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The Deacon's Bench

Over at the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo has this take on two branches of Catholicism:

I avoid writing about “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics. These terms are too easily politicized as Democrats v. Republicans. Moreover, the meanings of these terms have varied so much in the course of history that yesterday’s liberals are often today’s conservatives and vice-versa. Let me introduce here the label “Purpose Driven Catholic” with due thanks to Pastor Rick Warren.

The Purpose Driven Catholic differs from the Retro Catholic because the guiding principle seeks an immediate impact of the faith on society. While the Retro Catholic emphasizes tradition as a guide and seeks to remedy conflict by a return to practices that previously insured normalcy, the Purpose Driven Catholic is more willing to engage the contemporary and blaze new paths through the maze of social issues in a pluralistic world.

Retro and Purpose Driven Catholics do not differ on doctrine and one is not less Catholic than the other. They are more like the opposites of Felix and Oscar in the Odd Couple than good-guys v. bad-guys in a mobster movie. Think of Retro and Purpose Driven as the Ying and Yang of Catholic America. The Church needs both, even if there is a “creative tension” between them.

Read the rest.

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