A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

A Catholic and a Protestant Walk into a Bar: Interview with Shaun Blanchard

May 19, 2021 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 24
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
A Catholic and a Protestant Walk into a Bar: Interview with Shaun Blanchard
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we talk with Dr. Shaun Blanchard. Shaun is a Catholic scholar and our conversation ranges from clerical celibacy, ordaining women, the LGBTQ community and Catholicism, abuse scandals, papal authority, and how Catholic and Protestant Christians can understand and love one another well. It's a fun one. You can find some of Shaun's work here.

We sampled Noteworthy Sherry Stave Aged Bourbon from the good people at Noteworthy Spirits. Thanks to our friends at Story Hill BKC.

The photo for this episode (taken by Kyle) is from under the dome in the St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee.

CONTENT NOTE: This episode contains discussion of clergy sexual abuse.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

00:02

i don't normally swear when i'm talking

00:04

about theology but there's one question

00:06

where i probably will and i don't know

00:07

if you guys if

00:09

that's okay or not

00:14

welcome to a pastor and a philosopher

00:16

walk into a bar the podcast where we mix

00:18

a sometimes weird but always delicious

00:20

cocktail of theology

00:22

philosophy and spirituality

00:24

[Music]

00:25

welcome friends to a pastor and a

00:27

philosopher walk into a bar

00:29

today we have this really wonderful

00:32

conversation with a catholic theologian

00:34

i know that many of us probably when i

00:37

say we're talking with a catholic

00:38

theologian

00:39

our interest peaks and some of us

00:41

probably are like what are you talking

00:43

about

00:44

i promise it's compelling it's

00:45

interesting it's fun and it's

00:46

challenging it was challenging to me so

00:48

i'm excited about that conversation kyle

00:51

hello

00:52

hello hello hey elliot

00:56

oh hi elliott sorry i'm late

00:59

no no no you're there you're like the

01:01

holy spirit i mean

01:03

just hovering over the the chaos

01:05

brooding

01:07

we love you elliot cheers

01:10

so randy what are we what are we

01:11

drinking today uh something fun well i

01:14

hope it's fun i haven't tried it but

01:15

our friends at story hill bkc have

01:17

supplied us with

01:19

a noteworthy bourbon and i don't know

01:21

are you saying that it's a

01:22

a noteworthy bourbon or i hope it's both

01:25

noteworthy

01:26

but i know that it's called noteworthy

01:28

bourbon it's from

01:29

the distillery is called owensboro

01:32

distilling company in owensboro

01:34

kentucky which apparently you're you're

01:35

familiar with yeah used to go there and

01:37

eat the barbecue

01:38

when i was a kid praise the lord bourbon

01:40

and barbecue i like it already

01:42

um this is this is a bourbon but it's a

01:45

high rye bourbon

01:46

it's 70 corn 21 percent rye and only

01:49

nine percent

01:50

malted barley it's it's a bourbon that's

01:53

finished

01:53

on sherry barrel staves so the staves

01:56

basically just means

01:57

they're a little bit too cheap to finish

01:59

it in the whole cask

02:01

so they take cares are expensive now i

02:03

know i know i respect

02:04

and i like thriftiness i'm a milwaukee

02:07

but they take

02:08

they take the the wood from the the

02:10

sherry's

02:11

barrels and just put the wood into into

02:14

the bourbon and finish it like that so

02:15

um does it say how long it was finished

02:17

on those it does not say how long i

02:19

gotta say i'm not getting any sherry on

02:20

the nose but that's nice nose though

02:23

i'm i'm getting some of those plummy

02:25

things those dark fruits that you get

02:26

with raisins

02:27

yeah yeah yeah yes that you get with

02:30

sherry

02:31

i'm going to disagree i think there is

02:32

some sherry in the nose

02:34

you tasted it kyle what do you think

02:36

it's not what i expected

02:39

what you will i don't know i haven't had

02:42

much

02:42

cognac but this tastes like cognac that

02:44

i own that's interesting

02:46

yeah fun i can kee i can see like a

02:48

brandy-esque thing this is only 90 proof

02:50

it's 45

02:51

alcohol so it's it's smooth oh man

02:55

raisins on the finish on my tongue holy

02:56

moly yeah it's pleasant it's so

02:59

different

02:59

i mean there's not a whole lot of heat

03:00

to it in my in my experience

03:03

major reason i've never had a bourbon

03:04

like this that i tasted i like it

03:06

significantly better than

03:08

than i thought i would from the nose

03:09

this is very good

03:11

it's well-rounded i know that's one of

03:13

those vague things but

03:14

like there aren't any flavors that seem

03:16

to be overpowering

03:17

what i enjoy about it is you don't have

03:18

to try to find the sweetness like it's

03:20

it's right there

03:21

but then it's got some heat to balance

03:23

it out and the like the cinnamon in the

03:25

back of the throat

03:26

but see it's not a new makey sweetness

03:28

that's very different enough new mickey

03:30

sweetness is a

03:30

is like a con for me this sweetness here

03:33

is the dark fruit

03:35

sorry but no this tastes like an earned

03:37

sweetness yeah

03:38

absolutely that's a good way to put it

03:40

yeah i wouldn't have guessed it was a

03:42

high rye

03:43

to be honest

03:47

oh man i like it it's so unique it

03:50

doesn't have that sweet corn thing

03:52

uh that and maybe that's the high rive

03:54

where you finish it with sherry

03:55

you get those sherry notes but then the

03:57

rye actually keeps it from going over

03:59

the top too sweet

04:00

um i'm fully endorsed this is

04:03

a new experience i personally would want

04:05

to drink this neat every time

04:07

yeah oh yeah i don't know which i mean

04:09

that goes for almost everything but a

04:10

drink

04:12

yeah and my our friends at story hill

04:14

bkc in milwaukee tell me that

04:16

they have two cases of this stuff on

04:18

hand right now

04:19

in other words it's going to go and it's

04:21

going to go fast so

04:22

go into story hill bkc get this

04:25

noteworthy bourbon

04:26

tell them it is a bar told you to go get

04:30

it aptly named

04:32

it reminds me a little bit of the match

04:33

build number two from buffalo trace so

04:35

if you're a fan of any of those

04:37

supposedly high rye bourbons i think

04:39

you'd probably like this one

04:40

i think it compares favorably to what um

04:43

what's that place is

04:44

mgp or something the india the big

04:46

indiana producer that

04:48

contracts out to a bunch of other places

04:50

they're kind of known for their high

04:51

ride bourbon i think this is better

04:52

this is delicious i really like it again

04:55

grab it at a storehill bkc in milwaukee

04:57

and if you're not a milwaukee support

04:58

local if you are in milwaukee grab this

05:00

and then i

05:01

try their burger and i dare you to find

05:03

a better burger than you find at story

05:04

hill bkc

05:11

i'm really excited about our guest today

05:12

good friend of mine

05:14

we were doing our phd simultaneously at

05:16

marquette university

05:18

and he is now an assistant professor of

05:20

theology in baton rouge louisiana

05:22

my good friend shaun blanchard so thanks

05:25

for being with us shaun

05:27

thanks a lot guys yeah are you drinking

05:29

anything you want to tell us about

05:31

yes i'm out of my because i'm talking to

05:34

you

05:34

out of my marquette uh rocks glass very

05:38

nice

05:38

i have a little bit left of a bottle of

05:41

pen hook

05:42

rye bourbon which is very very nice

05:46

which i got at a local local body shop i

05:48

can't describe it

05:50

to the degree that you would be able to

05:52

my guess is very good

05:53

that's the nicest the best liquor that

05:56

has been in a marquette rocks class

05:58

i'll bet most like 75 of drinks that are

06:02

in a marquette rocks class are like

06:03

malibu and coke

06:08

yeah i mostly drank jack daniels when i

06:11

was a doctoral candidate so i'm sure

06:13

that

06:14

the undergrads were not you know it

06:15

would have been a couple steps down from

06:17

there

06:18

there are steps down from that wow you

06:20

forget you know oh burnett's

06:23

aristocrat oh i've never even heard of

06:25

that i could go on

06:27

[Laughter]

06:30

so yeah let's just start why don't you

06:32

tell us a little bit about yourself

06:34

and why you became a catholic theologian

06:37

how did that happen

06:38

well i think growing up i

06:41

originally i remember we had to do a

06:43

project my freshman year

06:44

of high school about what we wanted our

06:46

career to be and i remember

06:48

i said i wanted to be a youth minister

06:51

and i think it's because i

06:52

thought that meant you just like talked

06:54

about theology in small groups of people

06:56

all the time

06:57

and then when i kind of grew up and

06:59

realized what they actually do

07:01

i sort of moved away from that but

07:05

after i converted to catholicism i

07:06

thought about the priesthood

07:08

i loved my religious studies classes i

07:10

wasn't a great

07:12

student in like the general college

07:14

stuff but i always did

07:16

really well in religious studies and

07:17

history classes which was my double

07:19

major

07:19

i took a great church history class and

07:21

then i took a history seminar on

07:24

luther and the german reformation i

07:26

remember writing doing research kind of

07:28

for the first time i did

07:29

like research other than just the stuff

07:31

that they assigned

07:32

us to read and i looked at the debate

07:35

between luther and zwingli

07:36

on the eucharist called the the marburg

07:38

college is that the one where

07:39

where luther carves into the table or is

07:42

that well

07:44

that's right yeah he he uh he literally

07:47

yeah he literally

07:48

luther in very luther fashion yeah sort

07:50

of strode into the room dramatically and

07:53

and wrote uh this is my body on the

07:55

table in chalk

07:57

in latin and and zwingli was a bit of a

07:59

character too so i think it was sort of

08:01

doomed from the beginning but i found it

08:03

really interesting trying to kind of

08:05

enter into their way of thinking

08:07

and and i think that led me into what

08:10

at the doctoral level they would call

08:12

historical theology so

08:14

trying to understand what christians at

08:16

certain times in history have thought

08:17

and why

08:18

and then i very much try to inform the

08:20

present with those lessons from the past

08:22

so i really enjoyed that

08:23

also my senior year of undergrad i did a

08:26

um

08:27

a film project on neo-atheism and

08:29

christianity so like

08:31

you know these guys that were really

08:32

popular maybe 10 15 years ago

08:34

richard dawkins sam harris christopher

08:36

hitchens and then i went on to graduate

08:38

school

08:39

at oxford and then marquette so shaun you

08:42

i understand haven't always been

08:44

catholic and you walked us through kind

08:46

of

08:46

you know i wanted to be youth minister

08:48

than considered the

08:50

priesthood tell us about your transition

08:53

from i'm assuming protestantism into

08:55

catholicism and why that happened

08:57

i was actually armenian orthodox um

09:00

no i'm just kidding no i was uh i i was

09:03

a

09:03

we were reformed baptist i was raised

09:05

reformed baptist so we were that

09:07

explains everything

09:07

[Laughter]

