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A catholic faith for the postmodern era

Synthesizing Orthodox/Catholic and Protestant traditions in light of the undivided church in dialogue with Post-modernism - Neo-catholicism or Paleo-orthodoxy --

by Rev !atthew !irabile" #$ril %&&% The Postmodern reformational Paradigm is Neocatholic The neXt move 'hat" ultimately" will be the sha$e of the church for the next millenium( !any" including the li)es of *homas Odin and Robert 'ebber believe that the next formulation of the church will not be $atterned after ty$ical evangelical or charismatic models Robert 'ebber in his boo)" #ncient +uture +aith" suggests that the $ostmodern era calls for a church that draws from anti,uity for its sha$e # church that is liturgical and sacramental while still being in touch with the $ostmodern culture *his trend has recently been chronicled in such boo)s as Colleen Carroll-s recent .*he New +aithful/ 'hy 0oung #dults are 1mbracing Christian Orthodoxy. 23oyola Press4 and Robert 'ebber-s .*he 0ounger 1vangelicals. Right now there is a significant and growing movement among Postmodern Christians returning to $ractices li)e 1ucharistic adoration" the Rosary" the 3ectio 5ivina and other sacramental and Catholic forms of devotion *hese $ractices are even gaining ground in universities li)e 0ale 5ivinity School and finding devotion among 1vangelical Protestants 'hile some are returning to the historic churches themselves" many are attracted to these devotional elements as internal and $ersonal exercises without any formal connection to the historical churches they originate from *hat is" they en6oy the interiority" and ex$erience of these exercises but feel no need to become formally attached to those churches #t the same time other $ostmodern thin)ers li)e 3eonard Sweet and 7rian !c3aren" to name only two" are alerting the 1vangelical and Protestant Church of #merica to come to gri$s with the $ostmodern cultural wave Other Postmodern web meccas" li)e theooze com and gin)world net have ta)en this

mandate to embrace $ostmodernism to extremes and routinely advocate a total rethin)ing" a rema$$ing even" of the Christian Church and the +aith !any of the trends ex$ressed by these grou$s share more in common with the antiestablishment counter-cultural thin)ing of the 8&-s extra$olated to the $resent and ex$ress doctrine in such broad terms as to become more syncretistic than truly Christian 'hat alarms me the most about the trends re$resented here is how many are in loc)ste$ with the mind of the culture" yes with a $ostmodern mindset" but without recognizing that there are certain as$ects of the +aith that are immutable" and if we begin to sha$e the Church and faith to accommodate the culture we are on a sli$$ery slo$e *hese often fail to recognize the difference between a culturally relevant ex$ression of the +aith and a resha$ing of the +aith to accommodate the culture 9n other words" :ow do we ma)e the ex$ression of the faith relevant while retaining all those essential as$ects" Praxilogical" 1cclesial" and 5octrinal " that we have inherited from those who have gone before Surely" we cannot divorce ourselves from the Paradosis" the living tradition handed down from s$iritual father to son" 6ust to meet the s$irit of the age *o do so is to $ractice historical suicide" unrooting ourselves from an identity that is rooted in a real history Certainly the church of $ost-modernity is in crisis !any of the main-line churches have acce$ted a $ostmodern hermeneutic that has 6eo$ardized the orthodox faith" which in turn has led to a crisis of truth ;nfortunately many of the churches ex$ressly gearing themselves to reach the $ostmodern $erson" generations .<. and the .!illenials. 2the so-called .1mergent. churches within the Protestant Charismatic s$here4" have a similar crisis of truth Stee$ed in $ostmodern modes of thin)ing without a mooring in the orthodox and catholic faith there is no firm foundation in faith" doctrine" and $raxis 7ecause of this they endlessly scan the horizon loo)ing for new $aradigms in worshi$ and ministry" ex$erimenting with one or another new .angle. in the search for the sha$e of the next reformation 0et this also creates an internal crisis within these movements because it subverts the core desires of many Postmoderns for unity and truth" and the identity that comes from $ossessing a history Some !illenials have called the 1mergent movement and exam$le of .hy$ermodernism. rather than authentically $ostmodern Others li)e +rederic) 7aue" and myself" consider $ostmodernism transitional 'e are not in a singularly .$ostmodern. culture" but one in which modernism" hy$ermodernism" $ostmodernism and :olism 2what 9 consider to be the direction we are moving4 are all flowing together li)e the waters of a confused sea in a bay ;nder these conditions" with these currents at once fighting each other and flowing together it is difficult to reliably ma$ out the direction of the current #ll we can do is loo) for the navigation $oints to ta)e us out of the troubled waters and bring us to our desired haven Our Post !odern culture is des$erate at its core for *ruth" #uthenticity" !eaning" and !ystery *hese answer the soul sic)nesses of Sub6ectivism" Cynicism" Narcissism" and Nihilism-the bastard children of Protestantism and the 1nlightenment - brought to term by modernity !odern Protestantism has neither

