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"Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Printable Version

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"Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - ecclesiastes - 02-19-2013

Quote:In his column today, Ross Douthat — who, you should know, is an orthodox Catholic — observes the end of what the late Fr. Neuhaus once called “the Catholic Moment,” a time in which Catholics, once marginalized in American society, could make their mark on public life by bringing a distinctly Catholic vision to bear on our affairs. That’s definitely over now, says Douthat. More:

Quote:The fact that the Second Vatican Council had left the church internally divided limited Catholic influence in some ways but magnified it in others. Because the church’s divisions often mirrored the country’s, a politician who captured the typical Catholic voter was probably well on his way to victory, and so would-be leaders of both parties had every incentive to frame their positions in Catholic-friendly terms. The church might not always be speaking with one voice, but both left and right tried to borrow its language.

If this era is now passing, and Catholic ideas are becoming more marginal to our politics, it’s partially because institutional Christianity is weaker over all than a generation ago, and partially because Catholicism’s leaders have done their part, and then some, to hasten that de-Christianization. Any church that presides over a huge cover-up of sex abuse can hardly complain when its worldview is regarded with suspicion. The present pope has too often been scapegoated for the sex abuse crisis, but America’s bishops have if anything gotten off too easily, and even now seem insufficiently chastened for their sins.

The recent turn away from Catholic ideas has also been furthered by a political class that never particularly cared for them in the first place. Even in a more unchurched America, a synthesis of social conservatism and more egalitarian-minded economic policies could have a great deal of mass appeal. But our elites seem mostly relieved to stop paying lip service to the Catholic synthesis: professional Republicans are more libertarian than their constituents, professional Democrats are more secular than their party’s rank-and-file, and professional centrists get their encyclicals from Michael Bloomberg rather than the Vatican.

I think Ross is right, up to a point. It is too convenient to blame the execrable behavior of the bishops in the abuse scandal for the end of the Catholic moment (to be clear, Ross is not doing that here, only pointing to that behavior as a contributing factor; I know some readers will not be so discerning). The rotten behavior of the bishops, among others, hastened the decline of Catholic authority in American life, but if we’re honest, we will have to admit that even if the bishops had been luminous saints to the man, the second coming of the Apostles, things wouldn’t be all that different from where they stand today.

This is just the intro. Read the rest here. He makes some thoughtful remarks about Fr. Neuhaus' idea of the "Catholic Moment", about American Catholicism and its "Protestantisation", about vocation and individualism.


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Burdensome1 - 02-19-2013

I read Fr. Neuhaus for a long time, and I never saw the "Catholic moment" opportunity the way he did.  So, I can agree with Mr. Douthat without thinking it's very important.  My analysis seems as good as theirs:

Once Catholics were convinced/decided to dissent on birth control, the Church in America officially and manifestly became a hypocrisy society.  This implicit denial of the indefectibility and authority of the Church, combined with the fact of the serious sin involved, cut rank and file Catholics off from grace.  Think how effective that has been.  Any chance for a "Catholic moment" depended on having actual Catholics interested in being Catholics in America.   


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Tim - 02-19-2013

I used to read first things and Fr. Neuhaus RIP. He was enthralled with neo-conservatism along with G. Weigel and EWTN and the whole shooting match. What he didn't realize is neo-conservatism isn't conservative. They were founded by Strauss and Krystal who were both Trotskyites. It's main purpose is to push the Israeli agenda. The son of Krystal is very clear that he is more liberal on social issues than democrats. The W administration with Karl Rove kicked the social conservatives to the curb but used their support to launch two unjust wars. That ain't Catholic.

The larger point is conservatism and subsidiarity would demand an end to all they hold dear. How many marches must there be before we get significant changes in the "pill" and "abortion" ?  The lip service goes on and on. How long do we get predatory capitalism and not economic liberty ? How long do they in the name of capitalism watch as manufacturing dies and not set up tariffs to protect small business (read mostly Catholics) ?

The moment never was ! If Catholics want to hitch their wagon to someone try Pat Buchanan he's Catholic and a conserves the right things.
tim


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Joamy - 02-19-2013

I wish Pat Buchanen would run for president.  Don't think it's going to happen, but wish it would.


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Crusading Philologist - 02-19-2013

I think Dreher is right to say that there was never any chance of a "Catholic moment" occurring in the United States. Actually, it seems to me that Douthat overemphasizes the extent to which politicians attempted to appeal to Catholics or put their policy proposals into Catholic language in the recent past.

I also agree with Tim above on Fr. Neuhaus. Whatever he might have thought about a potential Catholic moment, it doesn't seem that he ever did much to bring it about. As I understand it, he was basically a typical moral conservative: abortion's bad, an interventionist foreign policy is good, and anyone who criticizes capitalism in any way must be cut from the "movement." I don't see how this sort of position does much to bring about a uniquely Catholic political presence.


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - OHCA - 02-19-2013

(02-19-2013, 05:38 PM)Tim Wrote: . . . If Catholics want to hitch their wagon to someone try Pat Buchanan he's Catholic and a conserves the right things.
tim

I still think he had the winning message in his campaigns.  His message should have resonated well across party-lines.  Who stifled it; who demonized him; did the jews do it single-handedly?  For all the men who have sought the presidency and fell short, I think the country suffers more for not having him than any of the others.  Yes--he certainly conserves the right things.


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - OldMan - 02-19-2013

Once in the early 1990's, as an observer at a NO ecumenical Vesper service, I heard Richard Neuhaus preach. While I will admit he was a powerful speaker he did say that he "never stopped being a Lutheran." Quite astounding in my estimation.


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - In nomine Patris - 02-19-2013

(02-19-2013, 05:42 PM)Joamy Wrote: I wish Pat Buchanen would run for president.  Don't think it's going to happen, but wish it would.



He did run a few years ago, but dropped out. I wrote him in anyway. I wish he would run again, but he is getting older now. Still, if his health is good......


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Tim - 02-19-2013

I think at his age maybe he should start a party. He knows tons about politics and he has his head screwed on straight. I see him on tv frequently and his Catholicism should appeal to blue dogs as well as conservative repubs. It would not appeal to Zionist Christians and the predatory capitalists. I believe he could carve out a fourth of the Dems and half of the Repubs, forming something like a Catholic democratic movement. Imagine a party that understands subsidiarity applies to big g'ment and big b'ness, and big banking, while our military is there to defend us not the world. Whopee ! I know I'm drunk !

tim


Re: "Goodbye, Catholic Moment" - Burdensome1 - 02-19-2013

Quote:Once in the early 1990's, as an observer at a NO ecumenical Vesper service, I heard Richard Neuhaus preach. While I will admit he was a powerful speaker he did say that he "never stopped being a Lutheran." Quite astounding in my estimation.

Yeah, that was always my problem with him too, he made his conversion seem like preference, rather than necessity.  Smart man, and his students seem to be more orthodox than he was, but always standing next to the dead body.