Different Focus


Just when I anticipated some fresh (and refreshing) insight from Mary De Turris Poust, who lamented the blank looks of her distracted and unengaged Confirmation-prep students of yore, she made a sudden swerve back into the tired and tedious idea that the “problem” is that the Church has failed to be relevant to young people (and all people) in terms of the social hot button issues of the day.

I believe people of all ages hunger for spirituality, not mere worldly relevance.

Catholic convert and columnist Ross Douthat has said it well:

“I did not want tensions to be smoothed away by understanding priests and broad-minded theologians. A religion that just confirmed me in my early-21st century way of life couldn’t possibly be divinely revealed.”

“Read John Henry Newman and Thomas Aquinas and Augustine back-to-back-to-back, or read Evelyn Waugh and Dante together, or read Teresa of Avila and then Thérèse of Lisieux.”

“In each case the gulf of years and difference in cultural expression does not obscure the fact that they belong to the same tradition, the same story.”

That, in essence, is what I believe might have caught fire with those confirmation classes and might yet, if the Church can raise its worried focus away from being mired in “relevancy.”

Joe R. Struble