Extended Analogy

Posted Pungenday, Confusion 64 YOLD 3173

Allegorical writing writing has a long history in literature. Sometimes, a point is hard to get across with the literal facts, so a similar scenario is constructed, to illustrate the points from a more apparently objective perspective.

Let us imagine a different world. In this world, there is a group, which we will call the Cyclists. They invented the bicycle, and ride as a religious observance. It is how they commune with God, by trancing out and letting their thoughts lift up, unfettered to their Lord.

After a few years, a splinter group is founded by Richard, who invents the helmet. Calling themselves the Richians, they follow his teaching that the Helmet is the only way to commune with God. It protects the head from outside interference, and focuses the thoughts on God. As a bonus, it will protect your head if you fall! The majority Cyclists are unconvinced, and think Richard is trying to fool them, and block their thoughts from God. The Richians institute a meeting, which they call a Peloton, where they communally get in touch with God.

After many years, they groups have grown, spread across the globe, and the original Peloton ceremony is virtually incomprehensible to most people, as the languages have changed. A lead Richian notes this, and places restrictions on the rite, and allows the local congregations to celebrate Peloton in their own way, with some guidlines.

More years pass, and a later leader tells the Richians that the original Peloton rite is an important part of their heritage, and removes many of the restrictions, for those who desire to celebrate it the old way. The problem arises when a Cyclist or two notes that the original rite includes a prayer to “Help the Cyclists see the light, and accept the truth of the Helmet.” The Cyclist community (or at least, the vocal parts) decry this as Anti-Cyclist, and bigoted.

It’s a little stretched, and the parallels with this case are a little obvious, but the point is still important. Is the prayer that hopes for the Cyclists’ eventual enlightenment actually bigoted? No. That’s nonsense. As far as the the Richians can see, the Cyclists are putting themselves at serious risk by not wearing a Helmet. They’re vulnerable to all thet outside noise, their thoughts don’t have the benifit of the added focus the Helmet gives, and what if they fall?

It’s the same situation with the prayer in the Tridentine Mass. It asks that God help to bring the Jews to the light of Christ, which, to the Christian mind, indicates genuine concern for the souls of the Jewish people. More importantly, all the information I can find indicates that this is one prayer. One sentence. The modern Catholic Mass takes an average of a little over an hour. One prayer will take a minute, maybe two. It’s not like the priest is up there the whole time, yelling in Latin, “THE JEWS ARE DELUDED HERETICS! SAVE THEM!!” Let’s be serious.

Most importantly, the recent Summorum Pontificum does not say, “You must use the Tridentine regularly!” It releases some restrictions, allowing celebration using the Tridentine, if sufficient congregants want it.

Finally, because I can’t resist the dig, a growing portion of the society at large has lately been questioning what the heck all this arguing about. It’s not like they’re going anywhere. A fall isn’t really going to do anyone any harm.


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