letters 12/1

November 30, 2000

Letters to the Editor 12/1

Powell misses the boat on Catholics

To the editor:

Allan Powell in his column of Nov. 26 has exceeded even my expectations of his ability to confuse an issue. Somehow he has proposed to use a recent document - Dominus Jesus issued by the Catholic Church - to castigate the church and religion in general by trying to make faith and truth an illicit union. He says he has not read the document but is relying on an article in The Washington Post for his insight. Now asking for a true presentation of anything Catholic by a writer from the Post is like expecting Luther to give a good reference to Tetzel on an application for the job of Pardoner for Saxony.

Powell says he was unable to get a copy of this nefarious document. Very strange indeed that a scholar of his standing would not avail himself of the vast resources of the Internet. A search engine like Yahoo will take the title and return the document in a matter of seconds. I trust Powell would not mind that he would be connected to the Vatican Web site for the time it takes to print it out. While he is at it he should also download the document Fides Et Ratio, since by his reading of the dictionary he finds "truths of faith" a gross insult to our minds.


I only want other readers to know that the document in question (Dominus Jesus) is nothing new in Catholic teaching. You only have to look at the footnotes to see that most of the words are from documents that have been around for up to 200 years. What it does tell Catholics that one may not run around saying that one religion is as good as another and still have any regard for the truth.

This in no way reflects on the dignity or worth of any person. It simply reaffirms that a truth is a truth, that the fullness of the truths of the faith subsists in the Catholic Church and to imply that anyone is not worthy of being made aware of a truth that is vitally important to his eternal well being is unkind in the extreme.

Indeed religious pluralism may be a fact of life in much of the world, but that does not mean that this proves in principle that all religious creeds embody only some pieces of the truth, and it does not matter as long as we all get along and feel fuzzy and warm about the whole thing.

As the document says about subjectivism and the regard of human reason as the only source of knowing, it makes on "incapable of raising his gaze to the heights, not daring to rise to the truth of being." The very core of Western thought has been to seek the truth of "being." Why is what exists as it is? You will never be able to measure a pound of Good, Beauty or Justice but they are True. The certitude of faith is no less sure. Mr. Powell wants to keep us in the Cave of Materialism.

I hope that anyone who asked me a question about my Catholic faith would expect that my regard for his dignity as a person would preclude me from giving an answer that is more intended to be "nice" than truthful. Those saying this document adversely affects ecumenism (Catholic leaders included) are those who have been lulled into a false expectation under this guise of that great illusion, "the spirit of Vatican II."

Powell claims he does not mix faith and truth. I ask how he can justify his faith in the pro-abortion rhetoric which the truth of biology proves to be a cover-up for the killing of preborn children. Now there indeed is a "leap of faith" which not even the Christians going to the lions would have embraced. Powell should heed his precept and be his own "word policeman."

The logic of the whole thing comes down to the tag line from the X-Files. As Mulder would insist "the truth is out there." His only problem, and that of Powell, is that of looking for him in the wrong places.

Richard Giovanoni


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