- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

A Ben Op Blast From Germany

Here’s a short piece published in the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost. [1]Its author is an FSSP priest. Google has done the translating, with a little clean-up help from me:

Recently I heard on the radio a documentary about the growth of evangelical Free Churches in France. The critic was a French professor of theology. He warned against these free churches: they could develop into parallel societies, which represented a greater danger than Islamism! After all the Islamist terrorist attacks that have shaken France lately, one wonders what danger he means. But the only points of criticism he mentioned were the “arch-conservative views” of these Free Churches in matters of family and sexuality: they considered divorce and homosexual acts sinful.

Actually, I am offended that this critic has ignored the Catholic Church. If such views suffice to warn of a dangerous parallel society, then the Catholic Church deserves such criticism. And she should be proud of that! Full of self-confidence, she should embody a counterculture that is based on the commandments of God, and not only does not deny the contrast to the permissive mainstream culture, or only painfully tolerates it, but actually enjoys it and prides itself on the example of the early Christians, who understood themselves as “God’s children without flaws in the middle of a warped and crooked generation, under which you shine like stars in the universe “(Phil. 2, 15).

Precisely this program of developing a conscious counterculture is the path proposed as a survival strategy of the Christian faith in a book that has caused great excitement in America and is now available in German translation. Rod Dreher, the author, calls this strategy the “Benedict Option” [2]. His example is the St. Benedict, who has shown us how to live creative ways to live the Christian faith confidently and counterculturally.

change_me

Of course, this book has been criticized, especially by theologians; no wonder, since it is precisely theologians who have been pleasing us for five decades with the opposite strategy of the greatest possible adaptation to the world. We can see the result today: a church that, because it no longer takes its teaching seriously, is no longer taken seriously by the world, not even as a dangerous parallel society.

German original here.  [1]

Strong, strong stuff! Thank you, Father Recktenwald. And thanks to Tobias Klein, the translator of the German edition of my book.

7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "A Ben Op Blast From Germany"

#1 Comment By charles cosimano On May 26, 2018 @ 1:32 pm

I like the new cover.

Never forget the old adage. “God created critics so writers would have people to make fun of in the next book.”

#2 Comment By Bonifatius On May 26, 2018 @ 1:35 pm

A Roman Catholic was recently founded in Germany which claims that the Benedict Option is among its inspirations:
[3]
The initiative states that its objective is to analyze the strategic challenges which Christianty is facing in Germany and to adress these challgenges through apostolic measures.

#3 Comment By Dennis On May 26, 2018 @ 2:24 pm

“Of course, this book has been criticized, especially by theologians; no wonder, since it is precisely theologians who have been pleasing us for five decades with the opposite strategy of the greatest possible adaptation to the world.”

Brutal, and awesome.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 26, 2018 @ 2:30 pm

But the only points of criticism he mentioned were the “arch-conservative views” of these Free Churches in matters of family and sexuality: they considered divorce and homosexual acts sinful.

The balance that needs to be reaffirmed to sustain the existence of a secular republic:

1) Any given religious doctrine, ritual, taboo, or requirement may be true.

2) No religious doctrine, ritual, taboo, or requirement may be endorsed by, or enforced by, the secular law.

3) Everyone is free to adhere to, ignore, or criticize, or even make fun of, any religoius doctrine, ritual, taboo, or requirement.

4) There is no politically correct religious doctrine, ritual, taboo or requirement.

5) Any given religious doctrine, ritual, taboo, or requirement may be true.

#5 Comment By JonF On May 26, 2018 @ 2:59 pm

What is meant by “Free churches”? I assume this is actually a formal category (under French law?) since it is capitalized?

[NFR: In Germany, the “free churches” are Protestant churches that are not the state Lutheran church. Not sure what it means in the French context — probably independent Evangelical and charismatic congregations. The author was probably using a term that German readers would be familiar with. — RD]

#6 Comment By Tobias Klein On May 26, 2018 @ 4:29 pm

@JonF

I agree with Rod that Father Recktenwald probably used the term “Freikirche” (Free Church) because it’s a common term in Germany; I’m not sure if it even applies under French law. In Germany, the term “Freikirche” technically applies to all Christian denominations that don’t take part in the Church Tax system, but it usually refers to Evangelical and Pentecostal denominatons. And to be quite honest, for a lot of people in Germany the term “Freikirche” is the polite way to say “fundamentalist sect”…

#7 Comment By Albert On May 26, 2018 @ 4:39 pm

“. . . it is precisely theologians who have been pleasing us for five decades with the opposite strategy of the greatest possible adaptation to the world.”

Some, not all. And then there is an educational approach ascribed to the Jesuits: you go in their door, and bring them out your door.