SHALL SECULARISM AND THE GATES OF HELL PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH AND IS SHE ON THE BRINK AND JUST WHO IS THE BLAME?
The Catholic Magazine, Commonweal, has an article by Peter Steinfels who also writes/wrote for the New York Times religion department. He has also written several books and is a practicing Catholic. It is a long article, but well written and with a bit of a different perspective than my rantings in posts below this one, but what he writes is certainly related and does seem to speak of causality, but his causality is a bit different. He speaks of the sex abuse scandal as the nail in the coffin of the Church in Crisis. He blames the hierarchy for not addressing what the people want or ignoring it altogether. I'm not sure where he stands on all the hot button issues that are besieging our Church, the two greatest being the Church's exclusion of women from Holy Orders which thus makes the Church in the eyes of the world to be archaic and anti-women and the Church's teaching on homosexuality and marriage as between one man and one woman only and for a life time, which thus makes the Church look to the world like bigots and anti-gay, fomenting violence against them psychologically and socially. Catholics who are feminists and progressives in terms of the "rights" of "gays" will not participate in the Church if the Church IN THEIR EYES is presumed to be fundamentally flawed and prejudiced in these areas. Your can read the whole long article by pressing the words below to the Commonweal link.
October 22, 2010
The American Church’s Crisis of Attrition
"Liturgical language, decorum, and participation. Quality of homilies. The shortage of priests. Celibacy. The role of women and their ordination. Transparency and consultation in church governance at every level, from the parish to the Vatican. Anti-Catholicism in the media. Religious identity and the role of the hierarchy in Catholic higher education and health care. Monitoring of Catholic theology. Abortion and same-sex relations, and the even more combustible demand that Catholic citizens and civic leaders be answerable to episcopal judgments about laws regarding these matters."
MY CONCLUDING REMARKS:
When Pope Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he would say that in our current hyper-secular culture which has little or no use for traditional, historic Christianity based upon Scripture and Tradition, that the Catholic Church of the future will be a smaller but purer Church, meaning we'll have Catholics who are believing, practicing Catholics bringing their faith, morals and ethics unabashedly, but peacefully, to the secular world. This may in fact be what is occurring if Peter Steinfels is current in his assumption.
I have terrible mixed emotions about this smaller but purer Church. The Catholic Church has always been like the "dragnet" of Jesus' Gospel parable, collecting all kinds of people which our Lord will sort out at the Last Judgment. Those 70 to 80 percent of Catholics who no longer practice their faith and may in fact describe themselves in terms of the religion as "NONES" need to be with us, to experience God in our worship and to allow God to crack them open to His love and way of life.
How do we do it? Is it hopeless? I think not. We should not be so myopic to think that all has failed and wallow in doom and gloom. But we must be realistic about the smoke of Satan, the secularizing influences in the world, the mass media as the preachers of the Gospel of Secularism and their great success in this, with their news programs and socially progressive television and other media programs. These influence those who watch them more than the Church, the Bible and Tradition.