Here’s an excerpt of a most interesting talk by George Weigel on Evangelical Catholicism. Read it all over at The Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston:
In his talk, he said evangelical Catholicism displays 10 characteristics that provide a profile of the Catholic Church of the future and suggest standards for continued and deep reform of the Church.
“First, evangelical Catholicism is radically Christo-centric, or in the phrase of Benedict XVI, evangelical Catholicism is friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Catholicism of the counter-reformation asks the people of the Church to know who Jesus Christ is, and through that knowledge about him to meet him. Evangelical Catholicism begins with meeting and knowing Christ Himself, the primordial sacrament of the human encounter with God,” Weigel said.
He also said evangelical Catholicism affirms divine revelation and embraces its authority as continued through the teaching authority of the Church as Catholics “embrace the authority that Jesus represents and incarnates, the authority of the living God who reveals himself in deed and word to the people of Israel, and who finally and definitively reveals himself in his son.”
“That divine authority is what gives both Scripture and the Church their unique authority,” he said.
He then presented the importance of Church teaching on the sacraments, particularly baptism and the Eucharist, in evangelical Catholicism.
“Third, evangelical Catholicism is a radically sacramental Church. The twin poles of its sacramental life are baptism and the Eucharist,” Weigel said.
In his next point he addressed conversion to Christ as something that remains constant and develops throughout life.
“Fourth, evangelical Catholicism is a call to constant conversion of life, which involves both the rejection of evil and active participation in the works of service and charity,” he said.
He said in his next point that evangelical Catholicism draws from tradition both ancient and authentic, as the Church provides teaching not easily stereotyped as traditionalist or progressive. He said the evangelical Catholic Church recognizes the value of extraordinary form Masses as a means to “accelerate a reform of the reform” of the liturgy, but called liturgical conflicts between traditionalists and progressives “deeply tiresome liturgy wars.”
“While recognizing that beauty takes many forms, evangelical Catholicism is cautious about the capacity of starkly modernist architecture, art and design to convey rumors of angels in a disenchanted world. Conversely evangelical Catholicism is not antiquarian and does not regard the liturgical tangibles popular in the 1940s and 1950s as an aesthetic norm. The world is not going to be re-converted by maniples,” he said.
I agree the liturgical conflicts are tiresome. This is why I would count myself more an evangelical Catholic than a traditionalist Catholic, as much as I love traditional liturgy of the Anglican Use. The most important element I believe is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. One can be all for maniples etc. and not have that vital relationship, only a love of all the trappings, the ritual, the language.