cognitive dissonance noun Psychology. anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like

Professional progressive Fr. Richard McBrien in his most recent column displays a very striking (and humorous) cognitive dissonance when it comes to the laity.

McBrien laments the use of Good Shepherd Sunday as an excuse for the clericalists (you know who you are) to “exhortations to obey the hierarchy with the same commitment as one would obey Christ himself.”

Sheep need not listen to the shepherd. McBrien ridicules the notion that today’s modern laity are sheep in any way.

While there is surely a sense in which Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd and we the flock that he tends and loves, the relationship is not literally that of a shepherd and his sheep.

Never before in the entire history of the Church have we had such a well-educated laity. And never before has the label “sheep” been so utterly inappropriate a designation for them.

Never before have we had such a well-educated laity. Not sheep. Baahh.

Interestingly, earlier in the very same article, McBrien despairs over the trend in the church he sees as “a stampede back to the Council of Trent” (Apparently not a cool council like VII)

Parenthetically, one cannot deny the sense of demoralization experienced by many Catholics who were deeply committed to the renewal promoted by Vatican II and Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, only to see evidence of a return to pre-conciliar ways of thinking and of doing business.

Perhaps the obvious has eluded Fr. McBrien. This well educated laity, chafing from decades of being force fed drivel by progressive clericalists, are helping to lead the very stampede he so disparages.

It seems that when this well educated laity dismisses “the Spirit of the Council” along with McBrien and his ilk, they do not merely revert back to sheep but take on the distinct aspect of the lemming.

Truth is, in this latest outburst from McBrien, he is really hinting at his own bafflement that these lemmings did not follow him of the cliff with smiles on their faces. Now drowning himself, he gazes back at the cliff off which he just plummeted wondering “Where did they all go? Damn sheep!”