Friday, March 4, 2011

John Allen on Learning about U.S. Catholicism by Going to Rome

Isn't this a fascinating observation in John Allen's latest Vatican-adulating spin article at National Catholic Reporter:

(You can probably learn more about Catholicism in the United States by connecting with a sampling of the American Catholics who wash through Rome for one reason or another, for instance, than you can in almost any single location in the U.S.)

To learn about American Catholicism, go to Rome.

To learn about real American Catholicism, about what's really happening in American Catholicism, go to Rome.

To learn about the margins, go to the center.  

To learn about the complex, vibrant diversity of the margins, go to the managed, routinized center where the complex, vibrant diversity of the margins is completely overlaid with structures that flatten the diversity and subject it to the rubrics of the white, elderly, all male, Euro-American elite of the center.

To learn about the U.S., go to D.C.

To know what's happening in the real U.S., talk to a Congressman or two.  Or to a beltway pundit.

If John Allen's observation is not a classic encapsulation of centrism--and a glaring illustration of all that's wrong with the centrist perspective and its fawning celebration of power and powerful folks--I don't know what it is.  Why people keep taking seriously this kind of power-brokering insider journalism, with its disdainful condescension for everyone outside the circles of power,  is beyond me.

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