John L. Allen Jr. of the NCR has an interesting column about what he terms “Evangelical Catholicism” He had a debate about it at the University of Dayton where he and the other panelists had wildly different definitions of the term. Allen uses the term in an interesting way. He uses it to describe what he sees as “the most powerful current at the policy-setting level of the church, as well as a dynamic constituency at the Catholic grassroots.”
He describes it this way …
- A strong reaffirmation of traditional markers of Catholic belief, language and practice. Examples include the revitalization of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, reassertion that Catholicism alone possesses the fullness of what it means to be “church,” and rejection of theological tendencies that would put Christ on the same level as other saving figures;
- Bold public assertion of those markers of identity;
- Personal embrace of those markers of identity, as opposed to simply imbibing them from traditional Catholic cultures, neighborhoods and families.
Amusingly, Allen originally began calling this movement the “Catholic identity movement,” until he got yelled at by a bunch of liberals. I believe this movement is , exactly as Allen defines it, a mega-trend destined to reshape the Church over the next decades. I also believe that the voice of this budding movement can be found in a large way in the Catholic blogosphere.
So after Allen’s retreat from “Catholic Identity Movement” (which I like) he settled on Evangelical Catholicism. However, he readily admits that this more neutral title does not seem to cut the mustard and relays that none other than Fr. Richard John Neuhaus has predicted that it won’t have “staying power.”
So all this got me to thinking, what is a good name for this movement? I figured that if we could come up with a good enough name, why we might even be able to coin it, right here on CMR. Hmmm. I puzzled? And I puzzled? And I puzzled ’til my puzzler was sore. This is what I came up with:
- Opus Dei (I know it has been used already but is scares the liberals so…we could make up posters with albinos on them!)
- The Rational Traditionalist Movement (I like this even if only to annoy the irrational traditionalists! You know who you are! Oh that’s right, you don’t.)
- The Inquisition (always a good one since they will accuse us of it anyway)
However, in all seriousness (that is hard for me to do) my nomination is thus …
- The Catholic Character Movement
I know. Good right? I suggest that you start using this in your daily conversation and always remember where you heard it first.
Let me know your thoughts on the marvelous phrase I just coined and I would love to hear whatever lame suggestions that you can come up with.