December 16, 2005

Memento Mori

An excellent piece by Ross Douthat in the Weekly Standard today on the subject of the Church's movement to squash the concept of Limbo:

FOR UNDERSTANDABLE REASONS, Christians of an orthodox stripe tend to grow suspicious when the conversation turns to dispensing with elements of the faith that may have overstayed their welcome. We've been led down that primrose path before: You start with bright talk about paring down the Christian apple to its essential core, and the next thing you know you're peeling fruit with John Shelby Spong, stripping away not only bleeding statues and miraculous medals, but the doctrine of the Trinity and that whole difficult business of the Resurrection besides.

Read the rest. Douthat makes what I think is a very good argument about the proper Christian understanding of death and spirituality. Plus, he makes me feel truly sorry for Susan Sontag.

UPDATE: I put the link to John Shelby Spong included in Douthat's article back into the excerpt. Who he, you ask? Well, Bishop Spong is of that exciting breed of moonbat theologians who believe that faith is a crock. I need hardly tell you that he's an Episcopalian. And that my own clergy have been known to say enthusiastic things about him.

Posted by Robert at December 16, 2005 01:43 PM | TrackBack

That's a sad comment on Susan Sontag, whose intellectual star is burning out even faster than Jean-Paul Sartre's did.

In his book Snobbery: The American Version, Joseph Epstein spent a couple of pages discussing Ms. Sontag's intellectual emptiness. The section begins:

Consider through the lens of snobbery the career of Susan Sontag, whose fame is greater than her achievements and out of proportion to the pleasure her essays, stories, novels, and films have given the people who have troubled to read or see them....

Masterful, eviscerating stuff. And, in her case, thoroughly deserved.

Posted by: utron at December 16, 2005 02:25 PM

Limbo was always an uncomfortable theological construct, that could've been fixed by giving Purgatory a nice room with a few throw pillows in it. Good riddance to it, I say.

Everyone has to do a little corporate streamlining these days, to focus on core competencies. Plus you get rid of the receptionists, clerical staff, etc., which are all just overhead. Outsource it, I say. The question is, do you put it in the Hell or Heaven division? I guess it depends on where you put Purgatory.

I guess we'll all find out, soon enough, anyway.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 16, 2005 02:29 PM

Where does the Bible mention either Limbo or Purgatory?

Posted by: Brian B at December 16, 2005 02:48 PM

Yeah, that's my question, too, Brian. It's all or nothing in the Bible; there is no in between.

Posted by: jen at December 16, 2005 03:23 PM

For my money, Susan Sontag is not quite as good a poet as Leonard Nimoy...

Posted by: LDH at December 16, 2005 03:33 PM

Is Santa Claus still persona grata in the Trinity?

Posted by: Bill from INDC at December 16, 2005 09:42 PM

A pretty good summary of the Catholic position on Purgatory here.

The main Biblical reference is to II Maccabees, which exists in the Catholic bible (the Vulgate and its successors), but not in the traditional Protestant bibles, which I believe contain 7 fewer books (I'm not positive it's seven). A Protestant could argue there is no biblical case, a Catholic could argue there is, because they are discussing apples and oranges, from a biblical point of view.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 17, 2005 03:17 PM