The Endless White Flags of Progressive Catholicism

Why the sexual revolution has been a catastrophic disaster in both the lives of individuals and in the broader culture

The Endless White Flags of Progressive Catholicism

Mary Eberstadt, in her wonderful new book from Ignatius Press titled Adam and Eve After the Pill: Revisited (an updated version of her 2013 book on the same topic), makes a great case for why the sexual revolution has been a catastrophic disaster in both the lives of individuals and in the broader culture. Building off of this analysis, she goes on to point out that there are many people in today’s culturally bankrupt and spiritually exhausted world who are waking up to the fact that the sexual revolution has been premised upon a set of empirical falsehoods about human nature and overt lies and deflections about the true extent of the damage it has inflicted.

Therefore, she concludes that now is precisely not the time for the Church to wave the white flag of surrender and to accommodate itself to the sexual revolution. Not at precisely the moment when millions of our contemporaries are ripe for hearing the prophetic challenge of the Church’s traditional teachings on these matters.

But isn’t this waving of the white flag so very typical of the modus operandi of contemporary progressive Catholicism? Claiming for itself the mantle of mercy and pastoral sensitivity through its reading of the “signs of the times”, it is forever two decades behind the latest trends, like a hound dog chasing after a squirrel, panting heavily and with tongue on the ground, long after the squirrel has escaped up a different tree. Vatican II did indeed teach that we need to read the signs of the times. But it did so with the understanding that one first needs to understand the culture in order to evangelize, with laser-like specificity, the exact neuralgic points of modern anguish. We are to share in the “joys and hopes” of the modern world, but with an eye toward how those same joys and hopes are in fact better fulfilled by the Gospel than the deceptive fulfillments given by the flawed illusions of modernity. This is the true aggiornamento of the Council, not the progressive’s aggiornamento of the chameleon.

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