Tuesday, February 28, 2006

From The Devout Life
Tom Monaghan’s Catholic town
A colleague told me about this at work yesterday and I didn’t believe it until now! It could be very holy, naff or dangerous. What do you think?

‘Disneyland for First Things readers’ as Hilary White writes. LOL. Celebration, Florida meets EWTN? A Potemkin (Потёмкин) village?
• I too imagine this is likely to be a Steubenville on steroids and not a scene from Pugin’s Contrasts or the Directorium Anglicanum.
• I’d defend their right to secede from the Union and try having a Catholic state (it works in Liechtenstein) but as long as they’re in the States the religious-liberty objection is valid.
• I fear they are simply making the same mistakes as the Protestant religious right (remember Heritage USA?).
• On that note such religious utopianism is built into American culture, the happy hunting-ground of sectarianism, the homeland of Mormonism, etc. The only groups that have made it work are rigidly self-segregated: German Anabaptists such as the Amish and Hutterites and I think some Russian Old Believers...
‘... the possibility that he and his comrades would board a small ship at Plymouth and sail off to find new, less pagan lands in which to practise their faith. “That’ll show ’em,” he chortled.’ (From The Rockall Times. I dare say many snarky English have longer collective/historical memories than American RC neocons.)
• This idealisation could be rather like the Society of St Pius X (I acknowledge the good they do), not representative of the spectrum of Catholic tradition but a caricature of one aspect of it. (Pre-conciliar Catholicism is not monolithic!)
• Would young fogeys and other urban and village eccentrics really be welcome in such a shrine to newly arrived upper-middle-class decorum? (A rhetorical question.)
• A reminder from Fr Anthony Chadwick, quoted here earlier, of the real Catholic Europe.
• A more realistic solution is something friend Paul Goings has talked about, a sort of urban version of Robert Waldrop’s community where Catholics naturally cluster, moving into in a neighbourhood around a traditional church, reviving the area, without any contrived ‘covenant community’ aspect. My girlfriend has told me that this is happening around one such city church. You’d be re-creating a natural village, good points, faults and all.
• I happen to like Domino’s pizza!

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