All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Religious Squabble or Insight?

As I've gotten older my religious views have changed a good bit.  As a young man I enjoyed religious "debate".  It wasn't really debate or particularly religious, it was more arguing in an attempt to make some else look bad. What I engaged in wasn't even "Christian" in any sense of the word.  It was doctrinal one-up-man-ship with a bible.

In my defense, I thought that people went to the church they did, because they had studied the doctrines and articles of that faith and fully embraced them on an intellectual basis.  It was only latter in my life that I came to the realization that most people go whatever church they do, because of totally different reasons.  They give almost no thought at all as to what the core "belief system" is. 

This "evolution" (if I can use that word) in my thinking has allowed me to separate my perception of people form the perception of their church.  In some cases this has been for the better (Catholics and Calvinists) in some cases for the worse (Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses).

The Roman Catholic Church was for me, an easy target.  Face it, the reformation movement has been compiling source material against Catholics for about 500 years.  Catholics were easy pickings when it came to taking pot shots.  Unfortunately, it was hard to make headway with them.  I think this was because of: 1. They had no idea what the church believed and 2. it didn't matter anyway.  There is a third reason.  In high school most of my drinking buddies were Catholic.  I was wise enough not to risk loosing my source of underage booze by pressing too hard in a debate.  You might say I was as vulnerable morally as they were doctrinally.

It was back in 1980 something when I was having one of these little talks with a Catholic acquaintance of mine that a rather good counter point was made, one that has stuck with me ever since. I don't remember the exact words but the point was that the Catholic church taught and fought for the right to life, from natural birth to natural death.  My church didn't teach much on those topics and I was at a lose for a come back.

As much as one can mock (and I'm guilty of it) the pope on condoms etc. I have to admit that I've come to accept the basic premise of the Catholic position on human life, personhood and public policy on these matters.  In fact I respect and even embrace the traditional Catholic position on this subject more than I do that of my own church.

That's why I was taken back this last week when I was reading Pat Buchanan's article titled "Papal Neutrality in the Culture War".  If Mr. Buchanan is right and the Pope is really leading the Catholic church in the direction that it appears, then things are in a real mess.  It was the Catholics that spurred the protestants forward on the topics of traditional marriage, abortion and euthanasia, not the other way around.  If the RCC is retreating form the culture war, they soon will have nothing left to offer, except a place to go on Christmas and Easter where people can feel nostalgic about the past.

That would be a real shame.


  1. Anonymous9:10 PM

    I wouldn't worry about it, I think the Pope's comments are great, best thing a Pope has said in years. Pat wants a fire-breathing Pope, not a Pope that actually changes people's minds. Read what the Pope actually said, and point out what you have a problem with.

    Excerpts from:

    I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.

    The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

    The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.

    But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing.

    If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing. Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God. Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists­—they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies. I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.


  2. Anonymous10:24 PM


    Are you a catholic?

    I ask because you seem very knowledgeable about the article.

  3. Anonymous7:46 PM

    I'm not Catholic. I'm Presbyterian (PCA, not PC-USA, we're the strongly Reformed, very conservative bunch).