09:09

we were calvinistic sort of we were

09:12

calvinistic

09:13

when we wanted to be yeah that's all

09:15

good

09:17

so it was it was cut we were we were

09:19

quite essentially american

09:21

because we could you know we could we

09:22

could take what we liked from from all

09:24

these different

09:25

you know currents and we were

09:28

very much encouraged to study the bible

09:30

we were encouraged to um

09:32

to read pastors

09:35

scriptural commentators apologists but

09:38

we didn't really study church history

09:40

so my path into catholicism was fairly

09:43

typical i realized it was actually

09:45

fairly typical i thought it was

09:46

i thought it was so unique and so

09:48

interesting when i was in my late teens

09:50

but i really wasn't it was very typical

09:52

i think it was two basic things i um i

09:54

started thinking about ecclesiology

09:56

about the ideas of

09:57

you know what is the church how is the

09:59

church organized

10:01

uh how do we kind of make sense of it at

10:02

a more sort of

10:04

uh bird's eye view we moved to minnesota

10:07

and we started going to john piper's

10:09

church and i really really didn't like

10:10

it

10:11

it was way too liberal for me i'm just

10:14

kidding

10:15

no it wasn't that it wasn't that it was

10:17

that it was

10:18

it was kind of christian cliche culture

10:22

in a certain way it was like everybody

10:23

read the i kissed stating goodbye and

10:25

all that kind of stuff and i hadn't

10:26

really been exposed to any of that we

10:28

were so

10:29

kind of sectarian in our christianity

10:31

that we didn't

10:32

we looked sort of askance at like people

10:36

who listen to third day

10:37

and people who read christianity like we

10:39

didn't do any of that

10:40

we just listened to like i mean my

10:42

parents secretly listened to bob dylan

10:44

but

10:44

get on you know you just music was just

10:47

like hymns and classical music and stuff

10:49

like we weren't plugged into mainstream

10:51

american christian culture so i didn't

10:53

like it it was a culture shock i went to

10:55

public school

10:56

which was different from most of the

10:57

kids so i was this weird combination of

11:00

like i was kind of secular but then i

11:01

was

11:02

my christianity was actually like deeply

11:04

sort of sectarian

11:06

in many ways um so i didn't i totally

11:09

rejected piper's church i hated it you

11:11

know and i'm sure it was

11:12

rebelling as a 13 14 year old and

11:16

i started thinking like well why how do

11:18

we choose a church

11:19

on what basis are we because my parents

11:21

had always said growing up like we

11:23

that you know god has placed the elders

11:24

over us um

11:26

until they did they didn't agree with

11:28

them right like i remember

11:29

they would come out against certain

11:31

movies or things like that and my

11:33

parents would go oh well they haven't

11:34

even seen that movie you know we we can

11:36

watch that movie

11:37

so my parents were always in a sort of

11:39

uh liminal place i suppose you could say

11:41

a

11:41

vis-a-vis kind of church authority

11:44

anyway long story short is

11:45

through a path that i now have learned

11:48

is quite typical

11:50

i i started believing that the church is

11:51

visible the church is one we know where

11:54

it is

11:54

it's it's it's people gathered around

11:57

their bishops celebrating the eucharist

11:58

and if you live in the united states the

12:00

the most logical place you would go for

12:02

that

12:02

kind of patristic vision is the catholic

12:04

church uh

12:06

like i suppose you you know there are

12:07

there is the phenomena of

12:09

of evangelicals confer converting to

12:11

eastern orthodoxy

12:13

and things like that but i never i i

12:15

don't even know if i knew what that was

12:16

frankly when i was 17 18.

