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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Dec 28, 2022
Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org.
One of our recent Catholic World News headlines, about a week before Christmas, reads Young American priests steadily more conservative. With our usual editor’s note, this headline leads to a December 18th story in the Wall Street Journal. But my first thought—which I’ve expressed several times over the years—is that I do not like the language of “conservative” and “liberal”.
What this news story is really about is the difference between those clergy and laity who accept what Christ teaches through His Church and those who do not. You might refer to this divide as the difference between “orthodoxy and heresy”, but perhaps today the terms “faithful” and “unfaithful” better capture the spiritual dynamic at work. Yes, everybody knows roughly what “conservative” and “liberal” mean in this context, but the words themselves are doggedly imprecise. They are far more appropriate for discussions of temperament or politics than they are for religion. …