Thursday, August 29, 2019

Catholics at the Margins

From Charles Coulombe at Crisis:
Pope Francis has repeatedly urged Catholics to “go to the margins,” insisting that the Church’s credibility rises or falls with her care for the marginalized. I must say that I believe His Holiness to be entirely correct—though not, perhaps, in the way the National Catholic Reporter might read those words. As many of the events in this pontificate continually remind me, I’ve come to realize that my entire life as a Catholic—starting with my birth, on the day John F. Kennedy was elected President of these United States—has been lived on the Church’s margins. 
It must be born in mind that the Catholic Church, like the House of Jesus’s Father which it foreshadows, has many mansions. There are about 3,000 dioceses of all rites across the globe; under that hierarchy are those of countless religious orders. There are lay groups, from Caritas International to the Knights of Malta to the Catholic Worker. There are innumerable guilds, confraternities, and associations for various purposes. 
For those with sufficient mobility, it is possible to live one’s Catholic life in precisely the right set of groupings that appeal to one. As the noted liberal Catholic activist Rosemary Radford Ruether famously wrote in the National Catholic Reporter on June 5, 2005: “The recent election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI has been greeted with choruses of negative comments in the progressive communities where I teach and live.” It’s not the disapproval of the papal election that warrants our attention at the moment, but the phrase “the progressive communities where I teach and live.” Activist Catholics of all stripes tend to live in such archipelagos—myself as much as Mrs. Ruether. (Read more.)

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