That paper’s shortcomings turned out to be nothing that seven more hours of work couldn’t take care of. My schedule, though, had me working noon to eight the day before it was due, so those seven hours turned Tuesday into an all-nighter. I’m too old for this. The night itself wasn’t too bad, but the hangover was intense. I made it through about 2/3rds of the workday, but wound up going home and taking a nap before a meeting Wednesday night.
That evening saw us debating RC doctrine at the Bosco House. Actually, we weren’t so much debating doctrine, but debating whether or not we were obliged to take doctrine into account when making organizational decisions. Before any other considerations.
I thought we had a well reasoned response: the Catholic Worker isn’t part of the church; it has no central organization; and here in Lane County, the most active individuals have traditionally not even been Catholic. So no, it’s the spirit of the group that makes decisions. Prayerfully and respectfully of most of our beliefs, but not necessarily doctrinaire. I sort of thought that that is the position that most American Catholics have come to. We don’t know the rules, let alone follow them. Dogma versus doctrine versus discipline? I know about three people who know the distinction, and I’m not one of them anymore. I used to, but sometime around 12 or 13 years ago, I realized that most people just don’t care. They observe or don’t observe based on their own consciences. They have worked out a set of practices that works for them.
Why am I even worked up about this? Because Bosco has a mission that I support, and I don’t want my own iconoclastic views to hurt that mission. My opinion tells me that most of the things that I am iconoclastic about (which tend to be disciplines and not doctrines) are trivial, but apparently some get very, very worked up over them. So do I have to bifurcate my views?
Fact is, we lack clergy. And those that we have (a) are overworked; (b) contain a significant number of criminals; (c) are pretty far removed from the real life of most people. Most of the actual work in the parishes is done by the laity. Maybe it’s time to put more of those who are doing the work up on the altar. And pay them a living wage.
Speaking of a living wage, if we had married priests, could the church afford to provide health insurance for their husbands and children?