To Change the Culture, Change Ourselves

As the nation’s Catholic bishops gather for their Fall meeting in Baltimore today, we suspect a major topic — in the hallways, if not necessarily in formal meeting sessions — will be what the results of last Tuesday’s election mean for the Catholic Church, and, indeed, for all religious bodies.

Here’s a hint:  The only hope of preserving our ability to practice our religion outside our churches and homes lies with the courts.

That’s not a hopeful thought.  Christ himself warned us not to take our arguments to court.  And yet, we have no choice.

However, there is something positive the Bishops can do:  Begin a serious program of catechesis and reform.  We need to do penance, in the sense of conversion of ourselves.  We thought we had moved into the mainstream of American life and public acceptance, and we’ve gotten a bit soft and flabby.

Politicians will debate about the meaning of last Tuesday’s election.  But for all serious Catholics one thing should be true:  We are not mainstream, and we need to repent and convert.

It’s like they say on airplanes.  When the oxygen masks drop down, put yours on first.  Then take care of your child.

Our Bishops recognize that there are two generations of uncatechised Catholics in the population.  For many bishops, their solution has been to focus on those coming into the church — children and RCIA programs.  Tuesday’s election makes clear that strategy is a failure.  We need a mandatory program of serious catechesis every week in every parish, directed at adult Catholics.

We’ll have more to say on this in the future.

About Joel Whitaker

Joel Whitaker is a long-time professional journalist (Tampa Bay Times, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Bulletin, Institutional Investor, executive newsletters) and Catholic convert. He is the RCIA coordinator for his parish.
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