The Catholic left, unfortunately, let the Catholic right define the narrative of Benedict’s reign. They, too, neglected the significance of his social teachings to focus on anything he said about sex or gender. More importantly, they failed to really wrestle with his challenge, to see all the issues the church addresses as bound together. Take this morning’s Washington Post. There, George Weigel is quoted  as saying, “If you don’t sell full-throttle Catholicism, people are not going to buy it. Everyone knows the whole package is more compelling and interesting than some sort of Catholic hors d’oeuvres that leave you hungry.” This from the man who advised using red and gold pens to mark up Caritas in Veritate, ignoring the parts Weigel thought were not really from the pope’s hand. This from the man who can cite one paragraph, and one paragraph only, from John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus but never once has evidenced his compliance with, nor appreciation for, the call to a conversion of Western lifestyles contained in that same encyclical, nor its restatement of the church’s commitment to the rights of workers, nor those sections that question the very ethical and anthropological foundations of capitalism. I agree with Weigel about the need for “full-throttle Catholicism,” though I find his use of the verb “sell” telling. I just wish Weigel and other Catholic neo-cons actually engaged the full breadth of the church’s teachings instead of trying to distort and minimize those teachings about economic and social justice they disdain.
H/T Dawn Eden
I’m not familiar with Michael Sean Winters, but after reading the full commentary in the link, I agree with him, and am surprised that this article actually came from the National Catholic Reporter. (Lots of hate in the comments below his article, it’s actually very pro Pope Benedict)
I believe that the issues of the Church, especially in the U.S., have been politicized, (are you a “liberal” or “conservative”, and thus must believe so and so). Too often, we practice only parts of the Church’s teaching, and try to make that conform to our political ideologies.
Good post, Father.
Yes, what the politically conservative Catholics do not appreciate is that those on the left are being influenced for the better by papal teaching. The Church has never been eager to identify too much with political leanings.
On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM, Mary Victrix