When the American and English Catholics decided to either be more American or English than Catholics, we lost the cutting edge. I see more and more the danger of not thinking outside the box. Catholics use to think outside the box, and be Catholics first, rather than Americans or English first, as we were marginalized and especially in these two countries, which are Protestant and have been either, as in the case of the Americans, from the very beginning, or turned so in the Protestant Revolt.
I have told my seminarian friends over and over that the "middle class" mentality has weakened the Church from within.
Ironically, the Catholics have been weakened by this selling out of Catholicism to the larger culture, to the point where Catholic homes no longer reflect the Catholic domestic church. Do not most Catholic houses on the inside look the same as either Protestant or secular homes?
I have written about this quite a bit in the home schooling series.
The problem is this. When Catholics become complacent and want to identify with the establishment in any way shape or form, they lose both the ability to be the salt of the earth, and they lost their salvation, possibly.
To think like a Catholic is not merely to conform to a Christian world view. The Christian world-view is not the Catholic world-view. Let me repeat that: the Christian world-view is not the Catholic world- view.
Catholics, by definition, think in universal terms. Our Church is not a "national" Church. We are not called the Polish, or German or French National Church. We are NOT the American Catholic Church, as the heresy of Americanism was condemned.
To think outside the box of nationalism is to be a Catholic.
Many Americans do not understand my love affair with Europe. Hilaire Belloc rightly said, "Europe is the faith and the faith is Europe.” But, the overall European Faith was never confined to nationalism. Christendom America is and always has been a Protestant nation. Those who have invested too much time and energy is becoming American, has lost the Catholic identity. Whether the remnant can re-discover that is another question.
It is interesting that the Catholics jumped into home schooling very early on, in the early 1980s. I got married in 1987, and one of the discussions my fiance and I had that year, obviously before we were married, was on my desire to home school. Thankfully, my husband-to-be agreed and was excited about the projects we discussed.
I saw the rot of the school system from the inside, even teaching at two prestigious universities.
And, I met many other wonderful home schooling parents, who were either Catholic or anti-establishment "free thinkers". In England, where I started home schooling, I did not meet Evangelicals who were home schooling, which was the case in America.
But, something happened, and I have apologized to two young families, as we did not seem to pass down the information on the rot of the schools, which began in the seventies. Now, to come to our defense, there have always been spots where there were good Catholic schools and, of course, NAPCIS has a long list of the newer excellent ones.
But, a discontinuity happened for several reasons.
First, is that the Baby Boomers, who started home schooling, were busy in their own worlds setting up the alternative domestic churches. Those Baby Boomers who were selling out to the culture at large thought we were weird. Second, those who insisted on staying in the establishment world, did not want to hear the message of counter-culture. The "Great Lie" of the 1980s was a complex selling out to wealth and complacency. Even some Catholics sold out to the lie of the "American Dream" or later "The Blair Effect" in England. The Gen-Xers experienced the upturn and the good life. They experienced the peak of prosperity in America and England, and many lost their faith as result. Wealth and social standing became idols, replacing Christ. The feminist lie of women having to be in the workplace and not be stay-at-home moms complicated this process.
To think outside the box of the establishment is to think like a Catholic. To think like a Catholic is to always think like an immigrant.
The remnant is made up of those who understand this and will be living to live this.
1 Peter 2:11-12
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul,
12 Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation.
One has to decide to be a Catholic or to be part of the establishment. One cannot be both. This is what it means to be in the world, but not of the world.