In seeking to make faith relevant and comfortable, within the confines of contemporary Western culture, many reformers have robbed it of even the possibility of grandeur. Recent reforms – in catechetics, in moral theology, in religious life, above all in liturgy – seem designed to prevent the very possibility of such a thing. The Catholic imagination is now thoroughly impoverished and expresses itself only in banalities. One of its greatest failures is precisely its inability to imagine the prospect of eternal life. Converts have been attracted to the Church not because they found there a warm human community (often they did not) but because they believed that what the Church taught was true, that it had the words of eternal life. Thus in making Catholicism more relevant on one level, these reformers have succeeded in robbing it of its true relevance on a deeper level. The Church loses credibility not because it insists on teaching “outmoded” doctrines but because it lacks the courage to continue teaching what it knows to be true.

James Hitchcock, Catholicism and Modernity (1979)


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