12 Oct

Religion for Sundays only

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 10/12/13

Walter Kasper on the meaning of secularization

Walter Kasper

“[T]o the degree that religion disappears from the external world it retreats into the interior in order to erect its temples and altars in the heart. As a result, secularization did not cause the death of religion; it led rather to the alienation between a secular and monotonous cultural world and a kind of ‘Sunday existence’ represented by religion. Religion did not cease to exist; it did, however, become but one sector of modern life along with many others. Religion has lost its claim to universality and its power of interpretation, and has become particular, at times even a form of a subculture.

“To be sure, not only religion, but man himself has become homeless in the modern world. Wherever man loses the all-embracing unity of all reality that used to be articulated by religion and cultivated by liturgical celebrations, the individual human being becomes homeless and without support.”

— from “Nature, Grace, and Culture: On the Meaning of Secularization,” in Catholicism and Secularization in America: Essays on Nature, Grace, and Culture (Notre Dame: Communio Books, 1990) edited by David L. Schindler.