Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fordham Jesuit On Our "German Shepard"

Father Koterski described psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, socialist Karl Marx and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche as "masters of suspicion," because they attacked the church and its motives with innuendo and insinuation, rather than straightforward argument. 
He said Pope Benedict is "our German shepherd standing resolutely in the face of three German wolves." "The distinctive feature of arguments preferred by the masters of suspicion, and of postmodern and deconstructionist thinkers in their wake, is to proceed by raising suspicions about the motives of their opponents," Father Koterski said. 
When charges are based on resentment or envy, rather than evidence or argument, the target is put on the defensive. "A modest response can make it seem that the accused is really guilty and incapable of mounting any more of a defense, while a vigorous response can easily suggest one is trying to hide something under the very energy of the reply," he said. Father Koterski said in "Deus Caritas Est," Pope Benedict steers a middle course by combining an extremely clear but rhetorically modest explanation of genuine Catholic doctrine with an exposure of the main misrepresentations that are part of the smokescreen laid down by the masters of suspicion. The pope then provides stories of Catholic saints and martyrs whose sacrifices are above suspicion, Father Koterski said. 
Pope Benedict counters "attacks by Freud and Nietzsche on Christianity's alleged fear of eros by explaining the authentic Christian view of sexuality and love," he said. Likewise, the encyclical addresses the Marxist use of resentment, as illustrated in the famous phrase "religion is the opium of the people," by first admitting where Marx's social critique is right and then noting where Marx went wrong. 
Father Koterski said the pope's stories about such saintly figures as Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, St. Don Bosco and St. Vincent de Paul add a human touch and an unanswerable set of examples to illustrate that the charges leveled against Christianity are groundless. He said Pope Benedict responded wisely to the clergy sexual abuse scandals in Germany and Ireland in 2010. "Not only did he swiftly put in place what was needed to deal with the crisis in a way that was at once compassionate, firm and realistic, but he also worked vigilantly to counter various slanders against the Church that arose in the press," Father Koterski said.
Link (here) to the full article in the Boston Pilot

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