Aparecida 100ab: Shadows In Demographics and Ecclesial Health

Section 100 outlines “Shadows,” and they mention eight, in contrast to the seven of Aparecida #99. Let’s start with basic demographics, starting with the observation that 3 out of 7 Catholics in the world are Latin American:

a) Latin America and the Caribbean are very important to the Catholic church, given their ecclesial dynamism, their creativity, and the fact that 43% of all the faithful live here; however, we note that the percentage growth of the Church has not kept pace with population growth. On average, the increase of the clergy, and especially of religious women, is falling behind population growth in our region. (Whereas the Latin American population grew almost 80% in the 1974-2000 period, priests grew by 44.1% and religious women by only 8%. (Cf. Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae.))

The particulars of the numbers may vary, but it’s pretty much the situation worldwide. In the vacuum of Catholic culture adrift, discipleship hasn’t quite been discovered as the difference-maker.

That said, it’s not about turning back the clock, either. And the pope emeritus has said as much:

b) We regret some efforts to return to a certain type of ecclesiology and spirituality contrary to the Vatican II renewal (Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and Higher Prelates of the Roman Curia, Thursday, December 22, 2005.) and some reductionist interpretations and applications of the conciliar renewal; we regret the absence of authentic obedience and evangelical exercise of authority, infidelities in doctrine, morality, and communion, the shortcomings of our living out the preferential option for the poor, and significant numbers of secularizing lapses in consecrated life under the influence of a merely sociological rather than evangelical anthropology. As the Holy Father stated in his Inaugural address to our conference, “one can detect a certain weakening of Christian life in society overall and of participation in the life of the Catholic Church.” (Cf. Benedict XVI, introductory address)

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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