Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

3/27/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Radical Catholicism is real Catholicism. It is both gritty and glorious, humble and happy, beautiful and blessed, simple and splendid--and it is not only radical, it is radiant.

Pope Francis has been called a reforming Pope, but the Spirit of reform is always present in the church. Every good pope has been a reforming pope in one way or another. This is as it should be for Christ calls his church to a constant and frequent reform. To put it another way, the church, and every one of the baptized are called to constant conversion. Jesus doesn't come simply to turn over the tables in the temple, or the Jewish religion of his day. He also comes to turn over the tables of complacency, self righteousness, greed and compromise in the Catholic Church today, and in my own life.

Jesus turning over the tables

Jesus turning over the tables

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/27/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: radical.radical catholicism, root, radix, Fr Dwight Longenecker, The Romance of Religion


GREENVILLE,SC (Catholic Online) - One of the joys of witnessing Pope Francis' first weeks in office was to see him keep people guessing. Was he going to live in the Apostolic Palace or not? Would he wash the feet of females in the prison? Would he ride in the papal limousine? Would he wear read shoes and fine vestments? What would he do next?

Pope Francis has reminded us that the Lord is a God of surprises. The Catholic faith is "ever ancient ever new" because while we have our dogmas and decrees and our rubrics and rules and regulations we also have the Holy Spirit--a Spirit that blows where it wills. In the Church it is always Springtime because there is forever something new and fresh being brought into life by the Holy Spirit.

When I was a boy in Protestant Sunday School I was thrilled and delighted by the story of Jesus going into the temple to turn over the tables of the money changers. The Sunday School teacher said it was because they were selling things in church and that was wrong. I suspected, however, that Jesus was turning over more than just the tables of the money changers.

He was turning over the whole system. After all, he had also mocked the religious leaders for wearing fine robes and loving to be greeted respectfully in the street and taking the best seats in the synagogue. He had called them the sons of Satan. They were snakes, liars and hypocrites. Jesus was turning over more than just a few tables. He was revolutionizing the entire religion of his day. More than that, he was turning the whole world upside down.

Pope Francis has been called a reforming Pope, but the Spirit of reform is always present in the church. Every good pope has been a reforming pope in one way or another. This is as it should be for Christ calls his church to a constant and frequent reform. To put it another way, the church, and every one of the baptized are called to constant conversion. Jesus doesn't come simply to turn over the tables in the temple, or the Jewish religion of his day. He also comes to turn over the tables of complacency, self righteousness, greed and compromise in the Catholic Church today, and in my own life.

When Jesus turned over the tables he was giving a radical witness to the truth, and we should remember that the gospel is never good news unless it is radical. The word "radical" comes from the Latin word "radix" which means "root". To be radical is to go back to the basics. It is to get back to what is essential. To believe and live a radical Catholic faith, therefore, is to get back to the basic, table turning, upside down life of Jesus of Nazareth.

One of the reasons the Catholic Church is so sluggish and ineffectual in the world today is that so many Catholics have no idea how to live a radical, back to basics, essential form of Catholicism. To be a radical Catholic means being in a real relationship with Jesus Christ instead of the world. Too many Catholics have never even begun to live that radical life in Christ that the gospel calls for.

In her important book Forming Intentional Disciples Sherry Weddell explains why the Catholic Church is so often ineffectual and weak. She explains that an "intentional disciple" is someone who has encountered the table turning Jesus and taken a step of complete and total commitment to him. The intentional disciple then lives a radically different life to those in the world around him. The intentional disciple lives the gospel and proclaims the gospel through a life transformed by the risen Christ.

Some Catholics worry that this sort of radical Catholicism is fanatical Catholicism. They see Catholics who are "sold out" and "110% Catholic" and they are scared away. We don't need fanatical Catholics, but we do need radical Catholics. That is, they have gone back to the roots of the religion and found Christ the Lord--the one who turns over the tables and shows us how to live lives of complete and profound unity with himself.

