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9th October 2009, 02:40 AM
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Manipulation Resistance Team
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Join Date: 5th February 2002
Reps: 2,649,760,572,981,745,152 (power: 2,649,760,572,981,839)
| | Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism
All too often I hear the familiar refrain; “how can the tide be turning if the world seems to be increasingly at odds with the Church?” The skeptics of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism
refer to many newsworthy stories in their query of my thesis. They point to elected officials and government czars seemingly supportive of ideas that not only challenge the core of Catholic beliefs, but conventional societal beliefs about the family as well. The skeptics of my thesis point to the latest Hollywood Cause Célèbre which involves rallying around a man (famed Film Director Roman Polanski) who has admitted to raping a child of 13 when he was 45 years old. They also point to the outright mockery of the Catholic Church at the hands of the entertainment industry by those who believe the tide is turning in their direction. In addition, the skeptics of my thesis also point to stories that barely get any media attention such as an abortion clinic who prominently displayed a crucifix in their window with Jesus replaced on the cross by a chicken. Another sign in the window of the same abortion clinic read “no job too big or too small.” How could the tide be turning if this is what we see and don’t see on television news, the morning paper or on the internet they asked? Thankfully, there are many reasons that tide is turning, and we need to look no further than the young to understand why.
Keep in mind that while the tide is turning for the Church, it is turning in the wrong direction for for the world. The Church is the only one who can save the world and it is something which has already been done many times in history, which is why the enemies of the Church are so upset. If the enemies of religion would be as kind to us as they are toward the liberal mainline Protestant churches, one would have cause to be worried. However unlike the mainline Protestant churches, the Catholic Church’s numbers are not in a free fall and vocation numbers are on the increase.
Some 35 years ago, orthodox minded Catholics must have felt the same way that conservative elements of the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist or Presbyterian churches feel today. Many orthodox minded adherents of mainline Protestantism see little hope in their church’s future due to changes in the official dogma of those respective churches. something that has never happened in Catholicism. Remember that until 1930, no Protestant denomination approved of birth control. The Anglican Church was the first to do so and the changes to age old beliefs didn’t stop there, which leads one to ask, what else is it that you don’t believe? However, when Christ gave the keys to the Apostle Peter, He promised the first pontiff that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that Christ started (Matthew 16:16-20.) The Catholic Church has seen some horrible low points in the last few decades but the new vocations boost is helping those who follow such religious trends realize that the Church is embracing her roots and not running away from them, as are many mainline Protestant churches.
It seemed the midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that their numbers were on the rise. They also proclaimed that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were being replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic and atheist thinkers, and even the latest musings of pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s predecessors and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the over the top idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Fortunately, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful. They gladly hold on to the ideas imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Saints and laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.
In the seminaries and motherhouses throughout the US, other parts of the western world and especially the Third World lay the hope for tomorrow. Young men and women who eagerly embrace the Church’s teachings ready to be allied with those who have been recently ordained or vowed along with those who long ago were ordained and or took their vows. A couple of anecdotes point out the orthodox-minded nature of these young people. One seasoned seminary professor, who has taught for several decades, told me that in his seminary he has never seen a ten year period where to a man each seminarian held such solid orthodox credentials. One priest told me that when he was ordained earlier this decade, his diocesan priests thought he was very conservative, now they think he is pretty moderate compared to those who have been ordained in the last few years.
- Fr. Gregory Jensen
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, it’s more than that. It’s a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.
9th October 2009, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: 11th June 2005
Reps: 712,885,948,878,585,216 (power: 712,885,948,878,617)
What your article didn't say, Michie, is that it's "low tide."
From the National Catholic Reporter, 3/7/08:
There are a lot of differences between the 5 p.m. Sunday Mass at St. Ambrose Catholic Church and the regular morning Masses at other local Catholic churches.
The first is the late-afternoon timing, which is preferred by young people who like to sleep in or have other activities during the day. The most significant difference, however, is that the church is packed with teens and young adults.
They greet churchgoers. They lead the procession into the church. They read and bring the gifts for the priest to prepare the Eucharist. They help distribute Communion and play music.
Congregations such as St. Ambrose are the future of the Catholic church in the United States, say prominent church observers and researchers.
A historic shift in attitudes and practices--including a steep decline in Mass attendance--among Catholic youth raises concerns that coming generations will be much less likely to be part of parish life, sociologists say.
One researcher predicts that the number of U.S. Catholics will decline by one-third in the next generation; others predict smaller but significant drops if the church does not adapt to younger Catholics who have to be persuaded--rather than ordered--to attend Mass.
In a new book, American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church, four leading sociologists say young Catholics--in an affluent society with little anti-Catholicism, and in a church that has emphasized the development of individual moral consciences over rules--need to be won over.
"They see it [the church] as only one of many possible means to help them meet their own needs," write William D'Antonio and Dean Hoge of The Catholic University of America, James Davidson of Purdue University and Mary Gautier of the Center for Applied
Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
The question is whether these ultra-orthodox young priests will be equipped to win them over.
My brother had a friend who was very, very, very conservative and attended seminary in the late 1970's. Well, they didn't know what to do with him (he was practically a John Bircher) and so they kept sending him to places like Mexico and South America every summer so that he could develop some heart (which they wisely thought was a necessary characteristic for a priest.)
It worked, he developed a heart. He was very liberal for the entire time he was a priest (probably about ten years) but eventually he left the priesthood and liberalism.
And so my question is, in terms of "winning the young over", what kinds of remedial experiences are seminaries giving these priests so that we won't have a bunch of tin woodsmen, every bit as metallic and inflexible, ministering to ever diminshing numbers of Catholics?
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