I have spent some time criticizing Rod Dreher’s book, The Benedict Option, because it is a seriously flawed “manifesto.” It is as confused as it is shallow, and will accomplish nothing other than ceding more of the culture to our progressive rivals. Throughout the series of articles I renamed The Benedict Option to the Dreher option because there is nothing Benedictine about the suggested quasi-minimalist Christian movement constructed by Dreher. It would be unfair to the legacy of St. Benedict to associate a movement predicated on surrender to his rule of life, which is why I thought it fitting to associate the weak-kneed treatise with the author of the document giving up on the culture war.
Almost as troubling as the Dreher option itself, is the amount of praise the capitulating manifesto has received from notable Catholics in the priestly hierarchy. This demonstrates that many in the Church have been persuaded into the false notion that the Great Commission is about getting along with liberally pluralistic societies rather than converting them. If the apostles had followed the advice of Dreher they would have never left the room they were gathered when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Instead of preaching at pentecost, St. Peter would have encouraged everyone to band together in small familial enclaves until the time was right to assert the Church’s political influence on society. If there were ever a politically and religiously marginalized group of people it was the early apostolic Church, and yet they emerged from their seclusion full of the Holy Spirit prepared to take on an ungodly empire with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It should shame us that the apostles had more fire and courage to move on behalf of God in their dire situation than the 1 billion Catholics alive in the world today. How is it that a handful of apostles could initiate the conversion of the worlds greatest empire and we can’t even secure the basic right to life for the unborn? Instead of shrinking into tiny ghettos the Church, the true Church, must remember her identity as the Church Militant. In order to reclaim the characteristics of spiritual warriors, the identity of the liberally infused Church ecumenical committed to a faceless global Christianity must be cast aside. The first step toward accomplishing this would be rejecting the Dreher option, or anything else suggesting an ecumenism that instills the errors of religious indifferentism.
The Church Militant has been commissioned by the King of kings to baptize the nations. It is time to reclaim our apostolic heritage and get to work.
Here are the articles in the series:
– Lucas G. Westman