Friday, May 31, 2013
Being a Catholic, says Greeley, is a matter of what one believes, in the sense of doctrines affirmed. But it is more importantly a matter of the sacred stories told in community. “None of the doctrines is less true than the stories. Indeed, they have the merit of being more precise, more carefully thought out, more ready for defense and explanation. But they are not where religion or religious faith starts, nor in truth where it ends.” The experienced Catholic reality is communal stories, rituals, and cultivated sensibilities that engage ultimate truths.
By way of contrast, Greeley contends, Protestantism and a culture formed by Protestantism tend toward a “dialectical imagination.” The dialectical imagination is analytical and distrustful of analogy, metaphor, and poetry. Between the natural and supernatural, the ultimate and the penultimate, the heavenly and earthly, Protestantism accents dissimilarities and “otherness,” while Catholicism generously, even promiscuously, embraces the similarities. “Catholicism is a verdant rainforest of metaphors. The Protestant imagination distrusts metaphors; it tends to be a desert of metaphors. Catholicism stresses the ‘like’ of any comparison (human passion is like divine passion), while Protestantism, when it is willing to use metaphors (and it must if it is to talk about God at all), stresses the unlike.”
Posted by Michael Dodaro at 9:25 AM