Opinion: “Catholic communes” are not good for the church or society

By Charles Jardine
Assistant Editor

Before I attended Franciscan, the idea of a Catholic bubble had never entered my mind. Since being here, more and more people enjoy the bubble rather than the “real world.”

Our society has become increasingly secular decade after decade. One of the roots of this problem was the lack of outspokenness from the Catholic laity.

The problem with the bubble or “Catholic commune” is that it does not encourage the Christian outreach that we are called to in Mt. 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”

Without being properly integrated into society, we cannot live out this mission.

I remember in my Principles of Biblical Studies classes that a particular question came up: why don’t we have a nation like the Jews had Israel?

The answer is because Israel needed its own nation to be faithful to God, and even as its own nation it struggled to be faithful to God.

In the Old Testament, God was slowly bringing his people closer and closer to Christ and therefore needed them to be set apart from other people to avoid their biggest temptation – idolatry.

The beauty of the Incarnation of Christ is that the Old Law was fulfilled through him. Instead of one nation set apart from the others, Christ called us to make disciples of all nations.

Indeed, the term “catholic” means universal and defines our faith as meant for everybody. Christ came to save all people, and we must do our part to evangelize to those in need.

I fear that a “Catholic commune” will above all discourage evangelization. Whenever we are comfortable, we do not take risks to go out into the world.

Story writer and novelist Louis L’Amour saw the importance of this when he said, “Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.”

Christ was not content with saving just the Jews. He wanted the salvation of everyone.

Christ did not abandon the tax collectors and sinners. He invited them to eat with him, during which he evangelized to them.

I won’t be ignorant and not admit to the blissfulness it has been at Franciscan and having the vast majority of people hold my same religious beliefs. But I also recognize that this is not how it’s going to be when I graduate, and that’s ok.

I look forward to conversations about my faith with others. Sure, it might be scary, but I believe we are invited in those moments to speak about our faith and, more importantly, be the example of an authentic Catholic life to others.

In my opinion, I believe this reflection of joyfulness and holiness in a person’s daily life draws many more people to the Catholic Church than heated debates.

Bringing this all together, I believe that a “Catholic commune” is bad for society because it will not allow for most of these interactions to occur.

With a widely secular society, the answer is not to seclude ourselves, but rather reach out in a more radically Catholic way.