My comment first:
While many areas of our world will see the Church in decline and fall mode, the Catholic Church will survive because our Lord has told us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.
Yet, one wonders if all the internal strife and bickering of the last 45 years has not contributed to this "decline and fall." Yes, there are pockets of success here and there, yet overall the best judge of our success is fidelity to our Tradition and secondly the number of people who at least attend Mass on Sunday. Both of these, to our great misfortune, have suffered greatly in the last 45 years.
I read recently about a Catholic Church which is trying to emulate (perhaps we should immolate this style by killing and sacrificing it for something better?) the style of non-denominational mega churches. Evidently 45 percent of these mega churches are composed of former Catholics. But instead of copying them, perhaps we should look at why our people have gone to them. Is it just because they have a strong sense of welcome and community or have those who departed us really not been catechized on what we believe. Did they have a Catholic devotional life and if not why? I still maintain if Sunday Mass, clear moral and doctrinal teachings, and a strong devotional life which includes the Rosary, Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and novenas are at the core of a Catholic's life, including frequent confession, the likelihood of these Catholics departing the Church would be almost non existent.
What many Catholic parishes have given to Catholics over the years is a smorgasbord of vapid ideas, silly innovations, and superficial, soft-core religious thoughts. None of these will sustain a Catholic and they might as well go elsewhere to find even more vapid ideologies.
Please read the following from a Canadian periodical. It is about the Anglican Church which is far more advanced than we when it comes to dismantling its core beliefs but look also at what has happened to the Catholic Church in Quebec. In the 1950's the Catholic Church in Quebec was extremely strong, but no longer. Will anyone ask why?
Bishop says his diocese is ‘all but dead’
Monday, 14th December 2009. 3:49pm
By: George Conger .
The Diocese of Quebec is all but dead, its bishop told the Canadian House of Bishop at their autumn meeting in Niagara Falls, the Anglican Journal of Canada reports.
Bishop says his diocese is ‘all but dead’
The Rt Rev Dennis Drainville said his diocese was “teetering on the verge of extinction,” according to an account given by the church’s official newspaper.
Of the diocese’s 82 congregations, 50 were childless and 35 congregations had an average age of 75. These graying congregations often had no more than 10 people in church on Sundays, he said. “The critical mass isn’t there, there’s no money anymore,” he said.
Falling attendance is not solely confined to the Anglican Church, however. Until the 1960s Catholic Church attendance stood at more than 90 per cent. However, According to a 2008 Léger Marketing poll, the proportion of Quebec's nearly six million Catholics who attend mass weekly now stands at six per cent, the lowest of any Western society.
To combat the decline, Bishop Drainville, who told his colleagues it was very possible he would be the “last bishop of Quebec,” urged the House of Bishops to re-imagine how the church could engage society.
A church should provide “a compassionate, caring community, a transformational relationship with God, and life-changing liturgy,” the bishop said. Anglicans had all three, but seemed unable to “present this to society.”
In 1901 ‘mainline’ Protestants, predominantly Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists made up 56 per cent of the Canadian population. By 2001 this had fallen to 29 per cent. However, within the Protestant totals a dramatic shift away from the mainline churches has taken place, Dr Bruce Guenther, associate professor of church history and Mennonite studies at Associated Canadian Theological Seminaries has noted.
Guenther found that total Protestant attendance had not declined in real numbers over the last quarter-century but there has been a massive shift within Protestantism. The mainline churches attendance declined by 33 per cent between 1981 and 2001, while evangelical church attendance rose by 50 per cent and was now 25 per cent larger than the old ‘mainline’.
Between 1961 and 2001 the Anglican Church of Canada lost 53 per cent of its members, with numbers declining from 1.36 million to just 642,000. The rate of decline has increased in recent years, according to an independent report given to the Canadian House of Bishops in 2006 by retired marketing expert Keith McKerracher.
After the report’s release, McKerracher said: “My point to the bishops was: Hey listen, guys, we’re declining much faster than any other church. We’re losing 12,836 Anglicans a year. That’s two per cent a year. If you draw a line on the graph, there’ll only be one person left in the Canadian Anglican church by 2061.”
In his comments to the House of Bishops last month, Bishop Drainville said Quebec would not be the only diocese to go under. “There will be many other dioceses that will fail.”