mar 212008
 

John Allen prøver i gi navn til en ny trend han ser i Den katolske kirke. Han ser 1) en større vektlegging på katolsk tro, 2) en modig offentlig bekjennelse av denne, og 3) en virkelig selvstendig tilslutning til disse sannhetene. Han har endt opp, eller en del fram og tilbake, med begrepet “evangelisk katolisitet”:

By “evangelical Catholicism” I don’t have in mind primarily Catholic adaptation of styles of belief and worship associated with evangelical Protestantism, such as high-octane praise and worship or a strong personal relationship with Jesus. Neither am I talking about the root sense of “evangelical” as a radical witness to the values of the gospel, though both in a sense are part of the picture.

Instead, what I’m trying to describe is the most powerful current at the policy-setting level of the church, as well as a dynamic constituency at the Catholic grassroots. It pivots on three points:

* A strong reaffirmation of traditional markers of Catholic belief, language and practice. Examples include the revitalization of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, reassertion that Catholicism alone possesses the fullness of what it means to be “church,” and rejection of theological tendencies that would put Christ on the same level as other saving figures;
* Bold public assertion of those markers of identity;
* Personal embrace of those markers of identity, as opposed to simply imbibing them from traditional Catholic cultures, neighborhoods and families.

Defined this way, “evangelical Catholicism” can be understood as a response to secularism and what Benedict XVI calls the “dictatorship of relativism,” protecting the church against assimilation by emphasizing what makes Catholicism distinct.

I had originally referred to this mega-trend as the “Catholic identity movement,” but that drew fire from liberal Catholics who argued that reaffirming traditional belief and devotion, such as the Latin Mass, is not the only way to articulate a strong Catholic identity. Since I’m trying to describe this movement, not to pass judgment on it, I went back to the drawing board in search of a more neutral nomenclature. In the end, I settled on “evangelical Catholicism” because it captures the sense of a public assertion of traditional Catholic identity in the context of a highly pluralistic, secular culture.

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