Apr 17, 2017
In today's America, as in other countries like it, people of faith are facing a question of critical importance: How should they respond to a dominant secular culture that's not just hostile to their beliefs but bent on forcing them to conform to its values and, not incidentally, winning the allegiance of their children?
Fresh attention to this question has lately been stimulated by the publication of three much-discussed books: Strangers in a Strange Land by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia (Henry Holt), The Benedict Option by conservative writer Rod Dreher (Sentinel), and Out of the Ashes by Providence College professor Anthony Esolen (Regnery).
In fact, the problem has been waiting to explode for years.
As far back as 1870 ornery Orestes Brownson, the leading American Catholic public intellectual of the 19th century, grumbled prophetically: "Instead of regarding the Church as having advantages here [in America] which she has nowhere else….I think the Church has never encountered a social & political order so hostile to her."