Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Carrie seems to think that I'm out to trap her.

But that's just crazy. For starters, traps are a lousy way to carry on a discussion. They breed suspicion, which is contrary to charity. Secondly, I'm not out to make her look bad, as I pointed out in reply. That too is contrary to charity. Thirdly, a trap would demonstrate nothing with respect to the truth of anyone's position, and consequently they are opposed to reason to the extent that they obscure the real state of things.

Here's where I stand. I do not expect to persuade Protestants of anything with respect to the Catholic Church. The most that I hope to accomplish is to demonstrate that there is nothing whatsoever contrary to Scripture or reason in the Catholic faith. After that, it's up to the Holy Spirit to do the convincing. So when a Protestant misrepresents the Church, I think it is worth the effort to clear up the fog. If they disagree with Catholics when they have understood us properly, I can't help that.

Now, I happen to believe that Carrie's post that started the present discussion misrepresents the Church in that it isolates a single aspect of one doctrine from its proper context, and that by focusing on that to the exclusion of its proper context, Carrie has painted a prejudicial picture of Catholic faith. Furthermore, if she herself believes that God does sometimes exercise extraordinary means for the salvation of some, it is unfair to criticize the Church for teaching the same.

I am not out to paint Protestants as evil. I am interested in Carrie correcting an error on her blog. I do not believe that Protestants are evil. I wish and hope that she will extend the same courtesy to us. The hermeneutics of suspicion, whereby we presumptively read each other as enemies, will get us nowhere.

By way of a demonstration of my seriousness about this, I will confess that I have carried this very baggage of suspicion into my interpretation of Carrie's blog in the past. I am sorry for that, and I repent of it. I will do my best to avoid it in the future.

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