This past Monday and Tuesday I attended a conference called Interactive Connections. The basis of the conference was helping catechist and Church leaders bring more technology into the Church. Whether it is with students in the classroom, the mass or parish programs. The keynote speaker, Father Larry Rice, C.S.P. (you can also follow him on twitter @LRice) did an excellent job at making us aware of technology in the world. One of the things he brought to our attention were 7 Crises of the Catholic Church. He said we need to know what these are before going forward so we know some of the issues that are in the minds of the people! I thought this was an excellent point in understanding your “audience.” Many of these crisis I didn’t know anything about! Since I wasn’t aware of some of them I figured many of my readers probably didn’t so here I am to share them with you.
VOCATIONS CRISIS – There has been a drop in numbers of priests & religious. We are unable to staff schools, parishes, and hospitals. Father Larry mentioned that soon all priests will do is say mass and give sacraments. The problem is that is only half of their job. I also think part of this drop is due to the many scandals they are VERY careful as to who they let into religious life.
CATECHETICAL CRISIS – We have largely failed to pass on our faith. Faith seems irrelevant. Faith seems shallow. We can see this by the many young adults that leave the church. We also have many young people you never see again after confirmation, marriage, or baptism. (We’re not blaming anyone it is just facts)
ATTRITION CRISIS – This crisis is very similar to our Catechetical Crisis. People are LEAVING the church in DROVES! Not because they are angry at the Church but because they are BORED!! [Need to be life-giving to people. (not sure I know what this means it was just written in my notes so I think it was important)]
LEADERSHIP CRISIS:Who’s leading and how? – We’ve had shifting roles for Bishops, Clergy, and Laity (many with no proper training)
DISUNITY CRISIS:We’re no longer one Church! – Who’s “Really” Catholic? Ideology has replaced mission. We have many people arguing about who is more catholic than others. Does it really matter? The only one that cares is God!
VICTIMOLOGY CRISIS – We’re under attack by the media, the liberals, the government, etc. Diminishes our responsibility. Even if it’s true? So What?
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CRISIS (Consolidation and Redistribution) – There are empty urban churches and suburban churches “busting at the seems.” Many churches are encumbered by useless facilities and paying to maintain facilities. Due to where catholics are living this seems to be an issue.
One analogy he did say was CRISIS = DANGER + OPPORTUNITY yet we only see the DANGER! What is the OPPORTUNITY we can take from these Crises? A little food for thought as you start your weekend 🙂
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That’s really good food for thought. I’m reading a book (for review) that touches on some of those things and is REALLY eye opening. It mostly focuses on the fact that bishops in America are entirely too caught up in politics, and how Catholics in America are Americans first and Catholics second, instead of the other way around. These crises make a lot of sense when you think about it in that context.
Question- how did they want to incorporate technology into mass? The thought makes me shudder, but it’s probably not what I’m thinking (the large screens with the words to the songs at the front of the church or something).
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Yeah that is what I thought when he went over them. He even mentioned how the printing press was the first time the church “lost control of communication.” It is really eye opening!
The workshops I attended they didn’t talk a lot about the mass. One workshop was done by a Jesuit priest and he did say he’ll show videos during his homily when he does the Life Teen mass. I don’t find anything wrong with that or using the words on screens because really that saves the church money. But to each their own.
Jon Hansen says
As a priest I can relate to and affirm most of these. There are some areas that are difficult to know how to proceed, hence “danger”. But there are other areas where we do have a great deal of control . One area I am think of is the victimology crisis, which you mention.
The Catholic Church has been at the pinnacle of our culture for so many years with regard to education, healthcare, moral authority etc. and we let it go to our heads. The scandals which have rocked the Church of late are a great opportunity for the Church to regain some humility. It does not matter that the Church is being unfairly targeted by liberal media, let’s turn the other cheek and let the world see that we are Christians by our love, not by our ability to mount an opposition force.
And this leads into the disunity question. I find the Catholic rhetoric flying around the internet condemning those faithful who are not “true Catholics” highly disturbing, even more so then the slander I see in anti-religious commentary. I see a Church tearing itself apart from the inside out and placing the blame for its state of health on the liberal media.
Thank you for this post, I found it very imformative.
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your welcome! Thank you for the wonderful comments. We can sit here and write for hours about each little topic! I agree I hate the people arguing about the “true Catholics” it is so mean and hateful!
Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families says
Happy to find your post through Catholic Bloggers. I think it’s so good to break it down like this and recognize these threats to our Church. The mission of our little Catholic apostolate (Arma Dei) is to create resources that are cool and fun to teach the awesome Catholic Faith. I know Catechism was pretty light when I was in school…and it still is…in our Catholic schools up here in Canada. We feel better just assuming that they’re not getting enough training…and then supplement like crazy at home!
Sounds like a good conference…eager to see what we can do as Catholic Bloggers.
Oh…by the way, (…for Catholic Couponer!) I have a special Catholic Craft Kits GIVEAWAY open right now until Saturday night! I hope that you check it out at http://www.EquippingCatholicFamilies.com!
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I know! I hope that as Catholic Bloggers we can help spread the word a little better!
How many of us have heard people say that they’ve stopped going to Mass because it’s boring. Or the evangelical church down the street is more entertaining? I think we as a society are so wired in that the concept of Mass being the same, yet different, every week is hard for people to envision. The lack of Faith/ Education leads to the other crises. If you are not fully vested in your Faith and willing to defend her from the rest, of course you are not going to see the beauty and depth in our faith and will head to the church with the pop music. Great post!