12:18

so i i converted catholicism for these

12:20

sort of ecclesiological and

12:22

and kind of sacramental reasons uh

12:25

baptism and communion are symbolic but

12:27

they also sort of

12:28

actually actually convey grace they're

12:31

they're they're both uh

12:32

both symbols and and kind of realities

12:35

uh of grace so it was it was that sort

12:37

of stuff

12:38

wow as a high schooler sheesh what a

12:41

nerd

12:43

well on one yeah but you know the

12:45

interesting thing and i've listened to i

12:47

listened to that one episode of you guys

12:48

and i think you guys

12:50

can sort of relate to this that or at

12:52

least at least kyle can

12:54

you're told you have to make sense of

12:57

all of this

12:58

you know you have to know the reason why

13:00

you do all these things or else you'll

13:02

go to college and you'll you know

13:03

the evil atheist professor will cackle

13:06

and

13:07

and tell you you know in some ways they

13:09

sort of they they created

13:10

this monster because they said

13:14

you know study all these apologetics do

13:15

all this stuff so i was

13:17

i was strange but i was also if you tell

13:20

a certain type of kid

13:22

what they tell people you're gonna get

13:24

me

13:25

i mean there's a lot of truth to that i

13:28

remember

13:29

a few years ago it was the 500th

13:31

anniversary of the protestant

13:32

reformation and you posted a thing on

13:34

facebook

13:35

i didn't go back and read it again but i

13:36

remember being kind of moved by it

13:38

frankly

13:39

and you approached it in a way that i

13:40

hadn't heard anybody approach it before

13:44

certainly that i hadn't heard any

13:46

protestants approach it before

13:48

and your reflection on it was kind of

13:49

mournful having been a protestant and

13:52

converted to catholicism

13:54

how do you view that moment in church

13:56

history and

13:58

how do you view where we are now in

13:59

relation to it and if you're willing to

14:01

speculate

14:02

where do you see it going in the future

14:04

it's very very complex and it's very

14:06

personal to me i think as

14:07

as you as you read in that facebook post

14:12

i i know what it's like to root for the

14:14

other team i remember the old hymns i

14:16

remember

14:17

the kind of apologetics about it the

14:19

rhetoric about it it plays strongly into

14:21

a sense of kind of national identity

14:24

and a sense of cultural independence

14:28

the way that i view it is essentially a

14:31

a catholic reform

14:34

that failed a a catholic reform that was

14:39

rejected unjustly and then became

14:42

non-catholic as a result of it being

14:44

rejected

14:46

so i think that luther was not

14:48

inevitable

14:50

i think luther was one of five six seven

14:53

eight different reform currents and

14:56

we remember it as something new and

14:58

different because of the peculiar

15:00

confluence of

15:01

sinful people and misunderstandings and

15:04

national and cultural tensions that were

15:06

going on in that particular time and

15:08

place

15:09

so i don't view luther as some sort of

15:11

demonic villain which you'll still get

15:13

that

15:13

taken into kind of in certain catholic

15:15

polemic you'll still get this kind of

15:17

ridiculously uh over-the-top negative

15:20

judgment of

15:21

luther i don't view him that way i don't

15:23

view him as some sort of

15:25

prophetic figure either i view him as a

15:27

as a

15:28

a man who had who had very good

15:30

intentions initially and then because of

15:33

uh sin on both sides you know that the

15:36

train went off the tracks to to

15:37

everyone's detriment

15:39

to the detriment of the people who

15:41

remained

15:42

catholic so to speak roman catholic and

15:45

to the new groups

15:46

so that's why i have a sort of mournful

15:48

i don't view it as a kind of winning

15:50

you know i don't think anybody won in

15:52

that and i think everybody lost

15:55

i think the catholic church lost certain

15:57

ideals

15:59

that it had to later recover because it

16:01

had jettisoned them

16:03

and i think that i i'm of i'm i agree

16:06

with those protestants who say

16:07

protestantism can't be an end point it

16:10

has to be

16:11

a a means back into visible communion of

16:15

some kind

16:16

even those who will say it was justified

16:18

i have a lot of protestant friends who

16:20

say the protestant reformation was

16:21

justified

16:22

i stand by it i defend it nevertheless

16:24

it can only be a temporary

16:27

solution or or a temporary home

16:30

for full full visible unity so shaun

16:33

couple questions for you there

16:34

then i appreciate the thing i appreciate

16:37

about my catholic brothers and sisters

16:38

more than anything

16:39

is your high value of unity

16:43

way more than most any protestants i

16:45

know

16:46

and that challenges me but a couple

16:48

comments

16:50

given the state of the catholic church

16:53

in the

16:53

you know 15th 16th century wouldn't you

16:57

agree that

16:58

the reformation some sort of reformation

17:01

some sort of splitting some sort of

17:03

violent separation was almost inevitable

17:06

given the corruption of the church

17:08

at that point in the resistance to

17:10

change that was in the catholic church

17:12

would you agree with that or not

17:13

um historically speaking

17:17

probably uh the the same way that

17:20

there was probably historically speaking

17:23

it was inevitable

17:25

that east and west would split at some

17:27

point right

17:28

the the the contingent factors

17:32

were not inevitable or the the the

17:35

actors that actually

17:37

made this happen their actions were not

17:39

inevitable

17:40

nevertheless the fact that there would

17:42

be some sort of cataclysmic

17:44

event i i would probably agree that was

17:47

inevitable in the 16th century

17:48

and you know when we talk about the

17:51

great schism

17:52

you know between east and west or we

17:54

talk about the reformation

17:56

i don't and this is me as a good

17:58

protestant probably but i don't

18:00

see that as the the great tragedy

18:03

that you know good catholics would maybe

18:06

you would

18:07

i see i see a lot of beauty honestly in

18:10

different streams of the church

18:12

and i don't see a whole lot of ability

18:13

now that's

18:15

i should walk that back a little bit i

18:17

know there's a tremendous amount of

18:19

diversity within the catholic tradition

18:21

um and i really really enjoy it the more

18:22

i get to know the diversity within the

18:24

catholic tradition between

18:25

the benedictines and the franciscans and

18:27

the jesuits and you know you name it

18:29

i love finding the nuance there and it

18:32

encourages me and i love seeing it but

18:34

i love a lot of things about the eastern

18:37

orthodox church particularly their

18:38

theology particularly about

18:40

the atonement particularly about their

18:42

eschatology i enjoy probably more than

18:44

the protestants and the catholics both

18:45

of them

18:46

so i enjoy things about the orthodox

18:49

church

18:49

i enjoy obviously a lot of things about

18:51

the protestant church and the catholic

18:52

church

18:53

and part of me wants to be really pie in

18:56

the sky and say can't we all just be one

18:58

big happy family even though we're

19:00

not you know the one catholic holy

19:01

catholic church what are your thoughts

19:03

on that

19:04

well i hope i don't sound um

19:07

i mean catholics always agree with

19:09

qualification right so i hope i don't do

19:11

that to every single

19:12

question that you ask me or agree with

19:14

some sort of distinction john

19:16

but um yes i mean there's always been

19:19

diversity and any and i think when

19:21

catholics

19:22

there are uninformed catholics who will

19:24

say oh humanism is just everybody

19:25

becomes catholic

19:27

and and what they mean is you two start

19:29

worshiping in a latin rite catholic

19:31

church you know

19:32

which is the kind of jurisdictional

19:33

apparatus of of

19:35

what we often think of as roman catholic

19:37

right when we have

19:38

uh egyptian catholics and ukrainian

19:40

catholics and these other kind of you

19:42

know

19:42

jurisdictional bodies i shouldn't say

19:44

jurisdictional they're

19:46

they're ancient linguistic and cultural

19:49

traditions

19:49

that have uh a measure of jurisdictional

19:53

autonomy they're called

19:54

rights in the catholic church rit so

19:57

yes i mean had the great schism not

20:00

happened

20:01

in 1054 or whenever we actually date it

20:03

to

20:04

really happening um the the you know the

20:07

liturgy

20:08

and the theology i would say of the

20:10

eastern orthodox what we call now

20:12

eastern orthodox would be different and

20:13

what i mean by that is

20:15

a a theology of atonement

20:18

that is not doctrinally in contradiction

20:22

to

20:23

the other churches which i think is the

20:25

case now right i don't think there's

20:27

i wouldn't say there's anything

20:28

problematic about orthodox

20:30

doctrine about atonement even though

20:32

theologically it's different so i try to

20:34

draw this distinction like

20:36

the um the armenian orthodox to go back

20:40

to my

20:40

my my original church their theology of

20:43

the eucharist is different from

20:46

what i was taught as as a catholic

20:48

because i'm taught on the basis of

20:50

medieval universities and

20:52

aristotelianism and you know kyle

20:54

whitaker type philosophy

20:55

you know straight aristotelian tombism

20:57

you know um

21:00

the the the theological difference is

21:02

healthy and good and beautiful the

21:04

liturgical difference is healthy and

21:05

good and beautiful

21:07

but i don't think that doctrinal

21:09

difference

21:10

understood very strictly um

21:13

is is good describe the difference

21:16

between theological difference and

21:17

doctrinal difference

21:19

so i the way i'm understanding this

21:22

is that um there can be many many

21:25

theologies

21:26

of atonement ways of making sense of it

21:31

uh images that you use philosophical

21:33

traditions you come from

21:34

cultural imagery lens whatever but

21:38

the doctrine would be a more fundamental

21:41

kind of distillation

21:43

what happened the the the say the

21:45

meaning of the theology perhaps

21:47

something like that so you know like in

21:49

grad school they'll say oh have you read

21:50

von balthazar's theology of the trinity

21:52

and lonergan theology of the trinity no

21:54

one thinks that these things contradict

21:56

one another

21:56

on doctrine they might they may have

21:58

genuine difference

22:00

um the question of course becomes how do

22:02

you manage this difference in a way that

22:05

doesn't lead to

22:06

a kind of um doctrinal incompatibility

22:11

and so you're saying for you

22:12

theologically we can be diverse

22:14

doctrinally we have to remain pure yes

22:18

if i had to say it if if you forced me

22:20

to say something simple i would

22:22

i would say that yes okay yes

22:26

that's interesting i i enjoy that

22:27

perspective and it challenges me because

22:30

i want to make bigger space for us to be

22:33

able to have even doctrinal differences

22:35

and there are

22:35

there are things that i would say i

22:37

can't doctrinally

22:39

differ with you on this and still

22:41

consider ourselves part of the same

22:42

faith there are there are some of those

22:43

for me but there's not many

22:45

because i want to be able to just have a

22:48

generous orthodoxy enough to the fact

22:50

that we can have

22:51

differences substantial differences on

22:53

the eucharist or substantial differences

22:55

on you know mary for instance or

22:58

whatever it might be

22:59

and still consider one another brothers

23:01

and

23:02

and i i would like to think that you

23:03

consider me a brother in the faith but

23:05

oh certainly certainly as far as even

23:07

being able to worship together

23:08

and being in the same church that's the

23:11

big difference where i'm playing pretty

23:12

loosey-goosey here

23:14

and you as a good catholic would say now

23:15

that's a little bit too much tell me why

23:18

well it's a great question um i mean i

23:20

would say that from the catholic

23:22

perspective we are brothers brothers and

23:25

sisters in christ with people who are

23:26

baptized

23:27

into the trinity okay so if you baptize

23:30

in the name of the father son and holy

23:31

spirit you're a christian

23:33

there's a sense this might sound

23:34

horribly imperialistic

23:36

there's a sense that you're a

23:40

a small c catholic sure that we would

23:42

consider you a family member

23:44

who's not coming to the thanksgiving

23:46

dinner i'm honored

23:47

you're in the same family because

23:49

there's only one family there's only one

23:51

baptism

23:53

there is no presbyterian baptism

23:54

catholic baptism

23:56

you know there's one baptism so um

23:59

the the way that catholics would

24:01

typically approach this is

24:04

there is a sacramental unity between

24:06

protestants and catholics and orthodox

24:08

on baptism which means that we are

24:10

christians

24:11

the the problem becomes if we're

24:15

celebrating the eucharist

24:16

with a specific understanding of

24:19

ordination a specific understanding of

24:21

what the eucharist is

24:23

that to us is is central to our identity

24:26

as catholics in a way that

24:28

disagreement perhaps about

24:31

certain other matters of church

24:33

government or say

24:34

certain types of piety devotion

24:36

veneration of mary

24:38

veneration of saints is not necessarily

24:41

central

24:41

in the same sense so the problem for

24:44

catholics becomes when

24:46

they're i mean for very practical

24:48

reasons frankly the problem becomes when

24:50

there's different understandings of

24:51

ordination

24:52

of clergy and there's different

24:54

understandings of sacraments because

24:56

those are very concrete things that

24:58

people

24:58

do and there there's no getting around

25:02

the difference the way that there could

25:04

be

25:04

say much diversity and understanding of

25:06

atonement or even of

25:08

maybe how the communion of saints works

25:10

and that i think part of that

25:12

is not just theological it's partly just

25:15

how do you run a church of 1.2 billion

25:17

people

25:18

on seven continents you kind of you have

25:21

to know who your clergy are and who they

25:23

are

25:23

yep and they have to be accountable to

25:25

specific people and not to other people

25:27

so let's just just for fun let's just

25:29

experiment here and let me go on a

25:30

little

25:31

down a little rabbit hole protestant

25:33

catholic you had mentioned that if

25:35

if you're baptized in the trinity we

25:37

would see you as

25:38

small c catholic brother sister in

25:40

christ now

25:42

i'll bet a bunch of our good protestants

25:45

friends heard that and got a little bit

25:48

sideways and we're like

25:49

whoa why is baptism the badge

25:52

that actually the key that unlocks that

25:54

thing because we're told

25:56

as good protestants and my protestant

25:58

friends are going to say that shaun you

25:59

know what

26:00

the scriptures say it paul says faith

26:03

justified by faith

26:04

through grace that's the badge and nt

26:06

wright would even say

26:08

justification like that faith is that

26:10

justification it's like that badge that

26:11

gets a sin which

26:12

sounds like you were saying baptism is

26:14

the thing why

26:15

would you say baptism is that thing

26:18

instead of faith

26:20

well i think luther would agree with

26:22

this

26:23

actually at least as i read him and i

26:25

might maybe i'll be corrected by

26:27

lutheran but

26:28

baptism is inexplicable apart from faith

26:32

so you either have an adult hopefully

26:34

seeking baptism unless charlemagne or

26:36

someone forces

26:37

him to be baptized you know which has

26:39

happened in history

26:40

but i mean hopefully an adult person

26:44

is is seeking baptism because they have

26:46

come to faith

26:47

in the triune god now most catholics

26:50

and maybe most protestants actually uh

26:54

actually i'm not sure if most but a

26:56

great many protestants are baptized as

26:57

babies

26:58

the idea there is that there is a a

27:01

faith of the community a faith of the

27:03

parents of faith of the sponsors

27:06

that is active so there is no baptism

