Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is "Evangelical Catholicism" The Answer?

When George Weigel speaks, mainstream Catholic thought tends to listen.  He's an obviously gifted writer who knows how to make Catholicism at least accessible to the world at large, if not respectable.  (That won't ever happen, nor is he trying.)

Yet there's something about his latest pitch that just makes me yawn.  It reads as if Weigel looked to pack as many buzz words from his checklist as possible into a column.  I happen to agree that Catholics need to be a bit more creative and aggressive in presenting their faith.  Yet how is this to take shape?  Weigel offers no answers there.

I would say there's some uncomfortable truth Weigel doesn't want to encounter.  The "mission territory" his Evangelical Catholics enter are their home parishes.  Our Catholic schools, far from forming kids spiritually, are doing more damage than simply sending them to a public school.  Even worse, they are taking tens of thousands of dollars a year from hard working middle class families so they can wreck the faith of their children.  Want the grace to live out this "evangelical Catholic" life from the sacraments?  The pop Catholic evangelists downplay those sacraments.  Many of those evangelists are Mr. Weigel's friends, and whom he wants us to emulate.

The culture hasn't destroyed the faith of younger Catholics.  The world has always been the world, and Catholicism has managed to produce saints in Christendom and the world of the heathen.  The list of what destroyed the faith of Catholics is far too long to go into here, but everyone pretty much knows the story:  Poor leadership, good intentions but bad ideas, echo chambers, old-fashioned sin, etc.  Forget the culture at large.  Obstensibly Catholic homes need to be made Catholic first before we worry about the world.


  1. Kevin, he has a new book out on Evangelical Catholicism. They excerpted part of it in the latest issue of First Things.

    As I point out to friends over an email, it was so full of regurgitated platitudes that I found it actually offensive.

    Weigel owns the same magic Catholic phrase generator that West has. Throw together as many feel-good phrases within run-on sentences as possible and call it an argument.

    Also, can we please leave it to the utopians on the Left to create unworkable Theory of Everything's that will solve all of our problems?

  2. I guess I just want to see one concrete proposal. Here's one that I think would at least help out with the way clerics act:

    Limit the amount of property they can own. Would've stopped Fr. Corapi long ago, and serves as a reminder that priests are not supposed to be rock stars, and that their primary purpose if Mass and the Sacraments.

    Or mandate seminaries to at least offer Latin, even if they don't make it mandatory. Why? Catholics need to be connected to their past, and besides, if you want to say the liturgy right, Latin goes a long way to accomplishing this even in the Ordinary Form.

    There really has never been a disagreement between Weigel and a lot of other faithful catholics over our goals: we all want holier catholics who frequent the sacraments, are devout/pious, and have a strong evangelist/missionary character. Yet how do we get there?


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