Parceled out for other purposes

Currently the literature is awash with accounts of why Christians are more aligned with Republicans, or why Christians are more aligned with Democrats, but I must admit that I find both suggestions equally worrisome. To say that a Christian must be a Republican rather than Democrat, or a Democrat rather than Republican — while having some intellectual cogency with respect to the hierarchy of moral truths under consideration — seems also to be a sign of a very deep confusion worthy of reflection. It should signal a warning: the deepest commitments of Christians are being parceled out for other purposes, deformed and divided for political ends which undermine Christian faith.

~ C. C. Pecknold, Ph.D., “Thinking Well About Things (Other Than Politics),” Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future

The hollowness of ideology

It is simply that [Pope] Francis,  following the tradition of the name he has taken, has changed, not the essence of the message, but its tone, dialect, and presentation. Francis feels the void into which he must reach — he knows the materialism, nihilism, and skepticism from which he must reclaim men’s minds. Thus, he does not emphasize morality so much as compassion, and he is ready at every moment to mingle acts of mercy with calls for justice. He does not fear paradox. He is capable of writing theology, but he prefers a gospel of encounter. He does not lead with condemnation; he leads with the caress. He affirms neither Right nor Left, neither socialist nor capitalist. He moves through such mental barricades as if they were not even there, declaring openly the hollowness of ideology.”

~ Daniel Schwindt, Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future

Fundamentally at odds with

Given this, it is not at all a stretch to say that Catholics in the post-Christian West find ourselves as captives and strangers in a new empire of the mind, the Empire of Man, which is marked by incredible technological achievement and vast material wealth, but at the heart of which lies a cult that is fundamentally at odds with the Christian understanding of man. Pope Paul VI neatly defined that cultic heart in his 1971 apostolic letter marking the 80th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Rerum Novarum. “At the very root of philosophical liberalism,” the Pope wrote, “is an erroneous affirmation of the autonomy of the individual in his activity, his motivation and the exercise of his liberty.”

~ Mark Gordon, “Babylon’s Falling: Recovering an Exilic Christian Consciousness,” Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future

Glorious liberation

In an age that recognizes no authority above the Self that can be invoked or appealed to, personal witness becomes of paramount importance. For this reason, we must not merely speak to others of human flourishing; we must show them the garden in bloom. That is, a life more joyful, deeper, richer and fulfilling than any existence imaginable under the slate grey skies of the Cult of the Self. Because, as Karl Rahner, S.J. has observed, a faithful Christian life is not “a duty to be painfully observed,” but rather a “glorious liberation … from the enslavement of mortal fear and frustrating egoism.”

~ Mike Stafford, “Unlimited: The Cult of the Self”, Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future

Reflect the humility of spirit

The material things we surround ourselves with can be powerful signs of an unclean, disorder soul, and of misdirected desire. In a world awash in the cheap consumerism of the Cult of the Self, our possessions and the value we attach to them speak volumes. So, amidst the decadence and waste of modernity, we must live modestly. The cars we drive, the houses we live in, the clothes we wear — all should reflect the humility of spirit that distinguishes those living lives of radical discipleship to Christ. By so doing, we demonstrate our rejection of the mores and lifestyles of the Selfies, and become signs of contradiction that can be emulated by others.

~ Mike Stafford, “Unlimited: The Cult of the Self”, Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future