October 8, 2015
The world is under attack by Satan, as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8–14). This battle is occurring in the Church Herself, and the devastation is all too evident. Since AD 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the Faith, parish religious education of children has dropped by 24 percent, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19 percent, infant baptism has dropped by 28 percent, adult baptism has dropped by 31 percent, and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41 percent. This is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ’s battle lines. While the diocese of Phoenix may have fared better than these national statistics, the losses are staggering.
One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” — to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. A large number have left the Faith, and many who remain “Catholic” practice the Faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the Faith on to their children. Recent research shows that large numbers of young Catholic men are leaving the Faith to become “nones” — men who have no religious affiliation. The growing losses of young Catholic men will have a devastating impact on the Church in America in the coming decades, as older men pass away and young men fail to remain and marry in the Church, accelerating the losses that have already occurred.
October 8, 2015
irst, a new apostolic moment is upon us at this time in the history of the Church. The Holy Spirit is bringing about what recent popes have termed the “New Evangelization.” By evangelization, we mean the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by all means available, such as preaching, teaching, witnessing a fruitful and faithful family life, living celibacy for the sake of God’s Kingdom, employing media and other arts placed at the service of the Gospel. And what is new? The newness of our times is this: In the West, we find ourselves in the midst of competing cultures, particularly in cities and neighborhoods where the Gospel once permeated quite deeply. Jesus Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20) to go out to the whole world and share the Good News has already happened where we live! This permeation of Western culture was once so deep that in a sense, it became part of the soil, and we still stand on that soil in certain ways. It is evident in current assumptions about life, which come directly from the Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian framework; assumptions regarding “fairness,” “equality,” “virtue,” “human dignity,” “compassion,” “representative government,” “the Golden Rule,” the “Ten Commandments,” the “hospital,” the “university,” and other clearly positive developments in the history of civilization. All this is our patrimony and inheritance from our spiritual ancestors. We find ourselves standing on this rich soil, where blessings are many because the Gospel has been taught here, received in faith, and put into practice.
October 8, 2015
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
– Flannery O’Connor