Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…

Dry Drunks…

As always, my friend A.H. puts us onto something extremely interesting. Ever since well before the days of Jesus we have been well aware of the dangers of the fanatics and the true believers amongst us. This blog puts the matter front and center.

Excerpted from the Commonweal blog:

David Gibson writes:


Greg Erlandson is president and publisher of Our Sunday
Visitor…. People like Greg–though he might be shocked to hear this–are
the types who first drew my interest toward the Church. Greg would
probably be described as “orthodox” in his Catholicism, as befits his
job. Yet he is admirably outspoken about the excesses of the “orthodox”
camp, as he is about any faction in the Church.

In the June 3 edition of OSV, Greg has a column titled “Orthodoxy’s
‘dry drunks’,” about the danger of being defined by what we hate rather
than what we love. It is, to me, a wonderful piece that will go on the
fridge (the highest compliment for a writer, no?), not just because
Greg takes on what some might see as his own “tribe”–always a
courageous thing these days–but because his insights apply to us all,
left, right, and center.

Greg writes…that “doctrinaire” Catholics:

“…do not so much engage culture as demand its
unconditional surrender, and they take greater satisfaction in
elaborating on sin and its punishments than on the beauty of the
Savior. They tend to be all Inferno and little Paradiso.

“Over the years, what I have found unsettling about such characters
is that they seemed perversely obsessed with the perversions they
decried. They never wrote half so eloquently about the Masses they
enjoyed as they did about the Masses they deplored. Chastity was not
nearly as compelling a topic as fornication. Heterosexual marriage not
nearly as interesting as homosexual agendas.”

He compares such angry Catholics to the “dry drunks” of Alcoholics
Anonymous, the folks who never take another drop but are stuck with the
emotional and spiritual dysfunctions of the past:

“The blogosphere has become a veritable catch basin of
these folks. Unedited, unrestrained and unhappy with the state of the
Church and the world, they obsessively chronicle every twisted
phenomenon, every perversion, every disillusioning anecdote. They fancy
themselves proclaiming truth to power — the emperor is wearing no
clothes. The trouble is, they can’t take their eyes off the emperor.”

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