Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Religious Landscape is Rocky for Roman Catholics

Please visit Whispers in the Loggia to read the full text of a Washington Times article about what the latest Pew Research reveals about contemporary Catholicism in the United States. Analysts are zooming in on what we've known for a while. American Catholics are heading for evangelical or Pentecostal churches. In droves. Why?

Those churches are perceived as more passionate, more alive than the Catholic church. Their congregates seem to understand that The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is something that they -- all of them -- are called to fulfill. Every day. While we're busy arguing about altar rails, these churches are holding altar calls. The Holy Spirit descends, ascends, fills, and overflows whether or not there's a bishop in attendance.

Once upon a time, Catholics had all this vibrancy and more. Our precious Jewish legacy was revealed in our contributions to the world of arts and letters, our commitment to tikkun olam. Catholics had a cultural identity that was grounded in a religious ethos. We could have this again and seem to be re-generating passionate faith not in church buildings, but in the domestic church and through grass roots social justice efforts. But who would know?

In addition to everything else, evangelical and Pentecostal churches seem to be more willing and able to use new media to communicate church and faith. In The Word Made Fresh, I explain how the very culture and structure of liturgical churches has historically served to impede innovative communications. And yes, I offer practical suggestions for dredging our considerable light out from a bushel basket heaped with vestments and altar linens.

How wonderful, how Holy Spirit that these research results are hitting the secular news during Lent. What better time to rise and shine?


  1. I must admit I just read Tuesdays Blog and it called to me. I down loaded, US Religious Landscape Survey and Whispers in the Loggia this morning. (I woke up early to do some left over work from yesterday - well that fell by the way side once I read your Blog) I am utterly amazed at the pull of your words. Almost as if I my soul screamed on its own. I see that, I’ve been struggling with that…Yet being what I called catholic in my core, I can’t bring myself to follow the lead of so many to find a closer experience with God, to find a place to belong. Its been a struggle for me for about 2 years. I don’t know weather to hug you or delete your Blog because you’ve woken up something in my soul that I need to listen to NOW. I seem to have to face the fact that I need to search and find my answers. Any suggestions for a catholic in crisis? -

  2. I'm glad my blog touched (shoved?) you. Please don't delete it! I'm going to focus on your question in a full post. Meanwhile, don't quit the Catholic church just yet. The Church needs you and all of us.


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