Eccentric Catholicism

, Joe Sobran, Leave a comment

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — Next to the peerless Tom Wolfe,
perhaps the most brilliantly gifted living American writer is Garry Wills.
Immensely learned and versatile, Wills has written award-winning books on many
subjects, from Macbeth to the Gettysburg Address. Some of these suffer
from a bit of illogic, though they are largely redeemed by his stylish and
scholarly prose. 

     In recent
years, he has written several best-selling books on religion, perfecting the
liberal Catholic technique of calling himself a Catholic while he attacks the
Catholic Church. Why I Am a Catholic might better have been titled Why
I Am Not Really a

Critics — liberal ones, anyhow — have hailed Wills’ work in such terms
as “provocative,” “stimulating,” “startling,” “iconoclastic,” and “heterodox,”
all of which he well deserves, though we may note the absence of one possibly
crucial word: “true.” His success shows that a Catholic author can now achieve
great fame and fortune in this country, as long as his books are sufficiently

has continued his assault on the Church in his volumes Papal Sin, What
Jesus Meant
, and What Paul Meant, in which he denies that Jesus
founded the Catholic Church (or any church at all); accuses the Church of
(inter alia) fraud and anti-Semitism; rejects such doctrines as natural
law, transubstantiation, papal infallibility, apostolic succession, the
Immaculate Conception, and the perpetual virginity of Mary; and adopts such
causes as contraception and abortion, never mentioning that the latter is
condemned in one of the oldest summaries of Christian moral teaching, the
. In his other writings, he has moreover been favorable to “gays”
(never mind what Moses and St. Paul said) and hostile to reports of Marian
apparitions, from Guadalupe to Lourdes to

   In short, it appears that the
risen Jesus, after promising to be with his followers to the end of the world,
allowed them to be gravely misled for 2,000 years; since then, what Wills terms
“modern scholarship” has at long last been able to set things straight. It would
seem, then, that Jesus, like Mozart, left this world too young, before he could
realize his full potential. The Sermon on the Mount was a promising start for
this precocious young man; but, alas, his career was nipped in the bud before he
could vent his startlingly progressive, even heterodox, ideas on such issues as
gay rights, anticipating those of moderns like Hugh

The Reactionary Utopian by Joe Sobran is copyright (c) 2009 by the
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation,

Joe Sobran is an author and a syndicated columnist. See his latest writings
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