Credo in…quid? Who is an orthodox Christian?

Pope Francis’s visit to American shores unleashed a storm of breathless reporting and commentary that transfixed the press in the United States for a full week. (I would link, but it’s hard to know where to begin.) Yet amidst the musings on issues both profound and mundane that his journey spawned, one thing was again very clear in the coverage of the pontifical progress: the media are generally flummoxed when they attempt to comprehend and articulate the nature of the factions and fractures within Christianity, particularly when it comes to understanding what an orthodox Christian might actually be.

Exhibit A was this New York Times piece, which begins by airing the views of a representative from the traditionalist wing of the Catholic Church [bold emphasis mine]:

[Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller], a conservative German in black clerical clothing, said neither the pontiff, nor his church, cared whether “Obama says the pope is a very good man” or whether a “fallible” Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. And if papal proclamations of Catholic doctrine on core issues of family have eroded Francis’ global standing, so be it.

But Cardinal Müller is no objective papal observer. He is a leading voice in the orthodox wing of the Catholic Church that worries that outsize attention on Francis’ welcoming, pastoral style could distract from the church’s core beliefs.
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Homosexuality: a Theological Issue? (And “Comments Received”)

About the Author
David Wagschal

Why such a big deal?

Tim Clark has very helpfully drawn our attention to recent posts by Rod Dreher and Lawrence Farley. I really like Tim’s take on these in his recent post – which I’ll return to in a moment.

But the issue that really popped out for me in these articles – explicitly in Dreher’s, implicitly in Farley’s – is also the single biggest issue that has emerged from the comments we’ve received. And that is: why is this issue such a hot topic? Why does it seem to be the deal-breaker?

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