- Monday, 20 August 2012 10:10
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.
- Friday, 03 August 2012 10:10
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.
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- Tuesday, 31 July 2012 16:51
“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
- Sunday, 15 July 2012 22:20
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).
- Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:04
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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