Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Fresh Flavor of Nonconformity

A quite interesting article in the American Conservative, “Freedom or Virtue?” by Donald Devine, cites part of an interview another author (E.J. Dionne Jr.) held with then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger had been asked how he could “insist on moral positions that conflicted with the views of a majority of Americans of his own tradition. Why could he not compromise with those people, who mostly took libertarian views on social issues, especially on sexual matters?” I quote the next paragraph in that article:

Ratzinger replied: “If it is true that a Christian faith taken seriously means nonconformity with a not inconsiderable number of contemporary social standards, then a more or less negative image is unavoidable.” Ratzinger concluded that in a confused world, the obligation of a moral tradition, Christian or otherwise, is to recover the capacity for nonconformity rather than seeking either elite or mass approval.

Brigitte was reading this out loud to me yesterday on what must have been the loveliest day of the season yet. And this passage certainly resonated with us. In effect it represents what some call “the third way,” thus avoiding reflexive adherence to this camp or that, participating in the collective social labor without merging with fashion, in effect to be in this world but not of it.

The article is not yet available on the Internet, but it should appear in a month or two. Worth reading.

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