The American Catholic is an online community of Christians, motivated by a rich heritage of Catholic spiritual and intellectual tradition, seeking to engage American society and culture in pursuit of the common good. Following the Second Vatican Council’s ecclesial call for greater Christian witness in contemporary society, we are dedicated to the renewal and “Christian animation of the temporal order.” We are all deeply inspired by our Catholic faith and seek authentic sacramental lives centered upon the “broken bread” of the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life.
We acknowledge that the common term for our Sacred Liturgy—Mass—has a very subtle but profound implication for how we live our lives. The term “Mass” is derived from the Latin term missa (“dismissal”), which is used in the concluding formula of Mass in Latin: Ite, missa est (“Go, it is the dismissal”). In the Christian tradition, the word “dismissal” has come to imply “mission” (cf. Mt 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”). As practicing Roman Catholics, we enter a church for the exact same reason we leave it: the never-ending quest for holiness.
In the words of the U.S. Catholic bishops:
“The road to holiness for most of us lies in our secular vocations…our faith is not just a weekend obligation, a mystery to be celebrated around the altar on Sunday. It is a pervasive reality to be practiced every day in homes, offices, factories, schools, and businesses across our land. We cannot we separate what we believe from how we act.”
In the face of a daunting vocation, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, to be “missionaries of Christ” in the world, we hope to offer thought-provoking commentary and discussion on culture, politics, law, theology, and philosophy from varying theological, philosophical, and socio-political perspectives while maintaining complete fidelity to Christ and His Church. We hope that you will join us in our ongoing dialogue on The American Catholic by engaging both contributors and other readers in order that we all enrich our understanding of what it is to be practicing, conscientious Roman Catholic lay men and women living in America at the dawn of the third Christian millennium.
“Laymen should take up as their own proper task the renewal of the temporal order. If the role of the hierarchy is to teach and to interpret authentically the norms of morality to be followed in this matter, it belongs to the laity, without waiting passively for orders and directives, to take the initiatives freely and to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live.” – Pope Paul IV, Populorum Progressio
“Lay people, whose particular vocation places them in the midst of the world and in charge of the most varied temporal tasks, must for this very reason exercise a very special form of evangelization…their primary and immediate task is…to put to use every Christian and evangelical possibility latent but already present and active in the affairs of the world. Their own field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complicated world of politics, society and economics, but also the world of culture, of the sciences and the arts, on international life, of the mass media. It also includes other realities which are open to evangelization, such as human love, the family, the education of children and adolescents, professional work, suffering. The more Gospel-inspired lay people there are engaged in these realities, clearly involved in them, competent to promote them and conscious that they must exercise to the full their Christian powers which are often buried and suffocated, the more these realities will be at the service of the Kingdom of God and therefore of salvation in Jesus Christ.” – Pope Paul VI, Evanaelii Untiandi