Linker, Dreher, Catholicism, Neuhaus, GWB, Iraq, Katrina

Dreher on the Linker Interview

That’s one of the great Catholic promises, isn’t it? Both/And? Unlike the either/or Protestants, let alone the neither/nor secular liberals, Catholics are supposed to pull it all together, show how it All Makes Sense — or at least how it once did make sense, during the Middle Ages, the high point of Christian civilization, a time of unity and synthesis. Until Occam’s nominalism shattered the great social-intellectual whole, that is. One guy denies the reality of universals and before you know it, you’ve got the Reformation and liberalism and pluralism and After Virtue.

I’m being glib, but I sometimes feel like working for First Things during the religious right’s moment of maximal influence in Washington might have been the worst possible thing I could have done to nurture my nascent faith. I never really had any, but I wanted it very much around the time of my conversion. It began to take tentative root in the months after 9/11. But then it pretty much died. Faith was always going to be fraught for me. I’m too skeptical, irreverent, too much in the habit of doubting authority, culturally too much of a secular New York Jew, to settle in easily to faith, let alone faith in a visible church. But add on priests endorsing military invasions and whispering in the ears of princes? Widespread child rape by priests and its active cover-up by the hierarchy? By the time I quit First Things in a huff in early 2005, I wanted nothing more to do with the church at all.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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