I’ve been watching the mailbox like a kid at Christmas. Except we’re in Easter, so alleluia! My cause for rejoicing today is the arrival of my honest-to-goodness paperback copy of Solidarity Hall‘s inaugural publication, Radically Catholic in the Age of Francis, in which I and a few of my fellow Vox Novians (previous contributors Sam Rocha, Mark Gordon, and Tony Annett, who has blogged here as Morning’s Minion) are honored to have essays included among a delightfully unpigeonholeable mix of thinkers and doers – as Elias Crim calls us in his introduction, “an almost Chaucerian mix of pilgrims”.
What holds this mix together is a common search for alternatives to the cheap ideologies that have come to dominate modern American public discourse (or, to again borrow Crim’s phrasing, “the idea that mailing list politics discharges your obligations to society”), and that we are seeking such alternatives in (at the risk of redundancy) a radical rootedness in the fullness of the living Tradition of the Church.
Anyone expecting the identification as “Radically Catholic” to signify a staking-out of any such ideology will be either pleasantly surprised or sorely disappointed. And as for trying to do something like the opposite under the banner of Pope Francis in particular, I think this signifies as much as anything his ability to hold up our living Tradition’s treasures in a fresh light, showing the world a vision so ancient it looks radically new. Editor Daniel Schwindt’s epilogue gives a full-orbed and clarifying explanation of this particular invocation of the Holy Father, who
is ready at every moment to mingle acts of mercy with calls for justice. He does not fear paradox. He is capable of writing theology, but he prefers a gospel of encounter. He does not lead with condemnation; he leads with the caress. He affirms neither Right nor Left, neither socialist nor capitalist. He moves through such mental barricades as if they were not even there, declaring openly the hollowness of ideology.
That is essentially the kind of vision this motley crew of pilgrims is tasked with unpacking out of our diverse mix of backgrounds and foregrounds. As Elias Crim is fond of saying, “Check thou it out.”