken up a sort of secularized, liberal Protestantism that attempts—almost Marcion-like—to extract a Jesus from the dust and difficulty and reality of history and turn him into a private guru who is "freed" from and separated from the humanity he embraced, the Church he founded, and the authority he granted to mere mortals. Rice claims her faith is in Christ, but it is a Christ made in her likeness and image: politically correct and socially trendy, anti-Church, disdainful of authority, with an open hostility toward traditional morality. ...
Maybe it's just me, but admitting to ignoring "facets of Christianity"—why oh why doesn't she simply say, "tenets of Catholic doctrine"?—makes it sounds as though Rice 1) wasn't willing to engage with the entirety of Church teaching, 2) was perhaps unfamiliar with basic moral teachings of the Church, 3) and wasn't willing to put her own beliefs and notions to the Truth Test. ...
Note that Rice never, as far as I've seen over the past five years, provided any reasoning or arguments for her stances on issues such as "same sex marriage," contraception, and women's ordination. She simply assumes her position is correct and she apparently believes that clichés and emotive sound bites are all that are needed to demonstrate the validity of her position. Meanwhile, the Church has formally issued all sorts of documents about those various matters and numerous Catholic authors—both at academic and popular levels—have written articles and books explaining and defending Church teaching on these and other issues. Yet, apparently, folks should simply accept by faith Rice's statements as infallible pronouncements of objective truth. ...
One commenter on this blog stated, "Anne Rice doesn't need our criticisms or judgments. She needs love, compassion and prayers." This exhibits both bad faith and pious myopia. Any and all criticisms and judgments that I have made are in response to what Rice has said in a public forum. I have never judged her soul; I have never attacked her; I have never demeaned her. But, please note, she has judged, attacked, and demeaned Christians who disagree with her about a number of issues. Frankly, it is tiring and annoying to be lectured about how we shouldn't criticize falsehood and judge error. ...
[For] Rice, Christians are hateful, mean, spiteful, judgmental, coercive, and refuse to brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis. On the other hand, secularism is wonderful, affirming, loving, inclusive, and spawns beautiful people who hand out flowers on street corners and appear in television commercials encouraging children to read, dream, and hug trees. And here I was, afraid that only practicing, hateful Christians have an incredibly simplistic, black-and-white view of reality! ...
So, in addition to being fairly clueless about Catholic history and theology, Rice is equally clueless about the uneasy and complex relationships between Church and State, Christianity and secularism, and tradition and modernity that have shaped the culture we swim in, the society we live in, and public square we meet and debate within. And, in fact, she has become the very thing she sincerely but wrongly caricatures: a judgmental fundamentalist (secular in perspective, with a subjective sprinkle of magic Jesus dust) who damns the Church for not sleeping with the secularists, embarrassed that some Christians won't bow and worship the State that would be and wishes to be lord, life, and eternal ruler.
It is increasingly obvious that Rice's hatred (and it does appear to be hatred) of the Catholic Church flows from her conviction that her son's homosexuality is not only perfectly fine, it should be celebrated and proclaimed good by the Church. Like so many others, she makes it personal, as if the Church has pinpointed her son; yet the Church has consistently, from the start (Romans 1, anyone?), understood homosexual acts to be sinful—just as the Church has held that adultery, fornication, etc., etc., are sinful. Her "argument" seems to be simply: "I think being gay is great, and anyone who disagrees is evil." It is, of course, not an argument, but an opinion—and while she is certainly entitled to that opinion, it is a truly dishonorable and dishonest one.
Finally, to borrow from myself once again (it has been a long day and I'm tired!), here is a great quote from The Scandal of Truth, written by Jean Daniélou, S.J., in 1962:
Christianity rests on two poles, the Gospel and the Church. The Church must be perpetually be referred to the Gospel, but the Gospel must be perpetually lived in the Church. Fidelity to the Gospel can never be infidelity to the Church. The true, the only legitimate reform is that which has its source in love of the Church, which causes the agony of not seeing the Church so perfect as Christ would wish it, but which at no moment can be separated from the Church. For this, the unique Church, remains ever the Spouse of Christ Jesus, whatever be the sins of the men who make it up. We do have the duty of humbling ourselves; we have never the right to humble the Church.
Posts on Insight Scoop about Anne Rice:
• More Anne Rice: "Christians have lost credibility in America as people who know how to love." (Aug. 17, 2010)
• Anne Rice blasts Benedict XVI; says Bishop Olmstead was "the very last straw" (Aug. 11, 2010)
• Yep, earth-shattering, cosmos-quaking (side-splitting) news (Aug. 10, 2010)
• Fr. Barron on Anne Rice and a proper ecclesiology (Aug. 6, 2010)
• Anne Rice talks about "final straws" (Aug. 3, 2010)
• A Cautionary Tale: Augustine, Aquinas, and Anne Rice (July 29, 2010)
• "Revert" Anne Rice: Pro "gay marriage," pro women's ordination, and pro contraceptive. What gives? (Jan. 3, 2006)