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so true! One of the programs we are going to use with our middle school program next year does that. The woman that wrote the program worked with middle school students and they didn’t know how to “Defend the faith.” It’s so hard to tell where the problem is my sister never goes to church and I do yet we were raised exactly the same. Thanks for the comments!
Tiffany Borges says
Eek! I just bloviated quite liberally about Latin Mass, Nancy Pelosi, and your priest’s shared wisdom. Tech trolls have spared you my diatribe— it didn’t seem to post! I’m going to write these down and try to be part of the solution wherever I can.
Thanks! All we can do is be aware of the issues and find little ways to fix them 🙂
Tracy Bua Smith says
Hi! I found your post here through Catholic Bloggers Network where I have my blog listed, A Slice of Smith Life at http://www.asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com. I enjoyed reading this post and it’s hard not to despair with the crisis we face in our Catholic Church, but at the same time it gives me much more motivation and desire to seek holiness and spread the message of Christ’s Church in as many loving ways as possible. A friend of mine sent me a great article about a priest’s homily in Boston during the clergy scandals and it talks about what is our response when our Church is in crisis and scandal like it has been so many times. His answer is a call to HOLINESS. It’s a long homily, but so worth the read. Here is the link: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0526.html
I am following your blog and Facebook page now because not only are you a devout Catholic it seems, but also a couponer! I use coupons too and teach coupon workshops in my hometown in N.C. I also sell coupon binders and accessories! I love teaching people how to save 50% or more on their grocery bills and I’m a big fan of Southern Savers too, ( I was browsing through your pages on your blog and saw Southern Savers listed) but I shop alot at Harris Teeter 🙂 I have a Facebook page that I run to let others know about savings and upcoming workshops that I teach. My coupon Facebook page (Smith’s Savings-Delly’s Deals Consultant) is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Smiths-Savings-Dellys-Deals-Consultant/284700591576683?ref=tn_tnmn
Happy Spreading our beautiful faith, Shopping, and Saving!
Tracy Bua Smith
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Thanks! I love finding a fellow couponer! I will follow those pages. I want to teach classes eventually but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m trying to finish my Couponing Made Easy series first 🙂
Imelda @ Cum Auxilio Ab Alto says
Since when did people need to be ‘entertained’ at Mass? We already have enough entertainments outside of the Church. We should all understand that the Mass is not there for entertainment. It is not for boredom relief. It is about God first, and prayer, before anything and anyone else. Besides – one ‘program’, if Mass had been reduced to that for some, cannot please everybody. :-
I think there’s an important distinction here between saying ‘bored’ and ‘not entertained.’ It gives me a headache thinking of how many parish activism-type meetings I’ve been to where people suggest that young people don’t go to Mass because it’s not ‘fun’ enough or ‘they don’t get anything out of it,’ Baby-boomer code for ‘we need guitars and drums at Mass.’ What those with eyes see, though, is that the proposed solutions don’t do the trick. Most rock Masses I’ve been to have been organized with mere mediocrity, desperately try and fail to keep up with the newest, most ‘relevant’ music, and still aren’t attended by *that* many youth!
In my area, we’ve had the blessing of restoring some Latin, chant, and a general air of orthodoxy to the Mass. And you know what? Those are the Masses that have steady, if not growing attendance, among families and youth alike! With an understanding of the meaning of Mass, which youth ministries are doing better at instilling these days, this type of Mass is not ‘boring,’ but is a far cry from ‘entertainment’ (the way Mass should be!). And, by binding itself to timeless tradition, it does not have to chase the next great thing in order to seem relevant.
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Laura O in AK says
I can not say that anything on that list is ‘news’ to me. But, I’ve also been blessed to have priests willing to speak the truth, even if it is uncomfortable to hear.
I get very sad when people spend more time arguing about who is Catholic and who isn’t. Our pastor spoke about this in the fall of 2010, especially in light of how many Catholic bloggers were on that bandwagon of finger pointing. I wrote a post after his homily about it: http://daybydayinourworld.com/2010/08/who%e2%80%99s-really-catholic/
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Beth Anne says
awesome! I will have to go read it! Most of these things I knew of. I too get sad at the people who argue about who is Catholic and who isn’t. I don’t think it should matter and there are other things in the world that need fixing.
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Thanks for sharing these thought-provoking notes!
Re the Catechetical Crisis: get in the classroom and be a catechist.
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I am! But we need to be helping children, teens and ADULTS that faith learning is LIFE LONG not just from k-8 and how to use our faith everyday and book learning doesn’t’ do that.
Very good! You’re right about life-long learning about God. My opinion is that poor teen-adult faith formation is partly caused by poor K-8 catechesis; and I believe that is being rectified by a new generation of motivated and informed catechists. But at the same time, God expects adults to act like, you know, adults about their faith. Adults make it their business to learn about taxes, mortgages, new job information, etc. without being babysat. At my parish there are ample opportunities for adults to be spoon-fed faith if that’s what they require. But if they won’t be adult about their faith, neither you nor I nor God Himself is responsible.
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A very well written post. I agree with you about life-long learning with God. It is important to live in this life with the presence of God. This posts serves as my food for thought of the day and thank you so much!
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