Error Dressed Elegantly

A 7 Quick Takes post, as hosted by Ms. Jennifer Fulwiler on her Conversion Diary blog

St. Irenaeus
St. Irenaeus

“Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order not to be discovered. On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be led to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself.” St. Irenaeus

I always worry when I hear someone, be it the pope or a bishop or a priest, or a politician, say something that sounds good, oh so close to the truth, but somehow still managing to sound a bit off. I listened to a podcast this past week about C. S. Lewis and the speaker was pointing out that Lewis wrote about Satan being inaccurate, everything he said was close to the truth, but still a lie. It is Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and when someone tries to couch what they are say in pretty words, they deviate from the Way.  Beware.

I have to confess, I wasn’t going to do a post this week. I’ve been far to engaged in immersing myself in keeping up with events in the Church and in the nation. During the past week in the Catholic blog world, I’ve read every conceivable opinion about the goings-on in the Church, the whole gamut from, “Don’t worry, be happy” to “we’re entering the end times and the pope is the anti-Christ.” It’s enough to send oneto a depression without end. All of that coming from people who have no idea what tomorrow will bring, much less what will happen to the end of the age. I’ve decided to be much more selective in what I read.

Speaking of C. S. Lewis, I read just a little C. S. Lewis earlier this week, it was a selection from the Year With C.S. Lewis book. It was about sex in heaven, or rather the lack thereof, the biologic motivation being no longer present in the afterlife. I hadn’t read anything by him in a long time and I was reminded of a trait of his writing I especially love; in this instance, when Lewis writes about what heaven will be like, he seems to most often describe something delightfully unexpected, not at all in line with what most people assume will be the case. He offers a rather more literal picture of the glimpses we get from Scripture. We’ll have resurrected bodies, will live in utter joy, but that joy won’t involve physical things as we know them. We think of sex and the ultimate experience of joy here on earth and can’t picture how we could have even greater joy in heaven without it.

It’s here that another characteristic of Lewis’ writing comes in in the way he illustrates his points with descriptions of how children often react to things. A boy might think a chocolate bar offers him the greatest joy he’s ever known, but when told sex is an even greater one, and having no experience of it, might think to ask if people enjoy chocolate bars along with it. When told that doesn’t usually happen, his mind can’t grasp the possibilities. He thinks the chocolate is an indispensable element of the experience of joy. As great and wonderful as our ability to draw conclusions from our experience, when it comes to the things of God, those conclusions are bound to fall short.

A short update on my experience with the newly free MS Word app for iPad, it can’t beat Apple’s Pages offering. Having written a post for today in the Word app, only to watch it disappear in the ether, somewhere in the transition from my iPad to Dropbox, I’ve returned to using Pages. I have to admit, that loss was a contributing factor to my dropping the idea for posting anything at all today, but vanity won out.

I also saw an article, somewhere I can no longer remember, about U.S. bishops, those who might oppose the “reforms” being bandied about in the Church these days, being cowed by the demotion and exile of Cardinal Burke. The thought crossed my mind that, if they are utterly intimidated by such moves, we are in desperate need of some new pastors. I don’t think I believe such writings.


I should also offer a short explanation of the slight change in the title of the blog made a couple of weeks ago. One reason for the change is to get away from the guilt of stealing a title from Hillaire Belloc. Another is that, the new title is even more descriptive of my original intent for this adventure in cyberspace. That’s all there is to it. I know all you conspiracy theorists out there will be greatly disappointed.



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