Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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“the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man” – CS Lewis

September 30th, 2012, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Following up on DrK’s previous post, I’m sure we’ll be hearing lots of criticism directed towards Our Holy Father, so-called right-wing extremists (a term for someone who simply believes what the Church teaches), and anyone else who wishes to turn back the clock. Here’s a linkable quote for you.

“as to putting the clock back. Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do? But I would rather get way from that whole idea of clocks. We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity pp28-29

I believe that’s a pretty good explanation as to why the former Bishop of Rochester was recently fired.*

*I really don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I think it is the most straight forward and honest way of putting it. In any other job situation that’s how it would be described.

I started reading through this book again because I gave it to a friend and want to be able to converse about it. I read it a couple of times when I was much younger, but couldn’t remember the specifics. I’m realizing that this book book shaped my philosophical and theological outlook more than I knew. It’s interesting that in Lewis’ “mere” Christianity, which includes many different traditions, he left no room for modern day liberalism.

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6 Responses to ““the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man” – CS Lewis”

  1. avatar Ludwig says:

    This has to be the best excerpt of anything Lewis I’ve ever seen.

    Brilliant!

  2. avatar y2kscotty says:

    I just want to take issue to your saying that Bishop Clark was “Fired.” I will agree that he was pushed out fairly quickly. But if he was truly **fired**, then why didn’t the CEO (Pope B16) remove him years ago? If the Pope wanted him fired, he could have imposed a Coadjutor Bishop – with or without the right of succession. That’s the quicker way to “fire” a bishop.

  3. avatar Dr. K says:

    If the Pope wanted him fired, he could have imposed a Coadjutor Bishop – with or without the right of succession.

    Do you know if the Holy Father can impose a coadjutor on a diocesan bishop? I head (albeit a somewhat credible rumor) that Bp. Clark was offered Bp. Perry as a coadjutor, but that Clark declined.

  4. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    just want to take issue to your saying that Bishop Clark was “Fired.”

    It’s obviously an imperfect analogy, so we’re free to have differing opinions.

    why didn’t the CEO (Pope B16) remove him years ago?

    It does happen, but it is extremely rare. Although, according to this article, it did happen 4 times in one year. So, I’ll concede the point that it’s possible he could’ve been pushed out faster.

    My use of the term was more along this line of thought – the next bishop hasn’t been put in place yet, but the Pope would rather put the diocese in the hands of someone who hardly knows the diocese and who now has to do 2 jobs. He pretty much said, “I don’t have anyone else to do the job right now, but they’re better off without +Clark in the meantime.” That’s why I think the term is appropriate.

  5. avatar annonymouse says:

    Daniel is certainly diplomatic and filled with charity.

    For while perhaps “fired” is not the right word, there can be no doubt that Bishop Clark was dismissed – for your service to be terminated with no successor in sight, in favor of an Apostolic Administrator from the neighboring diocese, is more than a retirement. What happened on the 21st was quite unusual.


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