27:09

apart from faith the difference though i

27:12

mean you point to a very real difference

27:13

so for luther

27:15

and for the protestant reformation that

27:17

you know the true church is

27:19

where the gospel is correctly preached

27:20

and the sacraments are rightly

27:22

celebrated

27:23

in in in the catholic church you can

27:26

just be a bad

27:27

parish or a pastor who's not preaching

27:29

the gospel correctly but you're still

27:31

catholic

27:32

you're still sacramentally catholic

27:34

you're just not doing what you're

27:35

supposed to be doing

27:36

so the the um identity is objective

27:40

and again there's probably there's not

27:42

probably there's certainly cultural and

27:43

political

27:44

factors historically for this but the

27:46

identity is objective

27:48

nevertheless we would recognize of

27:51

course that if let's say

27:52

a protestant was was was not baptized

27:56

that doesn't mean god is not working in

27:59

the person's life and supplying them

28:01

grace and that they're they're going to

28:02

go to heaven when they die

28:03

so we are bound by a system

28:06

because we live in community and we have

28:08

sociological structures god of course is

28:10

not

28:11

is not bound by this so we you know we

28:13

have these things so the baptism of

28:14

desire the baptism

28:16

of blood all these ways of sort of

28:17

getting around and saying how could the

28:19

person

28:20

be saved who hasn't done xyz objective

28:22

thing

28:23

you know it's supplied by their faith by

28:25

god etc

28:26

fun yeah that's good that is uh as i was

28:30

trying to read your some of your some of

28:32

your articles

28:33

which i got to say was challenging

28:35

because it feels like you were

28:37

you you speak in code when you when you

28:39

write theologically

28:41

and that's not just because it's

28:41

theological it's because it's catholic

28:43

and i was like holy moly i barely

28:44

understand this stuff like another

28:45

language

28:46

oh it was very in-house a lot of that

28:48

was in-house baseball so i'm sorry about

28:49

it it's all right it was

28:50

yeah it literally was like whatever

28:54

um but the rules of the game you don't

28:57

play yeah but i really

28:58

did kind of pick up on this for the

29:00

first time this nuance that

29:02

catholicism values objectivity

29:06

much more than protestantism right

29:09

that protestantism

29:12

is very loosey-goosey in the lines that

29:14

we draw and we get to draw our own lines

29:16

and we get to figure out what the

29:17

boundaries and the rules are

29:19

church by church in many many ways

29:22

if not denomination by denomination

29:24

network by network and then there's

29:26

little

29:26

branches of lutheranism that you know

29:28

are different it's just so subjective

29:31

and we get to make the rules and we

29:33

protestants would say and by

29:35

protestant i mean more evangelical

29:37

tradition we would say well the bible

29:39

makes the rules

29:40

in reality hopefully you understand if

29:42

you do think that listeners

29:44

is that we all see the bible differently

29:46

and we all say the bible

29:47

makes my rules but we all have different

29:49

rules so that's subjective it's it's

29:51

different

29:52

catholicism it seems like i'm

29:54

understanding that

29:55

good catholics really enjoy objectivity

29:58

and saying

29:59

here's where it is here's where we draw

30:01

the lines and that's

30:03

a safe place that's the best way to

30:05

operate and function

30:06

i don't know if i would agree with that

30:07

but that's what i'm picking up would you

30:08

agree with that

30:10

i would certainly agree with it when it

30:11

comes to

30:13

these issues of kind of belonging and

30:15

identity

30:16

so on issues of so it actually can get

30:20

quite legalistic and not very edifying

30:22

the catholic discussions of

30:23

of of a validly performed sacrament

30:27

so they'll actually have debates over if

30:30

one were to use this form of words and

30:32

not that form of words would this be

30:33

valid or invalid

30:35

now the the important point about this

30:37

though is that

30:38

this isn't saying god is

30:41

confined by any of this so in catholic

30:44

doctrine an atheist could be saved

30:47

we don't know we hope we pray we think

30:50

they could be

30:52

right but when it comes to organizing

30:55

the church community there are very very

30:58

clear

30:59

boundaries this is what you say when you

31:02

lay hands

31:02

on someone to ordain them a priest this

31:04

is what you say

31:05

when you lay hands on the bread and wine

31:08

that sort of thing

31:09

and that has to do with with trying to

31:12

keep

31:13

i mean we have theological reasons for

31:15

it but it's i think

31:16

the easiest way to understand it is how

31:18

do you keep a community together that's

31:20

in japan the philippines

31:22

germany the netherlands new mexico

31:26

nova scotia and you have to have these

31:29

strongly objective

31:31

agreed upon forms of of uh of

31:34

expression that's my understanding

31:37

that's why i think

31:39

it it because it wasn't that way in the

31:41

early church to the same extent

31:43

yeah and i think that's one of the most

31:44

beautiful things about the catholic

31:45

church is that you could

31:47

go on vacation to argentina or you could

31:49

go you know

31:50

to work in greece or wherever in the

31:53

world and you could go into a catholic

31:55

church

31:55

and you'd know the liturgy that they

31:57

were speaking and singing

32:00

just in a different language but you

32:01

know exactly what they're saying that's

32:03

fun

32:03

that's rich and beautiful yeah it's a

32:05

beautiful thing right it is a beautiful

32:07

thing

32:07

i will say this on objectivity though i

32:10

certain forms of protestantism

32:13

are more objective in their

32:15

understanding

32:16

of you know i drew that distinction

32:18

between theology and doctrine

32:20

i don't some of my protestant friends

32:21

don't have that distinction yes

32:23

so i've had i've had and i i think it's

32:25

probably not you guys at all but

32:27

some of my friends say what does the

32:28

catholic church teach about x and their

32:30

and they'll use a phrase about you know

32:33

substitutionary atonement or penal

32:35

substitution or something like that and

32:36

i'll say well i

32:37

we don't that's not the way we think of

32:39

it

32:40

we don't use that language of a

32:42

courtroom and jesus is the defense

32:44

attorney and

32:45

you know that just isn't the way that

32:46

catholics have traditionally understood

32:48

it

32:48

and they'll say well is it right or

32:49

wrong do you agree you know do you

32:51

accept it or not except that well i

32:53

i don't know it's just not how we think

32:55

about that mysterious thing

32:56

so there is subjectivity within

32:58

catholicism

33:00

on on certain issues but when the issue

33:03

touches upon the organization of the

33:05

community or the administration of the

33:06

sacraments it gets

33:08

really really really objective and we

33:10

have an entire law code

33:11

the code of canon law you know that you

33:14

can go and get a doctorate

33:15

which i have not done and hopefully will

33:17

never do

33:19

so it's funny the protestant friends

33:21

you're describing seem to want to

33:22

collapse

33:24

the theology side of the distinction

33:26

into the doctrine side and then they get

33:27

really uncomfortable when you can't

33:28

delineate the catholic doctrine on that

33:31

i come at it exactly they think i'm

33:33

being evasive yeah

33:34

they think i'm intentionally avoiding an

33:36

answer and the answer is i

33:38

yeah i don't know other than to say

33:40

that's not the way that i

33:41

and that there's no objective catholic

33:42

position on that

33:44

right yeah i would come at it from

33:46

exactly the opposite angle as your

33:47

protestant friends for me i would want

33:49

to collapse the doctrine side into the

33:50

theology side to me it's just

33:52

yeah opinion all the way down that's

33:54

funny um so

33:55

so sticking with that just shows the

33:57

diversity of protestantism right sure

33:59

but i wouldn't

33:59

i mean i wouldn't be claimed by many

34:01

protestants either to be fair

34:05

but sticking with this general theme

34:07

what you're calling objectivity

34:09

i might be a little more comfortable

34:11

calling authority

34:14

um i don't philosophers mean something

34:16

different by objectivity usually and i'm

34:18

not quite sure that's what we

34:19

are using here the concept in that way

34:21

um so

34:22

would it be fair to say that what

34:24

catholics have

34:26

that protestants tend to lack is a

34:28

clearer authority structure

34:30

and that this this gives a way to decide

34:34

an argument about who's in and who's out

34:36

and what the ecclesial structure should

34:38

be

34:39

and you know who bishops report to and

34:40

whatever and what the literature liturgy

34:43

should look like it gives a way to

34:44

decide that argument that protestants

34:46

lack

34:46

is that fair i think so i think so i

34:49

think the authority structures

34:51

are far less effective in asserting

34:53

their authority

34:54

than is typically perceived and the

34:56

debates

34:57

morph and go on and on and on

34:59

nevertheless

35:01

there are specific issues which can be

35:04

solved one way or the other

35:05

and if you disagree you have every right

35:08

to disagree but

35:09

you kind of lost the debate that can be

35:12

clearer in catholicism than in

35:14

protestantism

35:15

because in protestantism you know a

35:17

baptist church can have a disagreement

35:18

and it can just become two baptist

35:20

churches

35:21

um which or one true baptist church and

35:24

one apostate baptist church i think

35:25

yeah well right of course of course yeah

35:28

oh boy yeah yep

35:30

so shaun it's kind of sticking on this

35:32

theme of

35:34

authority being really really important

35:37

you know we have we kind of have to get

35:39

on to this topic

35:40

when we think about well for me when i

35:43

think about the catholic church i had

35:44

all sorts of beefs with the catholic

35:46

church growing up because i was told to

35:48

have these beasts with the catholic

35:49

church

35:49

most of those i don't i enjoy just

35:52

really nuanced conversation with my

35:54

catholic friends now

35:55

but something that i think is relevant

35:57

is thinking about the

35:58

institution that is the catholic church

36:01

right now we talk where congress is in

36:04

talks of breaking up

36:06

big tech right whether it's facebook

36:08

amazon whatever

36:10

we live in this reality where the bigger

36:11

the institution the more

36:13

opportunity there is for corruption the

36:14

more opportunity there is for

36:16

um just all sorts of unsavory things to

36:18

happen and when you think about

36:19

institutions perhaps

36:21

the biggest most historic institution

36:23

the world the modern world has known has

36:25

been

36:26

the catholic church and is the catholic

36:27

church and i'm a huge fan of

36:29

richard rohr father richard and he says

36:32

any institution that's left uncritiqued

36:34

becomes demonic which i think is really

36:38

really provocative but really really

36:39

true

36:40

whether you're talking about a police

36:42

force or a church

36:43

or whatever you're talking about the

36:45

catholic church in

36:47

i think this comes down to for me in the

36:48

way that i've interpreted and kind of

36:50

tried to understand the way they've

36:51

dealt with the sexual abuse scandals is

36:54

the institution institutionalism of the

36:57

of it

36:58

has actually hindered it from dealing

37:00

rightly with the abuse scandals like the

37:02

the institution has become so important

37:05

that the main objective is to maintain

37:07

the institution

37:08

which has probably assets of tens of

37:11

billions of dollars literally and has

37:13

over a billion followers worldwide and

37:15

is two thousand years old

37:16

i mean talk about a powerful institution

37:19

that's it right there

37:20

and so it's no surprise to me that the

37:22

number one objective

37:24

as it seems to me as an outsider is

37:26

maintain the institution

37:28

maintain the safety and the the

37:30

integrity of the institution over and

37:32

above

37:32

just doing what's right do you feel my

37:36

uncomfortability with the huge

37:37

institution that is the catholic church

37:39

and the opportunity for so much

37:41

corruption and just

37:42

bad decisions because of the desire to

37:45

maintain that institution i don't know

37:47

if i'm being clear

37:48

no no you absolutely are i mean i think

37:50

i would i would

37:51

completely agree with uh father richard

37:54

rohr uh

37:54

in his comment there i haven't read that

37:56

but i i'm familiar with some of his

37:59

writing and

38:00

that definitely sounds like something he

38:01

would say i i absolutely agree with that

38:04

and when i when i teach

38:05

church history i say the scary thing

38:08

about

38:09

many periods of the church but we'll say

38:11

let's rewind to the 16th century

38:13

the scary thing is almost none of these

38:16

popes were bad people they were nice

38:19

people they were kind they were loving

38:22

most of them actually weren't sexually

38:24

corrupt there were many many many

38:26

sexually corrupt

38:27

popes at different times in history but

38:30

most of these popes during this

38:32

this when luther was breaking away were

38:34

were good people

38:36

and that to me makes it scarier

38:39

it would be easy if we said pope leo the

38:41

tenth who who was a medici from florence

38:44

pope lee the tenth was this horrible

38:46

disgusting corrupt

38:48

you know sexual abuser or whatever he

38:50

wasn't

38:51

he was a good person but he was a person

38:55

who

38:55

who in many ways i shouldn't say too

38:58

strongly about him because i'm not an

39:00

expert on on him but

39:02

in many ways put the institution over

39:06

what is right or what is true so i think

39:09

i don't want to sound too

39:10

individualistic

39:11

because there's a sense that

39:12

institutions and communities are more

39:14

important than individuals

39:15

nevertheless when you're dealing with

39:16

something like the abuse crisis

39:18

to put the institution over an

39:21

individual who has been harmed

39:23

or in future individuals who could be

39:24

harmed i think that's

39:27

something of a kind of original sin or a

39:29

constant

39:30

a systemic sin in the catholic church i

39:33

mean it's

39:34

i presume it's present in every

39:35

institution i mean i've been around

39:38

you know universities and families

39:40

extended families and

39:43

all kinds of uh structures that that i i

39:46

think this

39:46

the same thing probably goes but as you

39:48

say the catholic church is enormous

39:50

so that the possible scale uh for the

39:53

sin or the kind of systemic nature for

39:54

the sin becomes enormous

39:56

another thing i would say is that i

39:58

always go back to the reformation with

40:00

this because

40:01

before the reformation catholics were

40:03

very comfortable with the word reform

40:06

referencio in latin they used the word

40:08

all the time the stated purpose of the

40:10

council of constance which was called in

40:12

1414 for this ludicrous situation where

40:14

you had three popes

40:16

you had three men claiming to be pope

40:18

and they said what is the purpose of the

40:20

council

40:21

reform in head and members uh referencio

40:24

and kapute

40:25

i forgot what members is in latin that's

40:27

probably something similar to

40:29

the word members anyway by the time

40:32

protestants were seen to

40:33

sort of co-opt the word reform and

40:36

catholics stop

40:37

using it and i think that that is

40:40

a that's very telling

40:43

and this idea that we have now like if

40:45

you asked someone in boston

40:47

in the 1970s or 80s when a lot of this

40:50

abuse was going on

40:52

or the high point as far as we know the

40:54

high point of this abuse

40:55

why would you not go to the police or

40:57

why would you not

40:59

follow up on where the bishop moved this

41:02

man that you know

41:03

abused a child or a young person or a

41:05

vulnerable person

41:06

the phrase that would always be used is

41:08

not causing scandal

41:10

[Music]

