instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unintentional impressions

I am bemused by the bemusement surrounding the Catherine of Siena Institute and its new blog. The bloggers at Intentional Disciples can't understand why some people think they're arguing for the Protestantization of the Church. Bloggers elsewhere can't understand their argument as anything but the Protestantization of the Church.

I'd say the fundamental difficulty can be expressed in two words: "Intentional Disciples."

I'm pretty sure the bloggers at Intentional Disciples use the term in a generic sense -- you're a disciple if you follow Jesus, you're intentional if you do it with awareness. But it's easy to infer that they're using it in a specific sense -- you're an Intentional Disciple™ if you've attended the Intentional Disciple Training Course™ taught by a Certified Intentional Disciple Trainer®.

Other things contribute to the miscommunication. Things like measuring the success of a parish activity and taking an inventory of your personal charisms really are more commonly associated with evangelical Protestantism than with Catholicism (setting aside the question of whether they ought to be). And at least some skeptics betray their own Calvinistic tendencies in judging the Institute based on a handful of the organizations its website links to.

But even I, marginally familiar with the Institute's mission and supportive of it to the extent of my familiarity, have a hard time seeing the term "intentional disciple" over and over without visions of a display case in a Christian bookstore holding Intentional Discipleship for Teens! books, Intentional Disciples page-a-day calendars, and little gold-plated dogtags stamped "I.D." to go on your "W.W.J.D." charm bracelet.

All of which goes to show that, if nothing else, the Institute is correct that Catholics don't usually talk about the things the Institute talks about.