Separation of the church leaders from their church

In response to Sammy's post: Yet another thing conservatives don't understand about America. I was thinking about this recently... It has alwasy seemed to me that there is an inherent danger that the religious in the Vatican must be entirely out of touch with the real church. For example, it must certainly be hard to grasp the real shortage of priests when you are completely surrounded by priests every day in the Vatican. The thought which was new to me, though, was that there might be something valuable in this separation because it allows the church leaders to pursue doctrinal purity. We certainly don't want the church changing its positions simply because they are out-of-sync with popular thought. We want the church to change its positions when church leaders come to a new understanding of something.

The real danger of this separation, though, is that while the Vatican leaders are working toward some ideal notion, they risk losing their church. This is what I see as the current state of the church. We desperately need to allow women to become priests. The church needs to recognize the life-saving potential of stem cell research. And the church needs to realize that contraception is not the same as abortion. But, I can't see these changes coming from the isolated Vatican community.

A similarity between Nietzsche and religion?

The Humble Boast: Ignorance Is A Two-Way Street is a post about the frequent mis-categorization of all religious people as right wingers. What I found interesting, though, was this paragraph at the end:

"Religion" itself - depending on your interpretation of the Greek - means "reading" or "re-reading." I prefer the latter translation, which implies that religious study requires constant analyzation, and then re-analyzation. This not only applies to religious texts, but life in general. Understanding - in the broad, esoteric sense - is gained through constant evaluation.
Something that occurred to me while reading this post is that the author's interpretation of religion as "re-reading" and continual reevaluation is strikely similar to Nietzsche's process of "becoming" where man attempts to continually remake himself. Of course, it is rather amusing when we find a similarity between religion and Nietzsche's philosophy.

Without a Doubt

A friend pointed out an excellent feature article The "Without a Doubt" by Ron Suskind in the Sunday's NYTimes magazine about the way in which President Bush's administration has been shaped by George W.'s faith. There is a section of the article which I find particularly disturbing:

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Maybe the postmodernists out there feel right at home in this philosophy, but it makes me rather uncomfortable.

The Reverend Professor Speaks

The Rev. Prof. Peter Gomes provides his take on the gay-marriage issue in Massachusetts. Here's a nice quote from it:

"Judicial tyranny" is a phrase usually heard from those whose prejudices have not been sustained by a court's decision. Happily, the fundamental rights of citizens in this Commonwealth and republic are in the long run defended against another form of tyranny even more dangerous, the tyranny of the majority.