Today, there is a new crisis, spawned by the older—a crisis of rupture. Throughout the culture—and even in some parts of the Church—we see growing separation from our heritage and guiding principles. The crisis whirls around the Catholic laity’s difficulty in standing by Catholic tradition and letting it animate ideas and action in the temporal order.
The clerical-secular discombobulation of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s nearly shattered our ability to draw upon the wisdom and experience of the past. The age upon us now combines a virulent hostility towards tradition and faith. Rupture, the eldest child of the secular-clerical liaison, marks the new age. Both as cardinal and as pontiff, Benedict XVI has described the mentality of this crisis as a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” and called for the faithful to challenge this with a “hermeneutic of continuity.” The Holy Father’s recent discourse on Catholicism and the public square to American bishops places the severity of issue squarely before us:
It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism, which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.
Here, once more, we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in our country. As essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.
Crisis has conceived its mission around the Holy Father’s insights. Each day, Crisis will remind countless Catholics of their heritage, give them the confidence to defend the common good, a just society, the teachings the Church, the family, the dignity of work and the sanctity of life. Our authors hope to help the new laity (and clerical readers) form both their intellect and their spirituality in a scholarly, but accessible, way.
Crisis will analyze, discuss, and propose—from a variety of prudential positions— sane solutions to social and economic problems. We hope not merely to arm our readers with the arguments necessary for navigating the ideological (and theological) minefields of the day, but to do so by proceeding into the temporal order with charity and humility. There is seldom a single Catholic solution to the challenges that beset us.
We hope that the staff of Crisis continue to display all the doggedness and the fidelity of the original editorial architects and contributors of this magazine. Our Catholic Faith and our society demand no less.
Staff at Crisis Magazine
John M. Vella
William Fahey, Ph.D.
Editor of The Civilized Reader
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