41:11

and there's so many things wrong with

41:13

that right because the scandal is what

41:15

happened

41:16

and the further scandal is not

41:18

preventing it from happening again

41:20

but the idea is that the church is so

41:22

big and so important it's too big to

41:24

fail we might say

41:25

colloquially so if you undercut

41:29

confidence in the institution you're

41:30

harming more people than any

41:32

individual could do that's i think the

41:35

way most

41:36

good people who went along with

41:39

something

41:40

demonic and wicked didn't do what they

41:42

could have done

41:43

not because they're evil not because

41:45

they're sadistic but because they had

41:46

this

41:47

ingrained systemic sin of

41:50

putting an institution over the good of

41:52

individuals

41:54

so i think this is a deeply ingrained

41:56

this is way more to me this is

41:58

way bigger than any discussion of

42:00

pedophilia

42:02

or or clericalism those are

42:05

facets of a problem the problem is

42:09

a a community that has this ingrained

42:12

way of viewing

42:14

you know not causing scandal the

42:16

institution's more important than

42:17

individuals

42:18

that's the root problem and what's

42:19

striking to me as you say that is that

42:21

this

42:22

this desire to not cause scandal is from

42:24

the top down

42:26

in all the way in between it seems like

42:27

right like you'd ask somebody in boston

42:29

why didn't you

42:30

call the cops because your son was was

42:32

abused or your

42:34

nephew or brother whatever and they

42:36

would tell you that we didn't want to

42:37

cause a scandal and that's

42:38

exactly why we saw bishops cardinals

42:42

popes even covering things up and trying

42:44

to sweep things under the rugs

42:46

to not cause scandals so that's

42:47

culturally so you're saying

42:50

when we talk about reform and

42:51

catholicism that might be

42:53

one of the big things we need to reform

42:55

at the current moment would you agree or

42:56

not

42:57

yes i mean i do think that there's

43:00

tremendous progress from where we were

43:01

in to

43:02

i think boston broke in o2

43:06

i do think there's been real progress

43:08

since o2

43:09

i don't think there's been enough and i

43:12

think that we have a really really long

43:14

way to go

43:15

i do think there has been real advances

43:19

in how we've understood the psychology

43:22

of an abusive person

43:24

the warning signs for it i think we

43:26

we're starting to build a culture where

43:29

people feel that it's okay to come

43:31

forward

43:32

and that that's actually the right and

43:34

the good and the praiseworthy thing

43:35

rather than a kind of shameful thing

43:37

so i think we're moving in the right

43:39

direction but

43:41

this really scary thing to me as a

43:45

someone who reads a lot of early modern

43:46

history is you can see traces of this

43:49

you can see hints that this was going on

43:52

my mentor uh at marquette ulrich laner

43:55

has looked at a tremendous amount of

43:56

documentation from

43:58

uh monasteries mostly in the

44:00

german-speaking world

44:01

and um and this was clearly a problem

44:05

i mean sexual sexual abuse is always a

44:07

problem in every community right but

44:09

this was clearly a problem

44:11

and the scary thing to me is how many

44:13

generations to use

44:14

real throwback language to you know

44:16

deuteronomy and leviticus and all this

44:17

stuff about you know

44:19

third and fourth generation all stuff

44:21

how many generations

44:22

was this gestating in

44:25

and how long is it going to take to get

44:27

this poison out

44:29

because i think that the kind of you

44:31

know it came to the surface in the

44:33

re actually in the 90s to some extent i

44:36

think i'm not an expert on this

44:38

it really started coming out in the

44:39

early 2000s and we kept thinking oh

44:41

that's the big revelation

44:43

and then there was another one oh no

44:45

that's the big revelation and the

44:46

reality is it's probably

44:48

for my lifetime this will be something

44:51

that we're

44:52

dealing with at a systemic level we're

44:54

always going to deal with it at an

44:55

individual level

44:57

the hope is that we can get to the point

44:58

where it's it's

45:00

an individual problem that is dealt with

45:02

swiftly and clearly and

45:04

transparently rather than being a

45:07

systemic problem

45:09

so just dovetailing off of that a little

45:13

bit i mean me as a

45:15

protestant looking in i can say and

45:17

here's where

45:18

you know being a catholic would drive me

45:20

nuts it would actually drive me crazy

45:23

is i enjoy like we i pastor church that

45:25

is identified as evangelical for

45:28

you know 15 years since i started it and

45:31

we now are making the decision

45:32

to drop the evangelical label because we

45:34

see so much gone wrong in the

45:36

evangelical tradition we think it's

45:38

actually a barrier

45:39

to unbelievers to say if we're an

45:42

evangelical church i think there's a

45:43

whole lot of people who

45:44

have no interest in us so let's just

45:46

drop it because we can do that

45:48

i like being able to do something like

45:50

that and when i look from the outside

45:51

looking into at the catholic church

45:53

i'm just like geez louise guys can we

45:56

just

45:56

let priests get married for one thing

45:58

you wouldn't have a crisis of a lack of

46:00

priests anymore

46:01

and for another thing maybe maybe that

46:03

would help this crisis

46:05

and then you know like okay since we're

46:08

letting priests get married can we also

46:10

let women

46:11

be ordained and become priests i mean

46:13

these should just be

46:14

simple things that we could just do and

46:17

that's

46:18

a major that's just a a rough spot for

46:21

me with the catholic church is that you

46:22

just can't do what's right

46:24

what seems right to me now i'm being

46:26

very extreme here and i'm

46:27

using extreme words but i kind of think

46:30

that

46:31

well it's okay to use extreme language i

46:33

mean we're talking about

46:34

you know this uh extreme thing

46:37

right the abuse crisis so i mean it's if

46:40

it's ever warranted

46:42

it would be now um yeah i mean

46:45

the interesting thing about it you don't

46:47

really control the

46:49

the brand as it were i mean you guys can

46:52

kind of shape your brand right you just

46:53

say hey we call ourselves

46:55

first independent christian church of

46:57

milwaukee or

46:59

the name is brew city correct but you

47:02

have you have

47:03

you identify in literature or in in

47:06

in you used to identify publicly as

47:08

evangelical yeah yeah

47:11

right and then you're just removing

47:12

references to that

47:14

right okay yeah i mean i guess like so

47:17

catholic to us

47:18

is just what we are right i mean it

47:20

would be

47:22

it would be like saying you know can you

47:24

identify as not

47:25

like christian anymore not human i mean

47:28

it just is what i

47:28

am right so whether i like it or not it

47:31

is what i am

47:32

is how we would view it regarding these

47:34

specific reforms i mean

47:36

the issue of married married priests

47:39

is a really interesting issue for

47:43

roman catholicism for latin rite

47:45

catholicism which is what i am

47:47

and what most people in america are

47:50

there are catholic uh churches small

47:54

seed churches the ukrainians and

47:56

the egyptians and most of the ones that

47:58

are in the kind of eastern parts of the

48:00

old roman empire that do have married

48:02

priests

48:03

because that's their tradition their

48:04

liturgical sacramental

48:06

tradition the western church

48:10

which then sent missionaries everywhere

48:13

and

48:13

in some cases sadly conquistadors the

48:16

people that

48:16

received catholicism from western

48:19

catholics

48:20

are latin right and therefore don't have

48:21

married priests it's something that's

48:23

been discussed a ton

48:24

i think it's going to be discussed more

48:26

and more and i'm i'm open to it

48:28

for reasons that are mostly independent

48:32

of the abuse crisis i don't think that

48:35

i i don't think that celibate people

48:37

people who abstain from sex then become

48:39

abusive i think you know that's putting

48:41

the cart before the horse

48:43

with the understanding of abuse and we

48:45

do have abuse of course with

48:47

people who are married and people who

48:48

are openly sexually active can also of

48:50

course be

48:51

abusive people where i would see

48:54

merit in the way you're approaching it

48:56

is that

48:58

we need to find a way whether it's

49:00

through married priests or whether it's

49:02

through

49:03

a reform of how people are formed in the

49:06

priesthood

49:07

of identifying the psychological

49:12

profile of people who are prone to this

49:15

sort of thing

49:16

so in that there is an indirect way

49:19

i think that allowing married priests

49:21

would increase a kind of transparency

49:24

but i don't it wouldn't eliminate the

49:26

problem

49:27

because i i know protestant uh

49:30

situation i mean from my own personal

49:32

experience of hearing about this place

49:34

in that place and

49:35

there was cov there were cover-ups and

49:36

there were some people went to the

49:38

police and some people contradicted

49:39

their reports and these were married men

49:42

but they were megalomaniacs right i mean

49:43

that's the problem the problem is

49:45

is men who are who are asserting a kind

49:48

of

49:48

a sick sort of dominance over other

49:50

people

49:52

nevertheless i don't want to say that

49:53

what you're saying doesn't have merit

49:55

because i do

49:56

think that there is a problem with a

49:59

kind of

50:00

secrecy or a view of the priesthood as

50:03

as completely other

50:04

that we have uh at times in the catholic

50:07

church

50:08

and that's that's damaging and celibacy

50:11

can be a component of that i don't think

50:13

it needs to be i think there's tons and

50:15

tons of

50:16

beautiful healthy um celibate folks

50:19

uh out there of course and i think it's

50:21

a real call i mean it's a call in the

50:23

gospel

50:24

um jesus and paul have you know very

50:27

um i think beautiful words about what it

50:29

means to be celibate and

50:31

and serve the kingdom so i i think the

50:34

last pope

50:34

benedict the 16th po joseph ratzinger he

50:38

was worried about

50:39

he knew he could change it and he knew

50:41

there are good arguments for doing so

50:44

but i think what he was worried about is

50:45

this witness of celibate ministry

50:48

disappearing

50:49

and it being seen that there was a kind

50:51

of pressure of sort of secular modernity

50:53

to abandon

50:54

this ancient christian practice i don't

50:56

think that would happen

50:57

because in the orthodox church you have

50:59

very strong

51:00

eastern catholics and eastern orthodox

51:02

you have very strong

51:04

cultures of married priesthood and of

51:07

celibate priesthood

51:09

regarding mary regarding women priests i

51:13

again i so i converted catholicism in

51:16

2006.