the s$iritual resources" the sacramental $aradigm" or the .truth. formula-s necessary to bring healing to the $ostmodern soul 9n order to meet these core issues the church must model" from it-s worshi$ to it-s life" a Neo-Catholic Postmodern reformational $aradigm that answers this need for *ruth" #uthenticity" !eaning" and !ystery

*he .renewed catholicism. that we s$ea) of here" let-s say we call it .neocatholicism." is not and cannot be something new doctrinally 9t cannot reflect a new liturgy in which essential elements are removed" it cannot embrace a new morality that see)s truth by redefinition" it cannot redefine the essentials of the faith #ll these things are immutable 9t cannot embrace a new ecclesiology or 6ettison the historic government of the church by 7isho$s and Priests 'hat it can do is listen to the $ostmodern culture )eenly in order to res$ond pastorally with treasures old and new. Seeking new paradigms of ministry that are informed by postmodernism but not enslaved to them. This renewal is pastoral in nature, not doctrinal. The renewal is in emphasis, not substance. It is by expression not deconstruction. The danger of using the term "Neocatholic" and other alternatives 9t should be noted from the outset that there is a danger in using the term .Neocatholic. *his term has been used by *raditional Catholics to smear young $ostmodern Roman Catholics that have returned to the Roman Catholic Church who have no remembrance of the Roman Catholic Church $rior to =atican 99 and the charisma of Po$e >ohn Paul 99 *he term can also be seen to suggest that the historic faith has been altered in doctrine or $ractice thus re$resenting a heretical movement 7ut of course it is the nature of man by reason of our creation that we name things #nd so we find ourselves searching for a moni)er" a call sign" a symbol" of an historic ex$ression of the Catholic faith that is at once renewed and in dialogue with the $ostmodern world yet is anchored in the orthodox catholic tradition .Neocatholic" sounds li)e a good term for this" and it is less cumbersome than using .orthodox and catholic. which for many $eo$le is 6ust as ambiguous ;sing the terms .orthodox and catholic. together in this manner also signifies different things to different $eo$le *o the 1astern Orthodox it may suggest a church outside of historic Orthodoxy and therefor re6ected 'e cannot say Orthodox Catholic either because that would re$resent an 1astern rite church in communion with Rome *o Roman Catholics it usually means that the grou$ using such a $hrase would dis$ute Pa$al authority" mandatory celibacy for clergy" and other more recent Roman doctrines +or the 1astern Orthodox and Roman Catholics these two terms re$resent a battle ground for claims of legitimacy Perha$s we can use the term .neocatholic. to reflect the Orthodox $osition regarding Rome" the $osition held $rior to the ?reat Schism" yet reflecting the

