Monday, May 27, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - May 27, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 27
4:00 – American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America
Has the Americanization of American Catholics-their cultural assimilation, that is-been a blessing or a curse for the Church in the United States? Or has it been a bit of both? Russell Shaw is here to take a searching look at that question and reaches a disturbing conclusion. Cultural assimilation, which was ardently championed by churchmen like the great Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore around the turn of the last century, has undoubtedly conferred many benefits on Catholics. Their absorption into the secular culture of America, however, now threatens the Catholic identity of millions of faithful and of their institutions, such as schools, universities, and hospitals. Is there a solution? Russell will answer that question.
5:00 – How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization
In this magisterial work, leading cultural critic Mary Eberstadt delivers a powerful new theory about the decline of religion in the Western world. The conventional wisdom is that the West first experienced religious decline, followed by the decline of the family. Eberstadt turns this standard account on its head. Marshalling an impressive array of research, from fascinating historical data on family decline, Eberstadt shows that the reverse has also been true: the undermining of the family has further undermined Christianity itself. How the West Really Lost God is both a startlingly original account of how secularization happens and a sweeping brief about why everyone should care. Mary joins us.


  1. These topics go together like two sides of a coin. The gay marriage debate may revitalize Catholicism in France but it hasn't (yet) galvanized Catholics in the US. The HHS mandate opposition has fizzled, except with purists. Young people especially have little interest in denying gays marriage or women access to contraception. The future is greater secularization, it would seem.


    Cardinal Dolan folds on the HHS mandate. Read all about it. Today's NYTimes.