Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Words of Relevance: Fr. Barron on Inclusion & Tolerance vs Love

Fr. Robert Barron, the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary/University of Saint Mary of the Lake, near Chicago, and the founder of Word on Fire, posted on his Blog back in May of 2013, an insightful piece about a sermon preached around that time by Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America.  The post, and the analysis of the sermon can be read HERE.

Fr. Barron totally deconstructs the Bishop's understanding of St. Paul's first visit to the Greek town of Philippi recounted in the 16th chapter of The Acts of the Apostles.  That's the story of the driving out of the demon from the slave girl.  The Bishop's understanding of that event is beyond understanding: she describes it as a "tale of patriarchal oppression and intolerance."

Fr. Barron summarizes his analysis of the Bishop's sermon as follows: What is at the root of this deeply wrong-headed homily is a conflation of early twenty-first century values of inclusion and toleration with the great Biblical value of love.  Then he provides us with the quote of the day.

Here's the quote:
To love is to will the good of the other as other. As such, love can involve—indeed, must involve—a deep intolerance toward wickedness and a clear willingness to exclude certain forms of life, behavior, and thought. When inclusivity and toleration emerge as the supreme goods—as they have in much of our society today—then love devolves into something vague, sentimental and finally dangerous.