Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Between Jest and Earnest: Remember When Catholics Were The "Political Proble...

Between Jest and Earnest: Remember When Catholics Were The "Political Proble...:

Great recent post by my good friend, Art Remillard from Pennsylvania's Saint Francis University.  In musing on Paul Blanshard's American Freedom and Catholic Power (1949), Remillard traces the ascendency of American Catholicism's rise over narrow-minded concerns.  Powers which, Remillard notes, wielded considerable political and social power (e.g., Norman Vincent Peale).

And it turns out the lesson has been short-lived. Nowadays some American Catholic leaders espouse views that appear identical to what was once voiced against Catholicism itself.  Thus Remillard:

But one thing is for sure: Catholics have changed the face of America. And America has changed Catholicism too, by, among other things, giving some among them a very short memory.

That's a powerful conclusion, and he is not wrong.  This is, in part, why the 1960s saw counter-cultural Catholic celebrities like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton emerge (something Remillard notes and which, by the time it happened, indicated that "the moment" had actually already passed).  Although he does not state it, I do think Remillard's point about short Catholic memories could be applied to other Catholic cultural situations, not just political ones.

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