more western Roman mode of thought common to the 'est #nd $erha$s we can add to this the 7iblio-centrism and evangelical em$hasis of the best of Protestantism tem$ering it with the inter$retive foundation of *radition #nd finally we then ma)e room in the e,uation" real $ractical room - not merely theological exercise - for the Charismatic/Pentecostal ex$ression of the life of faith 9n so doing we synthesize these elements into a woven whole *his in itself is a $ostmodern $aradigm" a tendency towards synthetic unity" the tendency to weave together seemingly variant as$ects of a thing into a cohesive whole *his is what it could mean to be a catholic and orthodox church in dialogue with the $ostmodern world #nd finally we cannot $igeon hole that dialogue with only the $ostmodern context because the whole world is not enmeshed in $ostmodernism" mainly only the 'est" and eventually Postmodernism will yield to something $ost $ostmodernism +inally there are two other terms we might em$loy to describe this neocatholicism - incentian !atholicism and !onsensual !atholicism 7oth of these have the same source" the =incentian canon #t this 6uncture in history" this sort of neo-$agan climate in which we find ourselves" the com$eting truth claims of various religions and religious factions" and the $ostmodern incredulity towards metanarrative" leaves us feeling the need to find unity but unable to ma$ it out *he =incentian canon hel$s us overcome some of the com$lexities that history $resents in the clash of wills and $ower over time 9t does this by $lacing the locus of dogma and $raxis" not in any one age or among any single grou$ of Christian $eo$le" but along a historical golden mean running through the ages re$resenting those things believed always" everywhere and by all So if one is neo-catholic at all one is only such because he is a Consensual Catholic in dialogue with his context Prophetic paradigms 7ehind significant movements in the thin)ing and subse,uent behavior of western culture has been a $ro$hetic movement of the church #n exam$le of this would be the Reformation" or @Ath century #merican Revivalism Such a movement is raised u$ by ?od as a corrective $aradigm to the current milieu 2and often the church itself as it grows to be enmeshed with the culture in unhealthy ways4 9n time" however" after the culture has been transformed by such a movement" the church and culture blend together and eventually become s)ewed" ebbing bac) in the tide of sin to a state of corru$tion" becoming an exaggeration or $erversion of the former movement *he formerly transformative $ro$hetic movement becomes li)e a familiar old shirt in the cultural wardrobe 9t $asses out of the s$ectrum of $ro$hetic light and loses it-s $ro$hetic edge 9t is at this $oint that ?od often raises u$ again a reformulation of the historic faith One ex$ressing ?od-s $ro$hetic edge for that time and $lace 9n this case it is informed by the twisted cultural paradigms and is a prophetic and pastoral response to them *he new movement retains enough of the dead culture to be able to really identify with it" yet is moving in fresh new corrective $aradigms that

are transformative *his $aradigm is transformative" not $rimarily because it is see)ing to relevance but because it is $ro$hetic # $ro$hetic movement has com$onents of divine revelation that target those cultural trends that endanger the soul" not only the soul of the individual but the cultural soul as well *his new $aradigm for our age is Neocatholic" or Consensual Catholicism

#n exam$le of a movement not set free from the culture that informs it is the Seeker church model 9t lac)s real transformative $ower because" although it recognizes the need to s$ea) to the culture" it is regurgitating the culture bac) to itself with new Christian tra$$ings Rather than being a $ro$hetic movement 9t is serving the same wea) cultural gruel on a new .christianized. $late 'hen we say .transformative. we mean far more than salvation and conversion 'e mean that the $resent world view is being challenged" changed and healed in accordance with the historic faith 9t means that the collective soul of the age is being transformed by the renewing of its mind +or exam$le" many Po-!oBs have grown u$ in divorced homes and have grown u$ intimately familiar with crisis *hey have gown u$ with the extremes of emotional $ain" adrenaline rush" and ethical and material chaos *hey are addicted to crisis and do not )now how to deal with the mundane ;nfortunately most of life is lived in the mundane Sanity exists in the order of the regular and the ,uiet" not in the extreme :owever" many .1mergent. churches" over em$hasizing the s$iritual high of worshi$ ex$erience 21xtreme 'orshi$ is an exam$le - a term found among some Postmodern .1mergent. churches4 and being .on the edge. ris)ing it all for ?od can )ee$ such a soul addicted to crisis 7ut our Postmodern families cannot live on crisis *hey have to learn to find meaning in the mundane" in $eaceful living" and order *he lac) of structure and sacramental elements in many Post-!odern ecclessial ex$ressions offer nothing truly transformative and do not wor) to regulate stability # Neo-Catholic formulation of worshi$ and life $rovide necessary regulation for living and su$$lies emotionally a$$ro$riate contexts for dealing with the u$s and downs of life 2@4 Can >esus transform Postmoderns within an .emergent church. ex$erience( Of course :e can *hat is not in dis$ute" what is dis$uted is whether or not such a church has the resources to recognize such issues and bring healing to them 'e should note that when we say .transformative. we are not discounting the $ower of the ?os$el for conversion 9 am not suggesting that the gos$el itself loses its transformative energy" but that the church and culture together become more immune to the inoculation of the fullness of the gos$el message li)e a virus that becomes immune to $enicillin *he $remise is that human culture" corru$ted as it is by sin" cannot maintain the entire gos$el of grace in a com$lete and balanced way over time #nd since not all men in a $articular society in a $articular age are converted sin cree$s bac) in and begins to undo the truths so hard won in the $revious move of ?od

