My friend Lee asks a basic question that has occupied my pastoral ministry for the past ten years or more. I’m convinced that Catholic culture can be revived on the family and parish fronts, but it will take lots of effort. Mainly, it will need a reexamination of every votive thing we do: making sure it aligns with the goal of strengthening Catholicciculture. My staff colleagues in my last four parishes and I have struggled with the principle, taking baby steps mostly.
Phil Lawler’s effort, if it continues along his previous internet themes of conservative think-tankery, will never achieve a fullness of culture. Countless conservatives (and many liberals to boot) seem to think the creation or resuscitation of a culture can happen from one extreme or another. Leaven, however, does not act from a corner of the bread dough. It must be spread out: left and right, top and bottom, fringes and center.
Lee is correct that culture must include the arts. It also cannot grow without an appeal to the affective dimension of humanity in addition to the intellectual.
It would be interesting to see what Catholic conservatives and liberals working together would do in terms of concrete suggestions to revive Catholic culture. How much secular culture would be included? Where would the common ground appear? What surprises would we find?