51:17

i was baptized because we were reformed

51:19

baptist so we didn't baptize babies so i

51:21

was baptized catholic

51:22

so it was like a sacrament circus i was

51:24

baptized confirmed

51:26

and um first communion all in the same

51:29

night

51:30

easter vigil i just had to die and get

51:32

ordained and go to confession and i

51:33

would have all of them but

51:35

boom didn't happen all right get married

51:38

right i was gonna say

51:40

to get the seventh right um the seventh

51:42

the seventh seal

51:43

um there was a huge debate

51:46

about women priests in the 70s and 80s

51:49

and john paul ii

51:50

released an encyclical very very

51:52

strongly coming out against

51:55

women being ordained that debate

51:58

which of course many people just don't

51:59

agree with so in that sense the debate

52:01

has carried on but at the ecclesial

52:03

level

52:04

that debate has been sidelined or put on

52:07

ice and the current debate

52:08

is women in the diaconate which

52:11

is very much a live debate and pope

52:13

francis has has established a committee

52:15

to examine that question which is a very

52:18

interesting historical question because

52:19

of course you have female deacons in the

52:20

new testament

52:22

so then the question becomes what were

52:24

these women actually doing

52:26

is this the same as the the male deacons

52:28

that we see in acts

52:29

uh the seven first male deacons there's

52:32

the historical question and there's also

52:34

the theological question so anyway

52:35

that's being examined

52:37

i'm open to whatever these reports find

52:40

i'm open to examining these arguments

52:42

it certainly seems prima facie that

52:44

there's a precedent

52:46

for uh for women deacons of of some kind

52:49

the real issue to me is women in genuine

52:53

leadership having genuine leadership

52:56

opportunities in the church

52:57

we are seeing that it's very slow but we

53:00

are seeing women who are on curial

53:02

congregation so these are kind of like

53:04

the rome like the cabinet like the

53:05

pope's cabinet i guess would be a good

53:08

analogy so we are seeing more female

53:12

leadership in the church which to me is

53:14

ultimately the important question

53:17

and sorry kyle it's all right

53:20

just one more about that because here's

53:22

the other happen francis just said the

53:23

other day

53:24

that he thinks that catholics should

53:25

allow for civil unions between

53:28

uh gay and lesbian people you have these

53:31

three things

53:32

that people have talked about for you

53:34

know i would say for decades because i'm

53:36

young

53:36

but probably for longer than that not

53:39

the

53:39

lgbtq thing but celibacy women in

53:42

leadership

53:43

and now honoring our gay and lesbian

53:45

brothers and sisters

53:47

if there's a vatican three within the

53:49

next hundred years say

53:50

there probably will be right would you

53:52

say

53:54

yeah i just hope it's in my lifetime i'm

53:56

worried i'm gonna be

53:57

recently dead yeah just missed the

54:00

second one

54:01

yeah so what would you say would be like

54:03

will any of those things be on the table

54:05

at vatican iii i think i mean it's so

54:09

perilous to sort of like you know

54:10

because i look at

54:12

let's say vatican 3 is in

54:15

2070 you know roughly 100 years after

54:18

vatican ii

54:19

and then what i say now is the

54:21

equivalent of what people would have

54:22

thought in like

54:23

1915 or 1920 and i just can't see

54:26

anybody getting that right i mean there

54:28

were people who were saying like hey we

54:30

need to look into

54:31

dialogue with protestants and other

54:32

people are saying no that's crazy why

54:34

would you know

54:35

so there were people raising the issues

54:38

which are eventually on the table at

54:40

vatican ii so there's clearly precedent

54:41

for that

54:42

but nobody it would have been utterly

54:45

impossible to predict

54:46

kind of what is the confluence of

54:49

theological thought and whatever's going

54:52

on in the culture and whatever is going

54:54

on pastorally that

54:55

that all sort of ferments and all comes

54:57

together to make an ecumenical council

54:59

what it is

55:00

nevertheless i would say that um i mean

55:02

married priests was on the agenda in a

55:04

kind of indirect way

55:06

very recently about can

55:09

married men be ordained to serve these

55:12

areas

55:12

of the amazon that have very limited

55:16

access to priests because of geography

55:18

and stuff like that

55:19

the majority of bishops there i believe

55:21

it was a two-thirds majority i might be

55:23

wrong about that

55:23

said yes we should do that francis

55:27

ultimately said no

55:28

not because he thinks that he can't do

55:31

it or that it would be heretical or

55:33

something like that but because he

55:34

he deemed it was not the right time or

55:36

it was imprudent for some other reason

55:38

so a lot of this stuff is not issues of

55:41

kind of black and white doctrine

55:44

but his issues of what is the church

55:46

deciding to do right now

55:48

and what is prudent to do what is wise

55:50

to do

55:51

because the church could say you know

55:54

tomorrow the pope could say

55:55

latin right priests can get married

55:57

there's no doctrinal reason that they

55:59

can't get married they used to be

56:00

married

56:01

and our eastern catholic friends have

56:04

married priests he could do it

56:06

but he isn't doing it for prudential

56:09

practical reasons not that theology

56:12

doesn't come into it there is a theology

56:14

behind it

56:15

regarding this the civil union stuff is

56:17

really really interesting

56:19

francis is very clear that he doesn't

56:21

think that men should be having sex with

56:23

men and women should be having sex with

56:25

women

56:26

nevertheless they are so in light of

56:30

that

56:30

what do we do and i think this is how

56:33

pope francis

56:34

approaches most problems i mean it's

56:36

very pastoral and it's very practical

56:39

what do i do as a pastor when

56:43

two 19 year olds are sleeping together

56:45

and they don't want to get married

56:46

or they're in tons of debt and they

56:48

can't get married or

56:50

what have you okay so a lot of a lot of

56:53

francis's pontificate

56:54

is he has a kind of radical view

56:58

it's frankly probably not that radical

57:00

for a parish priest but it is for a pope

57:02

the way that he speaks about this stuff

57:04

he has a radical view of how

57:06

can i genuinely include everyone

57:10

given that the human family is super

57:12

diverse and

57:13

we all sin and there's tons of non-ideal

57:17

things going on so the the reality which

57:20

a lot of catholics don't like to talk

57:22

about

57:22

is that the church condemns birth

57:23

control which means that

57:26

the vast majority of married catholics

57:28

straight married catholics

57:30

in the northern hemisphere by the letter

57:32

of the law should not be receiving

57:34

communion

57:35

technically but there's been an enormous

57:38

sort of accommodation

57:40

to this reality okay

57:44

most priests if you push them would

57:46

never dream of

57:48

cracking down on this and denying

57:50

communion to everyone who doesn't

57:52

make clear in the confessional that

57:54

they're not using contraception or

57:56

they've repented of past use of it or

57:58

whatever it might be

57:59

and i know of examples of priests who

58:01

have tried to do this and it hasn't gone

58:03

down well

58:04

with their parish or with their bishop

58:06

so there's been an accommodation on that

58:09

there's an accommodation on divorce and

58:12

remarriage in many situations and

58:13

francis i think francis is thinking of

58:16

the issue of gay marriage gay civil

58:18

union along the same lines

58:20

that he thinks of divorce divorce is a

58:22

civic reality

58:24

and it's culturally pervasive right now

58:28

and the church has responded to that the

58:29

church fought tooth and nail

58:31

in the late 19th and early 20th century

58:34

against the legalization of birth

58:35

control and against the legalization of

58:37

divorce

58:38

it lost those legal battles and it

58:40

adjusted

58:41

and i think we're seeing the beginnings

58:43

of a what will

58:44

no doubt be a traumatic and painful

58:47

intra-catholic

58:48

discussion that's happening with the

58:51

reality

58:52

of gay families and francis in my

58:55

opinion just says look it is what it is

58:57

i want these people coming to mass i

59:00

want these people

59:01

included i want these people thriving

59:04

as much as i can make that possible for

59:06

them that's how i read him on it can we

59:08

just

59:09

make francis pope indefinitely and

59:13

prop him up like weakened at bernie's or

59:15

something i mean like

59:16

man oh man what a guy

59:20

i mean i don't know i i get i get the

59:21

sentiment but i feel like

59:24

a lot of my lgbtq friends would see it

59:26

quite for sure right

59:27

absolutely because inclusion up to a

59:29

point is not inclusion

59:31

accommodation is not inclusion so

59:35

well it depends on i mean you got again

59:38

you got to remember what

59:39

what country are you talking about i

59:41

take this to be an a-priori truth i'm

59:43

not speaking

59:44

contingently culturally i'm saying

59:48

yeah but he has to right because he's

59:51

the pope of

59:52

africa philippines japan into the

59:55

netherlands

59:56

alabama he has to in his role so maybe

59:59

this gets me to my next question

60:00

actually so

60:01

two two aspects of this question i'll

60:04

start with the one that's most relevant

60:06

and this will be maybe a nice segue into

60:08

some of the papal infallibility stuff

60:09

that i know that you work on so

60:11

thinking about authority structures as

60:13

we have been for a while now

60:15

why not say because you know admitting

60:17

as you have that

60:19

uh the sex abuse scandal has a huge

60:22

institutional component to it that the

60:24

core part of the problem as you put it

60:27

is a kind of love of institutional power

60:30

over the the hurting person in front of

60:33

you so

60:34

recognizing that that tendency

60:37

of large institutions and systems

60:40

to be breeding grounds for that kind of

60:43

sin that kind of love of power

60:45

why not say as a lot of feminists have

60:48

said for example

60:49

that it is the institution itself that

60:52

is the problem so let me

60:54

quote from one of my favorite historical

60:56

feminists all right this is mary

60:57

wallstonecraft

60:58

and i love this quote because of the way

61:00

she puts it she says

61:01

it is the pastiferous purple which

61:04

renders the progress of civilization a

61:06

curse

61:07

and warps the understanding till men of

61:09

sensibility doubt whether the expansion

61:11

of intellect produces a greater portion

61:13

of happiness

61:14

or misery i love that now of course

61:16

she's referring to she sounds like

61:18

jefferson or voltaire yeah i think they

61:20

probably stole a lot from

61:21

her and her predecessors what year

61:24

what year did she die oh my goodness

61:26

that you have this late 18th century i

61:28

don't have it though i'd have to google

61:29

that

61:30

oh okay okay um but she's of course

61:32

speaking about

61:34

monarchy but you you've written yeah

61:36

recently about

61:38

how the papacy is a de facto monarchy

61:41

more or less yeah um yeah and so i think

61:43

a lot of the same critiques

61:45

would apply in this case why not just

61:47

say that concentrating that much power

61:49

in an

61:50

individual or a small group of

61:51

individuals is

61:53

itself a sin it is itself something that

61:56

is intrinsically

61:58

morally untenable and that

62:02

there are better ways to structure a

62:04

body that that submits itself to the

62:06

headship of christ why not

62:08

go that route well uh

62:12

i i think uh you know the the famous

62:14

quote

62:15

from uh from lord acton

62:18

uh power corrupts and absolute power

62:20

corrupts absolutely i mean that

62:22

lord acton was a catholic who was

62:24

opposing papal infallibility a lot of

62:26

people don't

62:27

don't know the the the providence of the

62:29

of that quote

62:30

he was a what what you would call a

62:32

liberal catholic in the

62:34

in the 19th century since capital l

62:36

liberal catholic so liberal democracy

62:38

free speech

62:39

press all that kind of stuff the way

62:42

that catholics

62:43

approach this issue is not

62:46

to try to lessen

62:49

the kind of prerogatives of the office

62:52

of the of the papacy

62:53

but rather to try to empower other

62:57

facets of the church and one big reason

63:00

for that is the first vatican

63:02

council the first vatican council

63:04

defines

63:05

papal jurisdictional supremacy which is

63:08

actually the more important teaching

63:10

and i'm sorry for the impenetrability of

63:12

some of my writing on vatican one but

63:14

it was uh you know the 150th anniversary

63:18

so i knew it was

63:19

primarily aimed at catholic theologians

63:22

so

63:22

the the idea of papal infallibility of

63:24

the pope teaching

63:25

infallibly i think is

63:29

a very thorny concept not because i

63:31

would deny the possibility of it but

63:33

because of

63:35

how useful or not useful it's actually

63:38

been

63:39

in the history of the church the reality

63:42

is

63:42

things stop being contested when they

63:45

are universally received

63:48

