John Allen says that “‘evangelical Catholicism’ constitutes a mega-trend in Catholic life.” But what is he talking about?
[W]hat I’m trying to describe is the most powerful current at the policy-setting level of the church, as well as a dynamic constituency at the Catholic grassroots. It pivots on three points:
• A strong reaffirmation of traditional markers of Catholic belief, language and practice. Examples include the revitalization of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, reassertion that Catholicism alone possesses the fullness of what it means to be “church,” and rejection of theological tendencies that would put Christ on the same level as other saving figures;
• Bold public assertion of those markers of identity;
• Personal embrace of those markers of identity, as opposed to simply imbibing them from traditional Catholic cultures, neighborhoods and families.
Defined this way, “evangelical Catholicism” can be understood as a response to secularism and what Benedict XVI calls the “dictatorship of relativism,” protecting the church against assimilation by emphasizing what makes Catholicism distinct.
Mr. Allen’s article is worth reading both for his own insights into this perceived “mega-trend” and to see how two of his colleagues (one “liberal,” one “conservative”) use the same phrase with different meanings. Stale leftovers of the 1960’s and 1970’s false dichotomy between dogmatic, “top-down” Catholicism and an evangelical, grass-roots, care-for-the-poor type religiosity are peppered throughout the statements of David J. O’Brien, the liberal in the discussion. In O’Brien’s meaning of “Evangelical Catholicism,” the religion is derived from the Gospel independently of the Church or her teachings.
This dialectical pseudo-distinction between Catholic traditionalism and progressivism, virtually in terms of aristocratic Republicans and working-class Democrats, has as its object the promotion of a popular, democratic, “bottom-up” Catholicism. Not only is the method fraudulent, the end is deplorable. Historically, the Catholicism of the people — poor and rich — was the same as the religion of the pope: i.e., the one that came down from God. (There I go playing the divine revelation card again!) St. Francis of Assisi, the ultimate poor man, was a stickler for dogma and fidelity to the Church. St. Gregory the Great, a powerful and doctrinaire pope who was also the de-facto civil ruler of Rome, loved the poor. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.
I, for one, hope there is some merit to Allen’s observations. They certainly ought to be true. There is no salvation outside the Church — not for individuals and not for society. The fraudulent spectacle of the current presidential election highlights the fact that our nation is heading towards a societal damnation of near Biblical proportions. And we’re not alone; we are taking much of civilization with us in our procrustean mission to advance an Imperium we cannot sustain, inflicting ersatz democracy on our conquered provinces as we make the world safer for Israel, but more dangerous for Bishop Raho’s people, and our own. Only a robust, deeply rooted social Catholicism can reverse our Republic’s metamorphosis into a violent, effeminate pornacracy — exporting wars, false religion, and hellish morals the world over.
Our Lady said it best at Fatima: “Only I can help you now.”
Another Christian Arab Killed
This one happens to be the Archbishop of Mosul, one of the most prominent Christian leaders in Iraq — a country that for all its many faults, used to have religious toleration for Christians. We took care of that. Which nation is next on the “freedom agenda?” Syria? Egypt? Lebanon? Stay tuned…
It’s comforting, in a way, to know that the good archbishop was taken after conducting a Way of the Cross. He walked in the footsteps of his Master, and now shares His peace and joy. Paulos Faraj Raho, pray for us. [This story compliments of Dr. John Zmirak.]