Saturday, August 27, 2011

How's That Springtime Working Out?

We have heard, almost ad nauseam, over the last few decades about the New Springtime of Evangelization, New Pentecost, etc. and all the glorious effects that it had and would continue to have on the Church. I've never understood all this talk, nor do I recall seeing many of these allegedly positive outcomes. Monsignor Pope's article from the Archdiocese of Washington demonstrates why.

To summarize, the number of converts continues to drop. The figures he quotes are pretty harrowing. Not being one to simply lament the problem, he does offer suggestions to fix things:

You and I will likely look to causes and solutions. And the temptation is to look outside ourselves and say the bishops ought to do something. Perhaps, but allow me to offer that the solution to this problem is no further than your very self, my very self.

What would happen to the Church tomorrow if every Church-going Catholic pledged to bring one fallen away family member or friend back to communion with the Church in the next two years? Well of course our numbers would nearly double. A few of us might not be successful, but, if we really worked at it, we’d probably come close to doubling. And the Lord would surely be pleased and also reward our efforts.

The answer is not really so difficult, but it is hard work. Yet, we do not need to go to a mountaintop to get the answer. The answer is staring you in the mirror: Go make disciples. If you need to, grab a partner and work on two people together. But get started. It goes without saying that you ought to have something approaching a relationship with the Lord to be a good evangelizer. More on that next week. But for now, don’t wait to be perfect just get started.

I think the real problem is how many people will take his comments seriously. If you have a bunch of people who don't think of Catholicism as just another path to salvation, with no unique role or benefit in preserving a soul from hell, you aren't going to be all that motivated to explain to people why they should ditch their current religion for something else, True or not. Indifferentism and Pelagianism are kissing cousins and a real problem to untangle from someone's mind. It doesn't help that they already have a hold on so many Catholics.

1 comment:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

I agree that the responsibility is also on lay shoulders. Some of the more trad minded folks I know tend to place the blame on the heirarchy's shoulders, asking why should the laity have to go around "correcting" the mess they made. The way I see it, it's a collective problem. We are all members of the same Mystical Body. All are responsible, according to their state and capacity, for its functioning.