talks about a hidden hemorrhage fueled by spiritual growth.
Check thou it out!
But we all know, going back to Ad Orientem in Latin, communion on the tongue, bishops anathemising left, right and centre, and dreary 19-cent. German hymns are the way to hang on these people, right?
Sorry, I’m snarky today; but the point has to be made.
We haven’t tried getting our bishop to anathemise anybody yet, but yeah, the rest of that works great! : ) No, seriously: the young/seeking who show up like various things: the quiet, the chant, the Ad Orientem, the ease of going to confession, the music, our pretty little church. But they almost unanimously agree that the preaching is the best. “I never knew that” is a phrase we hear over and over again. Now I know there are good homilists in the OF- their sermon summaries are Fr. Z’s blog. But too many do not feed their people anything very substantial (other than the Eucharist) and they are understandably hungry. Buying Ms. Weddel’s book, in the meantime.
In many cases, I don’t think it matters how Catholicism is presented: its message is simply not persuasive. It’s not longer fundamental. God is presented simply as a companion on our journey, not as the Lord of Creation or the Lord of Hosts. Our view of God has declined to the point where God is irrelevant.And no amount of programming, seminars, or even preaching can correct that unless we regard God as what He is: the ground of our existence and the One Whom we worship.
This book does sound like a way to begin to reverse this decline. I’ll give it a read.
I have a friend who resembles this remark. One of my best friends from high school yet- and we recently had a Facebook argument over why she left the church and why I agree with the theology that only Catholics are in Heaven (regardless of who they were here on Earth).
Her main reason for leaving the church? Arrogance and her parents divorcing when she was 19, resulting in her father leaving the church and her mother unable to take the Eucharist. Which led her into a weird spiral (who am I fooling, by society’s standards she was NEVER normal) that included hitchhiking across the country to be with her father, choosing to have sex with a criminal who then proceeded to ignore the child they created together while he was in jail and marry somebody else, suffering extreme poverty, and finding fulfillment in clown ministry in a non-denominational church (a ministry she shares with her daughter) that has taken them to missions in Catholic Countries trying to convert people away from the Church.
We need to find a better way to minister to people and make them realize that forgiveness is not only possible, but guaranteed except for the one unforgivable sin.
I don’t know what is wrong, but I have been trying to click on the link and it leads me to a blank page… Can someone help me, please?
Marthe, I just tried it and it was working fine. I might have been fiddling with the website at the very moment that you clicked! Please try again.
I’ve always been struck by how shallow Protestant Christianity is – whether of the mainstream or more evangelical or fundamentalist varieties. And this is not surprising given that the Protestants began by subtracting from what the Catholic Church believed and practiced and then subtracting more and more as time went on. Their preaching may be very eloquent but comes across like a skilled politician’s stump speech. The Catholic Church has so much more to offer to those looking for more spiritual growth but Catholic leaders are sometimes bashful about offering it because they imagine that modern youth will reject it out of hand. The Protestants, especially the Evangelicals, offer what little they have and find it eagerly accepted.
Like so many things, Kirt, I suppose it depends upon whose strength you are comparing to whose weaknesses. It is so easy for us as Catholics to compare the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual riches of a 2,000 year old tradition to the local non-denom that we have some exposure to. We are comparing superlative Catholics strengths with a local example of evangelical weakness.
But I had the privilege of knowing some of the very best of the evangelical world in their strengths – which are different from Catholic strengths – and then I spent 15 years traveling from average Catholic parish to average Catholic parish. And what strikes me is how shallow *lived* Catholic Christianity is for average Catholics in average parishes. (And no, I’m no referring to the liturgy here. I’m taking about personal lived relationship with Jesus Christ in the midst of his Church.)
There’s a reason why the Pew studies found that only 60% of Catholics who have held onto the identity believe in a “personal God”. Huge numbers of Catholics haven’t even made it into the shallows. Huge numbers of Catholics haven’t even got their spiritual toe in the water yet. if you don’t believe in a personal God, you can’t meaningfully and fruitfully participate in the most gorgeous and traditional liturgy in the world. The most fundamental core of the Catholic faith isn’t in place yet and the liturgy and sacraments aren’t magic.
This is exactly what Pope Benedict was talking about a couple weeks ago when he told Columbian bishops that most Catholics don’t leave the Church over theological issues but over “lived” issues – lack of joy, warmth, reality and community at the local parish level.
This isn’t a battle of strengths or an “either-or”. The Church is calling us to both: the depth of lived relationship with God as individuals and as a Christian community, and an embrace of the vast riches of the Church’s tradition.