The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity
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Right now there are no fixed timings for study. All these phenomena, and more, would bear study in considering the question of Catholicism, modernity, and post-modernity, which I shall do in a forthcoming book. Four years into the pontificate of Pope Francis, it seems unlikely that the Argentine pontiff will follow his two immediate predecessors in offering a detailed, internal line of critique of late-modernity and the emerging post-modern world. Francis is not a scholar-pope; his reign is likely to be a brief one, as he himself has noted on several occasions; and his priorities lie elsewhere.
And it will only be chosen because the encounter with Jesus Christ, whose mystical body the Church is, has been embodied, offered, and proposed. So we come to the deepest, and perhaps providential, paradox of the story of Catholicism and modernity: through its encounter with modernity, Catholicism has rediscovered the evangelical or missionary imperative from which it began, two millennia ago. Through an often-turbulent encounter with modernity, the living, dynamic parts of the Catholic Church have learned that the Great Commission of Matthew Not at all.
The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity
May I introduce you to Jesus Christ? Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. Peter Wehner.
George Weigel. Henry Olsen. More Subscription Options. Mona Charen. Comments on the website or technical programs? Email webmaster eppc. Toggle navigation. But it was the challenge of political modernity that was the immediate and urgent question for Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Pius IX , because political modernity threatened the very existence of the papacy as they understood it — and by threatening the papacy as they understood it, political modernity threatened the Catholic Church as they understood it The Holy See — the embodiment of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome as universal pastor of the Catholic Church — had been recognized for centuries as having juridical, and thus diplomatic, personality; the Holy See exchanged embassies and other forms of diplomatic representation with other sovereign actors long before the modern state existed.
Half the Story
From Leo XIII through Pius XII: Catholicism Exploring Modernity On February 20, , less than two weeks after the death of Pius IX, sixty-eight year old Gioacchino Vincenzo Pecci was elected pope as a place-keeper, the thinking being that he would keep the Chair of Peter warm for a few years as the cardinals evidently did not want to repeat the previous, three-decades-long pontificate. There are, as sociologist Peter Rossi used to say, many ironies in the fire. Catholicism in Post-Modernity: The Recovery of the Evangelical Imperative This brief sketch of the broad outlines of Catholicism-and-modernity from the point of view of papal teaching has necessarily skipped over many fascinating examples of what was happening on the ground, so to speak, while the drama of this papal and conciliar wrestling with modernity unfolded.
Comments are closed. Support EPPC. Cokie and Lindy George Weigel. Ironies in the Fire George Weigel. Stay Connected! Are you enjoying this article? One faction, led by ex-fascist Boleslav Piasecki, won the support of French philo-Communist Catholics like Mounier, but eventually twisted its personalism into craven rationalizations of the Stalinist police state.
Chappel and Kosicki take this anti-liberalism as a simple fact of life more understandable in the Polish case rather than a possibly toxic inheritance of Catholic anti-modernity deserving more exploration. Catholic anti-modernity and affinity for fascist or other authoritarian regimes were embedded in a gestalt.
Catholic life blended defensiveness with triumphalism, emphasis on theological doctrine with a suspicion of intellect, and grassroots mobilization with centralized and personified authority. Over four years an institution priding itself on claims of immutability instead changed, in ways brought home to the faithful at every Mass. I can understand the desire not to reheat internal church developments when Chappel is pursuing the admirable goal of integrating Catholicism into the larger European story.
Chappel and Kosicki belong to a post—Cold War generation of historians who are expanding our views of Catholic and European history. He strives to sort out elements encompassing family values, welfare protections, and economic growth as well as egalitarianism and a deep-seated discontent with capitalism.
Kosicki not only stretches our view to Central Europe but reminds us of an immediate postwar leeway in which Catholic hopes and choices were not as limited or obvious as they would all too soon become. And not insignificantly both scholars have also offered thoughtful political commentary in various journals of the democratic left.
It is easy to see these two historians already in dialogue with one another, complementing or correcting their respective projects.
We should look forward to seeing others join in. Please email comments to letters commonwealmagazine. Half the Story. Catholicism in the Modern World. By Peter Steinfels. Share Share Twitter Print. Emmanuel Mounier. Published in the May 18, issue:. View Contents. Also by this author Unnamed sources. Related U. Vatican II. Secularism and Modernity. The Faces behind the Numbers. By Santiago Ramos.
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