October 27, 2013
The catacomb is on the other foot, George
Why does George Weigel have it in for Catholics or -- as they're sometimes called in a display of pleonasm -- traditional Catholics? Over at National Review, Weigel writes that "the challenge also won’t be met by Catholic traditionalists retreating into auto-constructed catacombs." You can read Weigel's essay to see what he thinks "the challenge" is, but I'll just tip my hand and suggest that he's got it wrong.
My only purpose here is to note that it's not "Catholic traditionalists" who are constructing catacombs. Weigel has things exactly backwards. As I've pointed out many times (including in this recent paper), it's self-describing neo-con and self-describing liberal Catholics -- not Catholics simpliciter -- who are content to seek legal accommodations that leave the immoral status quo otherwise intact. They're the ones taking up residence in legally sculpted catacombs. It's the Catholics who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid of liberalism who labor in love to correct and transform the culture. They are the ones who refuse to retreat into the catacombs of legal accommodation.
Weigel needs to stop scapegoating the few Catholics who are actually refusing the catacomb strategy that is the current darling of the American bishops. The souls Weigel villifies as "Catholic traditionalists" are among those who care enough to "direct Christian service to human society to bring about the kingdom of God" (Bernard Longergan, Method in Theology, 362). I'm not the only one who is weary of Weigel's distortions, inversions, and ingratitude. See here