Shape of the neXt move IT IS CATHOLIC +idelity to the Catholic faith" es$ecially as it was ex$ressed in the first C centuries" and retaining o$enness to Catholic ex$ressions of faith through all its history *his $laces belief within the mind of the entire church through the ages and not in the hands of inde$endent innovators 2see =incentian Canon4 *here are certain $ractices and beliefs that are essential to this formulation as ex$ressed by the early church fathers Namely" the government of the church by 7isho$s and the $lace of the 1ucharist as the central element of Christian worshi$ and recognizing it as the very body and blood of Christ 5octrinally we can hold *he #$ostles" Nicene and #thanasius Creeds as statements of faith 1cumenical councils as the norm rather that Pa$al Plenitude of Power - a rather late doctrine to arrive on the scene and one never universally held in the first several centuries #t the same time however there has always been a deference to the See of Peter" a s$ecial investiture of authority with the successors of Peter which could not be re6ected" even by the 1astern Churches at the seventh 1cumenical Council 7ecause of this one could say that the See of Peter was a symbol of the unity of the church under one head 'hy is this element so im$ortant( 'e are in an age of sub6ective $ersonal truth *his means that contrary o$inions are often vying for authority 'hen the church can offer nothing more than the o$inion of your $astors scri$tural inter$retation" or a denominational hermeneutic" truth is still elusive Convert a Postmodern $erson and bring him to church and before long he will be as)ing whose o$inion on the ra$ture to believe Or whose $osition on $edo-ba$tism" or what is Pastor-s ta)e on the doctrine of the *rinity #nd although you may say it is not really im$ortant - .all you need is >esus. - you have at the same time left an ambiguity regarding the truth-.the truth is out there. we 6ust donBt )now it so lets ignore it-s im$ortance 9n fact" the church has thought ,uite a lot about these things and if one will submit to the historic mind of the church one will find that the S$irit has s$o)en through the consensus of Christian thin)ers through the ages *here does not need to be a crisis of truth *he goal here is not merely to ado$t historic liturgies or $ractices" but to attain the mind of the catholic and orthodox faith 'e are first to have the mind of Christ and this can be communicated to us through the :oly S$irit - but not in isolation from the mind of the rest of the church *he church is the guardian and $illar of the faith" if we are going to have the !ind of Christ it will come to us through the mind of the church *his is im$ortant 3eaders in the 1$isco$al Church" 7isho$s claiming to have the mind of ?od" have begun to legitimize and bless homosexual behaviors and reclassify them so that such behaviors are no longer sinful :ow can such men" claiming to have divine guidance from the :oly S$irit

