Ecclesiam res et talia sermocinamur -

We talk about the Church, stuff, and such

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A request about books

So, a lot of the contributers/readers around St. Blog's are college students. As such, we have to spend a lot of time reading books written by people who are under the misapprehension that they understand some particular topic because a piece of paper on the wall says they do. This creates a problem: stupid books. This problem is most acute when the books happen to be about the Church.

The result, of course, is that nothing they write about the Church makes any sense whatsoever. They usually talk about it as if it were some brand new species of Amazonian rain forest beetle. But even that approach doesn't work all the time (it's Acceptable, after all, to believe in Amazonian rain forest beetles), and eventually gives way to crude condescension.

Even then, I could put up with the idiotic descriptions ("One fundamental feature of people's religious drives was that they were conditioned by reactions to sin and apreciation of its consequences" -- notice that the people were "conditioned" and didn't have faith, but rather a "religious drive"), and even the degrading attitude ("It should be noted [when reading the story of a miracle] that [insert historian analytical babble here]. This means the events are unlikely to have unfolded exactly as described, though they may have some basis in fact." -- could you at least have the self-respect to say "I don't believe this crap and you shouldn't either"?). But the one thing that really puts me over the top is the rife inaccuracy.

Take for instance, this sentence: "But the notion of treating penances as simply the symbolic demonstratin of contrition to be undertaken after the sinner has been reconciled through sacramental absolution -- the system which operates in the modern Catholic Church -- was still undeveloped [in the 11th century]." Uhm, pardon me? When did penance become symbolic? When did the Church not possess the Sacrament of Reconciliation ("sacramental absolution")? When has it been believed that penance itself, without any connection to contrition or any recourse to the grace won by Christ's sacrifice, was adequate to remit sin itself?

This is just one tiny example, but you can find the same thing just about anywhere. So, I have a request for all you "historians," be you Protestant, apostate, atheists, out there writing about the Church: PLEASE STOP! For the love of everything sacred, please desist in your inane attempts to buttress your own position by writing stupidity about something far, far grander than yourself, something you quite evidently do not understand. Get yourself an RV, find yourself a nice fishing hole, and don't tell your publisher where you've gone. Please.

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Anonymous Chad said...

What's even worse is when these less than brilliant historians/academics get their work into "official" Church stuff, like the study notes in the New American Bible, which are rife with textual criticism that is hardly ever justified.

The same thing goes for scientists ending up making religious conclusions about evolution.

7:11 PM  

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