Scottish Catholics have become too “wishy-washy” in standing up for their faith, the Archbishop of Glasgow has warned.
In an essay for Crux, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia said “too many believers” have submitted to secular values and failed to stress their faith.
When challenged by secularism, the archbishop said, many Catholics avoid saying they “really believe in anything supernatural; in anything they can’t see or touch or experience; or in anything beyond modelling and encouraging decent behaviour”.
“Too many believers no longer talk about Jesus winning salvation for the sinful but instead point to him as a moral ideal of what humans should strive for. We accommodate. We compromise. We avoid conflict — even when conflict is the only proper course. We are too wishy-washy, as we would say in Scotland.”
Archbishop Tartaglia was referring to arguments developed by Scottish moral philosopher John Haldane.
“Once upon a time, Catholics longed for and worked for the conversion of others, including a nation’s cultural elites,” the archbishop added. “Now many of our Catholic leaders, intellectuals and academic institutions bend over backwards to assure the gatekeepers of culture and prestige that they’re just as right-thinking as they are.”
The archbishop, who serves as president of the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, also said American Catholicism favourably to Europe. Addressing an American readership, Archbishop Tartaglia wrote:
“For 15 years in this country, your mass media have hammered away at the Church on the abuse issue, often fairly, but often not. But most of your people haven’t wavered. They support Catholic schools. They support your Catholic charitable ministries. They love their parishes, and they trust and respect their pastors with a high degree of confidence. That doesn’t stop them from complaining, but people complain when they want to belong and believe that it’s worth staying. It’s part of a normal family life.”