Beige Catholicism

June 27, 2016

I am a big Bishop Robert Barron fan. Last Thursday, he spoke about the problem of “beige Catholicism.” Here is an excerpt from that address.

“Beige Catholicism,” the bishop said, is the “dominance of the prevailing culture over Catholicism,” where Catholics are “too culturally accommodating” and “excessively apologetic.”

How can the Church dialogue with American culture, Bishop Barron asked, assimilating what is good and rejecting what is bad?

It must identify the problems with the mainstream culture – an excessive individualism, a flawed notion of freedom, and the “privatization of religion,” he said.

The individualism affects America so that the “common good remains unexplored and unarticulated,” and thus “we do tend to lose our corporate social identity and a shared sense of moral direction.”

There is also a flawed understanding of freedom today “as spontaneous personal choice and self-determination,” he said. This differs from the traditional understanding of “freedom for excellence,” which is the “disciplining of desire” so that doing good becomes “possible, and then effortless.”

Also, today’s culture suffers from the “privatization of religion,” he added, noting that “authentic Christianity can never be privatized” and that all areas of life belong to God.

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