I haven’t been posting as much lately, what with the demands of graduate school and such, but occasionally a story happens that demands a response. No, it’s not about the Donald Trump Show, the ignominious return of the Duggars to television, the death of Mother Angelica, or whatever thing Pope Francis is doing. This story is much more important: Kathleen Battle is returning to the Metropolitan Opera:
Last year, I told a condensed version of my de-conversion story on Rod Dreher’s blog in response to a post he did in which he crowded about how millenials are supposedly flocking to conservative churches with traditional liturgies. One of the other posters asked me why I couldn’t “just believe” rather than over-analyze and over-think the elements of Christianity. Why couldn’t I be satisfied with the simple Biblical tales enshrined in stained glass windows that had sustained the faith of the peasantry for centuries? As I recall, the essence of my reply was that while “just believing” like a little child (see Matthew 18: 3) may be considered a virtue in Christianity, it’s really not a good idea. In fact, I would go as far to say that the notion of “just believing” is one of the worst ideas that the Abrahamic faiths in general have foisted on the world.
I’m going to be taking a brief break from critiquing religion today so I can talk about an issue that’s on the minds of everyone these days: opera and the women who sing it.
Transgender issues are a major topic, both in popular culture and in the realm of public policy. Once treated as the modern equivalent of sideshow freaks, transgender people are coming into the mainstream and demanding the right to take their place in the public square. For conservative religious bodies like the Catholic church, who have yet to reconcile themselves with the existence of cis-gender lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and asexuals, this “transgender moment” must be particularly baffling. To my knowledge, there have been no “official” statements from Rome about how “orthodox” Catholics should make sense of transgender people (The Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn’t mention transgenderism, at least not the edition I have), but this passage from a December 2012 speech by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI seems to be as authoritative as anything else on the matter: