Saturday, December 01, 2012

Faith With Confidence and Joy

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput on the decline of the Catholic Church in America and the need for Holy Impatience:

Tens of thousands of young Catholic men and women do take their faith seriously. They do try to live it vigorously. More than seventeen million American Catholics worship at Sunday Mass every week. Double that number attend Mass at least once a month. Millions support the Church financially. And many are active in their parishes and in other ministries outside Sunday worship. These are good facts to build on. In the United States, the faith is not just a memory. It’s still alive. But there’s no way we can go back to the “glory days” of the past as a model for the future.

Catholic life needs to be reignited. American culture is a new kind of mission territory. It’s a cocoon of marketing, entertainment, and manufactured appetites; a narcotic of noise, distraction, and relentless propaganda for self-absorption and confused sexuality. Being in the United States in the weeks before Christmas is an education in what the culture really worships. It worships commerce.

Real Christian discipleship rejects and resists the kind of radical personal license and acquisitiveness that animates a consumerist society. So when the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of the unborn child, the purpose of human sexuality, economic and immigration justice, the rights of religious communities and believers, and the nature of marriage and the family—she’s not just unpopular. She’s hated as the enemy of individual privacy and personal freedom. That shapes the way the Church is treated in the mass media.

For Catholics in my country to recover their vocation as a Church, they need to be awakened; they need a reason to be zealous again about their faith. They need to hear the witness of people who live the Catholic faith with confidence and joy. They need to see their Church growing and fruitful, and young again, instead of constantly retreating and in decline.

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