Where are the Commonweal Catholics?
Mark Sargent March 10, 2006 - 5:52pm
This blog is a great idea. Anything that extends the discussion among thoughtful Catholics is to be welcomed in these difficult times. It is particularly welcome to see a blog that will be informed by the Commonweal tradition. Mentioning that tradition, however, raises the question -- just what is it? Or, more precisely, what's left of it? At one time, the phrase "Commonweal Catholic" had a precise meaning, and was used proudly by those who identified with it. While not entirely coextensive with the phrase "liberal Catholic," it obviously resonated in those precincts. The Catholic conversation today, however, seems to be less of a conversationthan a competition of monologues from what can be called left and right, faute de mieux. The general media, furthermore, tend to turn to voices on the extreme right and, paradoxically, to Catholics with highly agonistic attitudes toward the Church for "authoritative" voices. Where is the voice of liberal Catholicism in the fray? Does its relative absence reflect a crisis of confidence? Is liberal Catholicism an "exhausted project" or a contradiction in terms as some critics argue? Does it have intellectual coherence, moral integrity and political relevance both in the Church and the public square? I'd be interested in my co-blogista's thoughts on these questions -- as well as our readers' thoughts.