Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Dear Bishop Binzer ... this one’s for you!

I was persuaded tonight by a gentleman of recent acquaintance, to attend a "Theology on Tap" session at a bar near the University of Cincinnati. "Theology on Tap," for those who either are not Catholic, or are and live under a rock, or simply do not care, is when a bunch of people in their twenties and thirties, generally unmarried, are invited to hear a talk about Catholicism, usually but not always from a priest, in what people in the "young adult ministry" of a parish or diocese presume to be their natural habitat -- that is to say, a bar.

I hate going to these things. If I talk to a man, he loses interest in our conversation the moment a young lady catches his attention. Same for a woman when a guy enters the room and she sees her unborn children in his eyes. They can hide it all they want, but they are hostage to the biological imperative. “Be fruitful and multiply, ’cuz we know what causes it now.” I get enough rejection in life without going out and looking for it. But I went because I was already on my way into town, because my acquaintance was quite persuasive, and because the speaker was the Most Reverend Joseph Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati.

He told a story of his life, and growing up Catholic on the "West Side" of Cincinnati. (I'm an east side guy myself, rarely venturing across the abyss that is the Mill Creek Expressway. If you ask an east sider, it's practically Indiana anyway. I later learned that he's only four months younger than me, which explains how I could relate.)

At one point, he answered questions written down on cards. One of them asked when the Church would realize that women were called to be priests, or some such nonsense. He was smart enough to know he would not have time for even a short answer that would only lead to more questions, so he simply made a reference to tradition, that this is what the Church had taught from the beginning.

Now, an argument from tradition is usually a good argument on its own, even if the explanation does not stop there. Still, I would imagine that for at least one person in the crowd, it would not. So, I'm going to cut His Excellency a break here, and refer whomever asked the question, to this September 2009 piece of mine entitled “Peter Kreeft Explains It All For You.” It includes an audio recording that last just over an hour, and a transcript of a part of that recording that is one of the best parts. All told, Kreeft's explanation opened my eyes not only to why only men are priests, but why God is Father and not Mother, and much more. The good bishop gave the whole room his phone number, and I did put it on speed dial. But I'm guessing he'll get a lot of calls, so ...

I don't get better than this, Mon signeur. You're welcome.

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