The Church and Modernity | Chilton Williamson, Jr. | Catholic World Report
It is an uneasy relationship, especially since many aspects of the “modern age” run counter to Christian thinking and living.
The great sin of journalists is in their reducing everything under the sun to a subject suitable to mere journalism. Their coverage of the national debate over which reproductive mechanisms and procedures conscientiously objecting institutions ought to be made to pay for under the new national health care plan is a conspicuous example of their presumptive shallowness.
The journalistic treatment of the controversy opposes an ancient reactionary institution (the Church of Rome), retrograde in its moral teaching (in particular where human sexuality is concerned), with a postmodern world in urgent need of an updated moral system in conformance with our enlightened times. The formulation reflects the starkly simplistic terms in which journalists view the world, allowing them to present current events and the history from which they issue as a morality play cut free from a fixed moral code.
Pull it inside out, however, and you have quite a different proposition to deal with, this one on the metaphysical rather than the political level and as such entirely unsuitable to journalism and the journalistic mind. The revised formulation goes as follows. An upstart, materialist, shallow, ignorant, willful, and willfully misinformed age has thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of an Institution founded two millennia ago by God Himself, Who has been infusing it with divine Grace and understanding ever since. If Church teachings no longer correspond with the social conditions of our Brave New World, then we need to compare the circumstances of the building Utopia with those of traditional Christian societies (the sniveling Old World) in previous ages to enable us to see where and how the new world is wanting. It is for the modern age, in other words, to be judged by the Church, not the Church by the modern age.