come to such a claim( 7ecause some years ago they re6ected thin)ing about the faith from within an Orthodox and Catholic framewor)" a Catholic mind :ow can others ma)e s$urious claims - that the church age is over" or that there should be no from or format or hierarchy in the church - *hey are not thin)ing within a Catholic framewor) *his ta)es the humility to lay down your o$inions and ta)e u$ the o$inions and $ositions most commonly held by all believers in all ages at all times IT IS SACRAMENTAL *he Postmodern $erson is $henomenological - they inter$ret ex$eriences as $henomena 9n the $ostmodern world things .ha$$en. and do not need a reason or may defy reason *he 7um$er stic)er $o$ular in the late eighties - .Shit ha$$ens. - reflects this feeling +or exam$le when $arents sto$ loving one another - to a young child this is a $henomenon *= has also wired them for the miraculous" they have entered worlds of magic and mystery and have gown u$ seeing the im$ossible on a regular basis 7ecause of these things they have been wired for a sacramental world view - a world in which ?od invests matter with graces and divine energy Sacramental worshi$ unites the mystical with the $hysical *he sacraments incor$orate the $ower if image as .icon." it s$ea)s to the unseen $art of the soul Sacramental and liturgical worshi$ is richly symbolic *here is a reason why young $eo$le are gravitating to a more richly symbolic life *atooing" ?othic dress" vam$irism" the $roliferation of candles used to create ambience - all these things and more are attem$ts to invest life with more meaning through the use of symbol Peo$le are ex$eriencing a void of meaning in a culture lac)ing .9nteriority." as Po$e >ohn Paul 99 has said 9t is for this reason that 1vangelical and Protestant churches that are essentially iconoclastic when it comes to religious symbols" and even art" will not ca$ture the $assion of the emerging generations *hese $eo$le are loo)ing for a worshi$ environment rich in symbol and image" rich with meaning *he blan) white worshi$ hall of the traditional New 1ngland 2my nec) of the woods4 Protestant church is bereft of symbol and 9con *hese Churches" as well as many churches having a more evangelical leaning are symbol and icon $oor One wal)s into these churches and the walls do not s$ea) the mysteries of salvation" the architecture does not s$ea) to us in rich symbolic language" the drama of the liturgy does not introduce us to the culture of heaven 9nstead all meaning is invested in the .lecture." the sermon *his idea is offensive to most Postmoderns 9t is incredulous to them that we should thin) that we could convey all that ?od is merely by the s$o)en word 7ecause these younger $eo$le are $henomenological 2in the sense stated above4 they already acce$t the fact that if ?od is ?od there are as$ects beyond rational com$rehension" :e is mysterious and mystical '9CC#" the movement of modern witchcraft that has now gone

mainstream with the reality series .!ad :ouse. showing on the Sci-+i networ)" is ca$italizing on this intuited a$$rehension of the mystical Sadly" this movement is growing because much of the Protestant church in #merica has surrendered the as$ect of mystery" and with that the magnificence" of ?od *his mystical as$ect of the faith" so $resent in the 1astern Orthodox liturgy and Roman Catholic s$iritual devotion conveys both the magnificence of ?od" :is ma6esty" :is un)nowability - that which lies beyond us *his must be recovered 9t is holistic in that it affirms both the s$iritual and the $hysical and as such it is unitive *his deficiency lying at the heart of modern #merican Protestantism" $resent in almost all brands of Protestant ex$ression" also deriving from the statements above" is the dichotomization between the s$irit and the flesh 7ecause of an em$hasis on the 'ord s$o)en without the $resence of symbol to $rovide dynamic tension and balance the faith becomes a set of abstract $ro$ositions 9t becomes easy to believe the truth under these conditions but there is a disconnection between this believing and behavior 9t then becomes easy to voice outrage at the degeneration of social mores while at the same time we can ignore social 6ustice issues *his rationalism to which Protestantism sold out to during the enlightenment ma)e fails to invest the $hysical with s$irit resulting in the desanctification of creation :ow is it that a $redominantly Protestant Christian culture could have birthed abortion rights( :ow is it that so much of the church could have turned a blind eye to it for so long" and many still do( 7ecause without a sacramental world view we do not invest the $hysical with divine energy and therefore desanctify the womb" the fetus" the sic) and infirmed" the elderly and even animals 7ecause of this rationalistic sterilization of creation we" the church" have o$ened the doors to abortion *his affirmation of the indivisibility of s$irit and flesh is essential to communicating the gos$el effectively to the emerging generations 'hile this can be ex$ressed with terms li)e double coding 2%4 or double ring ministry 2D4 themes $resent in $ostmodernism" it really comes down to a disbelief in the sinfulness of the body" a re6ection of the condemnation of the $hysical by those ex$ressions of the Christian faith that have $ortrayed the body as an evil and vile thing 9n view of this the $endulum as swung entirely the other way with rebellious force to embrace every sort of sexual behavior 7ut we cannot shut down this disbelief and retreat bac) to the $revious $osition because to do so would only consign us to irrelevance Rather we must affirm the goodness of creation" of the human body and ex$erience and bless it and call it .?ood. *his allows us to be .real." authentic $eo$le grounded in being human" and from there to sanctify - ma)e divine - the created order" including our bodies" through the S$irit of ?od *his is the resanctification of creation essential if the church is to win the emerging generations Not only do we resanctify our bodies" but all of creation" so that we see all creatures and the environment as alive with divine energy +lowing out of a strong

