Catholicism in a Time of Dissolution, by James Kalb

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By James Kalb, Crisis Magazine, April 4, 2019

We live in a time of dissolution. Many people find it hard to take such claims seriously because people have always complained about the degeneracy of the times. And in any event life involves change, which means the old disappears to make way for the new. So a time of new life would also be a time of dissolution.

But dissolution isn’t always accompanied by new life. Times differ, and we won’t understand our own by saying it’s like every other. We have specific problems, and won’t deal with them properly if we deny them or say they aren’t really problems.

With that in mind, it’s evident that we suffer from the dissolution of social and cultural connections. People are less tied to each other than they used to be. We’re all “free and independent,” which means we have weak family connections, religious commitments, and ties to anything identifiable as “home.”

That is a real problem, one that’s fundamental enough to mark the age as a whole. Man is a social and cultural being who depends on society to live well. Aristotle tells us that someone who didn’t need this would be either a beast or a god. And we’re not gods.

Normally, the culture of a people helps them go beyond their personal limitations by providing workable solutions for everyday problems. What are men and women? What obligations do they owe each other? How about neighbors? Young people and old? And what should we aim for in life? Solutions to these questions that work out badly get a bad name, those that turn out at least tolerably well survive and become established. So social tradition normally makes us better people and gives us a better life……Read entire article, go here: