Thursday, December 13, 2012
Needless to say, I welcome The Economist's recent recognition that traditionalist Catholics are the avant-garde of our age. As one would expect, that recognition is generating some exciting discussion, including by Anna Williams at First Things. Ms Williams concludes by considering the worry that traditionalists wish to withdraw from the world. The actual direction pursued by traditionalists is the opposite, however, and that's what the real fuss is about. Traditionalists do not wish to separate from the culture; they are emphatically not separatists. Traditionalists wish to correct and transform culture in the image of the incarnate Christ. Traditionalists are not willing to give up on the culture, because its transformation contributes to the salvation of souls. It is this intransigent insistence about tranfsorming the world that the enemy resists with all its might and theory. As I argued in a recent paper, "the Church is not a bomb shelter" into which the faithful are to retreat. The Church is the society that fortifies the faithful to go forth and get the job done: the Church militant. I returned to the theme of the moral exigence of the Church's and the lay-faithful's being intransigent about creating Catholic culture here. When one understands the Church as Christ-continued in the world, her transformative capacity becomes unmistakable -- and a cause of hope. There is no other reason to hope.