9ncarnational and 1ucharistic theology we bring sanctity to all life and affirm the goodness of creation Once we ta)e this $osition we re-ignite Christian activism and enable $eo$le to ma)e choices that result in the $reservation of the gift of creation 'e are then relevant and a$$eal to those who have already reanimated creation through new #ge ideologies *hese New #ge ideologies have merely fed off the neglected $astures of Christ-s church !any in the non-sacramental wing of the church also often com$lain of a missing lin)" a lac) of concrete-ness in religious ex$erience that seems to suggest that some un)nown element is missing *hese have to recognize that many of the modes they a$$roach ?od in are abstract and intellectual" having no $hysical touch-stones of faith *his is leaving many feeling shallow or .thin. in their s$irituality ?od has never intended our faith to be lived out in the abstract world of mental $ro$ositions 1m$owered with faith" >esus gave us sacraments" $owerful living touchstones to communicate to the de$ths of the soul" s$iritually" iconagra$hically" $sychologically" and $hysically 'e must recognize that ?od communicates the s$iritual through the $hysical 'hen someone embraces you it is a sort of .sacrament of love. 'hen the elders of the church lay hands on someone and anoints them with oil a s$iritual grace is being transmitted through creation" in this instance oil 'hen we receive the 1ucharist we are not $artici$ating 2)oinonia4 with an idea but with >esus who is giving himself to us" s$iritually im$arting :imself in bread and wine 'hen we see creation as containers of the s$iritual then we can regain sanctity in creation 9 often wonder" if the Protestantism had not denied the Real Presence of >esus in the 1ucharist would it have been so easy to deny the sanctity of the womb and abort the unborn( IT IS COMM NAL +or many a church is a $lace that fails to meet the ex$ectations of the .community. they visualize +unctionally it is a facility of common activity based u$on common beliefs *oo often it is ex$erienced as a grou$ of individuals .$raying. and .doing. together :ave you ever felt li)e this( +amilies and individuals feel more isolated now than in times $ast !any $eo$le feel cut off from neighbors and family and are yearning for dee$ and meaningful relationshi$s Our transient lifestyle often means that $eo$le move too often to develo$ meaningful relationshi$s 'e need to create an atmos$here in our churches where authentic community can be lived out *he historic ideal of the church is that of a ba$tismal community # uni,ue and distinct band of $eo$le who are characterized not by activity as much as love in action 9n order for the church to be that .community of sincere love. that we visualize and ho$e for we must thin) of it in a different way +irst we must realize that as a ba$tismal community we are ba$tized into

