In a recent article by Benjamin Mann of California Catholic Daily
titled "An Inoffensive, Vanilla Christianity," Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.Cap. states that too often Christianity is reduced to modern paganism.
Addressing a gathering of European church officials on March 4, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver warned that many contemporary Christians have reduced their faith to a convenient “form of paganism,” which cannot compete with the widespread “idolatry” of modern consumer culture.
Archbishop Chaput offered his observations at a conference in Paris honoring the late Cardinal Archbishop Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who was the Archbishop of Paris from 1981 to 2005.
The Denver archbishop described Cardinal Lustiger as “an unsentimental realist” who dared to speak about disturbing trends in the Church and society – including a lack of faith among professed Christians, leaving a vacuum that would be filled by other “gods” such as sex and money.
“Lustiger named lukewarm Christians and superficial Christianity for what they are: a congenial form of paganism,” said Archbishop Chaput. “The Church needs a great deal more of his medicine.”
He recalled Cardinal Lustiger's prophetic warnings against “creating alibis and escaping the implications of our faith.” In a passage cited by Archbishop Chaput, the cardinal wrote that many Christians, through evasions and misunderstandings, had “reduced the God of the Covenant to a mere idol.”
“The main crisis of modern Christianity is not one of resources, or personnel, or marketing,” Archbishop Chaput asserted. “It is a crisis of faith. Millions of people claim to be Christian, but they don't really believe.”
“They don't study Scripture,” said the archbishop. “They don't love the Church as a mother and teacher. And they settle for an inoffensive, vanilla Christianity that amounts to a system of decent social ethics.”
“This is self-delusion,” he warned, “the worst kind of phony Christianity that has no power to create hope out of suffering, to resist persecution, or to lead anyone else to God.”
Archbishop Chaput said that these weakened forms of Christian faith would not be able to compete with the many modern cults of instant gratification and success.
Read the full article: California Catholic Daily