Sentimentalism: a softer shade of tyranny

Disorientation; How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind features essays on modern “Isms” (Hedonism, Americianism, Marxism, Modernism, Relativism, Cynicism) from some of your favorite Catholic writers, including Peter Kreeft, Eric Metaxas (whose Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is an award-winning must-read!), Fr. Z., Fr. George Rutler, Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea, Fr. Dwight and many more. Given the time of year, I’ve been recommending it be added (along with the YouCat) to everyone’s “back-to-school” shopping list.

I’ve noticed that a few reviews on Amazon have suggested that the book is “too advanced” for college freshmen. Thinking it might give you a better idea of what to expect within, I got permission for Patheos to reprint one full chapter of the book — my own essay on Sentimentalism.

That the churches are faulty is undeniable. The Catholic Church, indeed much of Christianity, is an unkempt housemother to a den of miscreants. The place is teeming with gossips, adulterers, cheats, and liars—and that’s just in the pews. Her leadership is, to the progressive perspective, irredeemably sexist, patriarchal, repressed, intolerant, and perhaps malevolent; it supposedly clings to outmoded tradition and outmoded thought due to a shrunken heart and—moderns suggest—an insufficient capacity to reason.

These charges are easy to make; they are full of modern buzzwords that suggest other buzzwords and people use them as a sort of verbal shorthand, a social coding that denotes at which table one may sit in the societal lunchroom. They signal a bent of mind so “advanced” that it has done away with the need to reason, and is content to let feelings and desires dress up as critical thought. Hence, a Sentimentalist says he cannot reconcile himself to a Church that “holds women back”—a vague term used to signal support of women priests, while ignoring the historical evidence that Christianity helped women to “self-actualize” as no other societies ever did. He says he cannot believe in a God who would “punish love” and in this way signals support for gay marriage, while brushing off pesky questions about physiology, covenants, or Scripture.

Not so scary, right? You can read the whole piece, here, and of course, pick up the book via Amazon, or elsewhere. I don’t earn any royalties for pushing the thing. I just think — having had two sons go through college, one secular, one Catholic — that these essays (and the YouCat) provide a useful counter-narrative to the college (or prep-school) indoctrinations to which our kids are exposed on campus.

Julie Davis is recommending a book, also, one that got under her skin

Turns out Brandon Vogt
reviewed the book a few months ago, and linked to other reviews as well.

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