quences. Worldwide energy use triplednbetween 1949 and 1973, the year ofnthe first OPEC embargo, but at thensame time absolute demand increasedn550 percent, mostly in the UnitednStates, Europe, and Japan. In the lastnnation oil consumption increased 137ntimes over, from thirty thousand to 4.4nmillion barrels daily. Small wonder thatnJapan urged military intervention innthe Persian Gulf from the momentnHussein’s tanks rolled into Kuwait.nWe need, Yergin argues, a comprehensivennational energy policy of thensort that Jimmy Carter proposed andozen years ago. He foresees manynanother Kuwait, inescapably, until thenUnited States achieves energy independence,nuntil the European powersnand Japan reduce their consumption ofnforeign oil, until the world economy isnfounded on a more sustainable sourcenof fuel. Yergin is right, of course. Andnall of us, starting with George HerbertnWalker Bush, need the kind of understandingnof the modern world that ThenPrize oifers.nGregory McNamee is a freelancenwriter and critic livingnin Tucson.nProgressive Pilgrimsnby Brian RobertsonnThe Church, Pilgrim of Centuriesnby Thomas MolnarnGrand Rapids: Eerdmans;n182 pp., $15.95na t is risky to write about an on­nI going series of events, in this casenthe Catholic church’s history in thensecond half of the twentieth century,”nwrites Thomas Molnar in the introductionnto The Church, Pilgrim of Centuries.nAfter finishing Professor Molnar’sniconoclastic and often penetratingnanalysis of the Church’s position in thenmodern world and how it came about,none can only second this initial judgment.nThe book traces two interconnectedndevelopments: the triumph of the secularnin the capitalist West; and thenChurch’s response, in the form of thenSecond Vatican Council, to that meteoricnrise. Molnar’s analysis of the as­ncent of “civil society” and the correspondingndecline in the influence andnpower of both church and state providesna much needed corrective to patnconservative broadsides against “bigngovernment” as the source of all modernnafflictions. While he recognizesnthat the state has become “the onlynvisible ‘high authority’ directing citizens’nlives,” and a “substitute religion”nthat is both the focus of hopes and thenultimate arbiter of justice, Molnar arguesnthat the actual power of thenmodern democratic state is largely illusory,nsince it merely serves as thenfunctionary of the various interestngroups that run society. In other words,nthe power of the state has been supplantednover the last two hundred yearsnby that of civil society, which he definesnas “the non-political area of transactionsnamong citizens” that is “builtnon the premise of a limitless increase ofnhuman rights, rights of consumership,nleisure, and moral emancipation.”nRecognizing this new order, thenChurch has abandoned its traditionalnalliance with the state and turned toncivil society in an attempt to retainnsome of its diminishing influence. Butnsince civil society is not a single entitynwith a vested interest in maintainingnpublic order (like the state), thenChurch has only succeeded in joiningnthe myriad of interest groups competingnfor attention in the secular realm.nAs Molnar puts it, “Civil society is notna historical and organic successor of thenstate, but its opposite. Its interest is notnfocused on the moral consolidation ofnthe community; instead it expectsnsome kind of morality to emerge as thenhaphazard result of its individual members’nmaterial success.” This meansnthat the Church works at an inherentndisadvantage since it must now operatenaccording to the tacit agreement of theninterest groups vying for position inncivil society: namely “the premise thatnthere is no truth and that this agreementnguarantees civil peace and prosperity.”nThis, of course, is a selfdefeatingnstipulation for an institutionnthat claims to be the divinely ordainednrepository of Universal Truth.nMolnar sees three choices for thenCatholic Church as it enters the newnmillennium: one, to continue alongnthe same line of accommodation andnsecularization that he claims was initiatednby Vatican II; two, to abandon thennnunworkable alliance with civil societynand to forge a new, more ideologicallyncoherent partnership with socialismn(following the lead of liberation theologiansnand other post-Vatican-II radicals);nand three, to abandon politicsnaltogether and return to the eternalnmandate to evangelize the worfd: an”re-spiritualization at the expense ofnpolitics.” Molnar contends that thencontinuing secularization of the sacrednand the alliance with socialism arenbeing actively pursued by variousngroups within the Catholic Church,nwhile the third choice, the “missionary”noption, has been almost entirelynabandoned (with a few notable exceptionsnsuch as Mother Teresa). Althoughnit is clear that he feels thenCouncil to have been motivated bynmisguided notions of realpolitik, it isndifficult to determine which politicalnoption (secularization or socialism) henbelieves the Council expressed — sincenhe makes a case for both.nThe problem with this type of sociologicalnapproach is that the manyn(sometimes necessary) generalizationsnthat emerge allow Molnar to avoidntaking up the specific mandates of thenCouncil, in preference to which henpresents anecdotal evidence of thenChurch’s accommodation to secularnculture. In his outline of the crisis andnchoices facing the Catholic Church,jhenseems about a decade behind thencourse of events. With the advent’ ofnJohn Paul II (and the recent collapse ofnthe Communist Empire, due in largenpart to his inspiration), the liberationntheologians and other aging radicalsnare proving to be increasingly irrelevant,ndespite the inordinate coveragenthey receive in the press. And thendesacralizing of the Church’s liturgynand popular piety, while still a problem,nis providing its own solution: tonthe extent that certain elements havensought to make Catholic worship andnbelief conform to the notions of secularnculture, they have become indistinguishablenfrom that culture and lostntheir appeal, indeed their raison d’etre,nas a sign of opposition to the standardsnof the world. The only movementsnwithin the Church that show signs ofnvitality (Opus Dei, Communion andnLiberation, the Charismatic Renewal),nare the orthodox movements, as are thengrowing number of seminaries that arenat or near capacity. They are alsonAPRIL 1991/37n