I stand in fundamental agreement with what Thomas Schärtl has said in his article describing recent trends in US Catholicism. I am a lifelong Catholic and a lifelong Democrat. I felt personally distressed and discouraged by the support given to Mitt Romney and the Republicans by some leading US Catholic bishops. Most of this support may have technically passed the legal test of being nonpartisan, but undeniably it functioned in a partisan manner, as did the attacks launched on President Obama in the midst of a campaign to defend religious liberty. Schärtl’s analysis of these trends as reflecting marketing strategies focused on protecting brand identity markers yields worthwhile insights. It helps to explain why some bishops preached simplistic messages focused on a narrow range of moral issues,why they acted (perhaps opportunistically) in unison with far-right conservative Christians, and why they at times appeared to cast all disagreement within the church as disloyalty, and all disagreement beyond the church as apostasy. It also helps to explain the presence within the US Catholic Church of modes of piety that seem to reflect not only needs fulfillment but perhaps also a type of needs creation.
Copyright © 2015, College Theology Society
Doyle, Dennis M., "Americanized Catholicism? A Response to Thomas Schärtl" (2014). Religious Studies Faculty Publications. 92.