Ross Douthat on Conservative Catholicism
#4
And for my third post in a row: I just read his accompanying interview with Cardinal Burke.  As I suspected, Burke uses the word "apostasy" in reference to the Synod document and Douthat guides the conversation toward "schism."  Again, for what purpose I cannot say.

It is clear that Douthat is committed to an ultramontanist view of the papacy: He states that since conservatives felt this way under JPII and Benedict, they have some sort of obligation to feel this way under Francis.  Bizarrely, he acknowledges that this view of the papacy is not theologically or historically grounded, but derides more limited views of papal authority anyway.  Such dismissive snark is unacceptable and, simply, not an argument.

He further, as I suspected, derides traditionalism as a subculture.  Here's the problem with that: Per his own words, ALL of conservative Catholicism was always a subculture.  Even during the height of the neocon fever dream during the last two papacies, conservatives were not the heads of theology departments at Catholic universities.  They did not constitute a majority of cardinals and certainly not bishops.  They had their own little universities with small endowments and nascent student bodies, or small little orders committed to neocon Catholicism.  Despite the surge of support for this brand, it was never "in charge."  The elite institutions of the Church were in the hands of liberals, as they had been since V*tican II.  Douthat is well aware of this because these words are paraphrased from him.  

So what is his point?  Conservatism was never winning.  It was always a subculture.  It was a larger subculture than traditionalism is now, but at the same time it was never experiencing the exponential growth of traditionalism; it had the same unconvincing, member-hemorrhaging outcomes as the Church at large has.  At best, it possibly represented a more insidious bleed, and I believe it had better outcomes in terms of vocations.  Nevertheless, it was a failing proposition then and it definitely is now.  

My sense is that Douthat is either playing the long-game in terms of messaging at this time, or he is experiencing some severe cognitive dissonance.
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RE: Ross Douthat on Conservative Catholicism - by Imperator Caesar Trump - 11-11-2019, 01:47 PM



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