Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stafford on the Freedom of Indifference

Here's an interesting piece from an interview with Cardinal Francis Stafford of Denver, who just celebrated his golden jubilee.

Q: What's the most significant change in the Catholic Church in the last 50 years?

A: On the positive side, lay people are actively in search of holiness; not a cheap holiness, not a holiness that comes from an inexpensive grace. Wallace Stevens, one of the great poets of the 20th century and a convert to Catholicism on his death bed, wrote, and I paraphrase: Sanctity is produced out of the condition of winter, that is a wintry cold climate. He describes a holiness produced out of a mind of winter....

On the negative side, what has changed is the self-inflicted and mortal wound of many Catholic universities and colleges that have attempted to live in two diametrically opposed cultural worlds; one, a culture based upon freedom as the pursuit of excellence and the other, freedom of indifference. The first is from the tradition of St. Augustine and St. Thomas and the other is from the period of the Enlightenment beginning with Kant.

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