a $erson-into Christ #nd as such we are mystically 6oined to him" and therefore to one-another 'e are not .saved. so that we can .6oin. a church 0ou do not 6oin a churchE you do not 6oin a grou$ of $eo$le who believe the same thing you do 0ou are .received. into a body" a living organism that is >esus *hese sim$le semantics betray the crucial distinction between being a .congregation of believers. and the .body of Christ. on earth *he first is an abstraction" an idea see)ing form *he second is the sacramental $resence of >esus on the earth *his is what is orthodox and catholic 9t is not a new idea" but the core formulation of the church throughout history-and it must be reclaimedF #s a ba$tismal community we are in covenant together 9t is time to ex$ress this vision of a truly Christian ba$tismal community SPIRIT AL !IRECTION AN! CON"ESSION 3et-s face itE we are in a sin soa)ed society 9t is almost im$ossible to esca$e images that offend the conscience and tem$t the soul #nd many $eo$le are struggling with dee$ $ersonal emotional wounds that have led to addictive behaviors" de$ression" and des$air *here is tremendous freedom to be gained in the sacrament of confession with absolution Confession should be offered wee)ly" as our brothers in the Roman church offer it 9t is in this way we can $rovide a ,uic) and steadfast remedy to the conscience struggling in $ain +or many waiting a wee) or two to meet with a $astor to receive counsel while in $ain is too long to wait and the soul is made raw from re$eating cycles of sin and anguish *he church must also offer classical s$iritual direction as a $referred alternative or counter$art to $sychological counseling and $rograms S$iritual direction $laces $rominence on ministry to the s$irit and soul with directed disci$lines and contem$lative exercises that are scri$tural and su$$ort a live of faith 'e do not see) to re$lace all $rograms but see) to minister to the individual on a $ersonal level to answer the need to feel authentically cared for rather than $rogramatically handled A RET RN TO #OTH CELI#ATE AN! MARRIE! CLER$%&OR!ERS AN! COSTL% !ISCIPLESHIP' #lthough it seems totally out of ste$ with the culture there are signs that the $ostmodern $erson is longing for something worth believing in #nd if something is worth believing in then it is worth sacrificing for 9n our culture sacrifice is a bad word and is almost no longer understood Celibacy" des$ite the tarnished image it has received in the news lately" is a calling worth consideration because it ex$resses the exact antithesis of hedonism !onastic orders and celibacy are refreshing alternatives to generations born into a de$ravity hardly imaginable So we recognize the need to call many to the !onastic and celibate lifestyle em$hasizing $ersonal continence and sanctity in o$$osition to the hedonistic s$irit of

the age #t the same time we celebrate the genuineness of married clergy engaged in the fabric of life with the church at large :owever we also need to $resent a gos$el worth dying for :ow can something so great as eternal salvation be so tritely ex$ressed as it is in the 'est( *he $ostmodern thin)s to himself" .9f it were really true wouldn-t you be willing to sell everything you have(. 'e must meet the cynicism of the age with costly disci$leshi$ as the $ath of salvation *his does not invalidate salvation through grace" it 6ust ma)es the fact believable to a cynical age CATECHISM "LO(IN$ "ROM HISTORICAL CONSENS S *he cultural devastation brought by divorce and single $arenthood has meant that some G& $ercent of Postmoderns have grown u$ without a father in the home for some significant $eriod of time *here is a sense of disunity in the home as a result of this and this sense of disunity abides in the soul 9n the soul of a H-year-old the universe is shattered and dislocated when $arents divorce *his is one reason why Postmoderns yearn for unity" they want to set the world right !any Postmoderns are being drawn to the Roman Catholic faith because it re$resents in itself a unity around the Po$e *his .+ather. and children relationshi$ may re$resent a setting right of the world" restoring a sense of security #nother as$ect of course is that as long as variant $ro$onents of the Christian faith remain divided this condition undermines all truth claims #s long as churches ma)e com$eting and exclusive truth claims it hel$s to facilitate the sub6ectivism it wrestles against 'e must reforge one mind" one faith" one $ractice" ordered around the e$isco$al ministry 5enominationalism must be challenged #s long as it exists unchallenged" it threatens the unity of the faith and confident belief 1ssentials of historic catholic faith must be the unifying $rinci$les