The Need for Catholic Imagination

by | Apr 29, 2021


Richard Dawkins, a well-known anti-religious and atheist thinker, has recently set the Catholic twitter-verse ablaze with an un-original, but ripe for reaction observation:

For contemporary culture and people like Dawkins, there does not exist space other than the metaphorical and the literal. Everything is either a pretend-example or quantifiable-tangible. The idea of a mystical and sacramental understanding of the world is too foreign.

Human experience though tells us that fortitude, justice, mercy, and love are very real. In many ways, they are more real than what our very eyes and ears tells us. These most important things in life, like the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, exist somewhere between the symbolic and tangible – in mystery – the kind of mystery we will never fully comprehend. However, the fact that the more we know about this space, the more we realize we don’t know is too much for the modern imagination.


The fact that the modern secular world has lost it’s poetic imagination is unsurprising. What is most disheartening is that the Catholic world seems to have lost it as well. I’m not necessarily referring to surveys that show most self-described Catholics don’t believe or understand transubstantiation[I]. Rather, the controversial tweet, and bumbled Catholic response, bring to light an even more troubling aspect of the modern Catholic imagination – we are constantly letting others dictate the conversation. We are the response or reaction, never the storyteller (The hypocrisy of this post as a reaction rather than something “new” is not lost on me. I am not immune).

Certainly, in the last 20 years a perfectly reasonable disgust with the Church and her dishonorable stewards has cast a shadow over any beneficial work. Still, not since Mother Teresa, almost a generation ago, has the secular world been gripped by the good, true, and beautiful in the Catholic world.


The unsurpassable beauty, goodness and truth still active in the Church, though, will always be a sacrament to the world, despite our present inability to articulate it. It is not diminished by scandal, just obscured. The darkness of the persecution in the early Church could not contain the good works of preaching, teaching and healing. Not then and not now.

The preaching, teaching and healing of The Sisters of Mary are stories worth sharing. These are the same stories of the early Church that gripped so many new followers. They are stories that if shared, can penetrate even the secular zeitgeist. Compelling, human stories of transformation and hope. We invite you, with a humble heart, to be a part of sharing these stories with the world. Please follow us on the social media channels below for fresh stories of the Sisters, children, and graduates. And share these stories with your friends and families. Our world is in desperate need of them.


[i] Smith, Gregory (2019, August 5). Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ. Pew Research Center.

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