Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » April 2005 » More Reasonable Voices in That Wilderness

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04/30/2005: More Reasonable Voices in That Wilderness

Mario Cuomo (Former Governor of New York, practices law with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.) was recently interviewed by Bill Maher on the HBO Real Time show and waxed very eloquent on this subject of core “religious truths” versus “man created religious rules” (those subject to change and interpretation over time).

He also had this to say in an editorial this week:

"Many of us who cling desperately to our Catholic Church for instruction, inspiration and support prayed that a new Pope would help heal the church's serious wounds and reconnect it more surely to modern realities.

Instead, the cardinals have chosen a good and holy man who, we are told, rather than reform the status quo will reaffirm it more insistently than before.

The current challenge of the church is twofold.

First, it must continue proclaiming the unalterable and unchallengeable truths of Christ, instructing us to love one another as we love ourselves and to collaborate in improving the world that God created but did not complete.

That includes the obligation to be generous to those in need, and to avoid unjust and unnecessary wars that kill innocent people.

To deny these eternal and unchangeable truths of Christ is to renounce the Catholic Church.
The second challenge is to reassess the alterable rules made for us by the male descendants of Peter who were and are humanly frail, as he was, and to readjust those rules to better serve the purpose of helping modern Catholics to live fuller and holier lives in this ever-changing world. This would include, among other things, reconsidering celibacy, women's role in the church and other contentious man-made church policies.

The church can do this without abandoning its fundamental commitment to the Gospel of Jesus, and has in fact done it in the past in changing its position on slavery, usury, salvation outside the church and divorce.

The church is extremely hesitant about using or even defining the idea that it is "infallible" in its teaching. None of the currently contentious issues has been so designated. In fact, the church asserts its infallibility only under strictly defined limits, and it has happened very few times in church history. The only formal exercise of papal infallibility in modern times was by Pope Pius XII and dealt with Mary, the mother of Christ.

Despite this history, our new Pope's record and the opinion among Vatican watchers offer little hope for meaningful changes or even for a clear admission that its man-made rules are indeed alterable by the church that made and enforces them.

But then, ours is a church that continues to entertain the possibility of miracles, big and small and is capable of startling and invigorating changes of course like the ascendance of John XXIII, who gave us the Second Vatican Council that brought Catholicism a bright new enlightenment in the 1960s.

Hope springs eternal."

Courtesy of NY Daily News.

Karen on 04.30.05 @ 09:26 AM CST

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