Radical Catholicism is real Catholicism. It is both gritty and glorious, humble and happy, beautiful and blessed, simple and splendid--and it is not only radical, it is radiant.
-----

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina.Visit his blog, listen to his radio show, subscribe to his weekly newsletter and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com Join Fr Longenecker during Lent for a Blobble Study. That is a Bible study on a blog. On his blog, Standing on My Head he will lead readers through a study of Mark's gospel. There will be a reading from the gospel each day with a short reflection. Then the combox is open for comment and discussion. His latest book is The Romance of Religion --Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Living Faith

The forgotten plight of Native Americans

Image of

By Tony Magliano

When it comes to the harsh difficulties many Native Americans face every day, the saying "out of sight, out mind" hits home. Many people have only a vague sense of the serious past and present injustices suffered by Native Americans.From the very beginning, starting ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure and the Fear of the Lord Watch

Image of You want God's mercy?  Here is St. Bonaventure's advice: avoid sin and develop a healthy fear of the Lord.- Andrew Greenwell

By Andrew M. Greenwell

The Church teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given us as part of sanctifying or habitual grace.  If we are in a state of grace, these gifts are present.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are similar to supernaturally-infused virtues in that they ... continue reading


Mustard Seed Faith and Living as a Christian in the Real World Watch

Image of The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened. (Matt. 13: 31 - 33)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

All the images Jesus uses in these parables concern the spreading of the kingdom or reign of God. They are meant to bring home the new reality that comes when we choose to live our call to discipleship and truly begin to cooperate with grace in our daily lives. ... continue reading


VATICAN HELPS THE HOMELESS, plans to provide free showers, haircuts and shaves near St. Peter's Square Watch

Image of Rome's homeless can receive free haircuts, shaves and showers beginning February 16.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will begin providing homeless people in Rome a place to not only shower, but to also receive haircuts and shaves starting next month, according to Pope Francis' charity office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St Peter's Square will open with the ... continue reading


Play with your children, Pope Francis commands fathers Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While some of his comments have provoked controversy, Pope Francis in a private audience this week said something that very few people would argue with. The Pope commanded that all fathers take time to play with their children - and not be so absorbed with work ... continue reading


Archbishop reprimands Catholic lawmaker, says no true Catholic can dissent from church teaching on abortion Watch

Image of Archbishop Cordileone said in a written statement, that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a press conference on January 22 at the Capitol, was asked twice whether an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy is a human being. Pelosi finally replied that a woman has "the right" to abort her child. Archbishop ... continue reading


Religious persecution uniting Christians worldwide in 'Ecumenism of blood,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"In this moment of prayer for unity, I would also like to remember our martyrs, the martyrs of today," Pope Francis said as he was speaking to members of a number of Christian Churches. Gathered in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls this past weekend, ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: Jesus is the Heart and the Marvel of the Gospel Watch

Image of Since the incarnation of the Word, the

By Andrew M. Greenwell

If pursued, and pursued rightly (that is, without moral or intellectual prejudice), metaphysics leads us to a threshold, a threshold we might call the limina fidei, the threshold of faith.  Reason takes us to a place where we know God--that He is.  But ... continue reading


Who Are My Mother and Brothers? We are the Family of Jesus Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are invited into the very family of God. When we choose to respond to grace and live in obedience to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of ... continue reading


St Francis DeSales Challenges Us to Live a Life of True Devotion Watch

Image of Today in our Liturgical calendar in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we remember St Francis DeSales (1567-1610). The Saints are all given as examples to emulate. They are our companions on the journey, men and women like us who responded to God's invitation to become like Jesus. They pray for us because we are joined with them in the eternal communion of love. They also put legs on the Gospel, showing us what holiness looks like.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:32-39
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
3 Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:26-34
26 He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 30th, 2015 Image

St. Aldegunais
January 30: Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter