Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dr. James Gaston on Lack of Catholic Cultural Perspective

Why then should we today care about culture, and Catholic culture in particular? Because our Catholic tradition has not been fully conveyed to us and therefore we lack the Catholic cultural perspective we need to understand and respond to the multifaceted modern culture in which we live. The religious and intellectual vision of the modern West has changed, and the culture has changed right along with it. Today we have a leviathanic [sic] secular humanistic technological culture void of nearly any higher moral vision of order or constraint. If the modern Christian is to live a good prudent life under the yoke of this pervasive materialistic deracinated culture, the need for a self-conscious Catholic cultural perspective has become almost mandatory.

Our ancestors didn’t need such a selfconscious [sic] perspective because they lived a Christian way of life in harmony with their local and regional ethnic cultures. Theirs was a culture rooted in a simple small-town agrarian rhythm of life, or based in an American Catholic immigrant ethnic ghetto, that directed and limited the individual’s personal and communal way of life. We no longer enjoy the luxury of living almost unconsciously a virtuous way of life fashioned by our Christian ethnic ancestors. There has been a break in the enculturation process, and the typical Catholic needs to reconnect with the Christian perspective and culture of the past in order to shape a new way of life that befits the religious, intellectual, and material crisis of Western society of today.

Such a vision is, frankly, akin to Catholic liberal education. It requires a reasonable grasp of the main currents of the history of the West and the Church and a practical understanding of how culture actually functions. [...]

You begin with your own spiritual and intellectual development, lovingly share this with your family, and do so while you interact with the culture and natural milieu at large. The source and starting point is your personal encounter with the Incarnate Word. Then your journey proceeds with a prudent consideration of the true dignity of the person and the family, the heritage and character of the local or regional community, and a just and harmonious utilization of property and the natural environment.


Source: Dr. James Gaston, "Catholic Culture: What is it and Why Should We Care About It?," Catholics United for the Faith, January 8, 2013, accessed January 1, 2014,

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments ad hominem or deemed offensive by the moderator will be subject to immediate deletion.