VIDEO Ross Douthat on the Crisis of Conservative Catholicism

Ross Douthat is now the target of snark by liberal catholics even though he writes for Hell’s Bible (aka New York Times).

Ross recently gave a talk at Erasmus Address gathering sponsored by First Things.  It is a must view talk. You might not agree with everything he offers, but he gives a good 10000 foot view of the issues and he is a pleasure to listen to. Good sense of humor too.

The Crisis of Conservative Catholicism featuring Ross Douthat from First Things on Vimeo.

Say a prayer for Ross, who is recovering from horrible Lyme’s Disease.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jfk03 says:

    The Holy Spirit is at work in this journalist. Those of us who treasure the orthodox faith need to ponder his words.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    The video stuttered when I watched it. Nice narrative summary of the current situation. Some of his statistics are shocking. 48% of Catholics think it is fine for couples living together to receive Communion means that there is no fear of God in half of the Church. We are failing them with the truth.

    The Chicken

  3. Mike says:

    I am almost finished watching this excellent speech….and wondering if the term “conservative Catholic” should be taken out and shot behind the barn. (I am politically conservative, btw.)

    Otherwise, solid insights. His manner too, excellent…calm and clear.

  4. Mike says:

    Two or three more witch hunts such as what the academic elites have recently unleashed upon Mr. Douthat might — might — just produce sufficient backlash to undo them for a long, long time. In any event let us pray for their conversion as we do for our own.

    That said, Mr. Douthat’s skeptical appraisal of the “biological solution” is, I think, especially resonant and timely.

  5. Mike says:

    He suggests, in the “very long run” it may take another Ecumenical Council to settle some issues afflicting the Church since the late 60’s.

    Or, I would add, perhaps simply what +Schneider thought of: a syllabus of errors, so to speak, by a ruling Supreme Pontiff which would clarify the ambiguities of V2.

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    Letter to the Catholic Academy, by Ross Douthat, still writing for the New York Times.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    The Apostolic Exhortation is the thing. The Synods demonstrated we have two definite camps. We can’t go on like this forever.
    If the AE contains clear lines in favor of church doctrine, we dodged a bullet. If it does not, that is going to be interesting.
    I was hoping, praying, that the Synod would embolden some Cardinals, or even, Cardinal, to frankly, make a scene, ala, John the Baptist. We simply cannot have this kind of rupture continue without it being addressed, in a big way. The longer this goes on, the worse it is going to get. People are really confused, and that is just patently unfair to do to people. Frankly, the best opportunity has gone by. The time to do this was at the Synod, but it did not happen. What glued Cardinals to their seats? I know remarks were made afterward, but really, where are the men who are on fire for the Holy Spirit? Where are the men who forget careers and call out heresies and heretics? Good grief, don’t we have any of those men in our current church? Has decorum become a more important value than defense of the teaching of Christ? Even if the scene goes nowhere, the majority are for heresy, the point was made. That’s worth something.
    Let’s imagine for a second the AE contains problematic material. Thus far we have Cardinals, bishops, priests, theologians, making some comments to Catholic media, we’ve got some articles written, etc. That is not going to be near enough to address what we have. Not NEAR enough.
    Russ Douthat is a faithful Catholic. God bless him. He’s a journalist. If it hits the fan after the AE, and all we have are comments by journalists and an article here and there, I don’t know what we have, but it will be a sorry, sorry mess.

  8. Grabski says:

    At times, makes me weary and want to swim the Roaring Brook in South Scranton to join the Polish NCC

  9. MikeM says:

    This seemed like a sound analysis.

    While it’s clear that the battles are far from over (and, I suspect, will continue until Christ puts an end to them in the flesh), I hope that as we move beyond the “Immediate victory is inevitable” narratives, we don’t shift too far into despairing territory. The “divorced and remarried” matter and its related issues are a huge battle whose significance can hardly be overstated. But, faithful Catholics have had to fight similar battles at pretty much every moment of Church history.

    Now, “the left” has won in a conclave and we got… Pope Francis. I’m very concerned about how he’ll proceed on a few matters, but he’s a lot closer to most of us than to a lot of the leaders of liberal Catholicism not all that long ago. And (while a lot could change between now and then), Tagle is viewed as the liberal choice for the next conclave… And while it seems to me that that would be a very unfortunate pick, it could be much worse.

    If we compare what’s happened in the Church to what’s happened in Protestant and other Christian communities, to what’s happened to the culture at large, or to the trajectory that the Catholicism once seemed to be on, I think that we should still be grateful that things aren’t a lot worse. Faithful Catholics still have a lot of work to do, and we should always look for our failures and try to improve… But, a lot of people have done a lot right.

  10. benedetta says:

    Quite interesting. I have to concur that there have to be some major shifts given the things that are, have been, happening, in the US in Catholicism.

    Many of us have noted that while there are generally more solid Bishops out there than in previous decades, the fact is that there are still apparatus in many places, entrenched, which prevents a lively and joyful practice of the Faith, or animates/organizes actively (quietly sometimes or more and more) against it, including in beaurocratic strongholds as well as in education, both at parish and school levels.

    Additionally there is still a lot of maneuvering in many places to prevent reverent and authentic Catholic worship, just at Novus Ordo level let alone more celebrations of the Extraordinary Form (or less celebrations of it as the case may be). The power grabs are more subtle but are designed to continue to shut out the sectors of more vibrant and beautiful faith, including that of youth, in a great many places, which is obviously quite telling as to the strategic targeting.

