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Author confronts secular challenges but raises questions for Catholics


This is the cover of "The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian World" by Rod Dreher. The book is reviewed by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome. (CNS)

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"The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian World" by Rod Dreher. Sentinel Publishing (New York, 2017). 262 pp., $25.

In "The Benedict Option," online journalist and social commentator Rod Dreher presents a salient question that resonates with many in Christian social-conservative circles: How should Christians assess and respond to the challenges of a post-Christian, secular culture?

His response is presenting a strategy called "the Benedict option," which he explains is a "call to undertaking the long and patient work of reclaiming the real world from the artifice, alienation and atomization of modern life." He roots the Benedict option in some aspects of Benedictine spirituality, and animates his exposition with a spirit of urgency, sounding the alarm for conservative Christians about the dangers of the liberal secular order.

For Dreher, engaging in culture wars is moot. Instead, he envisions this as a time for Christians to "save the seeds" of Christianity so that the future of the faith can survive.

Thinking through the lens of the monastic tradition, he promotes order, worship, work and a sense of community that is centered on Christ as infusing the ecclesial, domestic and social spheres of Christian life. He foresees this approach as responding to elements of our life today most infused by liberal secular ideology: education, work, sexuality, technology.

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