Friday, January 20, 2006

The Catholic Moment?*

In this First Things blog post, Jody Bottum waves his antennae and senses Something In The Air. He suggests that, although Catholics have no more or less actual national political power than earlier, they are now the de facto mainline church in America. The ideas being disseminated by the Catholic Church's conservative wing are afoot and maybe ascendant in the world, exerting influence quite separately from the Catholic Church as an institution.
...fifty years of work by sociology professors has assured us of the assimilation of Catholics, and two hundred years of polished epigrams from Enlightenment-style philosophes have informed us that religion in general, and Catholicism in particular, belong to the childhood of mankind. [...]
And yet, the nation has need of something, which—almost by default—Catholicism is providing. This is Toqueville’s kind of thesis, of course, about the American experience, but it feels right. The United States has always required some source of moral imagination in the public square that does not derive from either the politics of democracy or the economics of capitalism. For a long time, the mainline Protestant churches remained that source, even though they were often as sprawling and as envenomed as American Catholicism now is. And when, for a number of fascinating reasons, those mainline churches collapsed, the nation was left with Catholicism.

See Mr. Bottum's article in The Weekly Standard for how this is playing out in the Alito Supreme Court nomination.

*Richard John Neuhaus fans will get the allusion, I trust.

1 comment:

  1. The Catholic Church has been on earth for nearly 2,000 years and will steadfastly continue its charge to be the repository of true Christian faith until the end of time.

    Catholics have seen religions and churches come and go for centuries.

    God bless everyone on their journey home...

    (Remember: to study church history is to become Catholic)


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