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Nobility in a Dictatorship of Relativism
on May 8, 2013
Ryan Topping's "Rebuilding Catholic Culture" spans ten chapters covering different areas such as liturgy, virtue, law and family to address how the world went astray from a Christian, specifically Catholic, foundation and abandoned it for its own ideals. While these ideals echo Christian morals, Topping argues because they are severed from anything religious - making them neither Christian nor moral - they have no real foundation and the only result to this new world order is catastrophe.
Topping is theologically sound, very cognizant of the trends of secularism, and does not avoid addressing ways of in fact rebuilding Catholic culture. But he waits too long into the text to offer his remedies (end abortion, have more children, learn Latin, build better churches) and does so breezily instead of making them pillars that could have informed the rest of the book. As it is, we have more time spent on the world's abandonment of God and the Church than for Catholics themselves to turn their own agenda around. It's there, but it's not driven by the four recommendations that appear in the conclusion.
For readers familiar with the numerous references (papal documents, the Church Father, Dante, the Enlightenment philosophers and Marx and Engels for example), appreciation will be given to the intelligence of Topping's insights and arguments. However, at the core of the text is an emphasis on rebuilding the family and the parish. My guess is these readers would be more familiar with the works of Matthew Kelly, like "Rediscovering Catholicism." Topping's book is a more advanced version of Kelly, but lacks the mainstream foundation that makes Kelly so popular (you won't see this book passed out at your local parish at Christmas).
Still, the seriousness of what compelled Ryan Topping to write "Rebuilding Catholic Culture" applies to all who are serious about not abandoning God to the march of secularism. As he says in a profound parenthetical throwaway, "(If truth really is just an expression of one's own racial, sexual, or any other 'interests,' why should anyone else bother about hers -- or his?)"