AmChurch in Decline

AmChurch in Decline April 21, 2011

Here’s an article stating what we already knew: the Catholic Church in America is declining in numbers. Apparently one in ten Americans are ex Catholics. If they formed a new denomination it would be the third largest in America.

Big deal. Statistics can mean anything. In fact, the other Christian communities are also in decline. Is this the fault of the bishops? The clergy? the catechists? the liberals? the conservative? Is the decline the fault of Vatican II or the fact that Vatican II didn’t go far enough? Is it the fault of the Novus Ordo  Mass or the rise of the new traddies in the church?

It’s all much bigger than that. The decline in the numbers of Catholics practicing the faith has much more to do with the huge social revolutions that took place within the last century culminating in the upheavals in the 1960s. Philosophical, moral and ethical earthquakes took place in the twentieth century that were bound to overturn the Christian establishment.

What to do about it? I don’t think there is much we can do about it. When the rot sets into a society, unless there is a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit which supernaturally turns things around, you might as well try to stop the Titanic sinking.

Instead of wringing our hands about the demise of American Catholicism perhaps we had better look on the bright side. Catholicism is still the largest single Christian grouping in the USA by far. Catholics still have political clout and are arguably, the only Christian group that does. Our pro life movement is young and energetic and strong. Young Catholics are enthusiastic about their faith, and the global picture for Catholicism is even more encouraging.

To get a picture of the future church read The New Christendom by Philip Jenkins or Future Church by John  Allen. There you will learn that the future of Christianity is vibrant, young and poor. But why should that surprise us? From the beginning the Church was the church of slaves, immigrants and the dispossessed. We were wrong to wish it otherwise.

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