Shaky, Not Stirring | Carl E. Olson | Editorial | Catholic World Report
What happens when Christians put more faith in modernity than they do in the Faith?
Aitken is late to the party, but wants the tired band to play on. He writes that Cardinal Martini "shook up a heady intellectual cocktail for the Catholic Church before he passed away." That's certainly debatable. Making a splash and making a difference are, well, different. And an occasional fireworks display from the secular media does not equate in the least to serious—that is, meaningful, mature, and rational—discussion within the Church. But Aitken seems to think the dusk has fallen on the Catholic Church; yet a much stronger case can be made that the light of faddish, liberal Christianity is fast faltering, if only because it is (to switch metaphors in midstream) parasitical and the host, secular humanism, will only abide it while it is helpful.
But, before getting too far afield, here is Aitken outlining the impressive achievements of his two heroes:
The lives of Cardinal Martini and Archbishop Williams share common themes. Both have held the highest academic positions and been recognized as great scholars, having produced over 50 works of theology between them. Both are remarkable linguists—Martini spoke 11 languages and Williams speaks six. Their prelatical concoctions pack a punch, and both will certainly enliven the debates about the future of the world’s two largest churches
And, he adds, "Cardinal Carlo Martini, who died on August 31, was the best modern pope we never had." It's interesting, of course, to hear what an Anglican hopes for in a pope, keeping in mind that Anglicanism was the product of a king rejecting the papacy. (If I ever make the mistake of trumpeting my choice for king or queen of England, please chastise me promptly.) It appears that Aitken, not surprisingly, would prefer a pope who is, well, not really Catholic or papal; in short, someone like Williams.
Cardinal Martini, he notes approvingly, "was the counterweight to papal conservatism. On a crucial range of issues—contraception, homosexuality, family values, and the right to end life—he took popular positions that made him almost a leader of the opposition within the hierarchy of the church." Or, in other words, he apparently took positions contrary to historical, traditional Catholic teaching. Agreed—those positions are certainly popular, most notably among those who have either renounced the Catholic Faith or large chunks of it. Shocking, that. Anyhow, this means Martini is deemed worthy of one of the greatest titles that can be granted a capitulating Christian: modernizer. The assumption is that being "modern"—which seems to ultimately fixate on loosening moral and marital bonds while lamenting the demands of traditional beliefs—is not just inevitable but enviable.