Jimmy Mac sends along this essay from Chicago Catholic News. Robert McClory taking aim at Cardinal George:
But as I read the cardinal’s words, I could not help but question the one and only reason he gave for the drift: Many “have rejected the faith. They live as if God did not exist. Their way of life and of thought is ‘secularized’ . . . . For secularized people it is not Jesus Christ who saves but their own resources and activities, our scientific knowledge, our sense of human progress. Self-sufficiency, of course, is the sin against the Holy Spirit.”
What George does not acknowledge is that for many who have fled, perhaps the majority in the last 10 years, the Catholic Church was abandoned because of the Church. An all-too-pervasive anti-gospel has compelled people to leave their Catholic heritage, not to embrace secularism or self-sufficiency but to find some peace of mind.
Self-sufficiency may also be in evidence with a hierarchy that goes its own way. Rome may be thousands of miles away, and the flock close at hand (when a bishop is not reversing these trends with globetrotting adventures), but the bishop’s first duty among people are the believers of the see to which he is assigned.
Even secularism is a complex thing. It can mean attachment to any number of addictions, subtle or pathological. It can also mean the comfort of a warm Sunday morning bed with spouse, pet, newspaper, and/or a cup of coffee.
Cardinal George is not my idea of an intellectual heavyweight–the blinders seem too tight on his head. But for him to miss the notion that the institution has chased away millions of believers it was formerly able to browbeat into obedience–maybe it’s retirement time. Chicago may have as many inactive Catholics as any metro area in the world. If this New Evangelization is serious (and by the way, I’d like to know how it morphed from JPII’s “cast into the deep”) it’s going to need more incisive and insightful leadership than this old guard.
What a horrific charge. And yet, the evidence is undeniable. People join the Church as a result of the Gospel. People leave because they hear the anti-gospel. Do they leave because two generations ago, a trickle stopped attending Mass and found that Sunday morning sex was not going to get them struck by lightning? And from there, the floodgates opened? Or have they left because their leadership has been rowing without a rudder? Focused on parade floats, big hats, brighter lights and bigger cities? No matter. It’s all anti-gospel. There’s a notion that the world and the people of the world aren’t cooperating with the greater moral interest. So what? When has it ever?
The real problem is that many in the hierarchy cannot stare into their own faces and see the seeds of the anti-gospel. It’s always easier to blame somebody else for the problem. And I thought that screed was part of the talk-show circuit. Some bishops sure have drunk that refreshing kool-aid, haven’t they?