In other words, one cannot understand a faith community—Jewish or otherwise—if the imperatives and commitments of that community are redacted, bracketed away in favor of thin and generic commitments to civility. Such civility produces a false encounter, an encounter of ghostlike abstractions rather than between the flesh and blood of real persons and their commitments. The same would be true between disputants within a community, such as the orthodox and the dissenters on sexual morality.
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Historical perspective is helpful. It surprises Western Christians to learn that the Orthodox deem all of what we consider sacred art—from Giotto’s fresco cycle in the Arena Chapel to Bernini’s marble Madonna and Child in the Vatican—to be, in reality, wholly secular. Michel Quenot, in his well-known study of the art and theology of the icon, summarizes the Orthodox position:
How is God calling you to serve the Culture of Life?
This partisan vision (as bad as it is) is a much less serious problem than an earlier revelation by Spadaro, who claims that "2 + 2 in Theology can make 5." If Spadaro really believes this, in the metaphysical sense that he seems to intend, then he is mad; for consider Spadaro's willingness to deny an obvious logical necessity, and then think of what becomes of his understanding of facts. Consider also, to the extent that this Pope listens to him, does he share in the madness?