Monday, June 13, 2005


I have stayed out of the flap over the recent shakeups occurring at America magazine, mostly due to the fact that I’ve never read it and feel it unfair to comment one way or the other on it. They do have a new editorial online in which they talk about their mission at America. They also walk the fine line of trying to balance differing views with accepted church doctrine or “orthodoxy.” They vow to be inclusive.

Within the discipline of the church and the bonds of charity, however, different schools of theology, traditions of spirituality and Catholic social movements should thrive. Faith and Christian freedom should nourish each other.

Theological argument and moral reasoning are integral to the Catholic way of being Christian. Catholics believe that faith and reason are compatible. Christians in other traditions look to us because of our historic respect for intelligence in the service of faith. Unfortunately, there are some in the church who would reduce the faith to pious simplicities and partisan political slogans. But slogans are no substitute for genuine doctrine, and litmus tests function only as polemical weapons, not as instruments of faith-filled inquiry. They are the war cries of a spurious orthodoxy, advanced by religious controversialists, uninterested in Catholicism’s rich complexity.
But then, interestingly, within another article within the issue, Amy at Open Book points this out:

The editorial goes on to say that the magazine will resist the temptation to divide the church into parties, a claim which stumbles a bit as we read another article in the piece on "Orthodoxy Online" - a look at the most popular Catholic websites: (the full text of the article is not, unfortunately, online)

Despite the breadth of material that can be found online, the most popular Catholic Web sites all have a very similar agenda and approach. The top five Catholic sites, as reported by in December 2004, are Catholic Exchange, EWTN, Catholic Answers, Catholic Online and New Advent. The password for many of these sites is orthodoxy.
I had never considered that “orthodoxy” might have an agenda. And what might that be? To help all people in getting to heaven? To save souls?

So much for inclusiveness. All five of those websites are bookmarked and ones I visit often. Indeed, Catholic Exchange is my homepage on my home PC. Hooray! I’m orthodox! Well, at least according to America.


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