S+L logo

Thoughts on post-tribal Catholicism - by John L Allen Jr

April 15, 2011
The following article comes from author and Vaticanista John L Allen Jr:
Tensions surrounding Catholic identity are very much in the air these days, and when they erupt they’re always a prescription for heartburn. People who regard themselves as authentically Catholic rarely enjoy being be told they’re not, or that they’re only selectively so. Likewise, people who believe the faith they treasure is being misrepresented, or distorted, or eviscerated from within, typically get their Irish up.
A key question facing the church, therefore, is how to manage those tensions constructively. I offered some thoughts on that subject on Wednesday, at a conference in Chicago sponsored by DePaul’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology and titled “The Discourse of Catholicity.”
My bottom line was that Catholicism needs a grass-roots movement to rebuild zones of friendship in the church.
I’m not talking about formal programs of dialogue, and I certainly don’t mean debating societies. What the church needs instead are spaces in which relationships among Catholics of differing outlooks can develop naturally over time. The plain fact of the matter is that such spaces have been badly attenuated by the ideological fragmentation of both the church and the wider world.
To be clear, friendship won’t magically make hard choices go away. Catholicism has to stand for something, and somebody has to decide what that is. There will be times when certain versions of Catholic identity have to be ruled out of bounds, and there will also be times when certain defenders of orthodoxy have to be reminded that it’s not their job to determine who’s in and who’s out. (Recent events at the University of Dallas illustrate the latter point, where Bishop Kevin Farrell recorded a web video responding to concern about a new undergraduate degree in pastoral ministry. Critics objected that the program is soft on Catholic identity, to which Farrell replied: “Let me remind the Catholic people of this diocese that … I’m the one who has to stand before God and say whether this is truly Catholic. That is my responsibility, and I do not take it lightly.”)
Continue reading
-
CNS photo/Jenna Teter, The Texas Catholic
 
Related posts
Hear From Christian Celebrities on the New Show: <br> "Walk in Faith"
FacebookTwitter
We might know their names from film, TV, or the world of sports.  But do we really know who celebrities are as people? Do we know what motivates them, what speaks to their hearts, and how faith inf ...read more
Yesterday on Parliament Hill, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed the Canadian media to provide clarity on the Pope’s response to the residential schools' issue and to address the ...read more
Tom Evans, the father of the seriously ill child Alfie Evans, met with the Pope pleading for "asylum" so that his son, who has a rare brain disease, may receive care in Italy, and not be euthanized in ...read more
Cardinal Wuerl Talks with Students from the University of America & Reflects on the Challenges of Racism in Society
FacebookTwitter
Learn more about Cardinal Wuerl's talk with College Students at The Catholic University of America, where he reflects on the Challenges of Racism in Society today. April 18. 2018. ...read more
“The Church needs true prophets, who not only speak the truth fearlessly but also who empathize with the suffering of their people”. That was the Pope’s message during his homily at his daily mo ...read more