Saturday, August 20, 2011

Down with "Catholicism"!

The word "Catholicism" (first French, catholicisme) was coined in early modern times, after the Protestant Reformation had begun. Does this word every really help? Does it mean something clear and definite? We use it in place of "the Catholic faith" and "the culture of Catholics"; it seems to me that the word means more the latter, but regularly tries to pass for the former. But the Catholic faith is not an entire culture, nor does it substitute for secularity and extra-ecclesial culture. No place in the vale of tears is simply Catholic. To my sense of it, the word Catholicism is never exactly the right word.

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