Faith & Reason: August 2012 Archives
Bouncing around in Catholic religious orders for some time is the notion that one can be a member of the Jesuits or the Sisters of Mercy and "go beyond Jesus and the Church." I can remember hearing from a Jesuit whom I respected in the early 1990s that he was a "post-Christian Jesuit." I wondered how a member of the Society of Jesus, a son of Saint Ignatius, could be post-Christian. The former Dominican Father Matthew Fox tried the same line of thinking. In fact, he's neither a Catholic nor a Catholic priest and a professed member of the Order of Preachers as he's gone to the Episcopal Church and now some kind of new ager. Christ is optional for him. Not long ago a religious sister who teaches at CTU said that the sisters in the USA can go beyond Jesus. So the recent crisis in faith in religious orders reflects a deeper divide in Christian faith in the rest of society.
I try to wrap my mind around what it means to be a post-Christian American. Father C. John McCloskey III, priest of the Opus Dei wrote a piece, "Post-Christian America," which I am recommending. Father McCloskey is a Church historian and research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute (Washington, DC). The point of the article is not demonstrate America's abandonment of Christian faith but to say how it happened.
I'm seeing headlines in the Catholic press that say or suggest that a persecution of those who claim the importance of Christian faith as essential to the person. This is making me think of what follows the HHS mandate. Education and service of the poor? The work of knowing the contours of religious freedom are not for an elite group of Catholic academics, or the clergy, or the daily communicant. It is important for each of us to understand, and to live, and to share with others the fruit of a living faith in Christ. These issues have me searching for what the Church has said and is saying. John Paul II helps to begin to frame the issues.