In a recent interview with the Catholic News Agency Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York cited four major challenges currently facing the Church. They are
the vocation to marriage, the state of Catholic parishes and schools, the great number of lapsed Catholics and finally the difficulties in a culture desperate to keep the Church and morals out of the public square.
While His Excellency had many valuable things to say about each of these challenges, I want to zoom in here on his thoughts concerning Catholics who are no longer practicing their faith, as this is a critical problem here in DOR.
According to the CNA article,
Moving on to the third challenge for the U.S. Catholic Church, Dolan simply described it as reaching out and inviting our people home.
“It scares the life out of me when I find out that second most identifiable religious grouping on the religious landscape of the United States are people who say, ‘I used to be a Catholic.’”
We bishops have to do something about this, he insisted. “We have to say, ‘no, look, there is no such thing as a former Catholic. Your Catholicism is, as a matter of fact, in your DNA. And whether you like it or not you’re born into it just like you’re born into a natural family.’”
Now, he continued, “you might say, ‘I’m ticked off at my natural family, I’m not hanging around with them anymore, I’ve got things to work out.’ But you’re still a member of that family and sooner or later you usually make your peace with it and go home.”
In comparison, “the Church is our supernatural family,” he explained, “you might be upset with it, you might not be showing up for Sunday dinner, you might be mad at it about a couple of things…but you’re still a member.”
The Church “is your supernatural family, and, darn it, we need you and want you to come back home. You’re always welcome,” Dolan offered.
DOR has lost 25% of its Mass-attending Catholics in a mere 8 years. I don't know how much louder an alarm our leaders need before they realize that we have an ongoing crisis here.
Yes, Buffalo Rd. did launch their Spirit Alive! program last year. However, I have yet to hear of that anemic effort being responsible for bringing a single lapsed Catholic back to the Church.
As the archbishop said, "We bishops have to do something about this."
Are you listening, Bishop Clark?