The last decade has been challenging for American Catholics as scandals and apathy have rocked the Church. The energy generated by Pope Francis's new approach has galvanized many, but the statistics are still bleak. But are the statistics the whole story?
Essays address the current realities in the Church and focus on the cultural trends that jeopardize faith, the hope of spiritual revitalization, and the possibilities of new vocations, of young leadership, and of radical choices for authentic discipleship.
This topic is part of our summer symposium on the Future of Faith in America. For more resources visit our Future of Faith main page.
Marginalized and denigrated in the West, the Church of the future will identify more closely with the poor in the midst of Europe's likely twilight.
It's an exciting time to be a Catholic anarchist. Despite the constant bad news, I am hopeful because I see we are in a time of transition.
Deacon Greg Kandra
I think it's fair to say we're in for some surprises, and we'll be seeing men in high places with diverse priorities and personalities.
The cultural expressions of ritual can sometimes overshadow what is fundamentally an invitation by a loving God to make the world beautiful.
J. Peter Nixon
The pope may have stopped the bleeding. But whether the patient returns to health has more to do with the patient than the doctor.
Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble
My time outside of the Church helped me to see that God is active in everyone's life. There is something to learn from everything, even a sick culture.
Catholic teaching of our faith appears to be in retreat, voiceless, almost invisible.
We bemoan the absence of millennials in the Church only to pass over the remarkable millennials already in the Church.
While modernity and technology may continue to erode our relationships, there are those of us who will continue to spread the Gospel where we are.
Sister Mary Catharine Perry, OP
From the cloister, the future looks encouraging. Monastic houses are being inundated with inquiries from all over the world.
When the Church's future is treated as a question for social scientists, the answer has very little to do with Catholicism itself.
Who are people more likely to call a "scold," Pope Francis or Pope Benedict?
The Christian life is a matter of prayer, not prediction; it is defined neither by optimism nor pessimism but by hope.
Pia de Solenni
The catechesis and evangelization needed to happen a long time before the ballot initiative, or whatever current catalyst.
Being in the middle of a cultural uproar—being a human shibboleth—can drain your faith away. But I do think our noisy future is better than our covert past.
I'm sticking with a loving, global, imperfect church.
Many are wrestling with the practical implications of the fact that the majority of our baptized population — even our leadership — are not yet disciples.
Looking into the future of the Catholic Church is a lot like somebody wondering if they’ll ever find love again after a series of heartbreaks. It doesn’t seem like any good will come with all of the persecution, the indifferent (at best) or hostile (at worse) politics and entitled brats that populate the majority of [Read More...]
Patheos is hosting a symposium on “The Future of Faith in America” and you can read the Catholic highlights at Elizabeth Scalia’s place. I don’t do predictions, but I do like strategy, so let’s talk about that. We Have Everything Going For Us If we want it, the Catholic faith could be on the verge of [Read More...]
Ok, so I’m the daughter of a mechanic, the granddaughter of a laborer who at one time dug ditches and was glad for the work on one side of my family, and a real-life horse-breaking, cattle-branding cowboy on the other. My great-grandfathers were farmers and blacksmiths. Cherokee blood flows in my veins from a time [Read More...]