Catechesis in Contemporary Culture: The Heresy of Efficiency, Part 1

Authored by Brian Pizzalato in Issue #30.2 of The Sower

In our on-going considerations of underlying presumptions and preoccupations of contemporary culture and catechesis I want to consider the thought of a wonderful Catholic thinker, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and what he has to say in an essay entitled ‘Efficiency and Holiness’ (The New Tower of Babel, 1977) In this essay, he discusses what he calls the ‘heresy of efficiency.’ What he says there has deep relevance for our catechesis. Von Hildebrand goes into three different ways this heresy of efficiency can be understood. We will explore aspects of this heresy in this and in the following issue of The Sower.

One way to understand the heresy of efficiency is that it is rooted in an idolatry of man’s achievements. Achieving great things is considered to be man’s greatest value. With this man’s center of gravity has shifted away from what man is to what he does. This idolatry of achievement not only affects the ways in which we judge one another, but also how we judge ourselves. We replace the authentic ideal of holiness with the mere accomplishment of ‘great things’.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Leisure – God's Plan for Us
By Colleen Rainone
Free “ Life is what happens when you are making other plans.” How often people have said this with a wry smile as they cope with an untimely interruption to their well-ordered (or not-so-ordered), scheduled events. This phrase came to mind again, when Editor James Pauley informed me that he was losing his battle with a persistent cold, which developed... Read more
The Spirit of Leisurely Catholicism
By James Gaston
Free When I happened to mention to my wife that I was writing an essay about leisure, the following dialogue took place: Wife: “You can’t do that.” Me: “Why not?” Wife: “You don’t know anything about it. You’re working at something all the time.” Me: “That is somewhat true, but leisure isn’t really about what one does when one is not working. It’s... Read more
El espíritu católico del descanso
By James Gaston
Introducción Cuando le comenté a mi esposa que estaba escribiendo un ensayo acerca del descanso, se suscitó el siguiente diálogo: Esposa -No lo puedes hacer.- Yo -¿Por qué no?- Esposa -No sabes nada acerca de eso. Estás siempre trabajando en algo.- Yo -Hay algo de cierto en lo que dices, pero el descanso no trata precisamente de lo que se hace... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now