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The post-modern culture certainly has “moral” (I know I tried and failed to figure out how a group who rejects any moral absolutes) issues with China towards Tibet. But given the track record China has against suppressing the church for the past 60 years, why aren’t the Catholic and Evangelicals in a moral outrage?

Is it because we fear that the Christians over there will suffer more because of our actions? Or is it because of the acceptance of separation of church and state?

Due to these three principle events the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced today numerous closings.

It must be an administrative nightmare to handle all that turn over.

These churches will all be closed by December 31, 08. It’s always sad to see any church close its doors. I hope that diocese like ours will be able to purchase some of the art work at these wonderful buildings. I really wish we could simply pick up some of these and relocate them to areas which need new buildings.

Heck ours was only built 5 years ago and we’ll need another parish within 5 years.

Good bye faithful servants you served a great purpose. I hope whomever takes you over will put you to a good purpose.

Blessed Sacrament, New Orleans

Epiphany, New Orleans

Immaculate Heart of Mary, New Orleans

Incarnate Word, New Orleans

Our Lady of Good Counsel, New Orleans

Our Lady of Good Harbor, Buras

Our Lady of Lourdes, New Orleans

Prince of Peace, Chalmette

Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Orleans

St. Pedro, St. Bernard

St. Brigid, New Orleans

St. Francis Cabrini, New Orleans

St. Francis DeSales, New Orleans

St. Henry, New Orleans

St. Julian Eymard, New Orleans

St. Lawrence the Martyr, Metairie

St. Louise de Marillac, Arabi

St. Mark, Chalmette

St. Mary, New Orleans

St. Maurice, New Orleans

St. Monica, New Orleans

St. Raphael the Archangel, New Orleans

St. Raymond, New Orleans

St. Robert Bellarmine, Arabi

St. Simon Peter, New Orleans


Much has been written about the Pew Survey and the loss of the number of Catholics in the USA. If they qualified as a separate denomination, the Americans who have deserted the Catholic Church of their childhood would constitute the third-largest religious group in the country, with 10.1% of the population.  For every convert to the Catholic church, it losses 4. However, there are some positive numbers as well which bode well for the church.

CARA Reflections on Pew’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 

None of these other Christian churches has had as much success as the Catholic Church in keeping those raised in the faith in the pews as adults. The Pew study indicates that the Catholic Church has retained 68 percent of those who grew up Catholic. If one accepts the notion that changing from one Protestant denomination to another is not a real change, the Pew report still indicates that 11 out of 100 adults in the United States were raised in any Protestant denomination and no longer identifies with any Protestant denomination today. If one includes changes between Protestant denominations as real changes, one in four U.S. adults no longer selfidentifies with the Protestant denomination in which they were raised.

The Latino population was underestimated in the survey. The number of Latinos in the Landscape Survey who identify themselves as Catholic (58%) is considerably lower than in a major survey of Latinos the Forum conducted in 2006 with the Pew Hispanic Research Center, where more than two-thirds (68%) identified as Catholic” (p. 41)

This would increase the Catholic numbers by 5% overall. CARA’s survey holds that 2% of adults convert to Catholicism whereas Pew says 2.6%. I’d tend to go with the lower figure.Thirty-eight percent of those who said they were raised Catholic and later left the faith said they stopped considering themselves to be Catholic before reaching the age of 18 and 6.6 percent said they did so before even reaching the age of 7, which is often used as the standard within the Catholic Church for the age of reason/discretion. Only 13.6 percent of former Catholics say they stopped considering themselves to be Catholic after the age of 35.

The point in a childs life where they become independant and determine to get married is when people make the choice to stay or leave the church. The teen years is when we have to get them more involved and better religious education. The latter point IMO mean to teach teens how to apply how to incorporate Christian principles to everyday life. I think secular society is a major factor in the losses. The lure of the material world requires sacrifices for the young and instead of calling our kids to a high standard, we lower expectations and in fact lose more folks.

The most interesting was the fact that protestant members changing to other protestant churches was 44%. That is unreal. People are either looking for the “True Church” or they are looking for a church which fits their values which naturally is what the true church would hold if it existed.

 

 

Crisis, Reform and the Future of the Churchby George Weigel

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Mr. Weigel is a Catholic theologian and a Senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington,D.C. This book was written in 2002 so it’s still very current on the issues facing the church today. The author states that the book is

“For all those who will contribute to the genuinely Catholic reform of the Church in the Unites states. You know who you are. Be not afraid.”

The first 2/3 of the book is devoted to laying the foundation of what happened to the church over the past 35 to 40 years in the aftermath of Vatican II(no it’s not about what’s wrong with that council). He addresses how the role of the priest and the laity were mixed into the vague term of “ministry” and the role of priest as Vatican II teaches “living instruments of Christ the eternal priest”. An added insight is that the idea of the church as the body of Christ was diminished perhaps in church governance. The church is not a denomination defined by the will of its members, but an institution created and its boundaries defined once and for all by the will of Christ.

He address the issue of Humanae Vitae as one of the key points which bishops and Pope Paul VI failed to address what was created an environment that

“was to promote intellectual, moral, and disciplinary disorder in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

As far as I can tell he coined the phrase “Truce of 1968” when Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle took disciplinary action against 19 local priest for joining protests against Humanae Vitae. The Pope apparently feared it would create a schism in the church in America.

The last 1/3 of the book addresses what the author believes are need reforms, some like the seminaries and liturgy are already underway by Pope B16.

The book is an easy read and does provide some good insights for those especially that have come into the church in the past 20 years or so. As well as those who were raised in the church but were not born yet during the 60’s & 70’s. For those of us that have lived through these times, the book will not bring up much that is not already known, but would still be informative if your focus has been focused only on local church issues rather then national or universal ones.

Catholic survey offered by belief net. Check it out. The only question I didn’t like was the role of women in the church. You had to answer either priestesses or deaconesses. What’s up with that?

The center of the child abuse cases in the US was the Boston archdiocese. There are too many links to even attempt to select a few that carry what those Catholics have gone through in that area of the country.

The Boston globe however has an encouraging article on the new generation of Altar boys learning the Latin mass. This is not an easy thing to do, especially in this day an age. The priest in the article however drove home a point I’ve always suspected is true, which is raise the bar and boys will strive to achieve it. I use to be against girl altar servers from a traditionalist view, but now I’m more against them because boys of that age simply don’t want to do things that are perceived as “girl” tasks. Allow girls to serve the N.O. mass and allow the boys to learning Latin and bar the girls from serving will encourage boys to take up the challenge.

Full story  here.

I thought it a stroke of genius to have the stations of the cross performed by Joesph Cardinal Zen of China. The Vatican has a link to the cards them made for this year. It’s in Italian so you’ll have to translate it.

I think this reflects the high priority of the Papacy in praying for those in China and for diplomatic relations with their gov’t.