Tuesday, April 15, 2008

AmChurch: Listen to the Pope!

Fr. Dwight Longenecker (incidentally, a married Catholic priest, phenomenal apologist, and great blogger, who lives and works in Greenville SC) has a great piece in The Times (London) about the Catholic Church in the US and the Holy Father's visit.

He starts out with the extremes, the schismatic "radtraddies" and the ultramodern "radtrendies," who both come off as "self-righteous kooks." (Yes!) Then follows this great description of "AmChurch," the great middle, somewhat akin to the "beige Catholicism" described by Fr. Robert Barron's.
hese bishops, clergy and laity do not take particularly radical views either in the 'traddy' or 'trendy' directions. Instead they follow a bland, comfortable kind of American Catholicism with a mix of traditional devotions, parish social events, mediocre modern music and social action. Moving here from England, this in between 'AmChurch' seems cut off from any real sense of the historical and cultural continuity of the Catholic faith. In a country separated geographically from the rest of the world, AmChurch Catholics also seem distanced from the traditions of the Catholicism, which would give their faith depth and universality.
In contrast, what Pope Benedict is about is a hermeneutic of continuity
The Pope is asserting that the faith Catholics practice today is the faith they have had through the ages, a faith that makes no sense unless it's viewed through the lens of the past. Furthermore, we cannot march into the future unless we are informed, enlightened and inspired by the past. Continuity is therefore a dynamic concept; it is another way to talk about the role of tradition in the Catholic Church. Tradition is not a dead letter, but a living Word.
A fantastic article! Thanks Father! [Completely unrelated, do check out Fr. Longenecker's take on a married priesthood.]

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