Culture warrior Catholics empty of positive faith

culture warrior

Culture warrior Catholics are falling prey to fundamentalism and bigotry says a Czechoslovakian academic.

Warning the positive content of faith has become emptied, Father Tomáš Halík quotes the former Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini; “I am not so much afraid of people who do not have faith; what disturbs me are people who do not think”.

“For a large number of today’s Christians, the positive content of faith has become empty.

“Therefore, they need to found their ‘Christian identity’ on ‘culture wars’ against condoms, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc”, Halík writes in an article on “The Revolution of Mercy and a New Ecumenism.”

Halík is professor of philosophy and sociology of religion at Charles University in Prague, President of the Czech Christian Academy and a recipient of the highly prestigious Templeton Prize.

He encourages the Church to not submit to the yoke of slavery, of legalistic religion.

I really cannot march under the same banner as Christians who align themselves with populist and nationalist political movements, hold to literalist interpretations of the Bible, deploy facile arguments against the ordination of women and engage in fanatical fights against abortion and LGBT+ rights writes Halík.

He struggles with “major doubt” in respect to those Christians who fall prey to what Pope Francis labels as the “neurotic obsession” of faith.

A champion of the current Pope, Halík is encouraging a “culture of spiritual discernment and fostering of those values that lead both to the heart of the gospel and a courageous and creative response to the ‘signs of the times.’”

Francis shows the way to a “Christianity of tomorrow”, and understanding mercy is key to his reform.

“Pope Francis is not a revolutionary bent on changing church doctrine… rather, he is merciful”, Halík explained.

“This pope does not change written standards, nor does he tear down external structures; however, he transforms praxis and life”.

Halík observes that Francis is not changing the church from the outside, but he is transforming it “far more thoroughly”, spiritually from the inside and through the spirit of the Gospel.

Halík calls it “a revolution of mercy”.

“In his case, these words [on same-gender civil unions] are not mere empty pious phrases. Therefore, his reform has the potential to change the Church and bring it back to the heart of Jesus’s message more profoundly than many reforms of the past”, Halík insisted.

It is “through his personal example of Christian bravery… (Francis) calls us to act like free children of God, responsibly exercising the freedom to which Christ has liberated us and not submitting again to the ‘yoke of slavery’ of legalistic religion”.

Attacking those “high priests of the church of dead religion” who downplay Francis’ reforms on LGBT and other matters, Halík calls on Catholics to continue the “spiritual renewal of the Church”.

He asks Catholics to redouble their efforts to communicate the idea of God “as a kind, generous, understanding, forgiving, and healing power capable of transforming the human heart, the Church, and society”.

Halík says Francis enfleshes John Paul II’s call, “Do not be afraid”.


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