A Catholic scholar assesses a “turning point”

From The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture (Herder & Herder, 2009):

We are at a turning point in the life of the Church in this country. Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project. Essentially a critique, even a necessary critique at one point in our history, it is now parasitical on a substance that no longer exists. It has shown itself unable to pass on the faith in its integrity and inadequate, therefore, in fostering the joyful self-surrender called for in Christian marriage, in consecrated life, in ordained priesthood. It no longer gives life.

The answer, however, is not to be found in a type of conservative Catholicism obsessed with particular practices and so sectarian in its outlook that it cannot serve as a sign of unity of all peoples in Christ.

The answer is simply Catholicism, in all its fullness and depth, a faith able to distinguish itself from any culture and yet able to engage and transform them all, a faith joyful in all the gifts Christ wants to give us and open to the whole world He died to save. The Catholic faith shapes a Church with a lot of room for differences in pastoral approach, for discussion and debate, for initiatives as various as the peoples whom God loves. But, more profoundly, the faith shapes a Church which knows Her Lord and knows Her own identity, a Church able to distinguish between what fits into the tradition that unites Her to Christ and what is a false start or a distorting thesis, a Church united here and now because She is always one with the Church throughout the ages and with the saints in Heaven.

— Francis Cardinal George OMI (1937-2015)

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