Here’s a short piece published in the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost. 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”. His example is the St. Benedict, who has shown us how to live creative ways to live the Christian faith confidently and counterculturally.
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.
Strong, strong stuff! Thank you, Father Recktenwald. And thanks to Tobias Klein, the translator of the German edition of my book.