Thursday, November 03, 2005

Catholic Subculture

In 2001 Russell Shaw wrote an article (read the original at CatholicExchange.com here) about restoring the Catholic subculture in this country. He wrote:

"That means rebuilding a subculture. With all its limitations, the one of the past had some important strengths. Indeed, for a time back in the 1940s and 1950s it may have positioned the Catholic community to become the main culture-forming agent in America. But the subculture was scrapped, the moment passed, the opportunity lost."

Yesterday I was reading about Catholic publishing houses and the renewal of Catholic fiction at People of the Book. Regina Doman is quoted as saying (original article here) that "the fact remains that a steadily growing number of Catholics, especially Catholic parents, are searching for alternative culture and are putting their money towards creating one. And this subculture that is being created through their buying choices does include (or will include) entertainment. "

She also says, "There is also the growing perception among Catholics that mainstream values and culture are becoming increasingly amoral and sometimes anti-Catholic, which in many cases causes them to try to create or search for alternative forms of culture."

In his new book, "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church" (yes it was released on 1 November and is ready for shipment-order your copy today here), Russell Shaw again brings to fore the necessity of a Catholic subculture:

"The new Catholic subculture must instead be built upon an infrastructure of dynamically orthodox institutions, programs, and movements committed to forming and motivating Catholics for the evangelization of the secular world. Here and there, it may be starting to happen. If it is to succeed, lay women and men must play a key role."

I think on one hand, Catholics, especially Catholic families are desiring a renewal of a Catholic subculture - for the healthy upbringing and formation of their children and for the spiritual lives of the parents. [See also the discussions which arise from time to time on some blogs about Catholic Resettlement proposals - sorry, can't find the links this morning-these are really desires for a Catholic subculture). On the other hand there is a need for a Catholic subculture to be the basis for the evangelization of the larger culture. These two reasons for a renewed Catholic subculture are necessarily complimentary and must go hand-in-hand: we can't hide from the larger world in our own enclaves, (putting our candles under the bushel basket); yet we cannot kneel to the values of the secular culture we live in either.

The solution is a new Catholic subculture. And as Russell Shaw says, "Here and there, it may be starting to happen" ...

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