Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sub-Cultures and Sub-Catholics

(Above: The "major structural alterations" of Pruitt-Igoe here in St. Louis.  I remember this well.  Such is the fate of all inauthentic culture.)

A Facebook friend writes (and I gloss a bit on what he writes) ...

What we want is authentic Catholic culture. This means three priorities: that it be authentic, that it be Catholic, that it be culture.
Now, because we happen to live in Babylon (cf. Vincent McNabb), this culture is de facto (but not ipso facto) a sub-culture; but it is not intentionally sub-cultural as any kind of motivation.

[In other words, authentic Catholic culture is not necessarily a "sub-culture"; it wasn't that for over a thousand years; on the contrary all of Western civilization, including science, since ancient times, was produced by a Catholic worldview.  The Catholic Thing and what it gives rise to is, however, in fact - de facto - a sub-culture now, since our dominant culture is now anti-christian.]

This is the problem with "Slumming Catholicism" and with "Hipster Catholicism" and "Traditional Catholicism" - not only that they try to set up a kind of sub-culture within Catholicism (which "Progressive Catholicism" also tries to do), but that they value primarily the [separatist state they find themselves in]. 

Now many of you will say, "Why put any adjectives in front of Catholic at all?  Why must we see each other as Slum Catholics or Hipster Catholics or Traddie Catholics or Liberalist Catholics - or even "Roman" Catholics.  Why can't we just be Catholics - in other words, fully conformed to Christ?"

And I say amen.

But what my Facebook friend is saying is that some groups in the Church adopt attitudes that deliberately separate them from the Body of Christ at large, and that separate them from the dominant culture in such a way that they will never effectively engage it.

Frank Weathers keeps quoting to me Pope Francis ...

“In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the Gospel message ... to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death.” 

The goal of the St. Austin Review, Theater of the Word, the American Chesterton Society, and even Grunky is precisely this transformation of culture through the arts - in the forms of writing, drama, video - a goal that ultimately delivers (by the grace of God) redemption to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death.

Another Facebook friend remarks, in a comment about the ineffectiveness of contrived "ministries" that deliver no authentic culture ...

All the bonfires and street evangelization sessions in the world will not teach your kids joy or help them to think and to love the faith and the defend holy mother Church. Only good literature will do that, starting with Chesterton and Tolkien and Belloc.  ... Because I still maintain that the best youth ministry for my own two sons has been all the Chesterton conferences I've brought them to all these years. 

May we first and foremost then, do good work - as writers, actors, artists, teachers, parents.  May we do work that honors God and grows from our faith in Jesus Christ.  And from all that an authentic culture will follow.


Christian LeBlanc said...

As a 6th-grade catechist, I consciously aim to teach your kids joy, and help them to think and to love the faith and the defend Holy Mother Church.

If you are called to it, it's easier.

Michael said...

I've had a similar thought...

that modern Catholic's aren't 'natural' or even comfortable in the faith because Catholicism is not the status quo.

The culture has made Catholics paranoid which usually manifests in them either over-judgmental (e.g. with non-Catholics) or under-judgmental (e.g. with pedophile priests).

Interesting how Babylon was mentioned, even the most pious among us are affected by the culture like Lot was.

Del said...

Kudos to your Facebook friend:

"Because I still maintain that the best youth ministry for my own two sons has been all the Chesterton conferences I've brought them to all these years."

This caused me to realize: My sons were deeply affected by reading Chesterton, the Conferences they attended with me, and by hanging around the adults in our local Chesterton Society.

We just thought we were having fun. But now, as young adults, those memories still bubble up in conversations. They turned out to be good formative experiences.

The best we can do for our kids to find and sustain a solid Catholic culture... then live in it!

Isobel said...

Glancingly related....thought you would enjoy.

Eye of the Tiber: Marty Haugen Music To Be Outlawed Under New Geneva Convention Resolution