sometimes that happens through a pope

63:50

sometimes that happens through

63:52

um just everyone prays the same liturgy

63:54

and you know so

63:55

something like jesus is lord is just

63:58

inherent

63:59

in scripture liturgy prayer whatever

64:02

other kind of statements are considered

64:06

sacrosanct because of a council the

64:08

council of nicaea the council of

64:09

constantinople and then there are other

64:11

statements which

64:13

which come from the papacy though which

64:15

were are seen to be

64:16

infallible papal declarations but really

64:18

were not contested

64:20

the immaculate conception of mary the

64:22

assumption of mary they weren't

64:23

contested at the time they were declared

64:25

they were very much contested before

64:27

that

64:28

so the issue to me is more the kind of

64:30

absolute power of the papacy the issue

64:32

to me is more

64:34

the fact that the pope has supreme

64:36

jurisdiction

64:37

over the church that's the really thorny

64:39

issue

64:41

and if you're if there's ever to be

64:42

reunion with the eastern orthodox or

64:44

there's ever to be a kind of

64:46

methodist right catholicism or something

64:49

like that of protestants

64:52

as a group becoming a kind of church

64:55

within the umbrella of the catholic

64:57

church which is how it would happen it

64:58

would never happen through

65:00

individuals it would have to be some

65:01

sort of corporate unification

65:03

the issue of the pope's jurisdiction is

65:06

going to have to be

65:08

tackled and i would think rethought in

65:11

some

65:11

fashion but the idea that there's

65:14

a i i don't think that the corruption

65:17

stems from

65:18

that i think the corruption sometimes

65:21

the papacy is

65:23

on the right side so to speak of an

65:25

issue or a problem and sometimes they're

65:27

on the wrong side i think

65:29

the the the problem with this you know

65:31

you're referencing i presume the sex

65:33

abuse crisis primarily

65:35

the problem unfortunately is so

65:38

multifaceted it's not like there's a

65:40

sort of

65:41

corruption that originated in rome and

65:43

spread everywhere else and we can't do

65:45

anything about it because the pope is a

65:46

sort of

65:47

absolute emperor over us that's not the

65:49

problem the problem is

65:52

local it's in parishes it's in diocesan

65:55

offices and it's

65:57

and it's in rome so i you know

66:00

is there a problem that needs to be

66:03

tackled

66:04

yes but i don't know that the

66:07

that the na i view the nature of the

66:09

problem more to do with ecumenism of

66:12

relations with other bodies of

66:13

christians and less to do with

66:16

intra-catholic issues of corruption

66:19

if that makes sense yeah i highlighted

66:23

some stuff in your article

66:25

uh that i thought might be relevant oh

66:27

god maybe i've contradicted myself

66:28

i don't no i don't think you did but i

66:30

mean on the topic of

66:32

pope as monarch or pope as celebrity

66:35

because that's something you talk about

66:36

a lot too pope has the focus of the

66:38

church and also the world outside the

66:40

church when they think of catholics so

66:41

you say

66:42

now much more so than in 1870 the pope

66:45

is

66:45

the ordinary and immediate pastor of

66:47

every catholic i like that it kind of

66:49

brought it home yeah and you also said

66:51

something in that article that struck me

66:53

because i didn't know this

66:54

that there have been discussions about

66:58

the infallibility of the whole church

67:01

right how did that go yeah where where

67:04

is that now

67:06

yeah yeah that's a really interesting

67:08

thing so that this is

67:09

along the lines of what i was just

67:10

saying which is that that

67:12

the way that you reform in the catholic

67:15

church often

67:16

is not to deny something previously

67:18

taught but to

67:20

expand and the really interesting thing

67:23

about what happened at the second

67:24

vatican council which was

67:27

to 1965 is that on one hand they were

67:30

they were progressing they were they

67:32

were you know incorporating new ideas

67:35

but on the other hand

67:36

most of these new ideas are things that

67:38

they were reading in the bible and the

67:40

church fathers

67:41

in the kind of practice of the early

67:43

church so the initial commitment that

67:45

christians had

67:47

was that the church was infallible

67:51

in the sense that the church could

67:54

teach a truth about the gospel without

67:58

error

67:59

so the idea of the nicene creed there

68:02

was a certainty

68:04

that the nicene creed was a true

68:06

interpretation of the gospel

68:07

that is primary or is is is

68:11

is is before it comes before any notion

68:13

of

68:14

bishops or popes being infallible is

68:17

that the believing community

68:19

through the holy spirit can know with

68:21

certainty

68:23

truths about the gospel not all truths

68:26

not every single detail but that the

68:29

church is not fundamentally mistaken

68:31

that god is triune

68:32

that jesus is true god of true god took

68:35

flesh from mary et cetera et cetera and

68:37

that's because you

68:38

would say not you but the catholic

68:39

church would say because of the

68:40

inspiration of the holy spirit correct

68:43

yes so this is one of the one of the

68:45

really important things about

68:46

understanding papal infallibility in a

68:48

way that doesn't make the pope

68:50

into a kind of oracle which i think

68:52

sadly

68:54

this is not always understood by by

68:56

protestants looking

68:57

in and by catholics the way catholics

68:59

themselves understand it or express it

69:02

the the pope is not infallible

69:05

no person is infallible the belief

69:08

of the church is that the holy spirit

69:10

can preserve

69:12

teachings from error now this gets

69:15

really thorny because one of those

69:17

teachings

69:18

traditionally was that there is no

69:20

salvation outside the church

69:22

then spanish dominicans and franciscans

69:25

come to mexico and they realize

69:28

well the gospel has not been proclaimed

69:31

to the entire world

69:32

so the idea here was jews and muslims

69:35

are are

69:35

sort of culpably in error they know that

69:38

they they've been presented with the

69:39

gospel and they've chosen to reject it

69:42

that was the kind of medieval late

69:43

medieval understanding

69:45

they go to the new world and they

69:46

realize there's millions and millions of

69:47

people here

69:49

who know nothing of the gospel so they

69:51

start

69:52

thinking okay we have a commitment to an

69:55

idea that

69:55

outside the church there's no salvation

69:57

how do we rethink this

69:59

because we believe that god is merciful

70:00

we believe that god communicates grace

70:02

through nature

70:03

that he communicates to hearts that are

70:06

repentant

70:07

so they start talking about baptism of

70:09

desire they start talking about all

70:10

these ways that

70:12

a an aztec could have been a member of

70:15

the body of christ

70:16

and not known it okay so they'll never

70:18

say

70:19

there is salvation outside the church

70:21

what they'll say is

70:23

there are people who don't appear to be

70:25

in the church that in fact are in the

70:26

church

70:27

that's how reform and development works

70:30

in catholicism

70:32

so the sa you see the same thing with

70:33

with infallible teaching and the kind of

70:36

locus the places that it can occur

70:38

so there was a real danger in the late

70:41

1800s for

70:42

a variety of reasons theological

70:44

political cultural of concentrating all

70:46

authority in the pope

70:48

the second vatican council to really

70:50

oversimplify things

70:51

was trying to say well really the pope

70:53

is the head

70:54

of a college of bishops who are the

70:58

successors of the apostles

70:59

so the gift of the holy spirit goes to

71:01

the apostles the bishops are the

71:03

successors of those apostles and the

71:05

pope is the head of the college

71:06

so there was a re-orientation

71:11

of infallibility as the successors of

71:13

the apostles and also as

71:15

the entire believing community so the

71:18

entire believing community receives the

71:20

holy spirit

71:21

and when we are united in a belief the

71:24

the catholic understanding is that that

71:26

that that belief is is without error

71:29

this would be very basic things jesus is

71:32

lord

71:33

these sort of affirmations that the

71:35

entire believing community affirms

71:40

as we talk shaun i'm i'm thinking of the

71:43

people

71:43

and there's probably several listeners

71:46

who who are listening to this right now

71:48

and have been victims of abuse

71:52

not only sexual abuse and not only by

71:55

catholic priests but just

71:56

victims of manipulation

72:00

of abuse of all sorts of ugly things who

72:04

feel

72:05

just chewed up and spit out and rejected

72:07

by the church and then all of a sudden

72:09

we hear words like authority and we hear

72:12

words like infallibility

72:14

and that sounds potentially

72:17

traumatizing to me and not just on the

72:20

catholic side it's easier on the

72:21

catholic side because of these words are

72:23

so clear and heavy and

72:24

and weighty but you know even someone in

72:26

my position who's a

72:28

person in authority a pastor of a

72:29

protestant church who's kind of like

72:32

the end-all be-all for for i wouldn't

72:34

say for better for worse for worse

72:36

in my tradition i'm sure sometimes let's

72:39

let's hope so but

72:40

i'm just listening and feeling like

72:44

man this language has just got to be

72:47

potentially so painful for people who

72:49

have been

72:49

manipulated by and abused by people in

72:52

authority and power over them

72:54

particularly in the church because we're

72:55

talking about god now and so i'm saying

72:58

this as a pastor and one authority

73:00

you who have been abused you who have

73:02

been manipulated you who have been

73:03

rejected

73:04

you who have been marginalized by the

73:07

church

73:08

we have to listen to you like that

73:10

there's there's

73:12

there's you have a sacred story to tell

73:15

that's more than just as important

73:19

more important than a lot of the stuff

73:21

we're talking about i just want to say

73:23

and i'm sure shaun you seem like a very

73:25

compassionate

73:26

pastoral man i'm sure you'd have you

73:28

feel that as well as we're talking

73:30

certainly yeah no i i completely agree

73:32

and i mean i

73:34

we're having a certain genre of

73:36

conversation when we start talking about

73:38

people infallibility and vatican 1 and

73:40

vatican 2 and and the reality is

73:42

the vast majority of catholics in the

73:44

pew and this is even not even

73:45

considering the

73:47

the the abuse crisis but the vast

73:49

majority of catholics in the pew

73:51

this just isn't on their radar

73:55

right i mean they go to mass because

73:57

they want to go

73:59

or their spouse wants them to go or

74:00

their community expects them to go but

74:02

they go

74:03

and they listen to the scripture they

74:06

hear songs being sung hopefully they

74:08

sing along

74:09

and they receive sacraments

74:12

and they pray a rosary and they look at

74:14

a painting and they i mean so

74:15

catholicism for most people is

74:18

not delving into the kinds of issues

74:21

that that we're discussing

74:22

those issues filter down to them when

74:25

bishops disagree or when

74:27

you know a priest gives a particular

74:29

homily at a particular time but

74:31

in general i mean take my wife's faith

74:33

for example my wife is very highly

74:35

educated woman she's a doctorate in

74:37

english

74:38

her catholic faith is about

74:41

waking up in the morning making a pot of

74:43

tea looking at a

74:44

picture of jesus which would have

74:46

completely freaked me out as a 16 year

74:49

old calvinist

74:50

he kind of looks like ewan mcgregor as

74:52

obi-wan but

74:55

looks at a picture of jesus and

74:57

meditates praise her

74:59

rosary or praise a decade of the rosary

75:01

or something like that

75:03

maybe reads a couple psalms maybe reads

75:06

a chapter from the gospel does not do a

75:09

study of the book

75:10

of numbers as i would have done as a kid

75:12

um

75:13

you know so a very different kind of

75:14

piety and a very different

75:16

understanding of the faith to as an

75:18

academic theologian i have to kind of

75:20

encounter

75:22

and and wrestle with these

75:24

jurisdictional

75:25

technical languages nevertheless what

75:28

you're saying

75:29

i think has real merit in that when the

75:32

catholic church

75:33

leads with you know we are the you know

75:36

the infallible bulwark of truth and

75:39

sorry we covered up

75:40

2500 abusive priests in your diocese or

75:44

whatever

75:45

you know whatever the number is that is

75:48

a

75:49

counter witness to the gospel i

75:50

completely agree with that

75:52

when i teach intro to theology i am not

75:56

talking about jurisdictional supremacy

75:59

and

75:59

infallibility and stuff like that i'm

76:02

trying to say okay

76:03

at my university at my small university

76:06

in baton rouge

76:06

louisiana most of my students are going

76:09

into health care in some form

76:11

so i'm saying okay let's read the gospel

76:13

of luke together

76:14

let's talk about what are the kind of

76:16

fundamental christian commitments here

76:18

jesus says lord jesus is messiah

76:20

jesus brings salvation to encounter

76:23

jesus is to encounter god

