Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One of my favorite writers...

Carl Trueman, a VP and Historical Theology prof at Westminster Seminary in Philly, has got to be one of my favorite living thinkers. He borders on cynicism (and maybe that's why I'm attracted to him) as he turns words in to punching cultural critique. Dr. Trueman just came out with this post on his reflections on a visit to Rome. Being a former Catholic (who is being wooed "home" by his grandmother and the media), I appreciate his perspective on the general state of Evangelical Protestantism and yet the woeful gaps in Catholic tradition, i.e., mind and tongue.

He concludes 3 things:
  • First, my trip to Rome reminded me once again of how inadequate evangelical Protestant literature on contemporary Catholicism is.
  • Second, I was challenged by a Catholic friend, when I raised the issues of Padre Pio and St Anthony's tongue, to consider whether my own reaction was conditioned in part by my being more a son of David Hume and the Enlightenment than I care to admit.
  • Finally, it seems that it is very easy for American Catholic intellectuals, and those evangelicals who are attracted by Rome, to ignore the tongues, the jaws, the bits of the real cross, the stigmatics, the folk religion. But American pick-n-mix consumerism applied to Catholicism is just one more manifestation of, dare I say it?, the modern Western aesthetic of choice; it is emphatically not the same as Catholicism as it works itself out in the very backyard of the Roman See; and it will not do simply to say that the practices of such are not significant; they are significant, at least for anyone who takes seriously their Catholicism.

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