The meme about the brainwashed army of Papal zombies keeps popping up on public blogs. It always suprises me when it drops into a vigorous debate between Catholics – which on the surface would seem to be a contraindication.
Now Fr Longenecker has addressed that issue on his blog:
Err. I guess that would make SS Augustine, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, Maritain, Dawson, vonHildebrand, Edith Stein, von Balthasar etc etc the greatest philosophers, theologians and faithful Catholic thinkers of every age to be non thinking, brainwashed dummies.
He goes on to talk about the difference between a doubt and a difficulty. When we come across a difficulty, we should explore it to the fullest. This is how new ideas are discovered. This is how the Church develops. This is how we, as people, grow.
Bl. John Henry Newman said “a thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.” So I explain that a difficulty is the attitude which says, “How can that be so?” whereas a doubt is the attitude that says, “That can’t be so.” The first is open, engaged, intelligent and searching the tradition in order to understand the teaching. The second puts one above the tradition and the teaching by insisting that one knows better than Holy Church…
My learning is so limited. My perspective is so narrow. My experience is so finite. My understanding so incomplete. The Church’s view is universal. She speaks from the tradition of the ages. She speaks to the condition of humanity everywhere and at all times. For me to challenge her teachings just doesn’t make sense. For me to question her teachings and seek to understand them and even to kick against them because they hurt me or affect me–all that is good. But to dismiss them in an adolescent attitude of intentional dissent is small.
So anything is open for discussion and discovery on this blog. But I question from within the heart of the Church.