February 18, 2013

Orthodoxies & Heterodoxies

Read a fascinating article from the Xenos non-denominational outfit about why Jesus was not of the priestly Levitical tribe. I became curious recently because Garry Wills, that indefatigable anti-Catholic Catholic said on Colbert's show that the Catholic priesthood is a sham because the book of Hebrews is a sham and if God wanted priests he'd have made Jesus a Levite. But the Xenos article adds light to the fact that Jesus priesthood is eternal and with a new “law” (that of the spirit rather than the letter) there should be a new priesthood. But then King David had some priestly functions so it's not like it was limited to Levites. And, of course, the killer deal is the mysterious presence of Melchizedek, that “priest forever” outside the Levite line.

With Wills it just goes to show that once you start rejecting doctrine you'll eventually go whole hog. From the rejection of the Church's stand on birth control, to a disbelief in the bible ("throw out the Book of Hebrews!") to the sacraments (“the Eucharist is just bread”). I'm oddly comforted by some of the writing Wills does because it shows how wrong he is; by his lack of detachment and fairness he betrays himself.

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Lord have mercy but does this pope speak to me. Specifically in the meditations called Co-Workers of the Truth. He has so much of the OT prophets about him given his diagnosis of the follies we're prone to:
“What curious inversion of the concern for the future accounts for the fact that every effort seems to be concentrated on the silent and sure elimination of the “danger” of new life? There are, to be sure, many reasons for this. But is it not ultimately the concern as to whether human life is, in fact, a reasonable option, if it is a meaningful gift that one can in conscience pass on unsolicited, or if it is not, in truth, an insupportable burden so that it would be better not to be born? Who will answer this question that makes man more and more uncertain despite the apotheosis of the future? The strategists for a new world? Hardly. For the question as to whether it will be worthwhile tomorrow to be human does not depend on how goods will be distributed, but on the deeper questions.”
And:
“It is only by enduring himself, by freeing himself through suffering from the tyranny of egoism, that man finds himself, that he finds his truth, his joy, his happiness. He will be all the happier the more ready he is to take upon himself the abysses of existence with all their misery. The measure of one’s capacity for happiness depends on the measure of the premiums one has paid, on the measure of one’s readiness to accept the full passion of being human. The crisis of our age is made very real by the fact that we would like to flee from it; that people mislead us into thinking that one can be human without overcoming oneself, without the suffering of renunciation and the hardship of self-control; that people mislead us by claiming that there is no need for the difficulty of remaining true to what one has undertaken and the patient endurance of the tension between what one ought to be and what one actually is. An individual who has been freed from all effort and led into the fool’s paradise of his dreams loses what is most essential, himself. There is, in fact, no other way in which one can be saved than by the Cross.”

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