“Orthodoxy is Overrated”

One of the blogs I like to follow is “Prickliest Pear”‘s Far From Rome: Orthodxy is Overrated. (The prickly pear, Opuntia  spp., grows in arid climates, has vicious thorns, but also produces beautiful flowers and delicious fruit. Quite an appropriate image for attempts to produce comfort and nourishment from the surface aridity of so much of orthodox Vatican doctrine.)

Last month he described how (like many of us who try to write about the Catholic Church), he has a constant struggle between writing about the positive things in theology and spirituality that he most wants to write about, and responding to the fluctuations of the news cycle with digressions on the failures of the bishops. He declared then that he would no longer be writing about the bishops, and would instead be developing a series on obedience and dissent.

Pear doesn’t post frequently, but what he does put up is always carefully put together, and fully substantiated, which make his site worth reading carefully. He has a new post up today on “authenticity and self-transcendence”, as an introduction to this broader theme. This is a useful beginning: watch out for the rest of his series.

To be who we really are, to be our true selves, is to be authentic. Bernard Lonergan identifies authenticity as our “deepest need and most prized achievement.”

We achieve authenticity, Lonergan says, through self-transcendence.  It is through self-transcendence that we come to know what really is true and what truly is good – as opposed to that which only seems to be true or is only apparently good.

We achieve self-transcendence, and therefore authenticity, Lonergan says, by following what he calls the “transcendental precepts”:

Be attentive
Be intelligent
Be reasonable
Be responsible

It is only by being attentive to our experience, intelligent in understanding that experience, reasonable in judging whether our understanding is correct, and responsible in judging whether something is truly of value, that the human subject transcends his or her self.

Read the full post, and the follow-ups, at “Prickliest Pear: Orthodoxy is Overrated

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