The Washington Post is appalled that a local Roman Catholic diocese is asking some members to affirm Catholicism before teaching Sunday School. Really.
The story begins with a woman who opposes her church's teachings on the office of ministry, the sanctity of life and the authority of the Magisterium. But she was more than happy to teach Sunday School at her liberal parish in Arlington, Virginia.
But then her bishop asked her to profess her Roman Catholic faith. And that was a bridge too far. She resigned her post and began spilling the beans to the Washington Post. And, of course, they lapped it up. She was a poor victim of patriarchal oppressors or whatever. The story even ends with a comparison of the diocesan oath to Nazism.
In Lutheran confirmation rites, we make a similar confession of faith but instead of saying that we'll "adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium," (because we'd never agree to such an oath, obviously) we answer the following questions in the affirmative:
Do you hold all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God?
Do you confess the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Scriptures, as you have learned to know it from the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true?
Do you intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully?
Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death?
Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?
You'll note that we are repeatedly asked about suffering unto death for our confession of faith.
I can't imagine what the Washington Post would make of such an oath, if just being your basic Catholic is too much for a diocese to ask of its religion teachers.
Today the Washington Post continues with its incredulity that in this day and age, in America, people might be expected to affirm their beliefs in anything other than their deeply held emotions at that particular moment. I'm kind of appalled that they're appalled.
But the Washington Post is probably onto something. Don't most Americans think that they should have every right to build their own personal church? Don't most Americans, be they Catholic or otherwise, sort of pick and choose what aspects of their professed religion they'll follow?
Is it really so surprising that after decades (or more) of this mindset, that some people would bristle at being asked to affirm religious fidelity?