DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NEED REFORM?

The leakage from the American Cathlic church has reached a torrent. Figures from the Pew Forum show that that 31 per cent of Americans were raised Catholic but only 24 per cent still identify as Catholic. It is estimated in the past few years no few than 12 million American Catholics have left the church (although many of these have been made up by Latinos joining the church)

There are those who will say good riddance to those who can’t be faithful.

Those who dig deeper will find other reasons driving Catholic away: not enough priests and nuns, the sex abuse scandal, particularly the cover-up by bishops; rules forbidding birth control; obsession with abortion; rules forbidding Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics; the second class status of women; rejection of gays and lesbians.

Should there not be a national conversation about these issues? The alternative is to bid the critics goodby and pretend smugly that all is well.

Is the role of the Catholic to watch his church unravel? What can be done?

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10 Comments »

  1. 1
    John Says:

    Interesting question, Neil.

    After years of preaching reform, I must now confess I no longer advocate it. I believe there are enough people, like Susanne and others just as an example, who are quite comfortable with the Catholic church the way it is and I respect their right to live their faith within that context. Just as I hope they respect my right to do otherwise.

    The illusion that one size fits all (“one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church”) is an illusion and has been from the beginning. Why do some say they are for Paul? and some say they are for?……etc.

    We need to stop chasing the illusion. What that means for Catholics uncomfortable with the current church means many things, but I do not believe it means reforming it, but rather re-forming = forming again in a different context.

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I agree with John.

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    No, the Catholic Church simply needs to teach the faith and live by it. That is all. The ages and places where the Church has been most successful occurred when orthodoxy was practiced. Quebec, Ireland, post-Tridentine Europe, Spain, Latin America– when you leave orthodoxy, the Church turns to shambles. It’s been shown time and again in history.

  4. 4
    John Says:

    Here is an interesting thought (I think)…..although the more orthodox wing has been able to maintain control over the Catholic church in Canada, they have not been able to the same over Catholic schools….hence most of the new membership within the church comes from backgrounds outside Canada. Which leads one to ask – within what kind of context are Catholic schools in Canada preparing people to live out their lives – if not within the institutional church? That’s a big, big question……..the Catholic church may not be up for grabs, but Catholic schools, I believe, are.

  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    “…when you leave orthodoxy, the Church turns to shambles.”

    And when you insist on keeping orthodoxy, the people turn to other religions.

    The purpose of the church has become to preserve the status of the church, not to minister to the needs of the people. The institution has become the focus. The people have become its servants.

    All hail mother church. Or else.

  6. 6

    I agree with John and Suzanne. The Catholic church has its beliefs – birth control and abortion for example of which millions of Catholics happen to agree with. Why do they need to change? According to whose standards? To bring their orthodoxy in line with secularism? First Things is a great magazine that explores these sorts of questions.

  7. 7
    SUZANNE Says:

    Chimera: When the Church enforces orthodoxy and the faithful and institutions teach orthodoxy, the result is a strong church. History has proven this time and again.

    If anything, the institution is NOT the focus. It’s anything BUT the institution. Catechism? Ignored. Canon Law? Ignored. Bishops’ letters? Ignored. Nobody actually cares what the institutions have to say. That’s the problem: the Church just about NEVER puts her foot down. When does a bishop wield his power? When does a priest enforce ANYTHING? It’s a free-for-all. There’s no drive to preserve “the institution”. It’s preposterous. Look at how badly the church is doing: few ordinations, little respect for the hierarchy. Holy cow, if this is preserving the “institution” somebody should turn things around to preserve it.

  8. 8
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    The institutional Church hopelfully will be around for a long time. However, it needs to be transformed. This will be the job of the 3rd Vatican Council. Whenever that comes about. In my view it presently misrepresents Jesus by placing to heavy a burden on the faithfull. What does a celibate clergy know about a thirty something married couple with 4 children. This couple who are “hot to trot” would virtually have to stop sleeping with each other, if they didnt want anymore children and follow the Churchs present teaching.

  9. 9
    Chimera Says:

    “When the Church enforces orthodoxy and the faithful and institutions teach orthodoxy, the result is a strong church.”

    At the cost of the strength of its people.

    When the survival of the institution becomes more important than the lives of its members, it’s time to rethink the importance of the institution.

  10. 10
    james hosiery Says:

    someone needs to slit the throat of that CUNT POPE


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