PS takes exception to what he considers today’s cheap shot at Catholics:
I usually like your column and agree whole-heartedly with your analysis today, on the pandering to feminism. But, why the non-sequitur of picking on the Catholic Church. We Catholics are always such an easy target. Don’t you realize that transubstantiation has a very specific meaning for us, and has nothing to do with saints or pagans, unless, of course you consider Catholics to be pagans. I sincerely hope you don’t, and that you understand what saints really mean to us.
This always becomes the rant and rave I hear from evangelical friends, who accuse us Catholics of something which they simply don’t understand. The early Church did use pagan cultural symbols, “gods”, festivals etc, as a non-threatening and easilly understood metaphorical means to explain the Good News to essentially illiterate people. eg, St Patrick used the shamrock, but Patrick was a real person..
Didn’t Jesus use metaphor to help explain ? The Church wasn’t pandering to pagans any more than Jesus was. Remember, He was preaching to religious Jews; but the early church was preaching to people without a previous monotheistic background, and had to learn to grasp a whole foreign background with the concepts and truths of Christianity.
As PS probably knows, I don’t have any personal issues with the Catholic Church. However, I do not think you can reasonably excuse as metaphor a practice which, however proper the doctrineal theory, has resulted in praying TO, not for, dead people. I see that as precisely the same sort of cultural accomodation which the Protestant church has made with feminism, to its similar confusion and subsequent detriment.
Transubstantiation, small-t, is used correctly in the column, i.e., to change (one substance) into another; transmute, and the doctrine of the servant leader certainly changes the substance of the Biblical household doctrine. I merely chose to use that particular term as a semantical connection, not as a double-barrelled slam. So, while the reference to saints and pagan gods can be considered a shot – albeit hardly a cheap one – the proper use of a noun should not be considered as one, nor was it intended to be.