Saturday, August 29, 2015

The "wedge strategy" is an old one.

The importance of being a Catholic: A Protestant View

// Michael Schwartz has persuasively argued in an essay in American and Catholic: The New Debate that abortion has become the test case for the honeymoon between “Americanist Catholics—who are usually well educated and upwardly mobile—and the secular culture to which they have surrendered.” These are the Catholics particularly subject to the paradoxical attitude that secular culture has adopted toward postconciliar Catholicism. That is,

 Catholicism is still despised to the extent that it claims to teach with authority, but that contempt is no longer mixed with fear, only with condescension. The pope is unable to assert his authority effectively over even the clergy, much less the laity. And so we have the new strain of anti Catholic sentiment expressing itself by praising those Catholics who separate themselves from the beliefs and practices of their church. To the extent that the reality of the church is despised, so individual Catholics who subordinate their Catholicism to some secular ideology are held up as models of intellectual honesty, courage, and all around decency. The only good Catholic, it would seem, is a bad Catholic.

Schwartz observes, however, that for such Catholics a crisis was occasioned exactly when their “new found ecumenical friends decided that the next great step in the advance of civilization was to authorize the killing of babies. We were tolerant, and we desperately wanted to be accepted. But we were still Catholics, not barbarians. We drew the line at murdering the young.” In opposition to those in power, Catholics knew this was not just another question to be resolved by interestgroup politics. Catholics knew they had a duty to stand for life, to choose, as Schwartz puts it, Christ over Caesar.//

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