Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Quick Hits: the confusion of the 1970s, the necessity of telling right from wrong

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 29, 2016 | In Quick Hits

Two essays that appeared online over the weekend fall squarely into the “must-read” category:

  • Writing for The Catholic Thing, Father Robert Imbelli discovers “A Pure Distillation of 1970s Catholicism” in an article by Jim Purcell that appeared in the National Catholic Reporter. Purcell, a former priest who is now vice-president of a Jesuit university, longs for the Church “to shift the emphasis of pastoral leadership from the celebration of the Eucharist back to the preaching of the kingdom.” But if the Eucharist is not the central focus of the Church—if Christ’s Sacrifice is not at the heart of the mission—what sort of kingdom is being preached? Father Imbelli observes:
    No wonder that, despite papal exhortations from Paul VI to Francis for a “new evangelization,” missionary zeal appears enervated, while the “nones” in our midst continue to proliferate. For if Jesus is just another voice, hawking his wares in the secular wilderness, who will set the fire of faith ablaze?
  • The Canadian stylist David Warren, writing on his “Essays in Idleness” blog, reflects on discernment of spirits, which involves helping people to recognize clearly what is right and what is wrong. “Sometimes it is complicated,” Warren observes. “Never is it mush.”
    If you wonder what he means by “mush,” Warren proceeds to outline the reasoning of the “bad angel” who sits on his shoulder to suggest “that my sins might be ‘okay’ in the murky context of my previous mortal sinning.” Warren criticizes those who instruct spiritual directors to avoid moral clarity. He doesn’t name any name. He doesn’t have to.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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