Why Catholicism is good for America

A non-Catholic, Tom Krattenmaker, makes his case in USA TODAY:

Yes, the church could use some changing. But what shouldn’t change about this 2-millennia-old religious movement is its inconvenient refusal to forget the poor and vulnerable in these winner-take-all times. Catholicism is not alone in this; indeed, all religion at its best, and secularists, too, have a role and a say. But Catholicism, with its numbers and history and highly relevant teachings, has something unique to offer.

As Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research at the Catholic University of America, writes, “Our nation’s diverse faith traditions, especially Catholic social teaching, emphasize the common good and the essential role government has in building a just economy that works for all. This … powerful message is not heard enough today and is urgently needed at a time of economic anxiety, growing ideological polarization and voter anger.”

Give it to the Catholics. When it’s more fashionable than ever to take to the public square with torches and pitchforks, could the Catholics — those whose own church has faced so much hostility — lead the way to restoring the common ground and common good? Don’t put it past them.

Check out the rest.


  1. A very insightful and welcome article! It reminds me of this from Nichols Kristof:
    My only problem with both of these articles though, (but much more so in the Kristof) is that they resort to the “heirarchy bad” “faithful good” meme. There are not 2 churches…only one! Can’t have one group without the other!

  2. Agree with Eka pretty nearly in full. At least this article didn’t go as far as Kristof, who nearly suggested that if only the “good”progressive Catholics would split from “evil” Rome and the stupid dupes still listen to the pope, they would be just about respectable.

  3. While I’m grateful for Mr. Krattenmaker’s appreciation for the contributions of Catholics to the political and social fabric of American life, his compliment sounds more like a “you guys do great stuff despite yourselves and your having to put up with those among you who actually believe what the Church teaches.” Big “C” vs little “c” Catholicism is nothing more than an attempt to divide the body of Christ and to make of one’s self a personal magisterium.

    I’m weary of the ubiquitous insistence on the part of journalists to see Catholicism only in terms of political liberal and conservative, and their seemingly incureable disability in getting Catholicism “right” (ie: he totally misunderstands the popes comments on condoms). I’m equally weary of the thinking of many Catholics that the Church could be so much better if only those pesky bishops would stop demanding fidelity to Catholic doctrine. I’m pleased that Catholicism transcends political affiliation. What is so dis-heartening is the number of Catholics who are more loyal and dedicated to their politics than to their faith, choosing to form their faith by their politics rather than forming their politics by their faith.


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