Q: Your book seems to echo G.K. Chesterton's statement that there was never anything so exciting or perilous as orthodoxy. Why do you believe this is the case?
Father Neuhaus: I am always honored to be associated with Chesterton, one of the great Catholic spirits of modern times.
Yes, orthodoxy is a high adventure -- intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically and morally. It is ever so much more interesting than the smelly conventions that so many, viewing orthodoxy as a burden, embrace in the dismal ambition to be considered progressive.
In the encyclical "Redemptoris Missio," John Paul II said that the Church imposes nothing; she only proposes. But what she proposes is an astonishment beyond the reach of human imagining -- the coming of the promised Kingdom of God, and our anticipation of that promise in the life of the Church.
It is a great pity that so many are prepared, even eager, to settle for something less than this high adventure.
For instance, in "Catholic Matters" I discuss the preoccupation with being an "American Catholic" when we should really want to be "Catholic Americans." Note that the adjective controls.
The really interesting thing is not to accommodate our way of being Catholic to the fact of our being American but to demonstrate a distinctively Catholic way of being American.
Q: A major theme in your book is the importance of a revitalized liturgy for renewing Catholic life. How do you see that occurring?
Father Neuhaus: Don't get me started. The banality of liturgical texts, the unsingability of music that is deservedly unsung, the hackneyed New American Bible prescribed for use in the lectionary, the stripped-down architecture devoted to absence rather than Presence, the homiletical shoddiness.
Where to begin? A "high church" Lutheran or Anglican -- and I was the former -- braces himself upon becoming a Catholic.
The heart of what went wrong, however, and the real need for a "reform of the reform" lies in the fatal misstep of constructing the liturgical action around our putatively amazing selves rather than around the surpassing wonder of what Christ is doing in the Eucharist.
All that having been said, however, be assured that there has never been a second or even a nanosecond in which I've had second thoughts about entering into full communion with the Church of Jesus Christ most fully and rightly ordered through time.
(H/T to Pontifications for the link)