Friday, March 29, 2002

by Michael Novak would be another knee-jerk anti-liberal screed along the line of what Rod Dreher has been writing lately. The title "The Culture of 'Dissent'" did not raise my hopes. I was wrong.

Novak takes a nuanced look at what the Church is about, and how we've strayed away from what our core values are. He acknowledges that dissent is healthy, but not when it manifests itself as contempt and rebellion. I found this passage moving:

In recovery, we must first applaud our loyal, faithful, and hardworking priests, who have suffered great injustice.

The next step is to build a new Catholic culture on all the strengths of our inheritance. Not on liquid mush, but on the rock that Jesus chose. Human weakness is one thing; willful rebellion is another. Contempt for Rome was the starting place of the evil that befell us.

I don't agree with eveything Novak says -- yes, we may have gone too far towards stressing the "human" rather than the "divine", but a Catholic life in the knowledge of the Resurrection ought to be joyful. And the beginning of Christian life was gathering together to support each other.

Novak shares my paschal hope that some great good will come through this, and that the Church will emerge from this stronger. That strengthens my hope.
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