In the late 1950s, the monks at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn., had an old rowing boat with the name “Ding an sich” painted on the stern.
When I asked what that was all about, I was told that an impish professor of philosophy had painted it on. It means “the thing in itself” and comes from the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. In any discussion it is crucial to ask what we are talking about, what is the most essential, basic thing that we need to identify. For this monk, obviously (tongue-in-cheek) fishing was the most important thing.
So I ask this question of Larry d’Autremont (letter, Sept. 9) and others who favor the ordination of women and a married priesthood: Whom will you follow when once you have stopped following Christ? Others have trod that path before.