A prophetic excerpt from his newest “Last Things” column at the New Oxford Review:
If I were a secularist tasked with subverting the Catholic Church, I’d coddle her, defer to her leaders, give her all sorts of privileges and special treatment, not hold her accountable — that is, encourage her to live comfortably in the world. She’d learn to fit in, to go along, and to let down her guard. Once in a while I would launch a full-scale investigation that would embarrass and humiliate her and justify imposing political and legal restrictions on her life.
Essentially how America treated the Catholic Church in the post-war period. Many older Catholics look back to that period as an ideal. The Church in America grew! they say. A lot! We gained positions of power and influence, even a president! But then we let it all go. With Vatican II, the 1960s, dissenters, contraception, liberals, the New Mass, everything went downhill.
The one real cause they never notice is the successful and comfortable Church of the 1950s and early 1960s. The Church was too at ease in Zion, and that required cuddling up to those in power and compromising with them to keep their favor. She had a position and image to maintain, and that required covering up sexually abusing priests.
The Catholics who look back to the 1950s and early 1960s want to restore something that proved disastrous for the Church’s life and witness. They do the Church in America no favors, while her enemies, now out in the open, do her the great favor of holding her to her own standards.
David Mills is one of just a couple Catholic writers who I can wholeheartedly encourage people to follow on social media. So do yourself a favor and follow him here:
At age 71 I grew up in that era and Church. The not so Cold War pitted America with its American Way including freedom of religion against atheistic Communism. I see now how the Church in America became for those in the halls of power a necessary ally. With 1960 we thought we had finally arrived. We were fully Americans. We did not realize the halls of power saw this as a necessary but temporary alliance. Nor did we recognize just how the more problematic aspects of being America had seeped into the Church, taken root and already beginning to show themselves