No wonder Catholics find elections these days so grim. To be a Catholic in 2012, in the modern West at least, is to live at the end of a long history. Brad Gregory eloquently shows us some of what that means. Our moral failures and our intellectual choices have had consequences over the centuries. And now our culture is fractured.
But it didn’t–and it doesn’t–need to be that way. The Church is still here, still calling us to repentance, still summoning us to the sacraments. In this Year of Faith, she invites Catholics to a great new evangelization–not against fellow Christians from other traditions, but in friendship with them as brothers. Our ambition must be to repair a culture of unbelief and to heal the inhuman politics that flows from it. And if we can’t achieve that in concert with our fellow Christians, then we can at least live the Gospel more faithfully ourselves. It’s time, and long past time, to close the gap between our words and our actions; our preaching and our practice.
Professor Gregory has reminded us with uncommon grace and clarity that we cannot escape our past. But neither do we need to be captured by it. That alone makes his book worth the price.
This article is reprinted with kind permission from Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, an online publication of the Witherspoon Institute that seeks to enhance the public understanding of the moral foundations of free societies by making the scholarship of the fellows and affiliated scholars of the Institute available and accessible to a general audience.