Faith & Reason: July 2012 Archives

"Dear friends, it is clear that configuration to Christ is the precondition and the basis for all renewal. But perhaps at times the figure of Jesus Christ seems too lofty and too great for us to dare to measure ourselves by him. The Lord knows this. So he has provided 'translations' on a scale that is more accessible and closer to us. For this same reason, Saint Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. For his disciples, he was a 'translation' of Christ's manner of life that they could see and identify with. Ever since Paul's time, history has furnished a constant flow of other such 'translations' of Jesus' way into historical figures."

Pope Benedict XVI

The NY Times op-ed columnist and author Ross Douthat writes about the decline of "liberal Christianity."  I found Douthat's "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?" a good article to ponder, even good enough to take to prayer, because Ross asks what within the tradition of modern Christianity is worth saving and what definitely needs to be jettisoned. Douthat, for me, reminds me of days not long ago when a prominent religious order of men adopted a form of liberal Christian thinking on all maters but the truth, even to the point of a several members saying they relished being post-Christian. Gone are the days --at least one hopes the days are gone-- when we are theologically shallow, lacking the biblical narrative and true theology.

Ross Douthat recently published the provocative Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (Free Press, 2012).

The Witherspoon Institute published an address, "At the Door of the Temple: Religious Freedom and the New Orthodoxy" by Philip Tartaglia on June 27, 2012. How are the challenges of faith and reason pressing us to think and act more boldly in the face of limitations being placed upon religious liberty?  The Most Reverend Philip Tartaglia is a responsible thinker and provokes all of us to do something that is reasonable.

The new orthodoxy of secularism fails to understand that the virtues generated by religious freedom underpin and encourage a healthy democracy.

When I was consecrated a bishop in 2005, I was not fretting about religious freedom in Scotland or in the United Kingdom. Yet just six and a half years later, I can say with a concerned and fearful realism that the loss of religious freedom is now arguably the most serious threat that the Catholic Church and all people of faith in this country are facing. The way this issue unfolds will determine how the Church will present itself to society for the foreseeable future. Will the Catholic Church--and other religious bodies and groups--have the space to adhere to, express, and teach their beliefs in the public square? Or will these basic elements of religious freedom be denied, driving the Church and other religious bodies to the margins of society, if not actually underground?

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Faith & Reason category from July 2012.

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