Tuesday, June 4, 2013

America Will No Long Uses Political Sounding Labels As To Catholics ( Plus Other Changes )

This is somewhat a major change at one of the United States Catholic major publications . I am interested in how this works out. There is going to be an new attitude at America magazine and the editor promises words will be matched by deeds. See Pursuing the Truth in Love . Among some of the thing he pledges :

 “Love manifests itself more in deeds than in words.” America makes the following commitments:

 1. Church. The church in the United States must overcome the problem of factionalism. This begins by re-examining our language. America will no longer use the terms “liberal,” “conservative” or “moderate” when referring to our fellow Catholics in an ecclesiastical context.

 2. Charity. How we say things is as important as what we say. America seeks to provide a model for a public discourse that is intelligent and charitable. In the next few months, America will announce a new set of policies for the public commentary on our various platforms. 

 3. Community. America will appoint a community editor who will moderate our public conversation, ensuring that it rises to the standards we set for thoughtfulness and charity. We will continue to provide a forum for a diverse range of faithful, Catholic voices.

Prof Rick Garnett from Notre Dame comments on this here and Jana Bennett over at Catholic Moral Theology has an extended piece here on this.

In a pure Catholic context I think it is good to get away from some of those labels. Labels can mislead. On the other head they are often used to  convery where a person is coming from. In the comments at Catholic Moral Theology its speculated this might lead to get a tad more specific. From the comments:

One commenter on America suggests that other phrases will inevitably needed as shorthand (i.e. magenta!) – and it seems to me that the entire history of the Church is full of examples of using this kind of shorthand in order to move ecclesiastical debates forward. From Pelagians to Donatists to Jansenists to “the manuals” to “nouvelle” to “Communio” – we all know the inadequacy of these handles (or we should!), but we also know that they communicate something true and important about tendencies and models in theological thought and ecclesiastical practice. Indeed, the Gospels are surely doing this with the group they dub “the Pharisees”! How do we handle this seemingly inevitable tendency – or maybe how do we save what is necessary and true about such “labeling” without what is bad about it?

It will be interesting to watch this develop at America.. There is a lot more at Malone's piece. Read it all.

1 comment:

Luke Hansen said...

Hi James,

Thanks for writing about Father Malone's article. America magazine is interested in excerpting from your blog post in the next issue of the magazine. Would you please send me your full name so we could include it with a link to your blog?

Luke Hansen, SJ
Associate Editor