Friday, August 13, 2010

Nichols on the re-conversion of England

"Re-Christianization needs a church that is not only doctrinally coherent (because an intellectual battle has to be won about Christianity's truth claims). It needs a church that also has a moral teaching, sacramental life and spiritual practice that in all respects are congruent with doctrine. Insofar as there is positive interest in religion today, it is mainly in what I would call a 'separated spirituality': a therapeutic, privatized religiosity ordered to individual soul-care which has very little to do with the faith and practice of historic Christendom.
"But if our theological anthropology (as orthodox Christians) is right, and human creatures are so made in the image of God that they are restless till they rest in him, we should expect that, even after ceasing to take seriously traditional expressions of the transcendent people will continue to feel the need for that other dimension, a need no substitute can ultimately satisfy.
"The typical contemporary response to this experienced need is to cultivate what have been termed 'self-expanding feelings,' possibly articulating these 'symbols borrowed from ancient traditions,' but without full commitment to the content of those symbols since the primary spiritual concern of late-modern or post-modern man is 'with his own states of mind.' . . . Such a mindset, I suggest, can only be awoken to real transcendence by a dogmatic Church offering serious catechesis. . . ."

Aidan Nichols, O.P., "An Anglican future in the Catholic Church," New directions 13, no. 183 (August 2010):  6 (4-6).

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