There is, I think, a little bit of irony in a member of the American hierarchy writing an important and provocative book in which he says, among other things, that some Catholics pay too much attention to members of the American hierarchy!Still, I can't say from this interview that I know what he means by saying that we should be "simply Catholic." Does it mean being apolitical? Does it mean dialing down on Church politics? Or is it something more than that? How do we distill the "simply Catholic" essence from the society in which it is inculturated? Do we prescind from philosophical theories, economic theories, social and biological theories? What do we do with our minds? Surely, "simply Catholic" cannot mean "simple Catholic." Do we stay away from the hard questions and focus on the broad areas of agreement? When? For what purposes?At the same time, the movements he cites are very attractive to me--the centrality of the works of mercy.
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.