In the June/July 2009 issue of First Things Archbishop Chaput of Denver lays out the state of Catholicism in the U.S. and then uses Saint Paul as an example of how we should be engaging the culture. As always Archbishop Chaput does not mince any words. Here are four examples:
The November election showed us that forty years of American Catholic complacency and poor formation are bearing fruit.
If 65 million Catholics really cared about their faith and cared about what it teaches, neither political party could ignore what we believe about justice for the poor, or the homeless, or immigrants, or the unborn. If 65 million American Catholics really understood their faith, we wouldn't need to waste one another's time arguing whether the legalized killing of an unborn child is somehow balanced out or excused by other social policies.
If we learn nothing else from last November, it should be this: We need to stop overcounting our numbers, our influence, our institutions, and our resources, because they are not real. We cannot talk about following St. Paul and converting our culture until we sober up and admit what we've allowed ourselves to become. We need to stop lying to each other, to ourselves, and to God by claiming to oppose personally some homicidal evil - and allowing it to be legal at the same time.
We've forgotten how to think, especially how to think as Catholics. We have to make ourselves stupid to believe some of the things American Catholics are now expected to accept. There is nothing more empty-headed in a pluralist democracy than telling citizens to keep quiet about their beliefs. A healthy democracy requires exactly the opposite. Democracy requires a vigorous public struggle of convictions and ideas. And the convictions of some people always get imposed on everybody else. That's the nature of a democracy. So why should faithful Catholics play by different rules and a misguided sense of good manners?