The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.
The issue here is not liberal vs. conservative, Benedict vs. Francis. The issue is a holistic, renewed sense of what it means to live the Gospel vs. piecemeal battles over isolated hot-button issues. Bring on the reenchantment program!
David Cloutier is associate professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s University and editor of catholicmoraltheology.com. He is the author of The Vice of Luxury (2015), Walking God's Earth: The Environment and Christian Ethics (2014), and Love, Reason, and God's Story: An Introduction to Catholic Sexual Ethics (2008). In fall 2016, he is starting a position at the Catholic University of America.