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WSJ Resists Entropy, Finds Faith

USA

N.b: The website Rorate Caeli stated Cardinal Raymond Burke recently visited Clear Creek Abbey, a bastion of traditional Roman Catholicism.

The article offers the views of some of those who have moved from across the United States to rural Oklahoma to live near the abbey as part of its wider community. The vignettes offered are balanced, thoughtful. They treat the subjects not as freaks or loonies who have left the city life for the hills, nor does it adopt the National Geographic approach of reporting on the curious views of the quaint natives. The subjects of the interviews come across as modern Americans, seeking through their faith to address the same issues raised by Tennyson and Arnold -- but through the lens of traditional Catholic witness and practice.

A friend of this website, Rod Dreher, receives mention as does his thinking on the “Benedict option” for Christians seeking to live in a hostile world. The article stated:

“We’re living in a post-Christian world,” Mr. Dreher said. “There needs to be some conscious separation from the mainstream to be able to hold on to the Christian faith.”

His words are juxtaposed against those who decry the call to withdrawal.

Many Christians, however, resist the idea of such stark separation, seeing it as an abandonment of their religious mission. “We have a mandate to spread the gospel,” said Adam Janke, vice president of St. Paul Street Evangelization, a Catholic group based in Indiana. “If we isolate ourselves to the extent that we’re no longer fulfilling that missionary mandate, that’s a problem.”

“We wanted our children to grow up in a community of people that really value family, and value the Catholic faith and tradition,” said Mr. Pudewa. “That’s getting harder and harder to find.”

Life here, Mr. Pudewa said, isn’t “about running away from something. It’s about running to something.” To “inculcate wisdom and virtue in children,” he added, “you surround them with goodness and beauty.”

The author does not choose sides, we do not hear his voice. This silence allows the subjects to speak for themselves. The good and bad of life outside the world and outside the cloister are discussed, while the philosophical underpinnings of the advocates is presented fairly and cleanly. The residents may believe American culture has been corrupted, but they do not think of themselves as doomed.

Those who have opted for small Christian communities say that the point is not to retreat into the wilderness but to provide a place to build a stronger faith for themselves and their families. ...

The families in Clear Creek see themselves as fundamentally different from breakaway religious groups like the Amish. There is no ban on technology or suspicion of outsiders….

This article is a model of good reporting. It “gets religion.” It "gets" its subject and explains it fairly and cleanly to those who come to the story without knowledge. If there were more writers working today like Ian Lovett, then I can say without hesitation, “we are all not doomed.”

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