Unfudgeable Differences

At NCR, David Mills writes about Protestant Meltdown:

Many cradle Catholics I know look at the moral conflicts tearing apart the mainline denominations with sadness, but as a convert from one of them (the Episcopal Church, the most notoriously divided one of them all), I think this is not quite the right response.

We will feel sad at the sight of beloved Christian friends suffering as their churches divide, but we might be heartened to see that because these conflicts express flaws in the original design, they will encourage some to greater friendship, if not full reconciliation, with the Catholic Church.

The sadness we feel will be like the sadness you feel on seeing a pretty old house finally falling down because it was badly built in the first place — built on sand, say — and has been coming apart for most of its life. You’re sad, even when you know it will be replaced by a much better house.

You know your neighbors will miss their old home, but you also know they’ll be happier in a house whose basement doesn’t flood, whose roof doesn’t leak, whose windows don’t let out the heat in the winter, whose pipes don’t clog every other day.

You also know they wouldn’t move into the new house until the old one collapsed. The house held too many memories, was too comfortable, even if damp, and leaving it was too hard.

Unfudgeable Differences

My own former tradition, for example, developed its own rebellion against the Church by a series of compromises and fudges and mutual agreements to look the other way. It was a house built on sand, but it has stood for a long time. At last, real, unfudgeable differences are forcing their various parties apart. . . .

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