This week on the podcast, a pair of prominent thinkers join host Chris Altieri to take a hard look at our current circumstances. (You can subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Stitcher, Player FM, Deezer, and others, including iHeartRADIO and Castbox. You can use your own favourite pod app, too: here’s the RSS feed. Catholic Herald: Behind the Headlines is also available on iTunes.)
What is the pandemic doing to the Church? On the one hand, it is forcing pastors to think outside the analog box and constraining them to rely on the faithful, who in turn are relying very much on themselves for all sorts of things. On the other, it appears to be the final straw for lukewarm Catholics and for those, who have kept a white-knuckle grip on the faith – some practice of it – through the last two decades of unremitting abuse and coverup scandal.
The spectre of financial ruin looms large over Church organizations that we may have thought were too big to fail – including the Vatican – while the moral standing of the bishops is at its lowest in centuries.
It’s a bleak picture: one of the present, to hear Professor Stephen Bullivant tell it. He is a sociologist and theologian who teaches at St Mary’s University, Twickenham – London – and a prolific author. His most recent book, Catholicism in the Time of Coronavirus, lays out as clearly as the data permit, just where we are – and where he thinks the best signs of hope may be found.
The book is available for free in PDF format from the Word on Fire Institute, of which he is a fellow, or for $.99 from Kindle and Nook.
“A good deal,” of what he has written is “not exactly … cheerful reading,” even though he does highlight what he considers “some silver lining countertrends.”
“Those committed to the New Evangelization,” he says in the book, “must be clear-sighted and realistic.”
Carl E. Olson (pictured above, right) is also a prolific author, and the editor of the Catholic World Report (where host Chris Altieri frequently appears), which is operated by Ignatius Press. Olson has authored or co-authored several books, as well as and hundreds of articles on theology, Scripture, apologetics, culture, and current events for a variety of print and online publications.
We talked about how to talk about the coronavirus crisis, and more specifically about how to talk with each other about the emergency, and the response to it. We began our conversation with how things look from where he is, and about how, as editor of a major platform for analysis and commentary, he’s tried to thread a difficult editorial needle during lockdown.
The David Mills essay mentioned is here.
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