Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The Defection of Rod Dreher
This news has been all over the internet and the standard response from Catholics seems to be that we should not condemn him for what he has done and we are to decry the "harsh" comments being made to him.
This reminded me of something. When my daughter was taking CPR as part of Lifeguard training they were told that when you perform chest compressions on an elderly man or woman you will hear cracking sounds. That sound is the ribs breaking. I asked her if that meant you should stop CPR. She said, no because they still need to breath and the ribs will heal. I think that is a good analogy of how sometimes the remedy or response to something can be painful but it is still necessary, as necessary as air to breath.
Rod Dreher is a Catholic journalist who distinguished himself when he published the book, "Crunchy Cons". A book where he discusses a new breed of Conservative Republicans who are Catholic, organic food eating, homeschooling, and economic liberals in some ways. When I read the book I was struck by an arrogance in tone and thought this is a book that Mr. Dreher will regret writing, though he will not regret the revenues it has produced. In one passage in the book he describes sitting in a bar, enjoying a bottle of white wine and doing some reading. He concludes that there are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. This I would expect of Hemingway but a Catholic husband and father? It seemed to me that many of his appeals were from the basis of self indulgence, the taste of good food, the warm fuzzy feelings you get from homeschooling, the moral superiority you feel from being "authentic".
Additionally though preaching the glories of homeschooling, in fact a whole chapter is dedicated to it, the Dreher family is no longer homeschooling their son. Homeschooling did not “work for him”.
And now the Catholic Faith is no longer “working for” Mr. Dreher. His stated reasons for “converting” are the abuse scandals in the Church. To me that is a sad and pathetic excuse and I doubt it is the real reason. Where is your strength of conviction when you allow your disappointment in mere man to allow you to abandon the Truth and salvation? What makes this situation more dire is the fact that his family is led by him and his decisions.
Now most of his “support” from Catholics can be directly attributed to the heresy of Indifferentism. Indifferentism is defined a denial that it is the duty of man to worship God by believing and practicing the One True Religion. This is one of the dangers of in a misdirected view of some “intellectuals” who advocate reading any protestant author- C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, T. S. Eliot on theological topics. I’m not saying you should never read those authors but it should be done on the advice of a good solid priest. It is easy for relativism to enter into your thinking.
But what’s wrong with the Orthodox Church?
1. They are schismatic and do not accept the authority of the Holy Father.
2. They accept abortion, divorce and contraception.
3. Their filoque tempest in a teapot.
4. Denial of papal infallibility
Some more recent explanations on Mr. Dreher’s blog at Beliefnet.com lead me to a greater concern that there was a spiritual and supernatural element to this conversion that he has not recognized as demonic. St. John of the Cross said that those who wish to see signs and wonders will have them, in abundance and from the devil.
If I had a dream about myself practicing or dabbling in another religion I would not wake up and convert. I would take a good, hard look at where my faith was weak and take this as a warning sign. I pray that Mr. Dreher will listen to those who are appealing to him not to abandon ship and not just any ship but THE SHIP. Man overboard. Throw him a lifeline.
Since I have written these words I've just noticed something else. It was on October 10th that Rod Dreher posted his 5600 word "Theses" and nailed them on the door of his blog. At the end of his statement he writes: "I have no intention of talking about this conversion further, either on the comboxes or this blog." Since that writing there have been not one but three more posts on this very topic entitled 1. Clarifying 2. Gratitude, and today's offering 3. The Spider and the chotki.
I think in summary that Mr. Dreher is a writer who makes sweeping statements and then does not conform to them.