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Correcting Correctly

In a kindergarten class, the teacher told the children to color a picture of the view outside their bedroom windows. One little girl colored the picture of her view of the back yard and turned it in. The teacher gave it back to her and told her she had to do it again. The reason was that she had colored the grass gray. The teacher said, "Grass is not gray, it is green". The little girl politely objected, "But that is exactly the way it looks right before sunrise when I get up in the morning".

The little girl was right. All too often we make presumptions about our current amount of knowledge and that makes us think that we know all that we need to know. Someone once told me that the Church never had married priests for 2000 years and there was no justification for starting it now. This would be comparable to me claiming that Maine does not exist because I have never been there. I had to correct her that the Church has had married priests for her entire 2000 years; most of them have been in the Eastern Catholic Churches (Byzantine, Maronite, Syrian, etc.), but they were not unheard of in the West, especially in the first few centuries. One's lack of knowledge about an event does not make the event untrue.

Just because someone cannot see something to be correct, does not mean that it is wrong. Now, I must be perfectly clear: this is not to justify things that are gravely wrong (e.g., trying to bless grave sins like sodomy, allowing impenitents to receive communion, playing a guitar during Mass, or artificial contraception). I am not saying (and never will say) that truth is relative, or that morality is subject to one's circumstances (as some clergy, even high-ranking ones, do today).

This is, however, to say that we traditionalists often get an idea stuck in our heads and we run with it without making sure of what we are talking about because we are passionate. In times like these, there are those who are sitting back just waiting for us to blow it. They will even antagonize us in order to get a sinful reaction out of us (trust me, there are a large number of people just hoping we in the Ordinariate do something stupid so they can point a finger at us!). When we seek to correct liberals, modernists, or the unorthodox, let us make sure we know what we are talking about; not every correction is necessarily correct!


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