76:25

let's read these passages let's talk

76:26

about them so

76:28

that's where i'm trying to meet the vast

76:30

majority of people

76:32

nevertheless i'm a member of an

76:35

institution with 1.2 billion people

76:38

we have to have these conversations we

76:40

have to deal with this doctrinal legacy

76:43

for better or worse hopefully for better

76:45

and hopefully these

76:47

debates can can trickle down if you will

76:51

in a way that is affirming and healthy

76:53

and

76:54

life-giving rather than in a way that

76:57

speaks to

76:59

irreformability and and static and

77:02

we're this kind of bulwark of authority

77:05

and the big

77:06

problem to me the biggest problem is if

77:08

the infallibility of

77:10

teaching religious truths is confused

77:13

with

77:14

an inability to sin

77:17

and that happens the german word for

77:19

infallible is

77:20

uh which means like

77:23

uh lacking nothing like that's like one

77:27

way to understand that word like that's

77:28

a very bad

77:32

you know a very unfortunate word

77:35

to have as meaning not no error in this

77:39

statement

77:39

about a theological truth that's a very

77:42

different concept so

77:44

i i very much sympathize with what

77:46

you're saying and i'm not sure that i

77:47

know exactly how to how to balance this

77:50

yeah and i can say thanks be to god that

77:52

people like you

77:53

are the ones having this conversation

77:55

and banging this out because uh

77:58

i trust you and that's well that's very

78:01

kind of you to say i don't know that i

78:03

trust myself yeah

78:04

that's the key to trustworthy people

78:06

they don't believe

78:08

that they are infallible yeah let me let

78:11

me ask the follow-up to the one that i

78:13

asked earlier that i didn't actually get

78:14

to since i said i had two at the time

78:16

i think i'm an epistemologist so i think

78:19

a lot about

78:20

things like why don't people trust

78:22

experts that's something i've been

78:23

thinking about a lot recently actually

78:25

right and

78:26

it seems to me that many not being

78:29

historian okay so i defer to your

78:30

expertise here

78:32

it seems to me that at many junctures in

78:34

the history of the catholic church

78:36

a large part of the ways that it has

78:38

gone wrong is its failure to trust

78:40

expertise that didn't exist within the

78:42

church

78:43

and that and that didn't rely on some

78:46

kind of authority whether papal

78:47

authority or magisterial authority or

78:49

or whatever the authority of the bishops

78:51

or whatever i don't know how that works

78:52

but

78:53

you know there's the famous galileo

78:54

affair and there have been many such

78:56

uh things in the in the history of the

78:58

church so at what point

79:00

would you say does it become necessary

79:03

for

79:03

an institution as large as the catholic

79:05

church to recognize

79:07

a consensus of experts outside its

79:09

borders for example the consensus of

79:11

experts about human sexuality

79:14

or the consensus of experts about some

79:16

moral issues

79:17

there are actually some consensuses

79:19

amongst non-catholic ethicists

79:22

about various moral issues that you will

79:24

get a very

79:26

what seems like a very parochial view

79:28

inside the church

79:29

when viewed from from outside the church

79:31

so this is this is an issue that we've

79:33

talked about in relation to

79:34

evangelicalism i freely admit

79:36

evangelicals are much much worse at this

79:39

than catholics are but there is still

79:42

that

79:42

strand of we possess the truth

79:47

and that you know as aquinas apparently

79:49

thought the truth is universal but

79:51

coincidentally all the arguments lead to

79:53

my view

79:55

um so you know so when people outside

79:57

the church

79:58

their arguments don't lead to that view

80:00

or they're not convinced by your clever

80:01

apologetic

80:02

well they must be deceived somehow or in

80:05

some way untrustworthy that we can't

80:07

seemingly admit that the expertise

80:09

sometimes lies outside our tradition

80:11

altogether

80:12

um so how do you understand that as a as

80:15

a catholic theologian but

80:16

yeah we we have that issue for sure

80:19

the irony of what you're saying is i

80:21

just because of so many recent events i

80:23

thought well like the catholic church

80:25

is totally on board with climate change

80:27

science

80:28

you know the catholic church is is is

80:31

is i think right about uh the refugee

80:35

crisis

80:36

and all these other things that they're

80:37

getting just

80:39

hammered for in the united states in

80:41

their own parishes

80:42

sometimes by their own priests and

80:44

bishops they're getting

80:46

hammered for so coming from

80:48

evangelicalism and no offense to my

80:50

evangelical brothers and sisters coming

80:52

from evangelicalism it is refreshing

80:55

to hear catholics say well we believe in

80:58

systemic racism

80:59

as a reality because everyone who

81:01

studies it

81:02

says it's real black people say they

81:05

experience it

81:07

people who study zoning laws and and

81:10

voting and housing and all this stuff

81:13

say that this

81:14

happens so we accept it so i think that

81:17

the catholic church has

81:18

has is in i mean i don't know what issue

81:22

i mean you mentioned issues about human

81:24

sexuality i mean

81:27

yeah the interesting thing about it is

81:29

there's a kind of

81:31

descriptive reality

81:35

that i think the church i mean most

81:37

catholics accept

81:39

there are people that are exclusively

81:40

homosexual you know they don't say

81:43

that's a myth

81:44

we can we can fix them if they go to a

81:47

accountability camp or whatever you know

81:49

i don't know what these

81:50

places are where they try to fix these

81:52

you know fix people

81:54

that's not what the catholic church does

81:57

nevertheless there's a an adherence to a

82:01

traditional doctrine about

82:04

this is how sexual relationships are

82:08

should be conducted but then there's

82:09

also a kind of

82:11

pastoral accommodation which as you said

82:13

before accommodation is not what

82:15

a lot of people are looking for but an

82:18

acceptance of

82:18

a reality of the complexities of human

82:22

sexuality so

82:24

in depending on where you are

82:27

what community you're in the catholic

82:29

church could be a very welcoming place

82:31

for someone who

82:33

is gay or or is trans or or whatever

82:36

or or it could sadly be a very uh

82:39

condemning and ostracizing place and i

82:42

think this gets to an

82:43

important caveat of this entire

82:46

discussion is

82:47

i'm talking to you as an individual from

82:53

kind of a podunk part of north carolina

82:56

that i love

82:57

but you know a relatively backwater

82:59

place educated in specific context with

83:02

a specific take

83:03

and i'm speaking about a tradition that

83:05

is on every continent and 1.2 billion

83:08

people

83:10

so i don't know that's i i hope that's

83:12

helpful yeah yeah i think so so you

83:14

mentioned that you thought that was a

83:15

fair critique the other part of that

83:16

question that i was reserving so i'm

83:18

glad you brought it up is

83:20

what do you think maybe just name one

83:21

what do you think is maybe the most

83:23

common or most important

83:24

unfair critique leveled against

83:26

catholics that you encounter

83:28

i think today it's the idea that

83:31

catholicism is incapable of reform

83:35

that ultimately it says what it says

83:37

that's it

83:38

discussion over now when you actually

83:40

study catholicism

83:42

that's actually not the case it's it's

83:44

very complicated it doesn't mean

83:46

that we don't have a prob that we don't

83:48

have these systemic problems

83:50

which we've talked about many of them

83:51

tonight we do

83:53

but we do have a grammar we have a way

83:56

of making sense

83:57

of change in a way that we believe we

84:01

hope

84:02

is true to the gospel is true to our

84:05

tradition

84:06

but is also capable of a kind of genuine

84:08

reassessment

84:09

in light of new information as kyle

84:12

brought up

84:13

new circumstances we see this clearly

84:16

with something like the death penalty

84:18

the church now says the death penalty is

84:21

completely invalid in any circumstance

84:24

it used to say

84:26

the death penalty is not only valid but

84:28

actually the appropriate response

84:31

to certain circumstances that's what the

84:33

catechism of pius iv says

84:35

from the 1560s so we've seen a

84:37

tremendous

84:38

change it's a genuine change but

84:42

is it true to the gospel is it true to

84:44

our principles

84:45

i think it is some people think it isn't

84:47

they're really mad about it

84:49

i think it is and i see this as healthy

84:52

and as an example of the holy spirit

84:54

guiding us rather than

84:56

an example of us uh you know tampering

84:58

with

84:59

with revelation or something like that

85:01

there's way more we could

85:03

go into there yeah but we're going to

85:05

have to call it at some point

85:06

this seems to seems like it's good a

85:08

point is anything yeah and i've got

85:10

i've got a host of other questions so it

85:12

would be super fun shaun to have you on

85:14

again

85:14

it would give me an excuse to drink

85:16

bourbon on a tuesday night there you go

85:19

so i would embrace it yeah yeah um so

85:21

before we do go

85:23

is there anything you want to plug for

85:24

our listeners anything you're working on

85:26

now or

85:27

have out that you would want to direct

85:29

people to where can they find you online

85:31

and if you want to say that in your

85:33

woody harrelson impersonation that

85:35

would be acceptable as well well the

85:38

first thing i want to do is apologize if

85:40

i've been too long-winded because again

85:42

i've been teaching zoom classes for

85:44

you know the last six months and that's

85:46

great and often

85:47

as kyle knows being long-winded is the

85:49

only way to get through 75 minutes of

85:51

zoom

85:53

you know what i'm working on what i'm

85:54

working on now that might have a little

85:56

bit of wider

85:57

appeal compared to some of the more kind

85:59

of in-house stuff is i am writing a

86:01

short book on vatican 2

86:03

with um an english theologian named

86:05

stephen bulvan who's a good friend of

86:06

mine from

86:07

from back in the day you guys would love

86:09

stephen i've seen his name and i

86:10

i don't remember where that's familiar

86:12

yeah he does he he originally did

86:14

systematic theology but he started doing

86:16

sociology of religion so he does all

86:18

kinds of

86:19

uh statistical he does interviews and

86:21

statistical research about

86:23

uh the nuns meaning people who who are

86:26

non-practicing or

86:27

no re who take no religion on census so

86:30

he's a very interesting guy but anyway

86:31

we're writing a short book together for

86:33

oxford university press's very short

86:35

introduction series

86:37

so it's about 35 40 000 words on vatican

86:40

ii

86:41

and he's a great writer so i'm i'm

86:42

looking forward to that

86:44

as far as woody harrelson goes uh

86:47

kyle and i were were carpooling to

86:50

german together and you know kyle these

86:53

philosopher guys will go off on

86:55

really weird [ __ ] and and i um

86:58

so i would pretend to be woody it would

87:00

you know woody harrelson in the car with

87:01

matthew mcconaughey and kyle

87:03

is i agree with y'all he sounds southern

87:06

to my ears

87:07

kentucky is the south to me it's

87:09

probably not the people in baton rouge

87:11

but he would just be going on about

87:12

whatever open theism or whatever

87:14

you know and i would be like i actually

87:18

enjoyed it but i would pretend to be

87:19

woody harrelson and i'd be like

87:21

why don't we make the car shut the [ __ ]

87:23

up time kyle

87:27

you know and then of course then he

87:28

would sort of rip off that

87:30

and be like i don't know man i'm just

87:32

thinking about you know

87:33

nothingness or whatever [ __ ] and and i

87:37

would be like

87:38

people in this town don't think like

87:40

that kyle you gotta

87:41

you gotta cut that [ __ ] out if you come

87:43

over for dinner man

87:46

so that's the woody harrelson that's

87:48

that's uh yeah it's not that good of

87:49

woody harrelson

87:50

you got to watch trudeau yep

87:54

excellent well shaun thanks for joining

87:56

us thanks for spending time

87:57

and uh really really was a a pleasure i

88:00

think

88:01

will be helpful for a lot of listeners

88:03

to be able to understand catholicism and

88:05

respect hopefully the way yeah the way

88:08

catholics go about their

88:09

their spirituality theology is really

88:12

fun good thanks so much i really enjoyed

88:14

it guys i appreciate the

88:15

the challenging questions and i also

88:17

appreciate the the the genuine warmth

88:20

of it thanks for spending this time with

88:22

us we

88:23

really hope that you're enjoying these

88:24

conversations as much as we are

88:26

and if you are help us get the word out

88:29

before you close your podcast app leave

88:31

a rating or a review

88:32

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88:33

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88:35

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88:36

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88:37

media pages this has been

88:39

a pastor and a philosopher walk into a

88:41

bar

88:44

[Music]