Monday, July 31, 2006

Conservatives and liberals

J. Peter Nixon, a management consultant, a Commonweal contributor and a student at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, wrote this for the Commonweal blog:
The other day I was interviewed by a journalist working on an article on “labels” in Catholic life, i.e. “liberal,” “conservative,” “orthodox,” “progressive,” and so on. I’ll freely confess that I am not a great interview. I speak in long, meandering sentences with large numbers of dependent clauses.

After several minutes of talking to each other, two things became clear: 1) neither one of us liked the current labels very much; and 2) no one has come up with anything better.

Do we need the labels? It’s tempting to say, “of course not, we’re all Catholics, that’s the important thing.” To a certain extent that’s true. Yet the comity we gain by such a move comes at a cost of analytic precision. There are divisions in the Church—as there have been since the beginning—and pretending they are not there does not seem a promising strategy for helping us overcome them.

The rest of his entry is here.