Sunday, April 17, 2011

Those Darn Jansenists!

Bishop of Ypres Belguim, Cornelius Jansen
"Jansenist", meaning the eighteenth-century French movement which provoked a major theological crisis in the late seventeenth century. 
One bishop referred to the Jansenists as "pure as angels and proud as devils" -- an apt description of certain defenders of Catholic orthodoxy who believe it's their job to "determine who's in and who's out", as Allen puts it. This can reach extremes. I recently learned that one British Catholic blogger, who has regularly described me and my Catholic Voices colleagues as "dissenters", told someone I met recently in Spain that we were "lapsed Catholics"
If he were to print that, it would be libel; but clearly he believes it -- which explains the astonishing acidity of his posts. He and others of his mindset describe themselves as "traditional Roman Catholics" who, as one put it recently without any apparent recognition of the irony, believe in being "loyally obedient to the   Pope's authority when that authority is exercised in conformity with the Faith."  But to call such a man a Jansenist, as a tweet pointed out, was tantamount to calling him a heretic - -which is what I object to in him.
Link (here) to the full Austen Ivereigh blog post at America.
Who is Bishop Cornelius Jansen? What is Jansenism? Find out (here)

1 comment:

TonyD said...

I’ve noticed that if we have a hundred Catholics in a room there will be a hundred different definitions of Catholicism, and a hundred different definitions of concepts such as God, faith, and sin. The Magesterium won’t ever solve this problem.

In many ways the Magesterium is analogous to our society’s law. The existence of the law doesn’t mean that we don’t need judges, juries, police, and individual judgment about how to understand and apply the law.

There will always be interpretation and context.