An interesting article by an Opus Dei priest is making the rounds out there.
Perhaps the trademark of Catholic faith (in the sense of 'personal belief', not the collection of dogma) is seeing opportunity and grace in what has been experienced as disgrace and defeat.
"...diligentibus Deum omnia cooperantur in bonum." Right?
According to Fr. McCloskey the 'long lent' of the Church in the USA is over and we can optimistically look forward to a true revival of Catholicism in the near future.
The Exorcist is by no means the most upbeat guy on the block (you don't get this job by peddling chicken soup for the soul), but there's enough truth and food for thought in the article to make it worth reading.
- the relation between immigration issues and the health of the Catholic Church in this country
- "The US alone has more priests than the top three Catholic countries combined (41,000 in the US to 37,000 in Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines combined). This makes talk of a "priest shortage" in the US almost laughable, at least in comparison with many countries struggling to care for much larger Catholic populations."
- the aging of the priesthood in the US and the drastic fall off of vocations
- the state of Catholic education: "Almost half the Catholic schools open in 1965 have closed; 4.5 million students attended Catholic schools in the mid-1960s, while today there are about half that many students."
- the signs of a revival of Catholic colleges
- the ambiguous stats of Catholics' adherence to the Church's moral teaching
It's a pretty mixed bag. Maybe in a couple of centuries they'll look back on these times as truly monumentous in the history of the Church. Or maybe they will be hardly noticed as a ripple in the ebb and flow of human events.
But neither of those future possibilities diminishes our responsibility for the present.
The Exorcist has spoken.