Opinion

JAMES CARROLL

A counterculture of Catholic monks

The Catholic hierarchy is walling itself off ideologically, intensifying its campaign to slam shut church windows opened by the liberalizing Second Vatican Council. This month alone, the pope has rebuked the disobedience of European priests and, acting through a Vatican congregation, set in motion a severe disciplining of American nuns. The US Catholic bishops advance the pope’s agenda with their recently announced “religious liberty” campaign, timed to climax this summer — a blatant intervention in presidential politics, inevitably favoring the far right wing.

Today’s church is taking “the Benedict Option,” defined by Rod Dreher of The American Conservative as a “pioneering form of dropping out of a barbaric mainstream culture.” This approach is named after St. Benedict of Nursia, the sixth-century founder of monasticism. Joseph Ratzinger, upon his election as pope in 2005, did not take the name Benedict by accident. But the implied parallel is false: Cloistered and detached as it seems now, the monastic life was, in St. Benedict’s day, a model for forward progress.

Your comment is subject to the rules of our Posting Policy

This comment may appear on your public profile. Public Profile FAQ

Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com