Theologian says cultural renewal starts with Catechism

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Merrimack, N.H., Feb 28, 2013 / 04:03 am (CNA).- A U.S. theology professor’s new book seeks to revitalize society through the “integrated whole of the Catholic vision,” found in the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Dr. Ryan Topping of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H., said that the task of evangelizing formerly Christian societies “requires effort on all fronts.”

“Bishops have their part, as do religious, as do politicians; but it is in the field of the family that most of us need to begin our work,” he told CNA Feb. 26.

Topping’s new publication, “Rebuilding Catholic Culture,” was released in January by Sophia Institute Press.

It outlines his belief is that Catholic tradition, as it is found in the Creed and in the Church’s liturgy, moral teachings, and mystical practice, must be recovered if Western culture is to be shaped by Catholicism again.

The book concludes that the four practical measures which need to be taken so that Western culture can be evangelized are an end to abortion; having more children; teaching them Latin; and building beautiful churches.

The first three all concern the rearing of children and family life – the first school of prayer – to which much of Topping’s thought is directed.

“The first vocation crisis is in the family,” he said. Recognizing that grace builds on nature, he pointed out that prayer before meals only makes sense when families bother to eat together. But “in many homes basic civilities – like eating together – are no longer habitual.”

Small natural acts like eating as a family are the first steps toward sanctity, and towards evangelization, he said. He highlighted the the link between culture and cult – worship. “For Catholic family life, this means that all our routines must, somehow, be ordered to or flow from the Mass,” he said.

I may have to look into this book. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything mentioned in the article, I do agree with much of it and he makes some good points in my view. Catechesis, and living the Faith as a family is a huge step in the right direction. A renewed sense of sacredness in the liturgy (which I believe can happen in the vernacular) church architecture, music, reading the classics, etc. would also be massive steps to take.

I also don’t agree with everything in that article, but I am certainly intrigued. Its certainly a step in the right direction.

The book concludes that the four practical measures which need to be taken so that Western culture can be evangelized are an end to abortion; having more children; teaching them Latin; and building beautiful churches.

I think he’s completely wrong on these four practical steps, grossly confused on cause and effect.

  • ending abortion is an ‘effect’ after people are evangelized, not a ‘cause’ or pre-requisite.
  • having more children is also the result of a true Christian life, not the cause
  • teaching Latin is nice but hardly essential to being catechized
  • spending millions on churches is going to win hearts and minds how?

This guy just doesn’t get anything about evangelism in this century.

And yet those ugly Churches are overly expensive as well if not more! Art and beauty inspire!

I agree, but at least in the West, we don’t need a renewal so much as a rebirth. There really is no culture here anymore that is not infected. What is the remnant we can build on?

This looks like an interesting book. I noticed a few people said that they didn’t agree with everything in the article, but didn’t give any examples.:tsktsk: That’s no way to get a conversation going. I’ll play the controversy card and say that I disagree with the first step in his plan: Ending abortion. I agree, of course, that abortion is a grave evil no less than murder, but I think that bringing about its end is more a milestone towards the goal of revitalizing culture rather than a means to achieve that goal.

It’s rude to add words or thoughts not expressed. Nobody here said they were ‘ugly.’

A few logic holes:
You need people in the pews to be inspired by the beauty
You need poeople in the pews to tithe and pay for the new churches
Living the Catholic life actually requires a different kind of inspiration than art alone can deliver.
Art is nice but not essential.

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