New Rules, New Prophets, and Beige Catholicism

Andrew Greeley and Paul Wink

in The Catholic Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238176
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938779 | DOI:
New Rules, New Prophets, and Beige Catholicism

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Revolutionary events and the collapse of institutional structures always leave chaos, confusion, and conflict in their wake. In the revolutionary years after the council, more changed than just the rules about sex. A large majority of laity and lower clergy participated and celebrated these changes. Neither historical nor theological nor personal depth was available in the immediate post-revolutionary era. The result was what theologian Robert Barron calls “beige Catholicism,” the colorless, odorless, tasteless, unimaginative, unpoetic variety of Catholicism in which he was raised. The need for order and certainty was still felt at the lower levels of the church leadership. The new authoritarians made the old monsignors look permissive. Although priests no longer controlled the lives of the laity, priests and parish staff members did still controlled access to the sacraments. In the post-revolutionary years after 1970, when the old rules were collapsing, a new set of extra canonical rules came into existence that protected clerical power and abused the rights of the laity. Paradoxically, the new freedom also meant new and more harsh rules. The rule making power of the local clergy proved remarkably durable.

Keywords: new rules; beige Catholicism; revolutionary events; Robert Barron; church leadership

Chapter.  2734 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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