LOPEZ: The witness of “a renewed and rooted Catholic culture of faith and family and friendship” can help revive an “exhausted culture,” you write. It’s a culture quite hostile to Catholic values at the moment. What makes you think what you believe and try to live is welcome, never mind “beautiful and radical and essential”? And doesn’t this suggest that you are, in fact, looking to take away women’s birth control, looking to get them to live the way you choose to?
DANIELS: We’re called to live our faith in season and out, whether it’s welcome or not. That doesn’t mean trying to impose our beliefs on others; it means proposing them to others. For the most part, this means working for the common good in our families, neighborhoods, and parishes. It’s less about passing legislation and winning court cases than it is about building a robust, vibrant culture in the places where we actually live out our lives. More than any abstract argument, it’s everyday holiness rooted in everyday Catholic culture that draws others to the truths of our faith.
LOPEZ: What makes you think Catholics want a Catholic culture, when that seems to be a thing of the past, unless you go to certain schools or work at particular institutions?
DANIELS: It’s not about reviving Catholic ghettoes or indulging sentimental nostalgia; it’s about living Catholic lives together in the here and now. As Catholics, we know that the good, the true, and the beautiful exist just beyond the everyday world, and sometimes overflow into it. Our job is to make that more visible; to do what little we can to build the kind of culture that, as Peter Maurin said, “makes it easy to be good.”
Such a culture is naturally attractive. Creating it in our families, among our friends, and in our parishes and neighborhoods doesn’t come from winning arguments. It comes from showing others that Belloc’s words are still true: “Wherever the Catholic sun does shine/There’s always laughter and good red wine.” How effective our witness would be if we lived that out.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a coordinator of Catholic Voices USA .