With the Christmas season safely put to rest for another year, it is time to return to the end. (You will find my initial exploration of the themes of the end time in a number of posts in November and December. )
Here is how I want to begin this series, with this passage from a recent post in the website called “The American Catholic:”
“A few months ago I wrote this reflection on the idea that bad leadership can be seen as a punishment or consequence of sin, and how the ethical and fiscal train wreck that is Illinois state government might serve as an example of this concept.”
Here is how that website defines its purpose for being:
What is The American Catholic?
The American Catholic is an online community of Christians, motivated by a rich heritage of Catholic spiritual and intellectual tradition, seeking to engage American society and culture in pursuit of the common good. Following the Second Vatican Council’s ecclesial call for greater Christian witness in contemporary society, we are dedicated to the renewal and “Christian animation of the temporal order.” We are all deeply inspired by our Catholic faith and seek authentic sacramental lives centered upon the “broken bread” of the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life.
But here is the content of the last day I checked it: a blog on the President’s speech at the Tucson memorial (cautiously neutral); a clip from the Onion (“the only reliable source of news on the net”); the above cited post on the “wages of sin”; a blog defending, indeed commending Sarah Palin’s use of the phrase ‘blood libel;’ a blog questioning whether Obamacare will decrease the federal deficit long term—and so on!
While the website subtitles itself thusly, “Politics and Culture from a Catholic Perspective,” what is really going on is the exact opposite: the website should be called “The Catholic American.”
With only a little facetiousness here is my claim: I am not an “American” catholic, but rather a “Roman” catholic. I seek neither to save, or be saved by the American catholic church, but rather to save and be saved by the Roman catholic church. I do not owe my allegiance to America, but to Rome.
I, too, could spend all my waking hours commenting on the American political and cultural life; but that is what I would be doing—commenting on American political and cultural life, and nothing more. Perhaps I am being a little harsh on the contributors to “The American Catholic.” But it appears to me they are caught in the same trap as the creationists: they are letting their belief in America overwhelm their belief in God in the same way that the creationists bet all their money on creation science a while back, and on intelligent design now, instead of trying to develop an understanding of creation that grows wholly and only out of their belief.
Anyhow, we as Christians are custodians of the end—insofar as we pass on the faith of all believers in what the end is all about. We are not beholden to survivalists, to the Jewish state, to American exceptionalism, to the gospel of wealth, or even to a literal reading of the sacred books. We are beholden only to our living faith—wherever that may lead.
More to come, in the coming days, weeks and months.
Friday, January 14, 2011
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