Amy is having a fascinating discussion about Catholic bookselling. As I read the comments in reply to her post, I encountered some revealing statements that caught my attention:

The mid-20th century was in many ways the golden years of a large, middle class Catholic presence, one that is slowly evaporating due to apostasy and contraception. The numbers are kept up by the immigrants, and they aren't buying lots of books yet.
This statement is most revealing for what it says about Catholics in the world today rather than what it says about the decline in Catholic booksales.
Catholics today do not typically possess such a self-awareness [of themselves as as a distinct and at least partially -- but not wholly -- countercultural religious minority] ... and those who do are likely to be alienated from large parts of their own Church (e.g., self-serving bishops, dissenting theologians, liturgists), which makes this group more difficult to sell to.
I just find it interesting that the reasons offered by Amy's commentators for the decline in Catholic booksales are based upon prior assumptions about Catholics, assumptions I find arresting.

Have we lost a sense of distinction? Do we forget that being Catholic sets us apart from everyone else on the planet? Here we see yet another outcome of postmodern secular society's dictatorship of relativism! We fail to distinguish anymore, we fail to perceive difference, we're no longer discriminating.

Prejudicial discrimination is disrespectful and racial discrimination is sinful. But discrimination in and of itself is a necessary attribute for civility. Being a critical thinker necessarily means one will become discriminating, and critical thought is the hallmark of a well-formed intellect. Without the ability to evaluate (i.e. judge) one's own perceptions and effectively discriminate the moral veracity of one viewpoint or another, for example, we are rendered incapable of recognizing bigotry. In other words, one has to discriminate against 'discrimination'!

Class distinctions are unjust. Yet, without the ability to distinguish just from unjust, how are we to know? Unity and common ground are to be sought in all matters where one group opposes another, but difference allows such a healthy encounter to take place at all.

What sets Catholics apart from everyone else on the planet? The first comment provides a clue: the Church's teaching on contraception. Catholics are a community of Christian disciples- {a Church}- that forms and helps conscientious individuals to come to know, understand, and believe- {that teaches}- that life is precious and good- {against contraception}.

Catholics are joined to Christ in a way that no other group of people on the planet can claim to be. Do we live this reality? Do we understand what this entails and demands of us? Do we rejoice at this realization? Do we hope for less?

Christ makes all the difference in the world.

Be distinctive.

Be Catholic.

Be distinctively Catholic.

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