Sunday, October 03, 2010

Abp. Chaput's American Cultural History 101

Charles J. Chaput, "Catholics and the Next America" (On the Square, September 17, 2010):
One of the key myths of the American Catholic imagination is this: After 200 years of fighting against public prejudice, Catholics finally broke through into America’s mainstream with the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy as president. It’s a happy thought ... They’ve climbed, at long last, the Mt. Zion of social acceptance.

So goes the tale. What this has actually meant for the direction of American life, however, is another matter....

... “I shop, therefore I am” is not a good premise for life in a democratic society like the United States. Our country depends for its survival on an engaged, literate electorate gathered around commonly held ideals.

... As Catholics, like so many other American Christians, we have too often made our country what it is through our appetite for success, our self-delusion, our eagerness to fit in, our vanity, our compromises, our self-absorption and our tepid faith.

... In the name of tolerance and pluralism, we have forgotten why and how we began as nation; and we have undermined our ability to ground our arguments in anything higher than our own sectarian opinions.
These excerpts are from a long and substantial article by the Archbishop of Denver, and we cannot begin to do it justice here, but only offer these brief quotations as an invitation to read the entire piece. The discussion of Puritanism is interesting, as well as the evolution of the Catholic presence in public life, for better or worse.

[Hat tip to J.M.]

1 comment:

Lutheran said...

"...we have too often made our country what it is through our appetite for success, our self-delusion, our eagerness to fit in, our vanity, our compromises, our self-absorption and our tepid faith."

A persistent thought for the past century. One does not have to be Catholic to understand this. It remains a difficult thought as it is such a vast departure from the ethics of the Puritans and other colonists and reality generally. It is, instead, a hallucination or dreamworld.

There was a time, and the Puritans and French of Quebec did record theirs', that colonists had to make hard decisions daily. Plant the crops/raise the livestock, stay in the area, and take the chance or roam for something different and understand the dangers in that? Build a church and houses from the lumber of the ships or keep the ships?

And this kind of life has continued to today, but it has been muffled out by the media and their multitudes of converts. The media ironically abandon the people to waste, while it is upon the people that they themselves depend. It turns out that converting the culture into one wholly depraved is more than hazardous, instead it is suicidal. It turns out that the culture of death propogates itself in the conversion of the multitudes, making its voice louder and thus apparently more authoritative.

And still, the voices of the media draw yet more and more crowds while the voices of the churches draw less. Doesn't this still remain a question of (now) lost faith seeking ANY understanding? People continue to seek the best decisions, not knowing that their thoughts are sopping with the urge towards death, and so they continue to choose poison over life--why?--because the delusion draws them towards decisions so twisted like, it's sweetened with sugar or it's shiny. The realities of the soul's starvation and death by exposure of the body are not recognized but remain. And for these multitudes, there is hopelessness of faith (turned in on oneself rather than on the Lord) and vacancy of understanding. People are encouraged to seek their own, or do for themselves to be happy and find meaning. The media perpetuate this culture of death over the culture of Life in that they too are caught up in the delusion, the hallucination. In whole, the culture of death, from its gods to its evangelists to its converted, are as walking corpses.