    Also, importantly, the issue of soft persecution is not being acknowledged, to the detriment of some, even little ones — what is happening requires some specialized supports for those affected by it and where is that. This is not only a matter of the ideology of human rights and dignity but even spills over into public health, is just basic on the ground caritas. So, are we going to add to the soup kitchens and food pantry outreaches in some suburban areas, ptsd counseling from a Catholic perspective for those affected? If we blink then there is a deep human cost, simple as that. Some are betting on silence to win their day. Persecution’s human cost, even soft ones, even in the West, is debilitating from every perspective: emotionally, physically, financially, politically, spiritually, societally. Silence on this basically assures the harm takes effect and takes some out of the game the way that sexual/ephebophile abuse did. Let’s be sure where we are going together. Doing nothing and being quiet about it basically assures in a horrible and even violent way the victory of not “moderate” or “liberal” or any other Catholicism but something else that often does business with those.

    Failing to talk about that openly obviously enables the political wings which embrace that which have enjoyed no small amounts of success in supporting that in various open and more covert ways. So, if you don’t care that kids may be affected then how about that.

    I agree that it is not as if the prior popes were “with” the orthodox practice of the faith whereas this pope is not. But obviously the truth as winning as it is was not heard in many places which still labor under many errors and strange ways of looking at the faith, or, from neglect of preaching have not the benefit, fully, of the faith and sacraments as they should.

    It should be noted that the degree to which Catholicism was infected by some sentiments was that in many places those who identify as “moderate” or “Catholic and Easter” Catholics have come to rest in an assumption they are often not even aware of, and never had the opportunity to examine it in the full light of day and challenge it in reason, and it was served up via propaganda and culture that “Pope equals bad” and thus they labor under very strange filters or blinkers that prevent them from enjoying, or just understanding intellectually using their consciences and free will, the fulness of the Faith.

    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, ora pro nobis.

  11. benedetta says:

    I think some other corollaries worth examining here that go along with his points have to do with the fact that at least in the US, the whatever you want to call it cafe/dissenting or claiming to be the moderates have yessed the power elites in media, pop culture, and politics to their immense boon, caricaturing orthodoxy as scolds and pocketing the profits, so to speak, and using those power groups to bully others into getting their way. Which may or may not have “historical” or “theological” precedent. But clearly it’s worked well for them, their practice of only encouraging people who blatantly teach and act according to the life giving foundation of the Faith as being “good enough” Catholics and as celebrity Catholics and working with the beaurocracies and structures has been a demographic plus for their un-magisterium.

    Along with that is the common suburban iteration of the lace curtain which posits all teaching and formation as well as sacramental celebration from a “public relations professional” perspective, looking at congregation as “clients” to be won according to marketing strategies and fast and fancy talk, no matter the realities or if truth cuts through those. They teach people to expect this as kindness and as some kind of clubby, folksy fellowship. This is all well and good but is that really living? Is it really living the spiritual life?

    Meanwhile, orthodoxy accepts tacitly amongst one another, which can be its own downfall in terms of keeping it to one’s self, the supernatural. It is not that pr or fellowship are of no import, but it is that these and all must be consecrated, all are imbued, and much requires careful discernment, working on a supernatural level always. But the Easter/Christmas good enough and we vote the program crowd doesn’t speak prayer or supernatural or tradition. So what flies by them is completely uncomprehended. They do not speak in those terms (or pray in them) not necessarily because they do not want it, or would not desire if they knew…or because they have had a full hearing of it, with permission and time to consider and evaluate and analyse according to conscience. And therein lies opportunity.

  12. benedetta says:

    The above ^ obviously explains why some will never call others to account on the life giving commandment “thou shalt not kill” or “I came that they may have life” or “do unto others” — because they wanted to move the powers of the demographics that supported “choice” to steer to their benefit and desires. To the other camp’s consternation. And, obviously, it is dissonant and incoherent, now more and more, and especially to young people, that one would purport to represent Jesus and look the other way on, well…you know…the great hell’s bible fanatical obsession…the thing the one party must have, more of, and cannot ever do without. According to that schema, prolifers are just shrill scolds, and to heck with the realities. Look China just said “ok” to two, count ’em. So the times are slowly swinging back to perceiving that children, that giving birth and sustaining life is a “good”. It’s also a fire, and, if permitted to speak, a game changer.

  13. benedetta says:

    One wonders what in these times will befall these young people who by their own devices come to a particular conclusion that they wish to find expression in terms of faith and who have considered the evidence and completed a process of sound reasoning. A conclusion that as it happens does not square with the elites the money and the power and the status quo in academe, in politics, in culture and in some other places as well. Will they be told “Congratulations, you have let your conscience be your guide.” (And to thine own self be true — LOL). And then, they will be told next, “Unfortunately, even though conscience is inviolable, in this case it presents a direct contradiction to the powers that be of this world who need to continue this practice at the service of greed and other things. Someone Official From the Church will be along shortly — er, eventually — maybe — depending on several factors — to assist you and walk with you in your journey of faith. You are welcome. Remember, that in fact, because we say so, and just for the saying, that All Are Welcome. We haven’t the resources or wherewithal or program to support this particular movement of conscience in your case at this particular moment, but, depending on the winds of change, in another generation, we may have need of it.”

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