Thursday, March 13, 2008

Inside Catholic local content

From Rich Leonardi:
The Wall Street Journal examines the winners and losers in the recent Pew survey by noting that "religions that demand the most of people are growing the fastest." Want proof that the dynamic described is at work in the Catholic Church? Take a look at Mass attendance figures for Denver, whose shepherd, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, is a model of orthodoxy:

Mass attendance in the Denver Archdiocese is higher than that of the national average, shows a recent survey commissioned by the Denver Archdiocese. The survey also shows that a majority of Catholics in the archdiocese, 51 percent, are "fervent" or "faithful" in their belief.

A total of 45 percent of local Catholics polled said they attended Mass in the prior week, compared to 32 percent nationally.

Want more proof? The inverse of Denver is Rochester, whose shepherd, Bishop Matthew Clark, serves the same weak tea as the mainline Protestant denominations. There, Mass attendance is in a free-fall, dropping almost 20 percent since 2000.

Rich Leonardi blogs at

From Rev. Phillip W. De Vous:
The recent mass exodus from the Church stems from the interrelated negation of Catholic identity and a corruption of the Catholic parochial system, leading to a collective failure to support and encourage the act of faith. In other words, the Church in her most visible forms has offered nothing distinctive or compelling because she has lost her ability to manifest to the world her purpose: to proclaim with authority the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In diluting her doctrine and discipline, she had no public identity and began to lack that "catching force" Cardinal Newman speaks of, and the evangelical institutions of the Catholic parochial system began serving platitudes, not incarnating the Truths of the gospel as a witness to the world. This, in turn, led to an inability of the Church to propose to people with confidence and authority the necessary prerequisites that lead one to accepting the gift of faith, and then to support and form in them all that is necessary for living the life of faith.

At the bottom of this problem is a failure of holy leadership willing to lead by faith, not by worldly sight or calculation, as St. Paul instructs us. This point has been illustrated in abundance at numerous flashpoints in the long progression of the Catholic crisis, which has been with us in acute and chronic form since the close of the Second Vatican Council. In every instance where clear, confident, forceful, orthodox, and uncompromising pastoral leadership would have served as a bracing tonic and healing balm to the moral, pastoral, spiritual, and theological maladies of the day, such leadership was not forthcoming. Even at present, when we are still realizing the effects, past and present, of such a failure of faith-guided leadership in the Church, there is still a destructive reticence on the part of the leadership of the Church to lead according to the full reality and to accept with courage the implications of Catholic orthodoxy.

In short, the Church in these last several decades lost the courage to be Catholic, trusting that the entirety of the Faith is true. In losing the courage to be Catholic, we had only the timidity to be "relevant," which has made us more irrelevant than we could have ever imagined.

Rev. Phillip W. De Vous is the pastor of Divine Mercy Parish in Bellevue, KY, and St. Bernard Parish in Dayton, KY.

Credit: Inside Catholic
Read the entire article here:

Why Are They Leaving? An InsideCatholic Symposium

1 comment:

gemoftheocean said...

Only 32% attend? disgusting. I can remember when it was 75%. I thought 50% was bad enough.