tWithout really trying, I’ve generated controversy in some quarters by coining the phrase “Taliban Catholicism” to describe a psychological tendency (as opposed, let the record be clear, to any actual person or group) in today’s church. I understand it as the equal-and-opposite extreme from what George Weigel has usefully described as “Catholicism Lite,” meaning a kind of supine assimilation to secularism.
t“Taliban Catholicism,” then, is an exaggerated allergy to anything that smacks of secularism, liberalization, or corruption by modernity – an angry form of the faith that knows only how to excoriate and condemn.
tOf course, Catholicism hardly enjoys a monopoly on the “Taliban” instinct, which is more akin to a potential distortion within any religious system. In some ways it may be especially virulent within ultra-traditional and nationalist strains of Orthodoxy, as a recent “Patriarchal and Synodal Encyclical” from Archbishop Bartholomew of Constantinople makes clear.