The top-down assumption has made itself ridiculous

Because marriage equality is so prevalent in Catholic countries, Joe Grayland pose whether Catholic theology more than Protestant theology is more open to same-sex blessings?

Is there a difference between catholic and protestant theology – more than evangelical protestant theology?

James Alison responds to these questions.

“Intrinsic to Catholic theology is the notion that grace builds on nature and so once we work out what ‘is’; a homosexual person, grace flows, people flourish says James Alison.

So ‘yes’ is the answer.”

Alison points out that in his experience most Catholics, are not particularly worried about what the bible says about Gay and Lesbian people because “most Catholics don’t derive their faith from the bible – the bible goes along with their faith”.

In countries that were previously identified as Catholic, Alison sees a changing face to Catholic theology as a result of the impact of evangelical Protestantism.

In noting the change Alison says the ‘ground music’ of ‘ordinary religious discourse’ is now Protestant.

He puts this down to the evangelical and protestant groups not being elitist, and not identified with the ruling hierarchies.

He notes the irony that the Catholic Church has to sort of reply to newfound circumstance with more charismatic type worship, and this is adding to their problem.

Tom O’Loughlin considers that since the 1079’s the Catholic/ Protestant distinction in theology is no longer viable

O’Loughlin says that the way western Christian churches do theology distinguishes them: those that do theology as a “creative attempt to make sense of reality” and have a “creative interaction with the real” is fundamentally different from those who do theology as “a set of answers” that answer every question ever posed.

The danger with the ‘do theology as a set of answers’ approach—used in evangelical and dogmatic right-wing catholicism—is to create a very “secure world that knows all the answers” that it finds in a book of ancient writings.

Alison concludes with his Flash of Insight:

“That the top-down assumption”, concerning the blessing of same-gender couples, has made itself ridiculous”.

3 Replies to “The top-down assumption has made itself ridiculous”

  1. This discussion totally ignores the fact that our beliefs are vertical rather than horizontal in so far as they all proceed from an all-knowing and all-loving God. Calling the Responsum a ‘tantrum’ is ironic. These dissident Catholics presenting here are the ones who are throwing a tantrum in the sense that they are throwing the toys out of the cot because they haven’t got their way on this issue of same-sex union blessings. I could be faceticious and suggest that they join one of the 22,000 Christian sects in the United States alone who readily condone and bless same sex unions, but that might be seen as uncharitable. Instead I pray that they might seek wisdom in this regard instead.

  2. Are you going to interview anyone with an orthodox view? I suppose this is not really a dialogue but rather an echo chamber. Tom O’Loughlin defines what is ‘good theology’, what gives him the right to define this? I would much rather go to the church for good theology than a dissident ‘priest’.

  3. In my 44 years of ordained ministry, I have been asked to bless houses, boats, bicycles, cars, trucks, orchards, cats, dogs, and even a racehorse!

    And to each, I have said ýes’ with no idea to what purpose such objects were to be used.

    Was the racehorse going to be doped to enable it to run faster?

    Was the truck going to carry illicit produce?

    Was the orchard going to be sprayed with an element detrimental to the environment?

    Was the boat to be used in the illegal poaching of fish stocks?

    And yet when two persons of the same sex request I bless their evident love for each other, the Vatican (or at least a strident voice from somewhere within the Vatican) says I am not allowed!

    “And Jesus asked him, ‘Peter do you love me more than these others do?’ And Peter answered ‘Jesus, Lord, you know I love you”Jn 21: 15

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