Jeg skrev for noen uker siden om en kjent amerikansk protestantisk filosof som nylig kom tilbake til Den katolske kirke, Francis Beckwith. I et interessant intervju forteller han nå om hvorfor han forlot den katolske kirke i ungdomsårene. Det var fordi Kirken var for interessert i å være “moderne” og fordi den ikke klarte å sette moderne teologiske fenpmener inn i en kirkehistorisk og teologisk sammenheng.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was part of the first generation of Catholics who would have no memory of the Church prior to Vatican II. This also meant that I grew up, and attended Catholic schools, during a time in which well-meaning Catholic leaders were testing all sorts of innovations in the Church, many of which were deleterious to the proper formation of young people.
On the other hand, there were some very important renewal movements in the Church at the time. The Catholic Charismatic Movement had a profound impact on me.
During my middle school years, while attending Maranatha House, a Jesus People church in downtown Vegas, I also frequented a Catholic Charismatic Bible study. Some of the folks at that Bible study were instrumental in bringing to my parents’ parish three Dominican priests who offered a week-long evening seminar on the Bible and the Christian life. I attended that seminar and was very much taken by the Dominicans’ erudition and deep spirituality, and the love of Jesus that was evident in the way they conducted themselves.
But I was also impressed with the personal warmth and commitment to Scripture that I found among charismatic Protestants with whom I had interacted at Maranatha House. Looking back, and knowing what I know now, I believe that the Church’s weakness was presenting the renewal movements as something new and not part of the Church’s theological traditions.
For someone like me, who was interested in both the spiritual and intellectual grounding of the Christian faith, I didn’t need the “folk Mass” with cute nuns and hip priests playing “Kumbaya” with guitars, tambourines and harmonicas. And it was all badly done. After all, we listened to the Byrds, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and we knew the Church just couldn’t compete with them.
But that’s what the Church offered to the young people of my day: lousy pop music and a gutted Mass. If they were trying to make Catholicism unattractive to young and inquisitive Catholics, they were succeeding.
What I needed, and what many of us desired, were intelligent and winsome ambassadors for Christ who knew the intellectual basis for the Catholic faith, respected and understood the solemnity and theological truths behind the liturgy, and could explain the renewal movements in light of these.